Jerim Onyango discusses his formative days, his career at Gor Mahia and his future plans. He discusses his annual tournament (Jerry Jagoal Cup) that is held in Ugunja in Ugenya constituency. Two graduates of that tournament are currently playing in the Kenya Premier League.
In the second part, Jerim discusses why he has decided to hung his boots and what he will do if elected as MCA for Ugunja.
Outgoing Gor Mahia skipper Jerim Onyango who has now officially announced his retirement from football, has expressed his gratitude to the club and its fans.
“It’s been a great honour to be part of one of the greatest clubs in Kenya (Gor Mahia) for nine years. As l hang my gloves, my sincere appreciation goes to the club as a whole for giving me that chance to offer my services,” he said on the club’s site.
Jerry who was largely responsible for enabling Gor Mahia beat US Bitam of Gabon in 2014 when he saved four penalties in one game, expressed disappointment that the team did not accomplish much continentally but was proud of what he accomplished domestically.
“We may have not achieved much at continental level but locally, I am proud of a club l served with all my heart. Although we had some of the toughest times, we had good moments where we delivered as expected and achieved as a team hence was worth a clap” he continued.
He has the distinction of being the longest serving player of this millenium.
“My appreciation goes to the club for believing in me and allowing me to play for such a long time thank you so much. To our fans, you are great, your massive support all through the seasons was a major element in our achievements. ”
Having been voted three times as captain, Jerry was seen as a natural leader of men and was one of the most disciplined players.
“To my team mates, thanks for teamwork, the good working relationship, dedication, focus and discipline helped us deliver and l urge you to keep the fire burning.” he finished
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.
Despite losing the Africa champions league preliminary round first leg match at home to CNaPS, coach Frank Nuttall is optimistic that Gor Mahia can turn the tables on their Madagascan challengers.
“Having lost the first leg makes us the underdogs and we understand it will be a tough match. However, we also know that there is a good chance we can win and so the players will be giving their best,” he said.
“It will be a tall order for Gor Mahia. They have scored two goals in the last four matches.Nuttall admitted that the team is having difficulties converting the many chances they create and will need to work on it ahead of the weekend match.” said Nuttall to the Standard.
New signing Jacob Keli has yet to show the spark that made him a hot commodity two years ago. Which is surprising considering that he has been playing well for the national team. Perhaps the return of Ali Abondo who is scheduled to resume training on Wednesday will boost the team
When asked about the rift between him and goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch, Nuttall would not commit.
“He trained very well today and is fine. Like all CAF registered players, he remains in contention for selection this weekend,”
Jerim Onyango played well in his place and could very well be preferred between the posts in Madagascar. His return to the starting line-up has further motivated Jerim who spent most of 2015 on the bench.
“Its always good to be out there playing. I am happy with my performance in the two matches. But the most important thing is to have team work. It is not every day that we will all get playing time. Of course one gets disappointed when not fielded but for me it always gives me a challenge to work even harder to get better while at the same time it makes me learn from what the other keeper has done right” said Jerim to the Nation.
Former Harambee stars and Tusker coach, Jacob Ghost Mulee has said that instead of spending money to play in the Champions league, Gor Mahia would be better off spending that money on building the club. He also thinks that given Kenya’s poor track record in the tournament, clubs should not bother with this tournament.
“Kenya has had a bad run in continental assignments of late, bowing out in the first or second round. Looking at the expenses incurred in honoring those matches, I think we should prioritize other things. Sh10 million in honoring those matches is not a joke, meaning if you qualify for round two that is double that amount,” said Mulee to goal.com
Mulee also stated that given Gor Mahia’s poor preparations, they will once again likely be bounced in the second round.
“What is the point of participating when you have not planned and prepared enough for the tournament? Preparation is always mediocre as compared to our opponents. So instead, of wasting all that cash and later players threatening to boycott matches because they have not been paid, why not pull out of the tournament and stabilize the team first?” continued Mulee
Should Gor Mahia overcome CNAPS, they are slated to face Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca which is a team that has a strong record in the African champions league. They have won the Africa Champions league twice (last in 2011).
Team Captain Jerim Onyango has also re-iterated the need for better preparations this time around.
“It was a good draw but we expect that after the 2015 meeting, it will be tougher in 2016. They know more about us and we also know about them which will make this tie a tricky one.”
“Maybe they will be eyeing revenge in the tie but I expect that we will advance though it will not be easy; we have to prepare well and also put our house in order for us to go further that we did in previous years,” said Jerim to supersport.com
Jerim is indeed echoing the concerns of fans who have voiced their opinion on this forum and on other forums that the club may be leaving their planning and recruiting to the last minute which will hinder progress as it did last time.
Having wrapped up the KPL title , Gor Mahia will resume the GoTV shield campaign. They will take on Ushuru FC in the GoTV shield round of 32 match. The match kicks off on Sunday at 3pm at Nyayo stadium. Their first round match was against Langata Gremio which Gor Mahia won easily 3-0. Ushuru presents their first stern test. Coach Frank Nuttall is under no illusions.
“This is a one off game and we understand that everyone will be coming to beat us and so we have to be very focused to ensure we go to the next round.” he said to goal.com
But Nuttall knows that his side is capable of winning the GoTv shield as well as the KPL Top 8 to add to the two titles they have already won.
“Our form suggests that we can win a treble this season adding the KPL Top-8 and the GOtv shield to our stable.” continued Nuttall.
Overall team captain Jerim Onyango is also adamant that Gor Mahia can achieve its pre-season target of winning 5 titles.
“This has now become a routine achievement, but it still isn’t time to celebrate. Our target when the league began was to win five trophies, and so far we have won only two. The Cecafa trophy slipped through our fingers in the finals, but now we have to play for the Gotv Shield as well as the Top Eight. It is important that we win all these trophies so that we can rightly say that this has been our season; that we are the true and undisputed champions of the land,” said Jerry Jagoal to the KPL website.
Jerim has seen very little action this season and will likely see more action in tournaments like the Top 8
“This season I have not featured for the team much, but that doesn’t make me less of a champion. My being on the bench provides substantial motivation to the starting players because it reminds them that they have to give their best or relinquish their positions.”he continued.
Gor Mahia still have sufficient depth even with the departure of Dirkir Glay who has gone to South Africa. He was a victim of KPL’s decision to drastically reduce the number of players allowable. Skipper Musa Mohamed concurs that glay will be missed
“He is a good player and he gave the team more options in defence. With him in the team, we were motivated to work hard and fight for our positions because he gave us good competition” said Musa Mohamed to futaa.com
Gor Mahia are up against a heavily favoured opponent. Congolese side AC Leopards have the pedigree having won the CAF confederations cup in 2012.
However Gor Mahia are undaunted. They believe that all the hard work and effort they have put in over the past few weeks will pay off.
“We are not so concerned about what they have won and where they have been. Our main focus is to win the first leg to make our work easier in the return match. We are focused and are working hard to get a positive result in this fixture,” said George Odhiambo Blackberry to the Standard.
Three years ago, Odhiambo was in sensational scoring form. But whereas the goal supply has gone down, Odhiambo has been one of the most useful players at the club in the past year or so. He was buoyed by the crucial goal he scored in Madagascar that saw Gor Mahia through
“That goal has given me plenty of morale going into this match. I have trained well and ready to be given a starting role by the coach on Sunday,” he said.
Skipper Jerim Onyango is also confident that Gor Mahia can overcome odds and beat AC Leopards.
“To be honest, every observer will bet in favour of AC Leopards because of what they have achieved in this competition. But we are Gor Mahia and we fear no foe,“The fighting spirit of Gor Mahia is what will lift us. We are the underdogs but we can shock Africa by eliminating AC Leopards,” said Onyango to supersport.com.
Of all the players, Jerim Onyango has been the most supportive of the new players despite facing intense competition for a starting poistion.
You notive that we have so many new players, but they have already settled in well and working as a team.”
“If we maintain the self belief that saw us go past the preliminary round, we shall make it to the second round. That is our goal,”
Gor Mahia have retained Jerim Onyango as team captain for the 2015 season. This according to a story posted on goal.com. Musa Mohamed has been appointed as Vice Captain. Jerim was voted captain by the players last season. The duo are the longest serving players in the team. Jerim who is 30 has been around since 2008 when he joined the club from KRA. You can spot the excited Jerim in the picture below.
Musa Mohamed takes over as Vice captain from David Owino “Calabar” who departed for Zambia in January. Musa joined Gor Mahia straight out of secondary school where played in an excellent Langata high school squad that won the national schools title in 2009.
The captain’s armband is typically given to the most experienced player or the player with good leadership skills, is respected by most players or a combination of all three. Typically the players vote for the captain at the beginning of the season or the coach selects the captain. Jerim possesses all these characteristics. He is experienced, is level headed and has good leadership skills. Which is why he was elected captain in 2014.
It is also usually given to a player who is almost certain of a first team place. However in the current configuration of Gor Mahia, and based on current form, there are probably only two or three players who are assured of a place in the starting line-up. Just ask “Gattuso” who was shell shocked to find himself benched for the Africa champions league tie this past Saturday. This being the case, Gor Mahia will likely need to select a second Vice Captain to take over the armband in case both Musa and Jerim are not on the field.
Gor Mahia will kick off their league campaign this next Saturday, February 21 against Mathare. The match is being held against a backdrop of a tug of war between KPL and FKF regarding whom should run the league. FKF have already fined Gor Mahia and Sofapaka Ksh 200,000 for playing in the 2015 DSTV Super cup. The meeting between KPL and FKF that was held on Wednesday did not bear any fruits.
Ambrose Rachier who attended the meeting said the two sides could not reach an amicable agreement.
“There is no resolution from the meeting since we could not agree, the chairman of the meeting (Nyamweya) suggested that we take a vote. We could however not take part in it because the FKF team way outnumbered KPL team” according to futaa.com
Meanwhile sports minister Hassan Wario vowed to take action is the two parties do not reach an agreement. But his options are limited. Should be remove Nyamweya from FKF, Sepp Blatter and FIFA will immediately ban Kenya football within hours.
Goal.com even reported that none other than President Uhuru Kenyatta phoned Blatter about the situation in Kenya but Blatter stuck to his guns and insisted that Nyamweya and FKF must be in charge of all football activities in Kenya. Remember that Blatter feels he must support local officials at all costs so that they can vote for him at the next FIFA election where for the first time in years, Blatter is running against credible candidates.
Meanwhile the FKF premier league kicked off last weekend with Shabana playing Nakumatt. It remains to be seen whom Shabana and Nakumatt will play next.
Football Kenya Federation has allowed Gor Mahia and Sofapaka to have up to seven foreign players in their roster instead of the mandatory five.
The decision by FKF has been taken in order to stem the poor perfomances by Kenyan teams in recent Africa cup tournaments. The body’s Media Officer, John Kariuki said the two clubs that are representing Kenya in this year’s CAF tournaments can now sign more foreigners to help bolster their squads.
“As the federation we are concerned that over the years our teams taking part in international tournament have not performed well,” Kariuki said to the Nation.
“We need to see our teams go far in their continental qualifies that is why we have allowed Gor Mahia and Sofapaka to sign seven foreign players. This is in line with other teams in other countries that have succeeded.” he continued.
At this point Gor Mahia already has a number of foreign players including Israel Emuge, Godfrey Walusimbi and now Dirkir Glay though it is still unclear whether the Liberian has put pen to paper. There have been reports that Gor Mahia have been pursuing certain foreign players some of whom have expressed an interest in joining Gor Mahia including Khalid Aucho and Abouba Sibomana from Rwanda. Whether Gor Mahia can afford to sign them with their hefty signing bonuses is a different story.
Meanwhile team captain Jerim Onyango has welcomed the signing of goalkeeper Bonface Oluoch.
“Boniface Oluoch is a very good signing for us considering we have very many matches in the coming season. We will also do well with the experience he brings on board as well as the competition. Competition is healthy for any good side because it what pushes everyone to give their best” said Jerim to futaa.com
The situation mirrors past eras where Gor Mahia had two national team goalkeepers. In the mid 1980s, Gor Mahia had both David Ochieng and Tirus Omondi who were both in the national team. In the early 1990s, Gor Mahia had Joseph Asembo and Charles Omondi “Korea”.
Charles Odette who had been a Gor Mahia target and had earlier announced that he had signed for Posta Rangers has apparently not signed any contract with Rangers and is still evaluating offers from various teams.