Milimani 89-Strathmore 93
On Saturday , Gor Mahia will face a team that for nearly 40 years has been one of the strongest rivals in the local league in the 2012 edition of the Super Cup. This years edition is known as the DSTV/Supersport supercup. With the big game only a day away, its worthwhile to take a trip down memory lane to revisit the first ever super cup.
The year was 1991. The first ever super cup was sponsored by Standard Newspapers. Gor Mahia had won the league in 1990 under player-coach Austin Oduor. Rivatex had won the local cup, then known as the Moi Golden cup. The now defunct Rivatex FC of Eldoret was by then one of the best teams in the country. With sponsorship from the parent company, they finished 3rd in the 1990 league in addition to winning the Moi Golden cup. They paraded a number of national team players, most notably the sensational Alfayo Odongo who was Kenya player of the year in 1991. On their way to winning the golden cup, they had eliminated Gor Mahia in the second round on penalties. Their Keeper Charles Bwire Namudeche put on a clinic in penalty saving on that day. Yours truly was a ball retriever at Nyayo stadium on that day. The usually sure footed Austin Oduor saw his penalty saved even after the referee had allowed him to re-take it. Muroro-Pacho watched the whole thing from right behind the net. This Super cup was thus going to be a tough match for Kogalo. But they had revenge on their minds.
But it was also bound to be one of the most memorable days for football fans. Aside from the fanfair around the first ever Super Cup, the legendary Zairean band TP OK Jazz were touring Kenya and were due to play in the curtain raiser before the match. Imagine this legendary band curtain raising for Kogalo ! Fans started to troop to Kasarani as early as 8 am.
TP OK Jazz did not dissapoint. Led by legendary composer Lutumba Simaro, they belted out their most popular songs including the recently released hit Anjela by Ndombe Opetum, and others like the classic song Propetaire by Josky among others
Left to Right: Madilu System, Aime Kiwakana, Malage De Lugendo & Josky Kiambukuta
The fans were thoroughly entertained. Madilu walked into the field briefly to show off his dribbling and juggling skills, and received a standing Oh ! from the crowd. Just as the crowd was reaching fever pitch, the concert was brought to an abrupt halt. Why ? Because Standard, the sponsors of the match had organized a womens match between a select Nairobi side pitted against Standard employees. Fans were not amused at seeing TP OK Jazz cut short. You have to understand that in those days, there was no organized womens football. So the women who played were uncoordinated. The one sided match ended 9-0 in favor of the Nairobi select side.
20 Minutes later the main event began. Gor Mahia in white tops and green shorts, were parading sensational new signings including the talented Felix Otieno, and returning goalkeeper Charles Omondi “Korea” while the sensational Ethiopian Michael Teshome Zelleallem stated on the bench.
Gor Mahia dominated the proceedings in the first half as they peppered Charles Bwire. But the latter stood firm between the posts. In the 15th minute, speedy winger Anthony Ndolo scored but his goal was disallowed for offside. Ndolo was on the war path again 20 minutes later. He latched onto a Peter Dawo pass but his shot was parried by Bwire. Rivatex came forcefully into the match towardss the end of the half, launching a series of raids in the Kogalo goalmouth. The first half thus ended scoreless.
Gor Mahia came out storming in the second half. Within 5 minutes they had forced two spectacular saves from Bwire from efforts by George Onyango Fundi and Anthony Ndolo. On 58 minutes, Teshome was introduced for Felix Otieno. With what was basically his first touch of the ball, Teshome unleashed a powerful shot from 25 yards. Charles Bwire was caught unawares and did not make an effort to save the ball as it sailed into the net. Fans went into a near delirium.
Before Kogalo fans had finished celebrating, George Onyango “Fundi” scored the second goal when he looped the ball over advancing Rivatex goalkeeper Charles Bwire Namudeche.
Gor Mahia continued to pile pressure even when 2-0 up. Meanwhile the rock solid defence with Tobias Ocholla, D=Zedekiah Otieno “Zico”, Paul Ochieng and skipper Austin Oduor held Rivatex at bay. Dangermen Alfayo Odongo and Charles Babu were effectively neutralized.
Gor Mahia went out winners with a 2-0 margin and pocketed the ksh 200,000 prize money. Rivatex as runners up got ksh 100,000.
Paul Ochieng (sleeping), Mike Teshome, Austin Oduor, Tom Odhiambo, Zedekiah Otieno, ??, Felix Otieno
Gor Mahia went on to win the league in 1991. Felix Otieno’s talents entertained fans throughout the year. But with his indiscipline, he fell out with coach Len Julians and soon left the club. Felix was probably more talented than his elder and more famous brother Benard Otieno “Zico”. It was a shame to see such talent go to waste. The free scoring Tom Odhiambo was an able replacement for Peter Dawo who also left soon after the Super Cup Match. His combination with Jared Ochieng Achieng was reminiscent of Shebe and Omollo years earlier. And of course Allan Odhiambo, a defensive midfielder / stopper, showed his class by scoring 12 goals. Quite an achievement for a defensive player. The biggest disappointment of that year was the poor performance that saw them eliminated by Highlanders of Zimbabwe in the 1st round of the Africa champions cup. It was that disaster that spurred patron Joab Omino to bring Len Julians back.