Blackberry’s career at crossroads

Of all the players who have played for Gor Mahia in the past 10 years, George Odhiambo “Blackberry” is the one who has most captured the imagination of the Kogalo faithful. He literally lit up the terraces with his skills that left defenders mesmerized, bewildreded and confused defenders and turned the terraces into a near delirium. Tusker and Ulinzi defenders can attest to this because Blackberry scored what is perhaps the two most memorable goals in the history of the Premier League against these two teams.

Gor Mahia Years

He joined Gor Mahia while still a student at Kamkunji secondary school. In his first year (2009), his impact was immediate. He was voted as the best newcomer in the premier league. A year later he was voted the best player in the premier league, having finshed as the second leading scorer. Aside from winning a myriad of accolades locally, he was also named among the 100 most promising players in the world by goal.com, a leading football website. He was the first Kenyan to achieve this feat. Not even Dennis Oliech accomplished this feat.

His stellar performances saw him earn the nickname “Blackberry” after what was then the most popular smart phone. It was against this backdrop that Randers FC of Denmark offered him a 4 1/2 year contract. The sky seemed to be the limit for Blackberry. Kenyans expected him to go to Denmark and set that league on fire as he had done during his two years in Kenya.

However Odhiambo’s career now curiously mirrors , the Blackberry phone, which was the hottest phone available in 2009 and has now been surpassed by other phones such as the Iphone, IDEOS and the Nokia Lumia.

Randers

Things started to nosedive soon after his arrival in Denmark.  After playing in a few friendly matches, he soon found himself confined to the bench. Worse still the coach would not tell him why. Blackberry played well anytime he was given a chance. Things got so bad that he was excluded from the Randers squad that travelled to Turkey for pre-season training. “I am very disappointed, and it’s really hard for me. I have not been given an explanation of why I do not play. I think though, that I have done well in the few games. Since I am not playing, there is no reason to stay in Randers” said Blackberry at the time.

Blackberry thus left Randers briefly to try and obtain a loan spell with Finnish club KUPS. Despite playing well, he did not make it into the team who said that he was not a good fit. He thus returned to Randers where things did not get any better. It is reported that at one point he got into a shouting match with the coach as his frustrations boiled over.

Potential $28 Million price tag

When Randers signed George Odhiambo, it was stated that in 4 years, his transfer value would be $28 million. This information was garnered from the German website transfermarket.de. The information was based on his stated age at the time (18) and the fact that he had shown significant potential. This would explain why Randers FC were willing to give him a lengthy contract.  It is probable that when Randers realized that the $28 million was never going to happen, they started to plot how they would get Blackberry out of their books. This is when they started to frustrate him by completely leaving him out of the squad. This ought to be a cautionary tale for future Kenyan players.

Azam

Days later, his contract was terminated by mutual agreement. He then joined big spending Tanzanian side, Azam on a two year deal. There he was unable to crack the starting lineup. After a few months, Azam offloaded him.

Azam FC team manager Patrick Kahemele said the talented attacking midfielder was shown the door after failing to honour his part of the deal. “George Odhiambo is no longer our player. We terminated his contract after he demonstrated a great deal of unprofessionalism,” Kahemele said.

He failed to show up for training for five days and the terms we agreed on with him don’t state that, he went against them and the ultimate effect is for him to cease being our player,” he explained. Kahemele added: “We brought him to Tanzania to play for us and work hard and he didn’t do the latter, we had no option but to let him go.”

Kahemele said the player had even had several run ins with the coach.

He also had problems with the previous coach. His attitude was an issue in training and he also complained a lot when benched. He did not corporate with the club. We have overlooked these shortcomings for sometime believing the player sould change his ways. But this has not happened and we have had enough,” the official said.

Blackberry was then reported to be joining Mtibwa Sugar of Kagera. However this was refuted by his then agent Ed Stoner.   “George Odhiambo still has a valid contract with Azam, which they must respect, and has not joined Mtibwa Sugar as reported.” “George missed three days of training due to illness, which Shikanda told the Head Coach and Doctor about on the first day of absence.” said Stoner.

Kahemele for his part refuted Stoner’s claims. “We asked George to see the club Doctor but he declined“, said Kahemele

ETSM Agency

Odhiambo has now teamed up with Ken Joseph, British – born Fifa players’ agent and qualified  financial adviser who works for ETSM – a London based sports agency; ending his relationship with adviser Ed Stoner.

Odhiambo made it clear that he wanted a return to Europe, where he last played this year. He said that it was now time for him to make an informed decision that supports what is most important for his individual

 Where does he go from here ?

He is clearly not used to spending time on the bench. It is something he never did at Thur Gem or at Kamkunji secondary or at Gor Mahia. However it is time for him to show some patience and be willing to fight his way from the bench to the playing field. Constantly complaining about playing time will not endear him to potential clubs in Europe.

Blackberry should have a sit down chat with a player like Mike Okoth Origi who had a succesful 10 year career in Belgium. He knows what it takes to make it in the top European leagues. It is going to be difficult for any Kenyan to make it to the top leagues and learning how Origi did it is a good starting point.

His focus should now turn towards returning to the national team. By excellling at the national team level, he has a better chance of impressing foreign scouts. To do this he will need to put himself in position to be selected. Playing in the Kenyan league gives him a better chance of achieving this goal than if he were to go to Europe and end up in a 3rd division team as many Kenyans do nowadays.

Blackberry is the one Kogalo player from the past decade who comes closest to becoming a club legend. A return to the club could cement his place as one of the club’s all time greats alongside the likes of Peter Dawo, Nahashon Oluoch “Lule” and Allan Thigo. These guys became Kogalo legends because they helped the club win major trophies. Blackberry could join this pantheon of legends should he return and help the club win a major competition. Current assistant coach Bobby Ogolla knows a thing or two about becoming a legend. He is amongst the players who has received the highest number of votes in Gor Mahia’s hall of fame which can be found at this page.

24 thoughts on “Blackberry’s career at crossroads

  1. It’s unfortunate that this happened. If only our local players knew that you have to cement your place and name locally before moving abroad. I believe talent alone is not enough to take you to the summit in football. A good manager and proper attitude is what makes you make it. Some Naija players make it abroad after undergoing some very harrowing experiences but they perservere and from the assistance of the fellow countrymen they make it. An example is how Felixhino was eager to play for GM. That’s the attitude that will take a player places. MAybe he can try Gor again but there is no guarantee of success here as things have moved on and the standards are now even higher. All the same we cannot forget what he did for us while still around. We are literally reaping the fruits him, Siag’a, Kitawi and co. planted some times back. Wish him the best since even age is still on his side.

  2. It was a clear case of a premature departure. This boy should have stayed a little longer at Kogalo. But the door is not closed. I know he lucks education but a cool head can help him transcend many obstacles. Look at how Rama and Sserunkuma are blossoming at Kogalo. Blackberry would add that flair to our attack and we would be unstoppable. I urge him to return. Kenyan soccer is just about to return to it’s glory days and i bet soon we’ll be paying our top players wages in the region of Kes 300-400k a month. What with a increased number of middle class willing to pay Kes 500.00 to watch live matches! How about increasing interest from corporate sponsors. It’s just about time. With twenty thousand fans chanting your name at Kogalo every match, home or away, why would you need Europe? What’s Europe anyway? Who makes Blackberry and his ilk think Europe is the answer to all problems? We can do it here, just a little discipline required.
    Blackbery’s story should serve as a big lesson to our boys who are blossoming at the moment. It’s not yet time to venture out there, don’t be cheated. We can make it right here at home.

  3. sofapka draw with tusker. was hoping sofa ishinde. any way the result still keeps them in check. tusker was kama kawaida, only play footy when it’s with gor. still hope afc will loose at stima and it’s over.
    on blackberry subject… as much as this guy was a good player i would not like to see him in gor, one problem with blackberry attitude is playing as i want. most coaches will find that uncomfortable hence these discipline problem(you’ll be left at the bench then u start fura-ing). loga is definately not going to allow BB to do as he wants as he insists on his plans being executed. tanzanian clubs have since changed their tech benches and that is why even there BB is suffocating, he was bound to suffocate in europe too.BB style of play mirrors what ronanldhino was used to doing, but this only happens with the allowance of the coach, even while playing in brazil he needed the coaches permission to do what he was doing in barcelona, u try to impose ur style on the coach and ur out! hence my argument BB will not make it at gor with this LOga tech bench. and pls the argument that he never sat at the bench at thur gem or gor is pretty lame.

  4. I think Blackberry needs to come to Kenya for about 2 years before he can think of Europe, otherwise his career is at stake. As to which club he’ll play for in Tusker Premier League, the choice is his since GM has now become too competitive and he may be benched for a few weeks and his major issue is bench. Without discipline, a player can never go anywhere. Take for instance Teves, Rooney when they had issues with the coach and may many other talents…

    Last season when Blackberry was to join GM he declined trials. He just wanted straight contract and such behavior plus the ones you’ve read in the above extract are not right at all. In other words let the boy come back to Kenya, change his attitude and he’ll make it in his career.

  5. his boy must return to kogallo reserves with log at the helm he will come good just as lavtsa did no short cut you must come down European clubs will not have him anytime soon especially with his discipline issues he has along way to go to become a good lad again

  6. Ithink BBs travel to Europe was hurried,but why did scouts from Randers pick on him? I still admire BBs football skills. for a fact he was evry one’s darling in the pitch, now that Gor may represent Kenya outside, our squad needs to be reinforced with quality players and I hope BB fits the bill. Issues to do with discipline can be dealt with when such arises. I wish to call upon all stakeholders in Gor to consider this and remember the boy did not run away from Gor. Lets join hands to help him redeem his carrer in foot ball than condemn him.

  7. PERSONAL STATEMENT

    I want to take issue with the administrators of this blog who for reasons best known to them deleted a comment i made earlier on under the heading, Gor Vs SoNy ticketing statement.

    I want to reiterate that I am a loyal Gor Mahia fan, entitled to make any comment on this blog so long as it adheres to acceptable code. I said and i want to say it again here that it’s maladminstration hurting Gor Mahia and indeed Kenyan football.

    I have never shied away from praising our officials whenever they do good and I will shy away from pointing the grey areas we need to correct as a club. We must match our words with action. Forty eight years is surely along time to still continue talking about some of the things still appearing on this blog including ticketing. We must be ready to embrace new technologies.

    The kind of impunity being displayed by some these overzealous ‘Gor security men’ is unexplainable. How do you contract an agent and then deny him the latitude to carry out his mandate. Who is going to take responsibility? These are some ofvquestions we must ponder we are to make a mark as a leading club in Africa.

  8. at one point, Oliech was a menace then he rectified it then Mariga now on the bench then Blackberry…..our Local Clubs needs to not only train our players physically but psycologically too

  9. WE are going to throw away the league and lives if the EC continues this undisguised greed for money.
    The EC does not even have a match winning bonus structure / kitty for the players.Ati useless 5,000 a plate dinner.Some EC members can’t afford this a that’s why they r stealing gate collections.
    As one blogger put STAMPEDES CAN RESULT IN DEATHS,ITS HAPPENED B4,ON SUNDAY WE WERE LUCKY.
    On Blackberry his return is entirely up to the bench, but I think GMFC’s priority is to beef up its attacking midfield and central defense in that order.
    Remember fish rots from the top and the EC is going to cost us this league.It won’t b long b4 these shenanigans permeate to the bench and players.
    We beg Kidero to accomodate our coach while EC steals gate collections

  10. Guys we need to tone down and as we said direct all our energies to one direction. We must also be cognisant to the fact that as it is Ingwe are the favourites to win the league and we are VERY STRONG CHALLENGERS. We cannot throw away what we don’t have. Our EC (which is coming under a barrage of attacks) is what has partially contributed to our being where we are now. Surely there is nobody called EC and all the members campaigned separately and were elected on their own strengths. Therefore let’s cease from lumping people together and mention names of those you think are not commited to the GM course. Otherwise you will replace the ‘monkeys’ and leave the forest intact (no pun intended). We can weed out ‘bad’ elements witout rocking the boat. Some of our comments here could have far-much negative results than even the EC ‘misbehaviour’. On another note if we love Gor that much why do we have to wait for the EC to reward them and not us. Facebook and Diva branch did that last year succesfully without involving the EC. We can do that again. On the dinners why criticise it if it’s supposed to be used for motivation. Let’s not discourage those who want to use it to bond with the players and motivate them. The slogan remains ONE GAME AT A TIME and that’s the only way we can lift that coveted cup. Also let’s not forget that ‘mpira hudunda’ and even @Omusula is praying to the same God we are praying to. Whose prayers will be answered we can onlt tell in mid-November. But all the same I have faith that we shall prevail. I Watched Sofapaka vs Tusker lat nite and Gor/Sony on Sunday and I can confirm here that we are playing very beautifull soccer

  11. Pod antie it is not right to say BB has no education. This boy went to school. Foot ball is about talent and BB has it. I only urge him to be patient and be forcused. A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.

  12. Blackberry’s problem is indiscipline..nothing else. He sorts this out and he may turn out to be one of the best players out of this country. I wish Oliech would guide him.

    Coming back to GM? I dont think so, the current tech bench values discipline highly (remember gatusso??. Besides, their options upfront are plenty. There is no desparation at all.

    People fight(and sometimes die) for elective posts so as to gain access to money and power (rarely to bring change/progress) – why should we expect this EC to be any different??

  13. WHO TOLD U GUYS THAT WE NEED REJECTS IN KENYAN FOOTBALL???????OUR FOOTBALL IS REALLY GROWING NO ROOM FOR UNDISCIPLINED PLAYERS……ANYONE WHO CAN TALK TO HIM PLEASE TELL HIM ANELKA’S STORY BUT HE REALIZED HIS PROBLEM THEN ALL WENT WELL FOR HIM……..U HAVE ALREADY WASTED YOUR 3 YEARS……THINK MY FRIEND.

  14. @ Dan
    1. how will you bond with the players on 21st and 23rd when the same players have a top game on 23rd.If the players attend those fake dinners then there goes the league title courtesy of EC.
    2.How much was collected at the village dance at Maladen.This middle ground you always opt for will get us nowhere.
    Should we wait for the stampedes to claim fans lives b4 you accept the what happened last Sunday is unacceptable.
    Also why do you seem to condone officials robbing the players and bench by not managing matches properly.

  15. Bloggers remember the story of the prodigal son. We can forgive Blabbery but discipline is paramount in Gor Mahia right now.

    This was a great talent but he is the one together with his advisers to be blamed for the fiasco. I hope he will learn from this and rectify his behaviour.

  16. BB must work on his discipline period! Someone should advise after all we’ve done that he’s not the first or the last footballer. There’s no choice or any other option but to work on discipline.

    GorBidder@14 you are very right and Opuk@12 i share the same sentiments. I only differ on the part of being different. People must style we cannot have officials rewarding their goons for time on end at the expense of fan safety and club development.

    Have you asked yourselves a question..Our learned Chair with all his education and social status, how comes he’s not any urge to change the Horrible constitution in a bid to modernise GM’s financial footing and administration? Surely what pride can be derived from courting these funny and barbaric guys refered to as Security?

    So sad.

  17. why would ”someone” bash black berry so much like that???why do we forget so fast like that???berry was and is still arguably the best ever player for gor in the recent past.as a matter of fact he is one of the major reasons people from all parts of kenya liked GM.Just like any other footballer, he left the country with lots of expectations, too bad he didnt achieve a lot.Look at players like rooney and balloteli,they all had discipline issues but due to proper counselling and guidence, they are still doing well.The fact that we have good finishers in the club dose not mean we don’t need others.We can have good players but their performance will be hindered by fatigue,Very soon we’ll be playing clubs like tp mazembe and al ahly.we need to keep opponents at bay by constantly attacking. trust me IF WE CAN HAVE RAMA, BERRY & DANNY ALL AT THEIR FORMS then KUTKUT will alway find a reason to boycott the derby ahead of them.

  18. Bloggers you have said it all. Blackberry has to redefine himself and it all begins with him working on his discipline. Changing agents is not the solution.

    To redeem himself, he needs to come back to Kenya and play local football. However good he was, he ought to know that the TPL is very competitive and us such he is not assured of a first 11 in any team. Anybody who watched him play in the just-concluded CECAFA club championship will agree that the boy’s form has dipped and he is a pale shadow of the BB we knew.

    Joining GM? I would be very reluctant to advise him unless he is prepared to work extremely hard, starting with his attitude.

    So much has been said by bloggers, but the ball remains in BB’s court. What I know is that further stay in TZ will not help him at all. Word travels so fast these days and no European team would want to take a player with such baggage as we are reading here. Come home BB. Come.

  19. First may i humbly and kindly ask almight God in the might lovely name of Jesus Christ to bless Ingwe.secondly i posted my advice that you seized adhere to.Anyway hard,tough and diluting words to your EC wont help because some are greedy as Aina when it comes to my Afcleopard.recently it was alleged he withdrew 1.6m from Ingwe’s account and he ‘Aina’ confirmed,so that as fans we will deal with it after the league,but now we can only negatively chant his name.anyway to idividual,.’you may do it as your soul tells you,but personaly i thought you would wait legue iishe kwanza’.thirdly as @blogger @14 has aired,bonding on 21st when you have the mother of all derbies on 23rd with the on sight champions doesnt sound positive.i’m sure you know what kenyan footballers and ladies could do.i have played ball and i know.fourthly i should comment about BB.I must say it’s a pitty for such player to drown so fast.i think BB’s football is the kind i call showbiz soccer,just as @dinga blog 3 puts it.this game is played by the likes of Gaucho,Robben,Were,Oboya,sturidge,phillips,etc.i think this kind of football fades quickly as long as your attacker reads your motives.the current football ambayo imekomaa is the one played by the midfield maestr Xavi Hernandez slightly emulated by Nasri,Miano,Zidane,Mugubi,and partly Rama Salim ,where by you dont over dribble,and when you dribble fans wont stand on seats because they were not aware of what you were to do,so they will remain on the seats smiling and loughin uttering words like “hiyo ni noma,kijana ameiva,mtu amefanywa” etc. In the current world of soccer one should learn better finishing skills which most of showbiz player dont have.look at our three great Africans E’too, Keita and Drogba even at young age they could dribble only agaist 2 attackers which might not be noticed,but powerful finish which everyone would admire,they still do it to date.Rama can do it and i pray that he does it.so my friend BB,change your styles and have discipline although am not sure whether discipline is one of the causes of your misfortunes,i may lie because i dont know how disciplined you are.in current Gor squard BB can’t get 1st 11 if he can then i need Gor fans to tell me who will then remain on bench for black berry to be an obvious starter.lastly if i have wronged anyone on my commends just forgive me and am sorry,but keep in mind that God understands the needs Of INGWE and He is yet to fullfil them.thank you and may God bless you all including @Okoth Jabilo down in Accra.

  20. @Omusala that is ua opinion. I personally respect ua opinion. But remember we have a universal God, He also understands the needs of GM Kogalo. Expect fire cum 23rd.

  21. @ OMWAMI Omusala I have heard you loud and clear down here in Accra. Your opinion and analysis on the current hullabaloo’s between us ma-fans with the so called big teams EC and of cause the BB saga is spot on my comrade, I can not agree any more.

    I will be back next week on sato and I hope to offer you a bottle or two after “vijana kumenyana” as we share and discuss our world of football. The title is still on your hand as long as the likes of Benson Disi calms down and ” kunyenyekea Mwenyezi Mungu ” then “chochote cha wezekana” cause ” Ball ina Dunda pande zote mbili za kiwanja”.

    As for your match against those unpredictable chaps from western Stima just pray like one MWAKIO of the green army battalion and your prayers will be answered. Because I can not lie to you that I wish AFC to win. The derby will be at fever pitch if you lose to W / STIMA

    I had already offered my submission to the other spirits of Jo -NDHIWA predicting that AFC and TUSKER be beaten while ULINZI, TUSKER and THIKA to be pardoned by playing to a draw. My wishes were granted and I can not make a U-TURN at this time. Although I feel for @ Omusala but it’s too late to over turn the verdict.

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