Gor Mahia will welcome Kanu at Camp Toyoyo on Wednesday
Image courtesy of Victor Oti Okwach
Nigeria football legend Nwanwko Kanu was scheduled to meet with his old for Ze Maria on Wednesday at the Gor Mahia training ground. The two players were on opposite ends of the field on July 31st 1996 when Brazil and Nigeria met in the 1996 Olympic semi-finals.
It is one of the strongest teams Brazil has ever fielded with legends and world cup winners like Bebeto, Ronaldinho, Aldair, Juninho, Ronaldinho and the original Ronaldo, one of the greatest strikers ever. Current Kogalo coach Ze Maria was deployed at full back.
Nigeria too were fielding perhaps the strongest side an African team has ever fielded. Nigeria went on to beat Brazil 4-3. Kanu was the hero of the day scoring the equalizing goal in the 90th minute before scoring the match winner (sudden death) in the 4th minute of extra time. Both goals were classy and that last goal was a gem. Kanu victimized Brazil defenders Guira and Aldair and not Ze Maria. So at least Ze Maria can stand tall when they meet
Line-Ups on that day
Brazil —Dida, Ze Maria, Aldair, Ronaldo Guira, Roberto Carlos, Flavio Conceicao, Amaral, Juninho, Ze Elias, Bebeto, Ronaldinho.
Nigeria —Dosu, C. Babayaro, Ukechukwu, West, Obaraku, Babangida, Lawal, Okocha, Amunike, Kanu, Amokachi.
Nigeria went on to beat Argentina 3-2 in the final.
It was Kanu’s coming out party where he announced himself to the world. His career was slowed down by cardiovascular issues. And after a few stellar seasons at Inter Milan and Arsenal, he was never able to scale those heights again.
Kanu is now a goodwill ambassador. This week he has held football clinics at Eastleigh secondary, donated balls to football academies and visited cardiovascular patients at Kenyatta hospital.
Gor Mahia legend Hezborn Omollo, after scoring nearly sixty league goals between 1983 and 1985, also saw his career slow down significantly when he developed heart problems.
Gor Mahia vs Thika United Preview
Hopefully the visit from Kanu will inspire Kogallo to pick up where they left on Saturday and beat Thika United. The two sides meet at Nyayo stadium on Wednesday.
Rwandese striker Jacque Tuyisenge did not disappoint in his much awaited debut. He recorded an assist followed by a goal. Though he hobbled out of the field on Saturday, he has resumed training and appears ready to go again on Wednesday.
“I want to give my best input in the match and help my club achieve its target. It has not been easy for us, with many challenges that are now behind our back. My work as a striker is to score goals and that is what I want to do tomorrow (Wednesday) if the coach will consider me,” said Tuyisenge to supersport.
Whereas Gor Mahia are buoyed after beating Kakamega Homeboyz 3-0, Thika are coming off a 0-0 draw with tough Posta Rangers.
“The league is still too early to call, but the fact that Gor Mahia won their first match of the season gives them some advantage. We were unlucky not to win and so this gives us the required motivation,” said James Nandwa the veteran Thika coach .
Nandwa was hired by Thika United this season. In his heydays as a player, he starred for Harambee stars at the 1987 All Africa games. At the time he was playing for the then popular Thika based side KTM. This is therefore a return home for him. But it has not been a happy return as Thika United have not been impressive this season. They are currently in 14th place with three losses and three draws. And they will be without key defender Dennis Odhiambo who is suspended.
Gor Mahia for the part will welcome back the Ugandan midfield duo of Walusimbi and Aucho. And in addition to Tuyisenge, Gor Mahia have a cadre of strikers, each eager to impress Ze maria. One of them is Jacob Keli who was the subject of a lot of criticism after his slow start at Gor Mahia. He silenced some of those critics when he scored on Saturday.
Jerim has been solid
Image courtesy of Willis Odembe
Another player who is slowly silencing critics is Jerim Onyango who has put on a solid display between the sticks ever since he was re-inserted into the starting line-up. He spent most of 2015 on the sidelines and remained positive. When given a chance to re-stablish himself, he has taken the opportunity with both hands. THE fact that Ze Maria has stayed with Jerim shows that he has impressed the new coach as well.
Last year Gor Mahia beat Thika United 2-0 at home and beat them 2-0 again away.
The match kicks off on Wednesday April 6 at 7pm at Nyayo stadium
Rwandese striker Jacque Tuyisenge has been advised by team doctors to take two weeks off.
“He played very well in our last league game but it appears that he injured his ankle during that game though he didn’t think it was serious. He trained with the team on Monday, but the doctor advised that he stays away for the next two weeks to allow the ankle to heal,” said Tom Ogweno to the KPL website.
Rushing a player back before he regains full fitness can only lead to further complications. This is therefore a prudent step by the medical staff.
In addition to the ankle setback, Tuyisenge admitted that he had not fully recovered form the knee injury which kept him out of the start of the season.
“The knee injury was bad and even now I feel some little pain when I step down hard. I still train anyway, because I want to be strong and fulfill my obligations. Today I twisted my ankle but I will still go to training and see what the doctors will say,” he said to the KPL website.
A knee injury that has not healed entirely can cause problems in the other leg because a player may over-compensate with the other leg. As such the medical staff will need to tread carefully.