What makes a club legend ? In the case of Gor Mahia it is usually a person who played a pivotal role in winning several important trophies and played for the club for a reasonable period and maintained stellar performances over that period.
When speaking of Kogalo legends, one of the first names that comes to mind is current assistant coach John Bobby Ogolla. This man is arguably the best central defender Kenya has ever seen. In his prime he was quite simply a boulder, a tower of strength. Back when the CECAFA cup captured the imagination of people all over East and Central Africa, Bobby was well known all over this region. And he was an important pillar when Kogalo won 3 CECAFA cups and several league titles. He was also key to helping Harambee stars win 3 succesive CECAFA senior challenge cup titles.
Other club legends include Nahashon Oluoch “Lule” arguably the best player when Kogalo reached the Africa cup final in 1987. That year Lule was voted one of the 10 best players in Africa. He played alogside another legend in Allan Thigo who was player coach when Gor Mahia won the league unbeaten in 1976 and reached the Africa cup winners cup final in 1979. Thigo simply overwhelmed the opposing teams and commanded the entire field thus earning the nickname “Ogango Wuon Pap”.
Speaking of commanding the field, Abbas Khamis Magongo comes to mind. His command of the midfield helped steer Gor Mahia to winning the 1987 Africa cup winners cup. However that cup would never have happened without the scoring ability of Peter Dawo who scored 10 goals in that campaign. No matter how talented a team is, and that 1987 team was very talented, it cannot win without a dependable scorer. A role Dawo fulfilled so well that it propelled him to legendary status and resulted in him being voted one of the 10 best players in Africa alongside compatriot Ambrose Ayoyi. The latter formed a formidable partnership with Sammy Onyango “Jogoo” a man who almost always scored against arch rivals AFC Leopards , thus giving Kogalo several important wins over their rivals. He is the one person AFC defenders of that generation have admitted they feared.
Which brings us to Dan Sserunkuma, a man who has also scored against AFC Leopards almost every-time he played them. Just this year, upon returning from Armenia, it looked like AFC was going to bury Gor Mahia when after 50 minutes they were up 2-0. But Sserunkuma put Gor Mahia on the recovery path by scoring the first goal before David Owino grabbed the equalizer. One can make that argument that the come from behind performance against AFC was one of the most pivotal moments of the season. From that point on, Sserunkuma went on a tear, scoring crucial goals in almost every game in including GoTV cup matches.
To underline his class, his own team-mates carried him shoulder high when he scored that stunning winner against Sofapaka that virtually clinched the league. Its worth noting that Sserunkuma was also the club’s leading scorer during the 2012 season when Kogalo almost won the league. This is the kid of performance that makes legends.
His goals come in every manner from rebounds, one-twos, long range bombs, volleys you name it. His performance has left coach Bobby Williamson impressed. “The boy (Sserunkuma) is amazing, scoring important goals for us. Letting him go will be a big mistake.” Williamson told michezoafrika.
Next year as Kogalo pursue glory in the Africa champions league and the CECAFA cup, they will the proven scoring skills of Sserunkuma. He could cement his place as a club legend by helping the club become the first Kenyan team to reach the champions league group stage.
“As coach I will do my best to ensure he stays at the club. To be the best you need such aggressive players in your team.”Added Williamson. In this writes views, Sserunkuma could play the role Dawo played during those glory years.
Indeed this year has seen heroic performances from a number of players. Notably the defence and goalkeeper Jerim Onyango which carried the team during the first leg of the season when goals were hard to come by. There is an opportunity for some of the players to stamp put their name permanently in the pantheon of club legends and some are already on their way there.