Jerim Onyango’s career at Gor Mahia appears to have come to and end. And it has been an illustrious career. Jerry “Jagoal” as he is popularly known, played for Gor Mahia for nine seasons (2008 to 2016).
He joined Gor Mahia from KRA in 2008 just when Gor Mahia started its recovery path from the doldrums. He immediately found his way into the starting line-up, taking the place of Jacktone Odhiambo who left to join Ulinzi. Odhiambo had been a reliable custodian, but Jerim proved a better option. He had early success, helping Kogalo win the FKF cup in 2008
He would immediately establish himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the country. With Jerim between the posts, Gor Mahia improved from 8th place in 2008 to 5th place in 2009 before coming close to winning the league in 2010 and again in 2012. His first national team call up came in 2011. When the previous long serving captain Julius Owino left the club, Jerim was the natural choice to become captain due to his leadership abilities. Indeed he was voted captain by his team-mates for three years in a row.
When Kogalo finally won the league in 2013 after an 18 year hiatus, it was largely because they conceded only 15 goals, which was seven better than the next closest team. And Jerim was the focal point of Gor Mahia’s stingy defence with incredible save after incredible save. Indeed 2013 was his best year. It was the year he was voted KPL goalkeeper of the year and was the first choice goalkeeper for Harambee stars. So good was Jerim that he received overtures from arch rivals AFC Leopards who offered him a contract.
His only drawback among fans was his inability to save penalties. He would put those doubts to rest in dramatic fashion in January of 2014 in the opening round of the Africa champions league against US Bitam of Gabon. On that day Jerim saved two penalties in the run of play and two more penalties in the ensuing penalty shootout to steer Kogalo into the next round.
Jerim was the first choice goalkeeper throughout 2014. Though he lost his starting position in 2015, Jerim was still captain and the most dedicated player on the squad, encouraging players from the bench and in training while maintaining a positive attitude even when he was not getting playing time.
Having played for Gor Mahia for nine seasons, Jerim is probably the longest serving player the club has had in the new millenium. Players today rarely stay at the top for that long. The club record for most years is likely held by George Otieno “Solo” who stayed for 13 years. So Jerim is among the longest serving players. And he did so with distinction, dedication, discipline and excellence while providing good leadership.
He will now pursue a career in politics. In 2017, Jerim will run for Member of County Assembly(MCA) in his home area of Ugunja in Ugenya constituency. He has been doing the groundwork for the past several years by holding the Jerry Jagoal tournament every year. He deserves the support of Kenya football fans as a thank you for years of dedicated service. The sport of football will benefit from having people like Jerim in positions where the sport can benefit.
Jerim Onyango pictorial