Gor Mahia 1 Mathare United 0

Kizito had a solid game orchestrating moves from midfield

courtesy of goal.com

George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo scored his second goal of the season as Gor Mahia cruised past ‘Slum Boys’ to maintain their push for successive title

George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo scored his second goal of the season as Gor Mahia edged out Mathare United 1-0 in Sunday’s Kenyan Premier League match at City Stadium.

Odhiambo headed home a Dan Sserunkuma long cross in 36th minute to enable the league champions to extend their lead at the top of the log to four points ahead of second placed Sofapaka.

It was another great afternoon for the former KPL player of the year, who is trying to recapture his old form after two tough years in which he struggled to hold down club position.

He scored his first goal of the season when Gor Mahia hammered Nairobi City Stars 4-1 at Nyayo Stadium and looks certain to play a big role in helping his club to retain league title this season.

Coming into second half of Sunday’s match, Mathare United rested Titieh Olesu for Edwin Ombasa as they fought to equalise but it was Gor Mahia who had first chance at goal when Godfrey Walusimbi’s goal bound effort was clumsily put out by Robert Mboya in goal to earn the champions their first corner in second half.

From the corner Haroun Shakava, who had a free header, jumped too high as his effort went wide. KPL current top scorer Dan Sserunkuma had a quite afternoon but he still managed to send some lethal crosses on target.

Apart from setting up Odhiambo for the opener. he nearly did it again in 65th minute when his long cross found the scorer on the move and he chested it but could not finish the effort.

United then made their second substitution bringing on Emmanuel Ibe for Daniel Mwaura. But they survived a scare when Edgar Ochieng headed out Godfrey Walusimbi’s shot.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Whyvonne Isuza failed to take advantage of a poor clearence by Jerim Onyango to score. Onyango’s clearence had landed on Isuza’s feet and he fumbled with the ball before it was cleared.

Gor Mahia rested Godfrey Walusimbi for Eric Ochieng’ late in the match in a bid to keep a clean sheet.

Though he came on late, Ochieng’ wasted a perfect opportunity to score when he shot wide from a Dan Sserunkuma pass.

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Coach Frank Nuttall praises players

It took four games but New Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall has finally recorded his first win since his arrival at the club. Gor Mahia scored a deserved 2-0 win over Kisumu county based Chemelil Sugar FC.

It was an all round excellent performance. Most striking was George Odhiambo “Blackberry’s” return to form. This column once noted that Blackberry just needed a coach to get inside his psyche to enable him to regain his confidence. Coach Nuttall may have found that key. And given the way he picked out Sserunkuma’s run for the second goal, then perhaps the duo are finally starting to get in sync.

Aside from Blackberry, it was an all round good performance. Owino “Calabar” gave his usual solid performance at the back. Skipper Jerim “Jagoal” has been solid in the past three games. Saturday was no different. And Walusimbi continued to thrive in his new playmaking position. Note that Walusimbi leads the club in assists this season. Kizito was solid as well.

“The players were fantastic today and it’s a good feeling to winning this match,” Nuttall said after the match.

Nutall noted that the team would continue to stay focused on their overall goal.

“We created a lot of chances in the first-half and scored the goal but we improved in the last half. We will approach each match as it comes and do our best to see we achieve our target of retaining the title,” Nuttall said in a post match interview.

Chemelil coach Mike Mururi has admitted he lost fairly

“My boys played very well in the first-half, we got our chances but we did not utilize them but Gor got theirs and converted. Lapse in the defence saw us concede the two goals so I lost fairly but we are still in the race because the difference is not huge.”

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Blackberry included in Gor Mahia CECAFA squad

Gor Mahia are slated to leave on Tuesday as they travel to Kigali, Rwanda to participate in the 2014 CECAFA club cup also known as the Kagame cup. The team will leave Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 9:30pm for an hours flight to Kigali-Rwanda.

Included in the squad is George Odhiambo “Blackberry” whose name was initially missing when the squad was first announced 10 days ago. As a striker, Blackberry needs more game time to regain his confidence.

The squad is fairly decent albeit not as strong as they have been in the last two years. In particular the play making area does not seem to have a player who can create chances  like Rama Salim or Moses Odhiambo did or wreak havoc on defenses the way that Kevin Omondi did especially now that Innocent Mutiso is out injured. Patrick Oboya could be counted on to be playmaker but of late, his fitness levels are such that he likely cannot play 90 minutes.

The good news is that Dan Ssserunkuma has been inluded in the squad.  There were reports a few days ago that he would be leaving for trials in South Africa as early as Monday.  Against KCC, Gor Mahia will rely on their Ugandan quartet which is very familiar with KCC.

Coach Bobby Williamson maintains that though he has been appointed national team coach, he is still committed to Gor Mahia.

“I’m still a Gor coach and I will be travelling with the team to Cecafa. It will be an honour and privilege to manage a country but as of now I’m still committed in Gor.

“I’m not focused on anything else apart from Gor, it’s up to the federation to approach my club and ask permission if they want to speak to me and we will take it from there but for now I’m focusing on what I’m doing in Gor,” Williamson told capital sports.

All in all its a chance for this group to stamp their names into the history books of the club and in folklore the way the 1985, 1981 and 1980 squads did.

Goalkeepers: Jerim Onyango, David Otieno Juma, Joel Bataro.

Defenders: Godfrey Walusimbi, Kevin Oluoch, Musa Mohammed, Haroun Shakava, Kennedy Ayong, David Owino, Charles Bruno.

Midfielders: Daniel Onyango Adhoch, Joseph Kariuki, Geofrey Kizito, Erick Ochieng’, Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth, Simon Lela.

Forwards: Dan Sserunkuma, Patrick Oboya, Arthur Ssemazzi, Timothy Otieno, George Odhiambo.

Officials: John Pesa (Head of Delegation), Robert Williamson (Head coach), Frank Ouna (Team Manager), Abdul Iddi Salim (Keeper Trainer) and Fred Otieno (Team Doctor).

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Yet another milestone for Blackberry

Striker George Odhiambo who became the first Kogalo player ever to sign for a European team and the 1st Kogalo player to win KPL player of the year, reached another milestone yesterday when he was named as one of the 100 most promising players in the world for the year 2011 by influential football website goal.com.

The story can be found here

http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/145/goalcom-features/2011/01/01/2285523/goalcom-hot-100-the-young-stars-to-look-out-for-in-2011

Blackberry becomes only the second Kenyan to make this list after Dennis Oliech did the same 5 years ago. But he is the first player based in Kenya to attain such an honour.  That such an influential website knows about Blackberry speaks volumes about Blackberry, about Gor Mahia and about the Kenya Premier League whose influence is fast gaining ascendance.

Other Gor Mahia players who have won similar honours include the legendary Nahashon Oluoch “Lule” who in 1980 was named as one of the top 10 players in the continent after an amazing run in which Kogalo reached the finals of the Africa cup, becoming the first team in East and Central Africa to go that far in any continental event.

In 1988, Peter Dawo was also named as one of the top 10 players on the continent after he scored 10 goals during the 1987 Africa Cup winners cup to enable Kogalo to lift the trophy.

In another story, Blackberry’ Odhiambo has attributed his success in to veteran coach, James Siang’a as he becomes the latest Kenyan player to join the European ranks. He said apart from sporting his talent, Siang’a moulded him into what he is at the moment. He also thanked Gor Mahia fans for their passionate support and said he would miss them dearly. He has set his sights on playing in the English premier league for Arsenal, his favorite team.

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Blackberry set to move to Europe

George “Blackberry” Odhiambo, the Gor Mahia striker who has taken the Kenya premier league by storm over the past 2 seasons is set to move to Denmark at the end of this season. He will join Randers FC, a team that plays in the Danish top league, the Superliga

Blackberry weaves past hapless defenders in typically brilliant fashion

According to a story appearing in the Standard, Blackberry has been scouted by the Danish side who have even sent scouts to attend Kogalo matches. The team was formed in 2003 and is based in the city of Randers. At Randers, he will play alongside two Senegalese and a Ghanaian. Blackberry will also join another Kenyan already plying his trade in Denmark, Emmanuel Ake.

Blackberry is a product of the Kisumu youth sports Association. His career begun to take shape while at Thur Gem secondary school. He later moved to Kamkunji secondary school. It was while there that he started to play for Gor Mahia. In 2009, he was voted young player of the year after he finished as the second leading scorer in the league. He has found the back of the net 8 times this year despite tight marking in every game. His quick feet and close control have given many a defender nightmares.

Despite its illustrious history, Gor Mahia has never had a player leave the club to join a European side . So Blackberry will be the first. In 1993, defender Sammy Omollo attended trials with English side Bournemouth FC but did not get a contract. 3 years earlier, Peter Dawo was signed by Egyptian side, Arab Contractors where he played for one season.

For keen observers, it was inevitable that Blackberry would soon join the paid ranks given his stellar play and given the exposure that the KPL has afforded players. The story is reminiscent of 1982 when Nahashon Oluoch “Lule” and Sammy Owino “Kempes” then the best players in Kenya left Kogalo for Alabama USA much to the sadness of then Kogalo fans. They were difficult to replace but in subsequent years, players like Sammy Onyango “Jogoo” and Charles Otieno “Engine” ably filled the void. Gor Mahia now has the tall order of finding a player to fill Blackberry’s boots.

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