With the CAF Champions League match against Aigle Noire approaching, it is worth taking a trip down memory lane to recall the last time Kogalo played a Burundian side. But 1983 was such an eventful year that it is worth remembering the peaks and valleys that beset Gor Mahia in that epic year.
The 2018 season will be remembered as the year when Gor Mahia wrapped up the league title with more than 10 matches to go. The club played well in continental and regional events only to stagger at crucial stages.
Nevertheless, Kogalo can walk away proud. Aside from winning the league by 13 points, they also won the Sportpesa Super cup, beating Simba of Dar es Salaam 2-0 in the final. And also won the domestic super cup, beating AFC Leopards.
New Signings and Transfers
Gor Mahia signed Charles Momanyi, Ivorian Ephraim Guikan, Wesley Onguso, Samuel Onyango, and Lawrence Juma
joining was Humphrey Mieno whom Kogalo had tried to sign in the
previous year from Tusker as well as Kevin Omondi who had starred for
Meanwhile Gor Mahia lost veteran defender Musa Mohamed as well as creative Midfielder Kenneth Muguna, both of whom joined former club coach Ze Maria in Albania
Gor Mahia were eligible to play in the Super cup, having won the league in 2017. They faced off against arch-rivals AFC Leopards who had won the FKF cup in 2017.
The match was played at Afraha stadium with no stadium being available in Nairobi. Gor Mahia won 1-0 with Harun Shakava scoring the all important goal in the 40th minute.
“I am happy with the result. Shakava made the difference and I am proud
of the team. They did us proud,” said Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr.
Champions League preliminary round
Gor Mahia were pitted against Leones Vegeterianos of Equatorial Guinea in the prelimianry round. The first leg was played in Machakos since no international calibre stadium in Nairobi was available. All three were under construction.
Gor Mahia went on to win the first leg 2-0. Kevin Omondi scored the first goal. Ephrem Guikan scored the second with his very first touch of the ball after coming on as a substitute. Humphrey Mieno missed a penalty that could have made it 3-0.
In the return leg, the Equatoguineans took the lead in the 55th minute and pressed for another goal to force penalties. Gor Mahia fought back and scored when a Leones defender deflected a Francis Kahata corner into his own net. Gor Mahia scored again in injury time but the goal was disallowed. The game ended 1-1 and Gor Mahia qualified for the next round.
Champions League First Round
In the first round, Gor Mahia were pitted against Esperance, a team that four years earlier had outclassed them and eliminated them by a aggregate score of 8-2.
In the first leg at Machakos stadium, Gor Mahia acquitted themselves well, dominating possession especially in the first half. The second half was more balanced. The game ended 0-0.
In the second leg in Tunis, Gor Mahia acquited themselves really well, defending solidly and recording several shots on goal. It took a defensive blunder to gift Esperance a 1-0 win.
Esperance fans, unhappy with Gor Mahia’s solid performance, threw foreign objects at Gor Mahia players after the match.
Esperance went on to win the 2018 champions league. Therefore narrowly losing to the eventual champions showed Gor Mahia’s mettle.
CAF Confederations cup playoff
Having been eliminated from the Champions League, Gor Mahia faced off against Supersport of South Africa for a chance to go to the group stage of the CAF Confederations cup.
The first leg was played at Machakos. Gor Mahia won 1-0 thanks to a penalty slotted home by Jacque Tuyisenge. The penalty occured after a Meddie Kagere header was handled by a Supersport defender.
The second leg almost proved to be a quagmire. Only days before the match was to be played, Gor Mahia announced that they did not have the wherewithal to secure airline tickets. Worse still they had not secured travel visas It took the financial intervention of Nairobi mayor Mbuvi “Sonko” to secure tickets and the intervention of Foreign affairs cabinet secretary Ababu Namwamba to secure visas. However two key players Jacque Tuyisenge and Ephrem Guikan did not get their visas and were unable to travel to South Africa.
The return leg in Pretoria was played to an almost empty stadium. The South African side went ahead in the 58th minute from a Haron Shakava own goal. Francis Kahata equalized less than a minute later, converting a cross from George Odhiambo. Supersport would score again in the 68th minute. Gor Mahia had to hang on grimly for the last 22 minutes plus added time. The 1-2 loss enabled Gor Mahia to qualify for the group stage on away goals rule.
International Friendly: Gor Mahia vs Hull City
Gor Mahia had earned the right to play Hull City after winning the Hull City challenege cup against AFC Leopards at Afraha. That match ended 0-0 and Gor Mahia won 5-4 on penalties
The match against Hull City was played to a capacity crowd, the likes of which had not been seen in Kenya for decades.
Gor Mahia played well but could not score. The game ended 0-0 and went straight to penalties. It looked like Gor Mahia were going to win the penalty shootout when goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch saved two penalties.
CAF Confederations cup group stage
Gor Mahia started their group stage campaign on a positive note. They forced a 1-1 draw away to Rayon Sports. Meddie Kagere scored the opener before the Rwandese side equalized from a free-kick. A large crowd of Gor Mahia fans traveled all the way to Rwanda. Gor Mahia were the better side but were unable to make their dominance pay. Nevertheless the away draw boded well for Gor Mahia’s chanced of advancing to the next stage.
In the second match, Gor Mahia held USM Alger of Algeria 0-0 at the newly refurbished Kasarani sports centre. Gor Mahia had to play most of the second half with 10 men after Joash Onyango was sent off in the 55th minute.
In the third Match, Gor mahia recorded their first win, beating Yanga of Tanzania 4-0. Ephrem Guikan scored twice. The other goals came from Tuyisenge and an own goal.
When Gor Mahia beat Yanga 3-2 in the 4th match in Dar es Salaam, it seemed Gor Mahia were on their way to the quarter-finals. The goals came from Tuyisenge, Blackberry and Shakava.
Yet again Gor Mahia fans traveled in large number to Dar es Salaam
The month of August was a nighmare scenario. They were required to play 10 matches in 29 days. This after having already played in the CECAFA club cup and the Sportpesa shield. In addition, the club lost key players Godfrey Walusimbi and Meddie Kagere to foreign sides.
The two factors took a toll on Gor Mahia as they went down 1-2 to Rayon Sports of Rwanda at Kasarani. Francis Mustafa scored Gor Mahia’s goal.
Gor Mahia needed at least a draw against USM Alger in their last match. But they could not overcome the fatigue, finding themselves 2-0 down before Jacque Tuyisenge scored a late consolation. The match ended 2-1 and Gor Mahia narrowly missed out on the quarter-finals.
2018 Premier League
The first match of the 2018 Premier League was a clear indicator of the extent to which Gor Mahia would dominate the league in 2018. In the league opener, Gor Mahia destroyed Nakumatt 4-0. Meddie Kagere too showed his intentions, scoring a hat-trick with Wellington Ochieng sealing the score.
Gor Mahia would have won the league unbeaten but the marathon August schedule where they played 10 matches in 29 days after having already played in the CECAFA cup and the Sportpesa Super cup, put paid to those aspirations.
By August Gor Mahia had opened up such a wide lead that it was not a matter of if but when they would win the league. Despite playing 10 matches in 29 days, Gor Mahia clinched the league in grand style, beating Sofapaka 3-0 then beating arch rivals AFC leopards 2-0 within a few days. Boniface Omondi and Bernard Ondiek scored the goals.
In the end Gor Mahia garnered 75 points, which is 13 points ahead of the second team (Bandari). They would have garnered more points but they took their foot off the accelerator pedal after clinching the league and went on to lose four matches. Gor Mahia also scored an impressive 71 goals, which was a massive 23 goals higher than the second best team in that regard.
2018 Sportpesa Super Cup
The 2018 Sportpesa Supercup was used to determine who would play Everton at Goodison Park. It featured Four teams from Kenya(Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Kakamega Homeboyz, Kariobangi Sharks) and four teams from Tanzania (Yanga, Simba, Jeshi La Kujenga Uchumi and Singida United).
Gor Mahia started solidly, beating Jeshi 3-0 with goals from George Odhiambo, Godfrey Walusimbi and Meddie Kagere. They then beat Singida United 2-0 thanks to a brace from Meddie Kagere. In the final, Gor Mahia blanked Simba of Dar es Salaam 2-0 with goals from Kagere and Tuyisenge.
All in all , a solid performance from Kogalo in which they scored 7 goals and conceded none.
2018 Sportpesa Shield
The Sportpesa Shield was the 2018 edition of Kenya’s domestic cup to determine who would represent Kenya in the 2018-2019 CAF Confederations cup.
Gor Mahia started off against SS Asad whom they dismissed 5-1 with goals from Lawrence Juma(2), Innocent Wafula, Jacque Tuyisenge and Eliud Lokuwam.
In the round of 32 match, Gor Mahia trounced Kenpoly 5-0. Ivorian Ephrem Guikan notched a hat-trick. Lawrence Juma added another and Kenpoly scored an own goal.
In the round of 16, Gor Mahia faced their first top tier opposition: Posta Rangers. They went on to win 3-1 with a brace from Kevin Omondi and another by Samuel Onyango.
Gor Mahia played against Kariobangi Sharks in the quarter-finals. The match was played soon after Gor Mahia had returned from Algeria where they played USM Alger. Kariobangi won 4-2 on penalties.
Coach Dylan Kerr suggested that FKF Chair Nick Mwendwa, who also owns Kariobangi Sharks, deliberately scheduled the match to coincide with Gor Mahia’s return from Algeria to take advantage of Gor Mahia’s travel fatigue.
“Congratulations to Sharks they were the better side today I can,
however bad we played be so proud how they gave everything even though
it wasn’t the best today. Thank you to the K’Ogalo family who supported
us today pole that we lost. FKF president new what he was doing” said Kerr in a tweet.
2018 CECAFA Club Cup
Gor Mahia added the 2018 CECAFA club cup to their busy schedule. Many fans felt that the club should skip it given that they were playing an inordinately large number of matches.
Gor Mahia had to play without leading scorer Meddie Kagere who departed to Tanzania to play for Simba.
They started off with a 2-2 draw against Rayon Sports. It was dissapointing as Gor Mahia were leading 2-0 at halftime with goals from Mieno and Tuyisenge.
In the second match, Gor Mahia twice came from behind to hold LLB Aacademic of Burundi 2-2. Philemon Otieno scored first then Jacque Tuyisenge scored an injury time goal to grab a point.
In the third group match, Gor Mahia dismissed AS Port of Djibouti 2-0 with goals from Charles Momanyi and Ephrem Guikan.
Gor Mahia’s best match of the tournament came in the quarter-finals. here they came from behind to beat Ugandan champions, Vipers 2-1. Francis Mustafa score his first ever goal for Gor Mahia when he scored from a rebound. Jacque Tuyisenge scored the winner.
In the semis, Gor Mahia lost to Tanzanian moneybags Azam by a score of 2-0. It was the same side that beat Gor Mahia in the 2015 final.
Coach Dylan Kerr cited fatigue as the reason for the loss.
2018 will also be remembered as yet another year when late payments of player salaries were commonplace within the club. Players went on strike and engaged in go-slows on numerous occassions to protest non-payment of their dues. In March for example, it was reported that Gor Mahia players had not been paid for two months.
Matters came to a head again in September when fans came to the rescue of skipper Harun Shakava who was about to be evicted by his landlord due to non-payment of rent. He and other players had not been payed for months.
International Friendly: Gor Mahia vs Everton
It was another first for Gor Mahia as they became the first team from the CECAFA region to play an English Premiership side in the UK.
Unlike the first encounter against Everton, this time Gor Mahia was fielding a much weaker side having lost several key players. They were also playing an Everton side that was sharp as they were already in mid season, whereas this was the off season for Gor Mahia.
The gap in class was evident as Everton stunned Gor Mahia with quick and precise passes that left Gor Mahia players flat footed. In the end Gor Mahia went down 4-0
Following the loss to Everton, Gor Mahia fans were stunned further when popular head coach Dylan Kerr announced that he was leaving. Kerr had no contract at Gor Mahia. Fans were hit hard as Kerr was very popular and had steered the club to two league title and numerous important wins.
Gor Mahia face an uphill battle as they take on Nigerian League Leaders Lobi Stars on December 14. Its a similar situation to 38 years ago, the last time Kogalo faced a Nigerian team. This is the only time Gor Mahia has ever played a Nigerian side. It was in the second round of the 1980 Africa cup of champions, the predecessor of today’s Africa champions league. The team they faced was the then Nigerian champions, Bendel Insurance.
Gor Mahia has not had much of a history playing against Malawian sides. However on the few occasions that they have faced Malawian sides, Gor Mahia has most often emerged triumphant. However Malawian sides have always proven very difficult to beat.
The first encounter pitting Gor Mahia against a Malawian side was in 1977 in the Africa Champions cup. On that occassion, they were pitted against Yamaha Wanderers. Gor Mahia lost the first leg 1-2 in Nairobi. Andrew Obunga scored Gor Mahia’s lone goal. Just when everyone had written them off, they shocked the Malawians, winning 2-1 in the return leg in Blantyre. The legendary Allan Thigo scored twice. Gor Mahia went on to win 5-3 on penalties and advanced to the next round.
The next encounter against a Malawian side was in 1980 in the CECAFA club cup which was held in Malawi. They met the hosts Limbe Leaf Wanderers in the semi-final. The confident Malawian side had topped group A whereas Gor Mahia scraped through the group stage, finishing second with only three points. The match ended 1-1 in regulation time. Experienced midfielder Tim Ayieko scored for Kogalo. The match went to penalties where Gor Mahia triumphed again winning 3-1.
The 1982 CECAFA club cup was held in Kenya. Gor Mahia were in group B which was based in Kisumu. In the first round, they came up against Malawi side Bata Bullets. It was yet another tense encounter which ended 1-1 with Ugandan winger Abbey Nassur scoring for Kogalo. Despite the partisan home support in Kisumu, Gor Mahia could not pull off a victory.
The 1984 CECAFA club cup was also held in Kenya. This time Gor Mahia comfortably topped group A. In the semis, they came up against yet another tough Malawian side known as Berec Power Pack. The latter had beaten arch rivals AFC Leopards 1-0 in the last group B match. The match took place at the newly constructed Nyayo national stadium. Gor Mahia won the tense encounter 1-0 thanks to an own goal and moved on the final.
The best performance for Gor Mahia against a Malawian side came in 1985 at the CECAFA club cup in Sudan. Gor Mahia, without six key players who were suspended by both CAF and CECAFA, met Limbe Leaf Wanderers again. Fielding a team comprised largely of new signings, Gor Mahia won 3-0. All the goals were scored by new signings with Goro Oronge striking twice while recent Kakamega high school leaver George Nyangi Odembo scored the other.
With Malawi having withdrawn from CECAFA competitions starting in the late 1980s, encounters between Kogalo and Malawian sides have not occurred.
Gor Mahia players have starred in the national team against Malawi
Encounters between the the Kenya national team, Harambee stars and the Malawi national team, the flames have been more common, with the Malawians proving more succesful. On the occassions when Kenya has beaten the Malawians, it has often been Gor Mahia players who have proven decisive.
The most epic encounter between Kenya and Malawi occurred in 1987. It was during the semi-finals of the 4th All African games. The match was full of intrigue. It was originally scheduled for a day earlier. As that match started, Malawi were clearly dominant against a Kenyan side that seemed tired having only played their last group match the previous day. The light operators at Nyayo stadium switched off the floodlights when it seemed Harambee stars would surely lose.
The match was then replayed the next day. The tense encounter ended tied 1-1 after 120 minutes. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Gor Mahia goalkeeper David Ochieng put on a clinic in penalty saving. He saved no less than three Malawian penalties. All the players who converted for Harambee stars were Gor Mahia players: Sammy Onyango, George Onyango and Austin Oduor. The latter brought the house down when he scored the epic and decisive penalty turning the stadium and the whole country into a near delirium.
Another epic match was during the qualifiers for the 1990 Africa cup of nations. Morale in the Harambee stars camp was low. The players led by captain Austin Oduor refused to train, protesting non-payment of allowances. They vowed not to travel to Lilongwe for the return leg until allowances were settled. A last minute deal was reached and the players traveled. They ended up beating Malawi 3-2 in Lilongwe much to the shock and dismay of the packed stadium and a Malawian side coached by the legendary Clement Malola. The man who destroyed Malawi on that day was Gor Mahia winger Anthony Ndolo who scored a brace. The Malawians had no answer for Ndolo’s pace.
In 1991, the two sides met in the CECAFA senior challenge cup group stage. Kenya won 1-0 with Gor Mahia midfield ace, Allan Odhiambo scoring the decisive goal. That season Allan was Gor Mahia’ stop scorer in the league despite playing as a defensive midfielder.
In their most recent match, Kenya beat Malawi 1-0 in a friendly and it was Gor Mahia ace Francis Kahata who scored the winner.
As Gor Mahia prepare to take on Young Africans of Tanzania in the 2018 CAF Confederations cup, its worth taking a trip down memory lane to witness and recall Gor Mahia’s first ever sojourn into continental football. Their first ever continental opponents was a club known as Burri Khartoum of Sudan.
One player who is easily recognizable is James Sianga who is second in line as the team walks into the field. The players are greeted by The Minister for Cooperatives and Social services, Ronald Ngala. The stadium is packed to the rafters. Many aspects of City stadium have not changed since then. Most notably the residential homes behind the stadium that provide an excellent view into the stadium. And the terraces at Russia have not changed.
Gor Mahia earned the right to play in the 1969 Africa champions cup by virtue of having won the Kenyan league in 1968, the year of formation of the club. Gor Mahia had been formed in 1968, folding Luo Union FC and Luo Sports club and also recruiting numerous players from Kisumu Hotstars.
The local football scene was shambolic in 1969. Minister Ronald Ngala, disbanded the Kenya Football Association and also suspended the national league. Thus Gor Mahia were in danger of lacking match fitness when they played Burri. To mitigate this, they embarked on a countrywide tour to play friendly matches.
But Gor Mahia was also undergoing a civil war with certain members of the club executive committee fighting to take over the club and rename it Luo Union FC.
1969 Continental matches.
The opening round of the 1969 Champions cup were played in September. Gor Mahia won the first leg 4-2 in Khartoum. However in the return leg, Gor Mahia played rather poorly, losing 0-1 at City Stadium in front of a large partisan crowd. It marked the first of many instances where Gor Mahia parlayed an excellent away record.
Gor Mahia thus qualified for the next round where they faced off with Ismaily of Egypt. They drew 1-1 at home before losing 1-3 in Cairo. Ismaily went on to win the Africa champions cup in 1969.
Among the players who featured for Gor Mahia in this campaign were James Sianga, John Otieno “Hatari”, Josphat Okello “Smart”, William Ouma “Chege”, Arthur Omondi, Paul Ndula, Samson Odore, Joseph “Mwalimu” Okeyo, Walter Molo, Steve “McQueen” Yongo, Daniel Nicodemus Arudhi, John Wambudo and Chris Obure, the former senator of Kisii county. They were coached by Paul Odhiambo, the first ever coach at the club.
Gor Mahia’s first continental campaign was creditable considering what the club had to overcome which included the lack of a domestic league, infighting within the club an infighting at national level which led to the disbandment of both the KFA and the league.
It is also said that players were significantly affected by the death of Tom Mboya who had been buried in an emotional ceremony only weeks earlier.
Ben “Breakdance” Oloo, one of the most gifted players ever to don the Gor Mahia jersey has passed on. He was found dead at his home in Kaa Chonjo Mombasa on Monday February 26 2018.
Breakdance joined Kogalo at the start of the 1985 and stayed on until around 1990 whereupon he hang his boots. He was nicknamed breakdance because his mazy dribbling skills often left defenders dancing. And when he joined Kogalo in 1985, “Breakdance” was the prevailing dance crazy that engulfed the country. There was even a blockbuster movie based on the dance.
He was born in 1961 in Karungu location in what is now Migori county. He spent his formative days in Kisumu City where he attended Central Primary School and Kisumu Boys High School where he excelled at hockey. He then transferred to St Mary’s High School, Yala where he played basketball. After excelling an inter-dormitory football competition, he was convinced to focus on football by former Luo Union FC legend Eric Omonge “Jaboma” .
Upon finishing school, he joined Kisumu Black Stars in 1979. He stayed on until 1980 before joining Utalii College then Lake Warriors in Mombasa. Cargo FC, (now Bandari) raided Lake Warriors, recruiting most of their top players including Oloo as well as George Onyango “Fundi” and others like Albert Oyoo “Wazimu”.
It was while playing for Cargo FC that Breakdance was sported by Gor Mahia talent scouts who approached him, perhaps at the behest of his former team-mate George Onyango “Fundi” who has also joined Kogalo from Cargo the previous year.
Upon joining Gor Mahia, Oloo made an instant impact. He quickly became a fan favourite due to his superb dribbling skills on the left wing which often left defenders dazzled. He was also a fine crosser of the ball. His first assignment was the 1985 CECAFA cup. He was one of the new signings called up to shore up a Gor Mahia side that was badly depleted due to the suspension of six players. He played a pivotal role, playing all the matches as Gor Mahia went on to win that tournament.
“Breakdance” was often deployed as a substitute. Indeed his most memorable match was the Mashemeji derby at the end of the 1987 season. With the game seemingly destined for a scoreless draw, coach Jack Johnson introduced “Breakdance” as a second half sub. It was a stroke of genius. First Breakdance lit up the crowd as he confused and mesmerized the Ingwe defence with his mazy dribbles. Then towards the end of the game, he dribbled past Wycliff Anyangu, and sent a well weighted cross which Peter Dawo met with a header to score the winning goal. Gor Mahia won 1-0, eliciting crazy celebrations as fans danced and sung from Nyayo stadium to the City centre as was the tradition back then.
Throughout his entire career, Breakdance was an employee of Kenya Ports Authority in Mombasa and would diligently travel to Nairobi along with George Onyango “Fundi” to attend training sessions. He was one of the few KPA employees who did not play for Bandari FC.
Once he hung up his boots, Breakdance stayed in Mombasa where he continued to work at KPA. He was also a long serving official of Bandari FC where he served in various capacities including club secretary, team Manager and Chairman.
An apparent suicide is blamed for his demise. Chairman Ambrose Rachier remembered breakdance for the role he played a player and as a former player.
“As chairman of Gor Mahia, I want to pass my very sincere condolences to the family of the late Ben Oloo. He was a very good player, very versatile from the wings. His intricate leg movement made him a darling to our fans hence the nickname ‘Breakdance’. He was our legend.
“He was also useful to us in terms of identifying talent. We will sorely miss him, and as a club, we will take part in the funeral plans,” mourned Rachier.
The year 2017 will be remembered as the year when Gor Mahia recovered from a below par 2016 season in which they did not win any trophies. In 2017, Kogalo made amends by winning three trophies and putting on a spectacular display against an English Premier League side thus earning accolades and plaudits from Kenyans all over the country. The three trophies Kogalo won were the local Super cup, the regional Sportpesa super cup and the Kenya Premier League.
Gor Mahia signed the following players: Jean Batiste Mugiraneza, John Ndirangu Softie, Kenneth Muguna, Joash Onyango,Filemon Otieno, Mike Simiyu, Shaban Odhoji (keeper), Jeconia Uyoga, Teddy Osok, Oliver Maloba, Peter Odhiambo (Keeper) , Maqbul Mohammed.
Gor Mahia also said goodbye to long serving goalkeeper Jerim Onyango who left to pursue a career in politics. Also leaving was Eric Ouma Marcelo. Making a return to the team was former head coach Zedekiah Otieno who joined to become assistant coach to Brazilian Ze Maria.
In watching Kogalo at the beginning of the season, one would not have predicted a successful season. They toured Sudan and lost 0-1 to Al Hilal, a reversal of the previous year. They then went on to lose to Thika United 2-1.
On February 4, Gor Mahia visited Namboole stadium in Uganda to play fast rising Onduparaka FC of Arua. They shockingly lost 2-0.
Gor Mahia went on to lose 3-2 to Adminstration Police with former club player. Kevin Omondi scoring twice.
But coach Ze Maria sought to assuage the concerns of fans: “I know that friendly matches are used to gauge a team’s preparedness, but they can also be used as a platform to test the things that work and those that don’t. We are in preseason and as you know, there are a few new players who have joined us.” he said
Gor Mahia finally recorded their first win of the season on February 19 when they veat Wazito FC 2-1 in a friendly at Camp Toyoyo.
Unrest within the club
Further unrest among the fans base was caused when both the technical bench and the players boycotted training due to late payments. Further to that, the club was thrown out of their training ground (Camp Toyoyo) because they were several months in arrears.
There was infighting between club officials. In particular, Judith Nyangi accused the club treasurer Sally Bolo and CEO Aduda of misappropriating gate collections.
“If you are a treasurer, then you want to print your own tickets, bring your own ticketing firm and select your own stewards, then how transparent can the process be? That is unacceptable. We gave them space to handle the tickets, and hoped that they would deliver. That did not happen.” said Nyangi.
In early March, Crown Beverages, who had been Gor Mahia’s secondary sponsor, withdrew citing financial hardship.
2017 Kenya Premier League First Leg
Despite all the problems facing the club, coach Ze Maria was confident of having a better season in 2017 than he had in 2016 because the player quality was much better. “I have a lot of players with great quality and we can play any system. I have a lot of solutions this year because of the quality of players in the team,” he said
Before the league started, Gor Mahia officially started the season in the domestic Super Cup against League champions Tusker. They emerged winners beating Tusker 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Jacque Tuyisenge.
Gor Mahia continued to put aside their administrative and financial issues to start the season on a sound note, beating Kariobangi Sharks 3-1 in their league opener, followed by a 1-0 win over Zoo Kericho.
The biggest highlight of the 2017 KPL first leg came when Gor Mahia thrashed arch rivals AFC Leopards 3-0. It was the biggest margin that Gor Mahia had recorded against their arch rivals since the 1970s. The goals that sunk Ingwe came from Meddie Kagere, George Odhiambo and Timothy Otieno.
Gor Mahia wins inaugural Sportpesa Super Cup
The first ever Sportpesa Super Cup was held in Dar es Salaam Tanzania in June. Aside from Gor Mahia, the other invited teams were Nakuru All Stars and AFC Leopards from Kenya , Jangombe of Zanzibar and Tanzanian giants Yanga and Simba. Missing for the first two games was coach Ze Maria who announced that he was taking time off to rest.
It was a flying start for Kogalo when they dismissed Jangombe 2-0. Meddie Kagere scored both goals. The first one was a bullet header from a Kenneth Muguna cross. The second was a penalty after a Jangombe player had handled the ball in the box.
In the second match, Gor Mahia faced off with Nakuru All Stars who has surprisingly beaten Simba of Tanzania in penalties. Gor Mahia won 2-0 with Kagere and Blackberry scoring.
The final was a mashemeji derby as Gor Mahia took on AFC. Returning to the bench was Ze Maria, back from his “holiday”. As they had done a month earlier Gor Mahia outclassed their arch rivals, winning 3-0 again. The goals came from unlikely sources: Timothy Otieno, Oliver Maloba and John Ndirangu. Gor Mahia lifted the trophy thus earning the right to play English Premier League side, Everton.
Ze Maria Leaves
On June 15, Brazilian tactician Ze Maria formally tendered his resignation. He had been demanding a pay raise which Kogalo officials were unwilling to provide. Thus he took his week off to fly to Albania to finalize his move to Albanian giants KF Tirana.
With Ze Maria gone to Albania, assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno took over as head coach on an interim basis. His stint was unsuccesful. He started with two draws against Thika United and Posta Rangers. There were rumours of player sabotage as Kogalo lost 0-2 to Sofapaka, drew 2-2 with Ulinzi and lost to Bandari in the GoTv Shield on penalties. Gor Mahia had beaten Nairobi Water 3-1 in the opening round of the GoTV shield.
The arrival of Dylan Kerr
Following the departure of Ze Maria, Gor Mahia went about finding a new coach. Numerous names were floated including Frenchman Gomes da Rosa, Argentine Rodolfo Zapata and Zambian George Lwandamina. Gor Mahia eventually settled in Dylan Kerr, a Briton who had been coaching in the English fourth division with Chesterfield FC.
It was a wise choice given Gor Mahia’s previous success with British coaches. Kerr was in the stands watching Kogalo eliminated from the GoTV shield by Bandari.
Gor Mahia take on Everton
The greatest highlight of the 2017 season was the Sportpesa Super cup encounter pitting Gor Mahia against English Premier League side Everton. Gor Mahia had earned the right to play Everton by winning the inaugural Sportpesa Super cup played in Tanzania.
Gor Mahia gave a very good account of themselves especially in the first half where they knocked the ball around confidently even in their own penalty box. English legend Wayne Rooney had given Everton the lead with a well taken long range effort. Hardly had Everton finished celebrating before Gor Mahia equalized from a well executed corner kick. Muguna played the ball to the near post and Tuyisenge headed the ball in from an acute angle.
Gor Mahia then rested their first team in the second half and the drop in quality allowed Everton back in the game. They went on to score the winning goal and win 2-1.
After the match , Everton were full of praise for Gor Mahia.
Coach Ronald Koeman: ““It was a good game but a difficult one, Gor Mahia made it tough for us. They can be proud of their performance and I want to give them a lot of compliments for making it so tough for us,” said Koeman.
Wayne Rooney: “This has been a very wonderful match and we enjoyed facing a young team that displayed good football,” said Rooney, who was glad to score again in blue”
KPL second Leg
When the first leg ended, Gor Mahia were sitting atop the premier league table but were barely ahead of second placed Posta Rangers. But the arrival of Dylan Kerr and the superb performance against Everton seemed to have injected a supreme dose of confidence in the playing unit. Between August 2 and October 3, Gor Mahia went on an unbeaten streak that saw them win 9 games, draw 3 and lose none. The most impressive win during this run was the 4-0 drubbing of Nzoia United at Kisumu. This was a team that historically has given Gor Mahia difficulties.
By the beginning of October, Gor Mahia had all but sealed the league title. Such that even a surprise loss to Mathare did nothing to dent Gor Mahia’s title hopes.
Even after losing to Mathare, Gor Mahia went on to finish the league by winning four matches and drawing two.
In the end, Gor Mahia won the league in rather convining fashion, collecting 74 points. This was 19 points above second placed Sofapaka. Gor Mahia also scored more goals than any other team (53) and conceded fewer goals than any other team (22). Their goal difference of 31 goals was well above the second best goal difference which was 17.
This article was first written on April-27-2010 and updated on November-20-2017
1979 is remembered by Kogalo fans as one of the most memorable years for the club. That was the year the club went on an amazing run and reached the finals of the Africa cup winners cup, thus capturing the imaganiation of the Kenyan public and becoming the first club in the CECAFA region to reach the finals of a continental competition. The team blending youth and experience also went on to win the league in grand style.
In the beginning of that year, neighbors Uganda were in turmoil amid internal wars between Iddi Amin’s forces and Milton Obote’s forces. There was also the war between Uganda and Tanzania which was fought when Amin attempted to excise part of Tanzania.
Ugandan national team players, Tim Ayieko and Abbey Nassur fled the turmoil in Uganda and crossed over to Kenya. Ayieko, quickly made his way into the Kogalo starting lineup where he played as a deep midfielder, playing alongside schoolboy super nova Sammy Owino “Kempes” and the legendary Allan Thigo in the brilliant Gor Mahia midfield.
That Gor Mahia team coached by Jerry Imbo went on to win the league in 1979 and the CECAFA cup in 1980 and 1981. Tim Ayieko is still remembered today by Gor Mahia fans as one of the best players ever to play for the club and is a cult hero to many fans.
Abbey Nassur made his name as a super sub, often coming off the bench to score crucial goals in local and international matches. Against Djoliba of Mali in the 1980 Africa champions cup, it was a penalty conversion by the sure footed Nassur that gave Kogalo a 1-0 win which sadly was not enough to see them through the second round.
Nassur was a dynamo on the right wing often making incisive runs down the right flank and giving tiring defenders nightmares. During the opening match of the CECAFA club cup in 1984 against KCC of Uganda, Gor Mahia were down 0-1 in the waning moments of the game. Coach Len Julians introduced Nassur midway through the second half. It was his menacing run into the KCC penalty box that resulted in a penalty when he was brought down by a desperate KCC defender. The resulting penalty was slotted by new signing, George Onyango “Fundi” thus salvaging a point for Kogalo.
Timothy Bobby Ayieko is born in 1954 to John Njoga (RIP) of Nyakach in Kisumu district and Hellen Anyango also of Kisumu disctrict. At age three, his parents emigrated to Uganda and settled around Kampala’s biggest slum of Kisenyi.
While here, Ayieko joined Nsambya Primary School from where he completed P.7 before joining Pillais SS (now Nakasero SS) where he finished his ‘O’ Levels in 1970.
However, due to lack of funds to further his education, Ayieko quit school to become footballer. He was straightaway drafted into Nakivubo Boys and by then the team acted as the feeder club to Express FC, which he later joined but failed to break into the first team due to his diminutive size and inexperience.
In an effort to get meaningful employment, Ayiekoh left Nakivubo Boys in 1972 and crossed over to Natonal Insurance Corporation (NIC), which at the time was an emerging football powerhouse. At NIC, he linked up with fellow youngsters such as Billy Kizito, Ashe Mukasa, Stanley Mubiru to mention but a few. The same year, he was called up to the national youth team and was a member of the victorious side that won the regional CECAFA Youth title.
BACK IN EXPRESS
It was after this scintillating performance that Ayiekoh attracted lots of attention and Express was quick to re-sign him in 1974. Ayiekoh’s joining Express coincided with the club’s first taste of success when they won the 1974 and 1975 league titles. Indeed Ayiekoh was a dominant figure for Express midfield and often dictated proceedings especially when going forward.
One of Ayiekoh’s biggest admirers was KCC FC coach Bidandi Ssali, who also doubled as Cranes tam manager. He pulled all stops to land Ayiekoh’s signature and when he succeeded at the end of the 1976 season, Timo, as he was known, completed the country’s best midfield of Moses Nsereko and Angelo Dotte.
Ayiekoh also helped KCC to fill the gap created by the inured Phillip Omondi, who was out for two years. Meanwhile Ayiekoh’s siblings weren’t far off in his wake; Enos Agogoh was a in KCC’s City Cubs and later moved to Express while Chris Alembe was a star player for both Cooperative and UCB.
Initially things didn’t go to plan as expected. Playing deep in the midfield reduced Ayiekoh’s goal scoring ratio and he managed only one goal in 28 games he played in the 1977 season.
However, KCC fans would see the best of Ayiekoh in January 1978 during the CECAFA Club Championship held in Kampala; not only did he terrorize opposition defences at will, it was as if Ayiekoh played like a one-man team.
His hat-trick in KCC 3-0 win over defending champion Luo-Union of Kenya put the City lads in their first ever final. This match is best remembered for the drama after the final whistle when the Kenyans were angry that one of their own (a Luo) had destroyed them.
Ayiekoh shockingly started the final against Tanzania’s Simba on the bench and judging from the early exchanges, all indications pointed to Simba winning the title.
That’s until Ayiekoh and Angello Dotte were introduced for Moses Nsereko and Billy Kizito. The tide completely changed and the Simba goalkeeper was hailed for taking the match to the whole 120 minutes. In the penalty shoot-out, Ayiekoh and goalie Jamil Kasirye missed their spot kicks but Moses Sentamu, Omondi and Tom Lwanga found the net to help KCC win what to date remains their only CECAFA title.
JOINS THE CRANES
Ayiekoh joined The Cranes in 1973 and was in the squad that eliminated Algeria to book a place at the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations. However, his small frame and young age proved the Achilles Heel and he narrowly missed the cut for Nations Cup team.
The disappointment only motivated him to work harder and his game improved leaps and bounds when he was given the famed number 10 Cranes jersey later on in 1974. In that era, number 10 in any team was worn by star players with the ability to pull off unusual skills.
Ayiekoh was part of The Cranes side that played in the CECAFA Cup in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978. His most memorable contribution was scoring the winning goal that eliminated Malawi from the 1976 semis. Uganda went on to beat Zambia in the final before defending the title in 1977 in Somalia.
He was also a member of The Cranes squad at the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, but due to an injury he sustained on the eve of the opening match against Congo Brazzaville, he didn’t feature in any of the five games and to make matters worse, when the coach Peter Okee put him on the substitutes bench in the final against Ghana, it was discovered that his passport had been forgotten in the team hotel and thus missed the opportunity.
CROSSING TO KENYA
Following the 1979 war, Ayiekoh and a few Cranes colleagues like Polly Ouma and Abbey Nassur crossed over to Kenya due to instability in the country.
Ayiekoh and Nasur joined Gor Mahia and quickly rose through the ranks to become team skipper as well as coaching assistant. Gor Mahia went on to win the 1980 CECAFA Cup in Malawi. Interestingly, he was part of the Gor Mahia team that eliminated Nsambya in 1979 from the CAF Cup Winners Cup.
When Ugandan David Otti took over from late Imbo in 1981, Ayiekoh remained number 2 and helped Gor Mahia defend the regional title the following year in Nairobi.
Ayieko played mostly as a midfield linkman and played pivotal roles in the Kogalo squads that won the league in 1979, reached the Africa cup winners cup final in 1979 and won the CECAFA cup in 1980 and 1981. In midfield he played alongside Allan Thigo, Sammy Owino, Jerry Imbo and Maurice Ouma Ole Tunda to form one of the best midfields the club has ever fielded.
In 1982, Ayiekoh quit football and left Gor Mahia to concentrate on a coaching career. He moved to Nairobi-based Benham Holdings, which he guided to the topflight.
AYIEKOH IN SC VILLA
In April 1985, Ayiekoh returned to Uganda for holiday but a few days into the country, SC Villa sacked David Otti and immediately asked him to handle the club temporally as the Villa Park searched for a replacement.
However, the team registered mixed results and finished the season without any silverware and the following year the club appointed Polly Ouma, who had also just returned from a self-imposed exile in Kenya. Ayiekoh remained as an assistant.
In 1986, the pair went on to win Villa’s first league and Cup double and in 1987, they did not only retain the league but also won the CECAFA title. It was in the same year thst Ayiekoh got a ‘B’ coaching license from Germany.
In 1988, SC Villa recruited British tactician Geoff Hudson and made both Ouma and Ayiekoh his assistants. Ouma was incensed and immediately quit but Ayiekoh stayed behind to oversee more success, the peak being Villa’s fairytale run to the 1991 Africa Club championship final where they lost to Tunisian side Club Africain.
Ayiekoh went solo after Hudson left the club in 1992. He guided the club to the league title and also reached the final of the inaugural CAF Cup before losing to Nigeria’s Shooting Stars. Though Ayiekoh added the 1994 league title among his many trophy collections, he was forced to resign in 1996 to pave way for Eddie Butindo.
His coaching nous also saw him handle Uganda Cranes. He started out as assistant coach to Ouma from 1989-1995 and that spell saw Uganda win three CECAFA titles. He was later named Cranes head coach in 1995 to replace Polly Ouma who had quit – but he too quit the following year.
He returned to club football in 1997 when he was offered the reins at Kakira Sugar FC and has never looked back since. He twice guided the club to the Super League and has since taken over the role of Kakira Sugar Sports Officer, in which he concentrates on tapping young talent at the company’s recreation ground.
Ayiekoh’s calm demeanor saw him mentor many players like Paul Hasule, William Nkemba and Sula Kato among others The latest being Maji coach Charles Lukura Ayiekoh, who adopted the Ayiekoh name in honour of his childhood idol and mentor.
Abbey Nassur for his part returned to Uganda in the late 90s and found success coaching Kampala City Council FC in 2002 and 2003, the same team he had tormented at the 1984 CECAFA cup. Today he is an assistant coach at Maji FC. Both Ayieko and Nassur were voted amongst the greatest Ugandan players ever by a panel of former internationals.
Ayieko passed away in Jinja on November-19-2017 due to heart problems. He had received treatment in India but his condition continued to worsen over several months.
His daughter, Lilian Ayieko confirmed that the remains of his father are at Jinja Mortuary.
The Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) Secretary General Nicholas Musonye was a close friend of Ayieko, who later coached Villa and Uganda Cranes as well.
“He was a brother and a friend to me since 1979. I join the people of Uganda, FKF, Gor Mahia fraternity and the people of Nyakach in particular in mourning our brother,” said Musonye, adding
“He was one of the most disciplined, strong and exciting midfielders to thrill crowds in East and Central Africa.” said Musonye to the Nation.
Story by Muroro-Pacho
Additional information courtesy of Uganda Observer
Austin Oduor Origi is remembered as one of the most illustrious footballers that Kenya has ever produced. In a career that spanned over a decade, the player popularly known as “Makamu” starred for both Gor Mahia and the national team Harambee stars, captaining both sides and leading both Gor Mahia and Harambee stars to their best ever performances at continental level.
Breaking into the starting Line-up
Switching from midfield to central defence
Three consecutive League Titles
Breaking into the national team
Captain of the national team
Glory as player-coach
Comparing his days to today.
Austin Oduor Pictorial
This is 1990 during Makamu’s stint as player coach. Here he tussles with Rivatex goalkeeper Charles Bwire during the Moi golden cup semis
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Gor Mahia’s stellar performance at continental events was largely a result of maintaining a core group of players who played together for several years, built cohesion and built a camaraderie on and off the field. In those days Gor Mahia won the Africa cup in 1987, reached the finals in 1979, semi finals in 1989, quarter-finals in 1988 and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions cup in 1992. During this period, Kogalo also won the CECAFA cup in 1980, 1981 and 1985.
The common theme in all these successes was maintaining a core group of players who had played together for a long time and thus knew each others tendencies and could read and anticipate each others moves.
For example, the defensive unit in 1987 had George Otieno Solo (12 years at the club), Bobby Ogolla (10 years), Isaiah Omondi(6 years), Peter Otieno Bassanga (6 years) and Austin Oduor (7 years). Since they knew each other so well, they were able to coordinate their step backs and step forwards and cover for each other effectively.
In midfield, Charles Otieno (4 years on and off), Abbas Magongo (3 years), George Onyango (3 years), George Nyangi (2 years), Peter Ochieng (4 years). Their familiarity with each other enabled them to anticipate each others movements and coordinate effectively with attack which had another experienced player in Sammy Onyango “Jogoo” who had been at the club for 8 years.
These were augmented by the addition of a few new players such as Anthony Odhiambo Ndolo, Tobias Ocholla and Peter Dawo all of whom joined the club in 1986.
It takes experienced players to thrive in continental football especially when playing in hostile arenas away from home. Note that in 1992 and 1993, Kogalo reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Champions league and CAF Confederations cup. In that period, the defense had highly experienced players like Tobias Ocholla, Zedekiah Otieno, Allan Odhiambo, Sammy Omollo and Paul Ochieng.
In those days Gor Mahia players would go on residential training camps either up country or out of the country. These were aimed at sharpening the team before the season and also for the players to bond and create friendships. For example, in 1987, Kogalo embarked on a monthlong tour of Denmark where they trained and played 10 friendly matches.
The club’s recent poor performance at continental level has largely been due to inexperience and constant player turnover. The most extreme case was in 2009 when a team composed of inexperienced recent school leavers who hd not played with each other at all lost 5-0 to a well drilled Rwanda APR side.
In 2012, Gor Mahia completely overhauled their side bringing in nearly new players including Ivo Mapunda George Midenyo, Yusuf Juma, Baldwin Ngwa , Ali Abondo, Wycliffe Kasaya and Hugo Nzangu. There was also a completely new tchnical bench consisting of recently appointed coaches: Anaba Awono, Kennedy Odhiambo, Zablon Otieno, Maurice Ole Tunda and Julius Owino. . And the technical bench was in dissarray with members of the EC interfering and telling Awono whom to field. The net result was a 4-0 aggregate loss to Ferroviario of Angola.
In 2016, Gor Mahia having won the league unbeaten, were a completely unsettled side. The three main leading scorers from the previous year: Olunga, Abondo and Kagere had all left the club while the club’s technical bench was once again in turmoil with the EC trying to force coach Frank Nuttall to take a paycut.
The other key factor is poor preparations. The Champions League typically starts when other teams are already in mid-season while the Kenyan season is only just starting. This means off-season preparations are especially crucial for Kogalo.
Though Gor Mahia have been succesful on the domestic front, they have yet to make any impact at the continental level since the early 1990s.
Will the club learn from past mistakes?
What would Kogalo’s line-up look like if this was the 1980s?
Back then Kogalo held onto their best players for years but the players were mostly local. Thus the current line-up would look like this:
If you included foreign players, the line-up would look something like this