Gor Mahia legend finds success as tactician

John “Bobby” Ogolla has become one of the most reknown personalities in the increasingly popular Kenya Premier League. With his distinctive grey hair  and booming voice, the well spoken Bobby who is eloquent in both English and Kiswahili is always an interesting interview.

Of late he has found success as interim coach at Sofapaka where as we write, he has led a resurgence of the league’s defending champions, leading them to two key victories following the departure of Robert Matano. Last season he played a pivotal role as assistant coach, helping lead Sofapaka to win the league in their maiden appearance. He has a way of connecting with players and imparting his vast experience.

Prior to Sofapaka, Ogolla had coached World Hope FC. He has also had stints in the national team. Twice as the assistant to Reinhard Fabisch and on one occasion as national coach.

Ogolla in a recent interview

But most fans remember him for what he did during his playing days. Back then he was nicknamed “the six million dollar man”, after a super hero character from a popular TV show from that era. The nickname arose due to Ogolla’s incredible physical strength which he parlayed while playing for Gor Mahia and for the national team, Harambee stars, often using his robust physique to outmuscle opponents away from the ball. Aside from his impressive physique, “Bobby” also had a distinctive dress style; specifically one sock pulled to knee length and the other sock at ankle length.

Perhaps the most memorable game he played was the 1982 CECAFA cup final that was played in Kampala Uganda. In the final, Kenya played the match fancied Uganda Cranes. The Cranes were heavily favored having reached the Africa nations cup final in 1982 and previously in 1978. It was a strong cranes unit with players like Jimmy Kirunda, Godfrey Kataregga and dangerman Issa Sekatawa who was the top scorer in the tournament.

Ogolla played his heart out marking the dangerman Sekatawa out of the game. Midway through the second half, Ogolla received a vicious elbow to his forehead from a frustrated Sekatawa. He left the game briefly and received 7 stitches on the sideline. If Sekatawa thought he could cow Ogolla he was sadly mistaken. Ogolla returned to the game, 7 stitches and all and continued to stand tall against the Ugandan attack. Kenya eventually won the game on penalties. It was this performance, playing with 7 stitches and a huge bandage on his forehead as that earned him the nickname “Six Million Dollar man”, thanks in part to the graphic narration provided by broadcasting legend Leonard Mambo Mbotela. In those days, when the national team played, the whole nation listened intently to the game on the radio.

Ogolla’s legend was so big that to date he is still thought of by most Kenyans and indeed Tanzanians and Ugandans as the best stopper Kenya has ever produced, perhaps the best ever from East Africa. Yours truly has met Tanzanians who can never forget Ogolla.

Ogolla was also a free kick specialist. Not only did he possess a rocket of a shot but was very accurate and scored several crucial goals from free kicks. He started his playing career in Kisumu in the mid seventies and joined Gor Mahia in the late 70s. He was a key member of the Gor Mahia sides that reached the Africa cup final in 1979, won the CECAFA cup in 1980, 81 and 1985, won the Africa cup in 1987 and in between, won the national league several times. He also played a key role in the national team that won the CECAFA cup 3 times in a row from 1981 to 1983, several times emerging as the best defender at the tournament.

Sometime in 1984, Ogolla was pursued by the now defunct Benham FC. Rumours flew around that Benham had offered him a lucrative job in exchange for his playing services. Mass depression engulfed Gor Mahia fans who beseeched him to reconsider. Its not known whether the fans pleas are what convinced him to stay at the club. But he did stay on for another 3 years before hanging up his boots at the end of 1987.

His coaching and tactical acumen come from several years of working with coaches like Len Julians and Reinhard Fabisch.

Commentary by: Muroro-Pacho

Awful goalkeeping gifted Chemelil their first victory of the season

Gor Mahia first choice goalkeeper Jerim Onyango, who however has had a very good run this season, will be forgiven to be in a hurry to erase the memories of yesterday’s match against Chemelil where he gifted the home team with  not even one but three goals.

The game started on a very high note with Ibrahim Kitawi blasting wide a clear chance after cleverly being put through by Duncan Owiti in the 2nd minute of the game. George Odhiambo could have made up for his team mate in the 16th minute had he done better with the ball after coolly collecting, with his chest, a pass from Francis Ochola before outpacing the defenders and releasing a fine shot which was parried over by the goalkeeper for a fruitless corner. Chemelil thereafter took command of the game by mastering their soggy field while the visitors were left struggling for the better part of the game.

It was not until the 35th minute when drama started. Jerim Onyango in his wisdom went high to collect a cross ball from a free kick after an infringement which left Nicholas Ochieng shown a yellow card, he dropped the ball and Milton Odera had the easiest time pocking in the opener into an empty net.

On resumption from the breather at 46th minute, Jerim Onyango was at it again. A very armless and feeble short went his way, instead of holding the ball firm; he chose to juggle with it. An oncoming Miltone Odera took advantage of this and bundled the ball home.

You will call it having a bad day in the office or a school boy mistake, Jerim Onyango was not yet done. He raced towards the corner flag to collect a goal kick bound ball. Instead of collecting this ball within his area, he fumbled with it and the ball ended up going out for a corner kick. The resultant kick found him flat footed and landed squarely in his net after a header by Wicklif Opondo in the 87th minute.

Former Chemelil coach and the current Technical Director at Gor mahia Zedekia Otieno heard it all from the home fans and I believe he will work overtime to redeem the dented image of this former soccer power house.

Meanwhile Gor Mahia NEC had taken an earlier opportunity to launch Kisumu Branch in a colorful ceremony held at Kisumu’s railways club on Saturday night.

Report by Ronald N. Ngala.

Gor Mahia go down at Chemelil

Kogalo lost 0-3 to Chemelil Sugar FC in what is now the teams worst performance of the season.  Playing in a pitch soaked due to driving rain, Kogalo were unable to adapt. Chemelil on the other hand are used to playing in such conditions and seized the initiative from the beginning.

By half time, the visitors found themselves two goals down. The second half was played in driving rain, killing off any chances of a comeback by Kogalo.

They are now placed 11th in the KPL standings, 8 points behind the leaders Ulinzi after 6 matches.

Prior to the match, Gor Mahia Kisumu branch organized a parade for the club players that was well received by local fans.

First win of the season

Playing in front of an empty stadium, Kogalo, registered their first win of the season when they beat Nairobi City Stars 1-0. Fans were banned from attending the match as punishment for perceived unruly behavior from fans during the match against Mathare United.

The all important goal came from the penalty spot following a hand ball by a City Stars player. Skipper Julius Owino ‘Awilo’ made no mistake from the penalty spot.

20 minutes later it was City Stars chance to convert from the penalty spot but keeper Jerim Onyango saved the resultant penalty thus assuring 3 points for Kogalo.

Hard fought tie in Awendo

GOR Mahia’s youthful outfit settled for a 1-1 draw. Despite beeing cheered in by the large crowd, Kogalo failed to break the Awendo jinx that is now running for 6 years.

After a barren first half, Kogalo started the second half brightly and Francis Ocholla opened the scoring in the 50th minute but it was cancelled by Fred Onyango in the 71st minute.

Sony pinned the visitors in their half for long periods but the Gor Mahia defence marshalled by veteran Julius Owino stood firm.

Statement by Erastus Okul of FKL on IDAC suspensions


My attention has been drawn to a unilateral decision made by Independent and Appeals Committee of the Kenyan Premier League Limited.
First and foremost, I take this earliest opportunity to state categorically that no such decision was made after consultations with the Football Kenya Limited Competition Committee of which I am the chairman.
Secondly, may I make it clear that IDAC has no mandate to make such momentous decisions without reference to FKL, which is the governing body, and its organs which have the statutory functions to run football in Kenya.
IDAC has no mandate to run football and should refer whatever decisions they make to us for the final word, which may ratify it depending on its merits and demerits, or dismiss it.
Banning fans from the stadium is a major decision which impacts on the clubs’ revenue base and cannot be left to amorphous and busybodies to gleefully announce. I wish to reassure fans of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards that the announcement by IDAC does not have the blessing of FKL and they should treat it with the contempt it deserves and go about their business as usual.I would like also to state that the appointments of the referees are supposed to be done by fkl and not kpl, this is something we have been fighting for all this time ,clubs are individual members of fkl not kpl therefor the referees appointed by kpl are not competent to handle the premier league matches as in the case of mathere and Gor mahia.there are fifa referees who are accredeted to handle the premier league matches
WE are reviewing the cases of the matches concerned and will make our own decision and announce it at an appropriate time, based on the evidence and reports by the referees and commissioners.

Thank you

Erastus Okul

Pecking order at Gor Mahia Technical Bench

This has been necessitated by reports in a section of our print media that Zedekia Otieno is an assistant coach at Gor Mahia. We hereby wish to clarify to the general public and football stakeholders that below is the pecking order at the Technical Bench of Gor Mahia Football Club.
Zedekai ‘Zico’ Otieno is the Technical Director, by virtue of this post, he is the overall head of the Technical Bench. Gideon ‘Agido’ Ochieng is the Head Coach assisted by Charles ‘Korea’ Omondi majorly in charge of goalkeeping. Administrative arm of the bech is headed by Jolawi Obondo as the team Manager assisted by Maurice ‘Ole Tunda’ Ouma while the long serving doctor (since 1973) Doctor Samason Ogutu is the team Physio. Team captain is Julius ‘Awilo’ Owino with Francis ‘ Jakambare’ Akang’o as his deputy.
Ronald N. Ngala
assistant Secretary-General operations