Little over a year ago, former Gor Mahia striker George Odhiambo “Blackberry” left for Denmark to play for top tier side Randers FC. This occured after he had taken the Kenya premier league by storm, scoring some breathtaking goals that saw him earn a place in the national team as well as several accolades such as premier league player of the year. He looked set to take Denmark by storm.
Things however did not go according to plan. Blackberry soon found himself warming the bench endlessly. There was no explanation from the technical bench as to why he was not getting playing time. Even when Randers were demoted to the Danish second tier, he was still not getting to play. The explanation from the Danish side was that Blackberry was not adjusting to Danish football. It was inexplicable because he played well whenever given an opportunity to showcase his skills. In the 14 months he spent in Denmark, he made only two appearances.
The writing was on the wall when Randers went to Turkey for a pre-season trip to Turkey but Blackberry was not included. So he asked to be released for tryouts in Finland with club side Kups. Despite impressing, the Finnish side did not select him.
In the last few weeks, Blackberry seems to have lost his patience and had a run in with his coach. He cites the souring relationship between himself and the coach Michael Hemmingsen as the reason why he and Randers FC decided mutually to terminate the contract. It is likely that Blackberry was frustrated at his lack of playing time. Indeed he made his frustrations known to the Danish media. Perhaps not a good idea. But why the club never gave him a chance to prove his worth is not easy to understand. Who knows maybe they wanted to deliberately frustrate him until he had no choice but to leave.
Denmark has not been a happy hunting ground for Kenyan players. Emmanuel Ake played for several Danish clubs but recently saw his work permit terminated. Anthony Akumu recently had unsuccesful trials as did Pascal Ochieng 6 or 7 years ago. For that matter, few Kenyan players have found success at Europe’s top tier sides.
We hope that Blackberry will use this setback as motivation to work harder towards his ultimate goal. We also hope that he has learned a few lessons that he can apply in his next station.