2010 a succesful year for Gor Mahia

The year 2010 will be remembered as an extremely succesful year for Gor Mahia Wuod Ogalo. For despite not winning any silverware, Gor Mahia had a lot of success on and off the field.

Second place finish

Despite a slow start to the league that included shock 0-3 losses to teams like Chemelil Sugar, Kogalo finished the league strong with convincing wins over perennial giants Tusker and eventual winners, Ulinzi, that saw them come very close to winning the league and eventually finish second.

In all probability , Gor Mahia were the youngest team in the league. For such a young team to come close to winning the league was quite an achievement. Think back to 1997 when Kogalo finished second to Utalii. Yet that team was star studded and experienced with players like “Zico” Otieno, Sammy Omollo “Pamzo”, Paul Ochieng, Dan Ogada, Frazier Ochieng, Steve Okumu and Steve Odiaga. Yet not only was the 2010 youthful and inexperienced, they finished second in a league that is now more competitive than it was in 1997. Despite their lack of experience, the group of Awilo, Wekesa, Masika, Kiplagat, Makori, Blackberry, Kevin Omondi , Musa and others, went toe to toe with far more experienced teams like Sofapaka, Tusker and Ulinzi

The return of the fans

The superb play in the second half of the league helped accelerate the return of fans to the stadia. Many of these fans had sworn off Gor Mahia matches and had not attended a match in a decade or so. The 2-0 win over Tusker especially sent shock waves throughout the section of Kogalo fans that had become moribund. Attendance of second leg matches increased substantially from the first leg.

This resurgence in interest is one of the reasons 2010 will be remembered as a succesful year for Kogalo. It was only as recently as 2 years ago that the Kenyan newspapers had declared the death of community teams like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. Starting in the early 90s , attendance at Gor Mahia matches had started to plummet significantly. None other than legendary club chairman and patron Job Omino once said that community teams would one day go extinct. By 2006, a match pitting Gor Mahia and archrivals AFC was played to about 3000 fans at Nyayo stadium.

In 2006, Ken Oliech and co played to a half empty city stadium while playing in the biggest derby in the nation.

The fan resurgence which started in 2008 went into full swing in 2010. Kogalo are by far the best supported team in Kenya. Home matches at City stadium are jam packed at both the main stand and at Russia. It a scene that is almost reminiscent of what used to happen in the 70s when city stadium was filled to the brim every saturday.

Russia is now full to the brim

National team experience

in 2010 No less than six Gor Mahia players featured for the national team in 2010: Jerim Onyango, Chris Wekesa, Julius Owino, Abdi Malik Mohammed, Kevin Omondi and George Odhiambo. In addition, 4 Gor Mahia players featured for the national U-20 team: Anthony Akumu, Abdi Malik Mohammed, Musa Mohammed and Duncan Owiti.

George Odhiambo was voted as the national player of the year and along with Anthony Akumu was able to garner the interest of a Danish top tier team. As we write, Akumu is on trials and Blackberry is working on the modalities of the contract. That only Kogalo players have attracted the interest of European teams should make the team more attractive to the top Kenyan youngstars who are eager to someday play in Europe.

Tanzania tour

Many Tanzanians remember the good old days of the 1980s when Gor Mahia often tormented the top Tanzanian teams, Simba and Yanga in CECAFA cup matches and Africa cup matches. For example, in 1980, Kogalo beat Simba to lift the CECAFA cup while in 1984, Kogalo eliminated Yanga in the 1st round of the Africa champions cup. Fast forward to 2010 and Kogalo toured Tanzania where they comprehensively outplayed Tanzanian champions Simba and beat them 3-1. And this was a Kogalo team without several key players demolishing the team that had won the Tanzanian league unbeaten.

Kogalo gave Simba a reminder of the good old days

Blackberry named player of the year

George Odhiambo “Blackberry” capped a fine career at Gor Mahia when he was named KPL footballer of the year , finishing ahead of John Baraza of Sofapaka and Stephen Ocholla of Ulinzi. The title was well deserved as Blackberry has played a crucial role in Kogalo’s second place finish, scoring 8 goals and creating several others.

Over the past two years, he has been the most exciting player in the national league, often mesemerizing and perplexing defenders with his dazzling moves, quick feet and sublime finishes.

Other Gor Mahia players who were nominated for various awards were the fast rising, hard working Collins Okoth , keeper Jerim Onyango, Musa Mohammed and coach Zedekiah Otieno “Zico”.

Akumu set for Denmark trials

Gor Mahia midfielder, Anthony Akumu has caught the eyes of European talent scouts and is set to go to Denmark to attend trials with Randers FC, the same team that has signed George Odhiambo “Blackberry”. The Kenya Under-20 midfielder was spotted by the scouts who had come to watch Blackberry.

Given his superlative perfornance for Kogalo, given the fact that Kenyan defensive midfielders seem able to find success in Europe and given his youthfulness, he stands a good chance of being signed on. He will become the third Gor Mahia player ever to attend European trials. Stopper Sammy Omollo attended trials with English second tier side, Bournemouth in 1993. Peter Opiyo attended trials with Fortuna Dussefldorf of Germany last year.

With the impending departure of Blackberry, possibly Abdimalik and now Akumu, Gor Mahia have a tall order to reload for next year with rivals Sofapaka and Ulinzi already recharging for next year. We wish Akumu all the best in Denmark.

Former Gor Mahia star to seek top FKL post

According to a story posted in the Standard newspaper, former Gor Mahia striker, Doctor William Obwaka will vie for the top post when FKL elections are called next month. Obwaka has been appointed to carry the mantle for former players, who want to get into management of the sport. Obwaka, a gynecologist announced his intention at a press conference convened by a caucus of former players, who want to bring fresh blood into the sport. In his acceptance speech Obwaka asked the sports Ministry to ensure clubs vote directly during the national elections and lock out delegates he claimed have always been manipulated. “We are demanding for a level playing field during the electoral process. In the past, delegates have been compromised to vote a certain way.” “It is for this reason that we are urging Fifa and the Government to ensure that clubs vote directly during the national  elections” he said. Obwaka has also urged the Kenya Anti-Corruption commission to ensure that the electoral process is done in a transparent and open manner.

This is indeed good news for the Kenya Football fraternity. For years, yours truly has been hoping that Kenya football could be run by a former player who understands what it takes to make Kenya a football power because he himself was once on the playing field. A former player who has the cerebral capacity to come up with fresh ideas that can work in this country. In fact yours truly has always mentioned Obwaka along with other wel educated former players like Joe Masiga, Dan Shikanda and Nahashon Oluoch. I have known Mr. Obwaka for a while as we both hail from the Musanda area and I can attest to the fact that he is passionate about bringing about the much needed changes that will bring sanity to Kenya football.

In the 1980s, Athletics Kenya was run by a corrupt group of individuals, none of whom were former athletes and were mostly concerned with pocketing the winnings of track athletes which at the time were meagre. In those days, it was AK that took the money won by runners and disbursed it as they saw fit. The entry of Mike Boit, a former runner into the Kenya sports council brought an end to this insanity. Today AK is one of the few sports organizations in Kenya that is not porrly run.

For the past 12 years or so, ever since the Maina Kariuki era Kenya football  has been run into the ground by officials who are mostly interested in grabbing money as was the case with Kariuki, are lazy or lethargic as was the case with Alfred Sambu or are flat out incompetent as is the case with our current bunch, Hatimy, Kasuve and Okul. It is high time that we had a competent committed person running the show. Someone who can bring back sponsors and bring the fans back to national team games. As you know, sponsors only want to associate with well run institutions that have public goodwill. Kenya has recently suffered humiliations at the hands of teams like Lesotho, Eritrea, Somalia and Guinea Bissau. The humiliations are set to continue due to incompetence at FKL which cannot even organize friendly matches during designated FIFA friendly days nor organize acclimitization sessions to prepare Kenya for away games.

In his playing days, Obwaka joined Kogalo in 1985. He gained instant fame when he scored twice to help Gor Mahia beat arch rivals AFC Leopards in the 1985 CECAFA cup finals. At the time, he was pursuing a medical degree at UoN. His elder brother, the late Enock Obwaka was also a Kogalo stalwart having played for the team in the early 80s. Enock later coached Shabana FC. Before leaving for the CECAFA cup , Kogalo players received boots from Re Union Chairman Wycliff Rading Omolo (3rd from left. Others in the pic are from left coach Len Julians, talking to Hezborn Omollo, sitting is Tirus Omondi, crouching is Austin “Makamu” Oduor, next to Rading is William Obwaka flanked by Chairman Zack Mbori, Manager Amos Nandi in a sharp suit and keeper David Ochieng joking

Commentary by Muroro-Pacho


Additional reporting from Standard Media

4 Gor Mahia players in Harambee stars squad

Goalkeeper Jerim Onyango has finally been rewarded for the steady improvements he has made of late by being named to the national team that is due to leave for the CECAFA cup in Dar es Salaam next week.

Another suprise inclusion is Kogalo midfielder Abdimalik Mohammed. The lanky midfielder from Isiolo who joined Kogalo this year is supremely talented. But he has yet to establish himself in the Kogalo starting lineup. But he has shown flashes if brilliance and a keen eye for goal which has seen him catch the eyes of national team coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee as well as European talent scouts.

Kevin Omondi returns to the Harambee stars midfield. The youthful midfielder made an impression when stars toured Tanzania earlier this year and hopes for a repeat performance.

Finally George “Blackberry” Odhiambo completes the squad. It was Blackberry who impressed fans the most when he came onto the field during the ANC qualifier against Uganda.

Former coach Sianga speaks of his role in Kogalo rennaisancee

Article adopted from standardmedia.co.ke



Former Gor Mahia coach, James ‘Abawa’ Siang’a, says he has been watching from the comfort of his house K’Ogalo kids grow and declared: “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

The gaffer, who is battling with diabetes, said it warms his heart to see coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno let the youngsters develop without pressure.

“It is a joy watching them play. They fought a good battle and brought joy also to the fans. When we started in 2008, not many gave these kids a chance, but I insisted they be left alone. Now you can see and I promise, you have not seen the last of them,” Siang’a told FeverPitch.

“Considering how young they are, they had no experience. You could see they could not handle pressure games. So to finish second is a good achievement.” Siang’a is credited with putting together the side that stretched Ulinzi Stars to the limit before losing out on the Kenyan Premier League title on Sunday, but the 60-year-old insists everything is going according to plan.

Gor players: Front (left to right) Musa Mohammed, Kevin Omondi, Dan Makori and Anthony Akumu. [PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO and FILE/STANDARD] 

“Just like any other parent you ask yourself how they are going to cope. But the foundation I laid has now helped them carry through to next year and beyond.”




He added: “In 2008 they finished ninth and last year they were fifth. Before I left Gor I told the officials this side will finish either third or second. So watch out for next year.”

Severe criticism

The former Gor and Harambee Stars goalkeeper came under severe criticism as his side was taken apart 5-0 and 6-0 on aggregate by APR of Rwanda in the Confederations Cup and struggled in the league last year before coming good with a top five finish.

Some of the boys Siang’a brought into the ageing Gor side then were George Odhiambo, Musa Mohammed, Ibrahim Kitawi, Kevin Omondi, Anthony Akumu, Dan Makori, and Cameroonian Baldwin Ngwa, among others.

While Odhiambo has already been voted the best young player (2009), Mohammed, Omondi and Akumu are in the running for the award when KPL holds its fete in a week’s time. “With youngsters you will never go wrong. And going by Gor’s strong run this season, it is testimony enough,” said Siang’a.

The respected tactician said his health has improved tremendously and joked:

“Thanks to the performance of the boys I am feeling well.”

But he added: “If I am needed to be around the boys I will always be there. For now though, I am focusing on the forthcoming Association elections. I will announce soon the position I would like to vie for.”

Editors note:

James Sianga is one of the pioneer players of Gor Mahia football club having joined at its formation in 1968. At the time Sianga was the best goalkeeper in the country and is widely considered to be one of the best goalkeepers Kenya has ever produced. Sianga played for Kogalo until 1974 when he and 9 other players were poached by Luo Union FC where Sianga finished his career. He has had an illustrious career as a coach that has taken him to Tanzania where he coached Simba as well as several stints with the national team.

Kogalo held to tie by City Stars finish second

In a match played at the Nairobi City Stadium, Gor Mahia were forced to a goalless draw by Nairobi City Stars. The cross city rivals put up a dogged fight to frustrate Gor Mahia. Keeper Peter Odhiambo in particular pulled off a string of saves.

As a result, Gor Mahia finished second in the national league, which us still the best position Kogalo have finished since 1997 when the star studded team of Dan Ogada, Tom Okaya, Frazier Ochieng, Tillen Oguta, Steve Okumu etc finished second to Utalii.

George “Blackberry” Odhiambo, playing in what is likely his last match for Kogalo was replaced midway through the second half. Thank you for the memories.

On behalf of gormahia.net aka Gor Mahia online supporters club , yours truly would like to thank the players for bringing glory back to Kogalo.

Blackberry set to move to Europe

George “Blackberry” Odhiambo, the Gor Mahia striker who has taken the Kenya premier league by storm over the past 2 seasons is set to move to Denmark at the end of this season. He will join Randers FC, a team that plays in the Danish top league, the Superliga

Blackberry weaves past hapless defenders in typically brilliant fashion

According to a story appearing in the Standard, Blackberry has been scouted by the Danish side who have even sent scouts to attend Kogalo matches. The team was formed in 2003 and is based in the city of Randers. At Randers, he will play alongside two Senegalese and a Ghanaian. Blackberry will also join another Kenyan already plying his trade in Denmark, Emmanuel Ake.

Blackberry is a product of the Kisumu youth sports Association. His career begun to take shape while at Thur Gem secondary school. He later moved to Kamkunji secondary school. It was while there that he started to play for Gor Mahia. In 2009, he was voted young player of the year after he finished as the second leading scorer in the league. He has found the back of the net 8 times this year despite tight marking in every game. His quick feet and close control have given many a defender nightmares.

Despite its illustrious history, Gor Mahia has never had a player leave the club to join a European side . So Blackberry will be the first. In 1993, defender Sammy Omollo attended trials with English side Bournemouth FC but did not get a contract. 3 years earlier, Peter Dawo was signed by Egyptian side, Arab Contractors where he played for one season.

For keen observers, it was inevitable that Blackberry would soon join the paid ranks given his stellar play and given the exposure that the KPL has afforded players. The story is reminiscent of 1982 when Nahashon Oluoch “Lule” and Sammy Owino “Kempes” then the best players in Kenya left Kogalo for Alabama USA much to the sadness of then Kogalo fans. They were difficult to replace but in subsequent years, players like Sammy Onyango “Jogoo” and Charles Otieno “Engine” ably filled the void. Gor Mahia now has the tall order of finding a player to fill Blackberry’s boots.

Gor Mahia floor Sony to stay in the chase

Kogalo players celebrate after Baldwin Ngwa (2nd right scored the second goal

A 2-0 win over Awendo based SoNy enabled Kogalo to keep pressure on league leaders Ulinzi in a match played at the City Stadium. The goals that allowed Kogalo to floor the Awendo based Sugar millers came via Kenyan international midfielder, Kevin Omondi in the 40th minute and from Les Camerounais Baldwin Ngwa in the 77th minute.

Beating Sony convincingly is a major achievement considering that the Awendo based Sugar Millers are placed 5th in the league and have been a tough nut to crack over the past few years. In fact SoNy have won or drawn most of their matches against Kogalo over the past few years and even won the league in 2006.

Gor Mahia are now within 2 points of league leaders Ulinzi with one round of matches to play.

Gor Mahia pip Thika Utd

Gor Mahia earned a hard fought 1-0 victory over Thika United in a match played at the Thika Municipal stadium on Sunday. The match winner was scored by the recently signed Ugandan Import, Ivan Anguyo. Yet again it was George “Blackberry” Odhiambo whose menacing run into the penalty box resulted in a penalty after he was felled by a Thika defender.

It was Gor Mahia who dominated the proceedings throughout. Blackberry was a constant pain in the flesh of Thika players. Makori and Baldwin Ngwa combined beautifully to create several scoring chances. However it was an 80th minute effort from Kiplagat that hit the cross bar which brought fans to their feet.

The win allows Kogalo to keep pace with league leaders Ulinzi who are still 3 points and 3 goals ahead of Kogalo. The win also allowed the team to break a jinx. It has proven very difficult for Kogalo to win matches at Thika stadium. Gone are the days of the 1980s when Kogalo used to shred KTM FC which represented Thika town at the time.

Thousands of Kogalo fans travelled to Thika in a convoy of Buses and lit up Thika town. Indeed many towns all over Kenya can thanl Kogalo fans for bringing much needed excitement and money to local businesses and local stadia.