Video: Gor Mahia vs Burri (Sudan) in 1969

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 players pose after returning from Khartoum. Holding the shield is Ouma “Chege” in the foreground are James Sianga and Steve Yongo. Also in the picture is club Chairman Zack Ramogo and Minister Ronald Ngala

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 FC pictured at the stadium in Cairo
Backrow: M. Danga, P Odhiambo, Dr Oluoch, P Ndula, H Obiero, F Ooko, A Omondi, J Oduor, W Molo, J Okeyo, A Ogutta
Frontrow: D Olando, S Odori, J Wambundo, S Otin, W Ouma “Chege”J Sianga, J Otieno, F Siranga


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.


Remembering Ben Oloo “Breakdance”

Breakdance (centre) pictured here when Kogalo toured the Ivory Coast in 1988

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.

2017: The year Gor Mahia came roaring back

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.

Poor Start

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.

Tuyisenge sent the Tusker keeper the wrong way.

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.


Remembering Tim Ayieko

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.


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.


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.


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.


Tim Ayieko today
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.

Passing away

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: Kenya’s most successful team captain

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.

Footballing family

Formative Days


Breaking into the starting Line-up


Switching from midfield to central defence


A young Austin Oduor (in a kitenge) with other Kogalo players in Mombasa in 1983. Others are Sammy Onyang0 (blue shirt), Hezborn Omollo (red jacket) and Peter Ochieng (black tracksuit)

Three consecutive League Titles


Austin in the forefront, posing with the CECAFA club cup after Kogalo won in 1985

Breaking into the national team


Austin pictured here after scoring the decisive penalty

Continental Glory


Makamu (number six) celebrates as Dawo scores against Esperance

Captain of the national team

Harambee stars captain Austin Oduor and Harambee stars coach Mohamed Kheri receiving jerseys that were donated by the German government. This was prior to the 1990 Africa Nations cup. Next to them is former Stars coach Bernard Zgoll

Glory as player-coach


Makamu with other national team legends, Joe Kadenge and Mahmoud Abbas

Comparing his days to today.

Austin Oduor Pictorial


Lifting the cup winners cup in 1987


This is 1990 during Makamu’s stint as player coach. Here he tussles with Rivatex goalkeeper Charles Bwire during the Moi golden cup semis


Makamu with William Obwaka, George Nyangi, Ben Oloo, Enock Obwaka and team manager Amos Nandi in Sudan in 1985


Introducing players during the Motokura cup final in 1986


Makamu introduces Peter Otieno Bassanga to president Moi before playing Inter Club of Congo in 1988


Makamu and Sammy Onyango present the three trophies that Gor Mahia won in 1987 to President Moi


Makamu today with other former players David Ochieng, George Onyango and Ben Oloo


With the young boys in his role as Sports Talent promotions coordinator


Helping sharpen the next generation of football talents


With media personality Carol Radull at Kasarani


Still playing. With former team-mate Mike Otieno Image courtesy of Fred Nyakiamo (right)


With former team-mate Mike Otieno

In the glory days, Gor Mahia won with continuity and experience

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.

Friends on and off the field: Bobby Ogolla, Peter Ochieng Pierre, Austin Oduor

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.

Tom Gundo, Isaiah Omondi, Peter Ochieng, Charles Otieno and George Onyango during the tour of Denmark

Recent performances

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

Video: Gor Mahia vs Esperance in 1987

Its a rare treat for Kogalo fans to be able to watch players from the legendary side that won the Africa cup in 1987.The video is heavily edited to show mostly Esperance highlights despite the fact that this match was evenly balanced. Indeed this match was televised and replayed on KBC TV several times in the run-up to the epic second leg at Kasarani. Those like myself who watched will tell you that the match was evenly balanced.

Resolute defending by the backline quartet of Peter Otieno Bassanga (15), George Otieno Solo (11), Tobias Ocholla (4) and Austin Oduor(6) Kept Kogalo in the game and David Ochieng Kamoga was solid between the posts.

At the 23 second mark he is called upon to parry a corner kick then has to quickly react to punch a powerful shot from Nabil Maaloul out for another corner. It is this second corner that results in the first controversial penalty awarded to Esperance. The ball hits Bassanga in the stomach and the referee inexplicably gives Taraji a penalty which Maaloul converted with class.

Kogalo players surround the referee and beseech him to reconsider. Perhaps sensing that a scene like Zamalek 1984 is about to erupt, skipper Austin Oduor asks the players to leave so he can talk to the referee. Bassange is yellow carded for his dissent and has to be further calmed down by Solo.

At the 4:30 mark, Anthony Ndolo comes on for an injured Sammy Onyango Jogoo. Ndolo would be instrumental in Kogalo’s second goal.

At the 6:22 mark, Charles Otieno wins the ball in midfield and puts George Nyangi “Artillery” through. Nyangi attempts to cross the ball and it is seemingly handled by an Esperance defender Ali Ben Neji. No penalty.

At the one minute mark, Charles Otieno finds Sammy Onyango on the right wing. Jogoo deftly loses his marker and unleashes one of hos trademark grass-cutters which forces a save from the goalkeeper.

It was Abbas Magongo who started the move that ended with the first goal and it is he who finished it at the 3:00 mark of the video. He plays the ball to Janabi who sends a long ball to Dawo. But Dawo can’t shake off the close attention of two defenders but the lose ball falls to Magongo who calmly controls the ball on his chest and unleashes a screamer that goes in via the cross bar.

The penalty awarded due to a supposed Isaiah Omondi handball happens in the 6:30 mark and is highly controversial.

The comical scene where Isaiah Omondi chases an Esperance player who in turn runs away for dear life happens at the 8:10 mark. Kenyan fans were laughing about this scene for days.

With time waning and Kogalo seemingly headed for a 2-1 defeat, Peter Dawo wins an aerial duel off a David Ochieng punt. The ball goes to Ndolo who heads back to Dawo. Dawo in turns scores with a scorcher that leaves Esparance stunned to tie the game at 2-2.

David Ochieng(1), Tobias Ocholla(4), George Otieno Solo(11), Peter Otieno Bassanga(15), Austin Oduor(6), Isaiah Omondi(5), Charles Otieno(3), George Nyangi Artillery(9), Peter Ochieng Pierre(12), Peter Dawo(7), Sammy Onyango(14).

Remembering Zack Mbori a legendary Chairman

Zack Mbori pictured here with Kenneth Matiba during a fundraiser for the club in the mid 1970s. In the front row are club chairman Peter Anyumba, and Cabinet Minister Njenga Karume who was the guest of honour

Mbori receiving football boots donated by Re-Union Chairman Wycliff Rading Omollo before the 1985 CECAFA cup

Personal Life

Remembering Zack Mbori in Pictures

Mbori holding the 1985 CECAFA cup after Kogalo beat Ingwe 2-0 in the final.


Mbori addressing the media with the then AFC Chairman Alfred Sambu



Mbori and his supporters during the 1984 club elections. In those days elections were held mlolongo style.


Contestant Luke Misiga who had been a member of the club’s governing council, congratulates Mbori after the election. Misiga would later claim the election was rigged to favor Mbori.


Mbori with players William Obwaka and Ben Oloo “Breakdance” in 1985

The greatest goalkeepers ever to play for Gor Mahia

With skipper  Jerim Onyango having finally decided to hung his gloves and his boots, its time to take a trip down memory lane to remember the best players ever to man the posts for Gor Mahia Kogalo.

James Sianga Abawa

Sianga pictured here while playing for Kenya Polytechnic

Mid 1970s to early 1980s: Dan Odhiambo, George Ayuka, Charles Ondiek

Dan Odhiambo and Mahmoud Abbas both pictured here, were rivals for the national team starting position

David Ochieng “Kamoga”

David Ochieng Kamoga at the 1987 All Africa games

Tairus Omondi “Tairero”

Tirus Omondi at CECAFA club cup 1991 with Fred Awich and Tom Odhiambo

Charles Omondi “Korea”

Omondi Korea during his recent days as a coach

Joseph Asembo

Joseph Asembo and Michael Kisaghi were the Gor Mahia goakleeping duo in 1995 and 1996

Mathew Ottamax and Victor Onyango

Ottamax and Tom Odhiambo in 1996 in London

Ivo Mapunda, Jerim Onyango, Boniface Oluoch

Mapunda and the terrible towel


2016 A let down year for Gor Mahia

2015 had been a glorious year for Gor Mahia. Besides 1987, it will go down as one of the most memorable season’s in the club’s history. It was going to be difficult to emulate the success of 2015. However, Kogalo fans were still hopeful for a successful season in 2016.
It was not to be however as the 2016 season will mostly be remembered as a letdown season with numerous self-inflicted wounds.

Excellent Pre-season

The season started on a promising note with Gor Mahia touring Ethiopia and Sudan and beating all the local teams including Al Hilal, the Sudanese champions, who have reached the group phase of the Africa champions league numerous times in recent years and who had beaten Gor Mahia 5-0 in a friendly match at Nyayo stadium in 2009.
Prior to beating Al Hilal, Gor Mahia had beaten St George of Ethiopia on penalties. They won the St George cup which was to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of St George’s.

Gor Mahia pose with trophy after beating Al Hilal of Sudan

It was a notable achievement because Gor Mahia were playing away to hostile fans and still won. It was also notable because St George had just won the Ethiopian league three times in a row. And in 2013, when ENPPI of Egypt eliminated Gor Mahia in the CAF Confederation cup, they went on to lose to St George.
With such an impressive pre-season record, it looked as if Gor Mahia were on their way to another successful season and might actually play better in continental football.


Gor Mahia had gone three seasons without a title sponsor and still won three succesive league titles. Finally in January of 2016, Gor Mahia landed a title sponsor for the third time in the club’s history. Sportpesa, the betting firm, stepped forward to sponsor Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. In addition, Crown Beverages was announced as a secondary sponsor for the club. (It is not clear what happened to this deal). Elliott Breads finally got exclusive rights to distribute Gor Mahia bread, promising bigger returns then the previous distributor. And Gor Mahia launched other initiatives such as Gor Mahia water, Goma lotto in addition to the Gor Mahia SACCO that was launched months earlier.
And in February, Gor Mahia SACCO launched its first bus.

Gor Mahia SACCO’s first bus launched in February

Late in February, Gor Mahia signed a kitting deal with Italian company Legea worth Ksh 15 million. It seemed that Gor Mahia’s problems would be a an issue of the past.

Players going AWOL

All this was notwithstanding the fact that certain Kogalo players had not reported for pre-season training. Geoffrey Walusimbi, Khalid Aucho and Innocent Wafula were all still holidaying in Uganda. And Wafula’s whereabouts were completely unknown as he had not contacted the club. By the time Gor Mahia played the Super cup against Bandari on February 16, neither Aucho nor Wafula had reported to camp despite ostensibly still receiving a monthly salary from the club.
Indiscipline would further take its toll on the club during the second leg when Collins Okoth “Gattuso” fell out with the coach and was sidelined for several matches.
Aside from missing players, Gor Mahia had also lost all their leading scorers from the 2015 season: Michael Olunga left for Sweden. Meddie Kagere declined to renew his contract, holding out for a better deal and Ali Abondo left for South Africa after having failed to convince the club to raise his salary.

Coaches Departing

Inspirational assistant coach and club legend Bobby Ogolla soon left the club to pursue the head coaching position at City stars. Frank Ouna, also an assistant coach soon followed him out, citing frustrations from the EC.

Frank Nuttall
Prior to the end of the 2015 season, chairman Ambrose Rachier had negotiated a deal with Frank Nuttall in which the Scottish coach would take a significant pay cut which would basically halve his salary. But when Gor Mahia landed a title sponsor, Nuttall said that halving the salary was supposed to be a temporary measure until Gor Mahia found a sponsor and this insisted on receiving the full due from his contract as any self respecting coach would. However the Gor Mahia EC would have none of it. This despite the fact that Nuttall had steered the club to a superb season and looked set to repeat the same given the excellent pre-season that the club had just engaged in.
The net result was an internal squabble between chairman Rachier on one side and Nuttall on the other with each side refusing to give an inch. The infighting took its toll on the playing unit. And what looked like a promising season soon begun to take a nose-dive.
Matters came to a head when Frank Nuttall was held up at his hotel due to unpaid bills. Days later he announced to the dismay of fans that he had been fired by Rachier, prompting a firestorm by fans. Rachier and the EC would later backtrack. But by this time the damage was done.
With Rachier and Nuttall now not on speaking terms, what was previously a demoralized playing unit became undisciplined. Custodian Boniface Oluoch openly disrespected Nuttall prompting the coach to drop him from the starting line-up.

More indiscipline
In February, Gor Mahia traveled to Mombasa to play Bandari in the 2016 super cup. Gor Mahia lost 0-1 and at the end of the match the players refused to pick up their runners up medals. Worse still, two players ended up in a police cell after engaging in a fist fight at the airport.

Champions League disaster

A successful tour of Ethiopia and Sudan was supposed to prepare Kogalo for their continental assignments. But with three key players missing the pre-season and with indiscipline creeping into the playing unit, things started to look grim. Also due to lack of attention from club officials, some key new signings were not registered for continental football including Jacque Tuyisenge, Francis Kahata and Luke Ochieng.

Gor Mahia in shock loss to CNaPs at Nyayo stadium

The combination of lack of player morale, infighting and indiscipline took its toll and Gor Mahia lost to CNaPS of Madagascar whom they had eliminated in 2015. Kogalo lost 1-2 at home and 0-1 away. Gor Mahia’s lone goal at Nyayo stadim came via a penalty converted by Enock Agwanda. By this time many fans had tuned out as evidenced by the paltry attendance for the match against CNaPS at Nyayo. Losing to a team Gor Mahia had eliminated in 2016 was a bitter pill to swallo

League defence

Gor Mahia started their league campaign on a sour note. There were three succesfive draws to start the league against Posta Rangers, Ulinzi and Chemelil Sugar. When Gor Mahia lost their 4th match to arch rivals AFC Leopards by a score of 0-1, matters finally came to a head. Coach Frank Nuttall finally decided that he had had enough and left without even informing the playing unit nor club officials. he would later surface at Zamalek of Egypt as an assistant coach to Alex McLeish.
Nuttall would later explain his reason’s for leaving
“As a director of football, I am not involved in hiring, releasing and disciplinary of players and assistant staff. This has affected the performance of the club,” Nuttall wrote to the club’s management. Other grievances cited by the Scott include unprocedural termination of his contract on February 4, a decision that was later revoked. “Lastly, the executive committee has continued to make negative and undermining comments in the media, including those relating to team selection. In the circumstances, I believe the club is no longer able to make my work and performance possible at the club,” he said.

On march 16, Brazilian José Marcelo Ferreira aka Ze Maria popularly known as Ze Maria was announced as the new head coach. By this time Gor Mahia were in 13th place in the league standings.

The arrival of Ze Maria seemingly rejuvenated the club for a brief period. Gor mahia ended the first leg winning 7 matches, losing one and drawing one.

Jacque Tuyisenge was key to Gor Mahia’s revival, scoring several crucial goals

For a moment, they scaled to the top of the standings only to be brought down to second place by a IDAC decision to deduct three points due to fan hooliganism. A moment of madness from some Kogalo fans would come back to haunt the club. It was an unprecedented decision given that no team had ever lost points due to hooliganism and Gor Mahia being the away team were not responsible for security on this particular day.

As the first half of the season came to an end, midfielder Khalid Aucho left for trials in Scotland, leaving a gaping hole in the midfield. Aucho had been one of the most pivotal cogs in the Kogalo setup for the past two years with his ability to win midfield battles and link up effectively with the attack. He had been voted KPL player of the month for May. His departure was felt as Kogalo started the second leg of the season with 5 draws and only two wins.

The mid-season transfer period saw the return of Rwandese striker Meddie Kagere who had left the club in December of the previous year. Gor Mahia also signed a Brazilian striker Thiago Silva who had previously played in Macao. Yet the Brazilian did not feature for the club as Gor Mahia had already reached the allowed quota of foreign players. Other mid-season acquisitions were Wellington Ochieng, Anthony Mbugua, Baron Jobita and veteran Crispin Odula who was touted as Aucho’s replacement. Odula who had previously been playing in the Finnish league, never featured in the Kogalo line-up.

To make matters worse, the ever indisciplined Collins Okoth Gattuso, fell out with coach Ze Maria who refused to field him in matches. This left Gor Mahia short-handed in the defensive midfield position.
Gor Mahia’s below par performance in the premier league carried over into the GoTV shield. After having dispatched lower tier sides Mahakama and Nairobi Stima 3-0 and 2-0 respectively, Gor Mahia succumbed to a shock 0-1 loss to Nzoia United who at the time were leading in the second tier league.

Things were not getting any better as assistant coach Mathew Ottamax fell out with coach Ze Maria and took his feud public posting incendiary comments against the coach on his social media pages.
““A blank firing coach decides to fire his goalkeeping coach…maybe this will solve his scoring problems! Mine is to say a BIG THANK YOU to Gor Mahia players, staff, the executive office and our loving fans for everything we achieved as a family during the three and a half seasons I was with you. I remain loyal to my Mother Club”
Both club chairman Ambrose Rachier and Ze Maria would later state that Ottamax was never fired. A few days later Ottamax resumed his duties as goalkeeping coach.

KPL Youth Tournament (August)

Gor Mahia hopes for silverware were further dashed when the U-19 team lost to Mathare United in the KPL U-19 finals.
In the meantime, a fight was brewing between the Gor Mahia Fans foundation and the club’s executive committee. The foundation had created the U-19 team in 2014 but the EC wanted the foundation to cede control of the U-19 team. As a result the U-19 team was starved of cash and fans often had to conduct impromptu harambees for the team.
“Some of the players have been forced to trek long distances to and from training sessions. It is very perplexing to see fans collecting money to offer something to the players after matches.
“Even today (Wednesday), very few players reported for training ahead of our match against Muhoroni Youth.” Said an official

Final Title chase

A 2-0 win over arch rivals AFC revived Gor Mahia’s title hopes. Eric Ouma was man of the match.

Nevertheless Gor Mahia never gave up hope of catching league leaders Tusker. In October, Gor Mahia recorded an important 2-0 win over arch rivals AFC Leopards. It was the first time Kogalo had won the mashemeji derby since 2013. The goals came from Enock Agwanda who converted a cross from the left wing and Meddie Kagere who scored from the penalty spot.

Gor Mahia would win their next two matches against Mathare and Muhoroni Youth. Those wins would leave the 2016 KPL open until the 29th round. Gor Mahia now needed Tusker to trip up. If they did, the last match against Tusker would have been the decider of who wins the league. Unfortunately Tusker would win their round 29 match and seal the league title with one game left. Thus the last match against Tusker was a mere formality and Gor Mahia played with no motivation and ended up losing 0-1.
It is fair to say that being deducted three points cost Gor Mahia the league. Had they not been docked three points, they would still have motivation to win their last match. They would have put up a stronger fight and possible wrested the title from Tusker.
In the end, Gor Mahia finished 2016 with no notable trophy. The only trophies they won were in the pre-season tournaments in Sudan and Ethiopia.

Gor Mahia elections 2016.

Gor Mahia had not held elections since 2014. The long-awaited elections were finally held on December 11. Ambrose Rachier retained the Chairmanship, garnering 579 votes against Okech’s 220. Former Gor’s Secretary General Chris Omondi had 157 votes.
After a bitterly contested election, Rachier vowed to unite the club and implement a new constitution.
“My first duty will be to reunite all K’Ogalo fans and candidates. I know there are some divisions, but I intend to work closely with those who contested against me. My second task with my new committee will be to deal with our club’s constitution so that we can be compliant with the Sports Act. ”
The 2016 elections marked the first time three women were elected to leadership positions within the club. Sally Bolo (Treasurer), Judith Anyango (Organizing Secretary ) and Beryl Anyango (Deputy Organizing Secretary)

KPL Youth Tournament (December)

Image courtesy of Odhiambo KGM

The second 2016 Youth Tourmanent was held in December at Camp Toyoyo. It was Gor Mahia’s last chance for silverware in 2016. It started on a sour note losing to Posta Rangers by a score of 2-1. The man who came back to haunt Gor Mahia U20 was one Ted Osok who used to be in the Gor Mahia youth setup but was dropped. Gor Mahia U20 then recovered to beat Ulinzi U20 5-1 and Muhoroni U20 1-0 thanks to a late goal.  But their run came to an end when they lost 1-3 to Mathare U20, the same team that beat them in the finals of the August Tournament