Martin Ouma “Ogwanjo” remembered by team-mates

Gor Mahia legends of the unbeaten 1976 side from left Maurice Ouma “Ole Tunda”, James Ogolla Kadir, Maurice Ochieng “Sonyi”, David Okello, Martin Ouma “Ogwanjo”, Paul Owuora and Allan Thigo “Ogango Wuon Pap” during Gor Mahia’s coronation as the unbeaten 2015 SportPesa Premier League champions at Nyayo National Stadium on November 1, 2015

Former Gor Mahia midfield ace Martin Ouma “Ogwanjo” has been remembered as a superb dribbler who played for the club for a decade and scored several crucial goals

Additional reporting from the Nation

While condoling with Ouma’s family from his Navakholo home in Kakamega County, Joram accused the government of neglecting former footballers who laid the foundation for the national team in 1960s and 70s.

“The government has neglected us and we are despised in society yet we played and carried the Kenyan flag high during our time. Do they want to pay us when we are dead and can’t enjoy the money?

I am living in poverty and I can hardly feed myself in old age yet I gave a lot for this country. My condolences to Martin’s family. We will really miss him,” said Joram, who played for Nakuru All Stars and Bata Bullets in the 60s and 70s.


At club level Ouma will be remembered for guiding Gor Mahia to an unbeaten record in 1976 Kenyan Premier League season as a captain, with Thigo as a player-coach.

Apart from Thigo the other member of Gor’s 1976 Kenyan Premier League-wining squad who are still alive are David Okello ‘Andiwo’, Paul Owuora, Maurice Ochieng’ ‘Sonyi’, Maurice Ouma ‘Ole Tunda’ and James Ogola ‘Kadir.’

Thigo remembers with nostalgia how Ouma helped K’Ogalo win the two-leg semi-final against Horoya FC of Guinea in Caf Cup Winners Cup in 1979.

“There are matches we won and things we achieved with Ouma in the team. However I will never forget the match against Horoya. He beat all of Horoya’s defenders at City Stadium and dribbled past them as we won 2-0 in front of our home fans. His dribbling skills also enabled us to win 1-0 away and we qualified for the final. Martin was really talented,” he added.

Thigo and Laban Otieno bagged the two goals in the first leg of the match at City stadium. Gor lost the final against Canon Sportif of Cameroon, but would later win the prestigious Mandela Cup in 1987.

Ouma’s brothers, James Onyango and George Onyango, also played for Posta Rangers in 80s and in the late 90s.

His son Wilson who studies Journalism at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication has taken after his father. He has been invited for trials with Gor Mahia at the end of the current season.


Nuttall gave me hell says Rachier

Nuttall with Zdravko Logarusic who was also a handful for Kogalo officials to deal with

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has hinted at havinga  difficult relationship with former coach Frank Nuttall.

“I am happy he left Gor,” said Rachier to the Standard.

“We wish him well in his future endeavours, but the truth is that Nuttall gave me hell at Gor, we were never at peace working with him. He did not tell us when he was leaving, like a thief, he left at night without notice,” added Rachier.

Rachier further went on to say that Nuttall was the most difficult employee he has had to deal with. Which is saying a lot considering that he also had to deal with Zdravko Logarusic.

Matters came to a head when Nuttall stormed into Rachier’s office demanding his back pay.

The chairman recalled the events that led to Nuttall’s sudden departure.

“It was during a postmortem, after falling miserably to Ingwe, that a local journalist called in to inform us that Nuttall was already in Cairo, Egypt and had signed a contract with the former African champions. It was a big embarrassment to the club and the entire board of executives.

Rachier however neglects to mention that Nuttall worked under difficult financial situations yet he kept players and staff motivated. And asking a coach to take a 50% pay cut is not reasonable.

Nuttall for his part considers his brief stint at Zamalek successful .

“At Zamalek, we qualified for the quarter finals of the CAF Champions League and we had an 83 per cent win record. I have gained lots of experience and knowledge about players that will come handy in my next assignment,” he told The Nairobian.

Asked why he was fired, Nuttall said: “Mr (Alex) McLeish (the club’s manager) left, so as his assistant, I went with him.”

Its not so rosy for Bobby Ogolla either

Gor Mahia club legend and former assistant coach Bobby Ogolla, who left the club to pursue a head coaching position at Nairobi City stars, is also having a torrid time. Ogolla is threatening to leave the club along with the players who are on strike due to non-payment of their salaries for two months.

“The players refused to train on Tuesday and Wednesday because they have not been paid. I don’t know why they have not been paid. I don’t pay them, I only train them,” said Bobby Legend to the Standard.

Ogolla started the league very well and even drew with Gor Mahia and beat AFC leopards. But the players have lost motivation due to non-payment and their performance has slumped. They are now in 15th place.

“Everyone knows how we started the league and had a good performance, but this has been affected by our money problems. Personally, I am considering my future with this club.

“I will only stay if I am sure it will not be the same story in the second leg. It looks like this has been the trend every year. It is not fair though. Not the way things ought to be done too,” he said.



Thank You Bobby Ogolla

Long serving Gor Mahia assistant coach Bobby Ogolla has decided to step aside from the club. Ogolla who joined the club after taking over from Anaba Awono has been at the club for four years. In his playing days, Ogolla was a true legend and is still considered by many as the best central defender ever produced by Kenya. On behalf of Gor Mahia online supporters club, we would like to thank Bobby Legend for his years of service.

Additional reporting from

Ogolla confirmed to Goal on Thursday that he had decided to take a break from football and concentrate on ‘other issues’

Gor Mahia deputy coach John ‘Bobby’ Ogolla has quit after a successful season that saw the club finish 2015 league season unbeaten.

Ogolla confirmed to Goal on Thursday that he had decided to take a break from football and concentrate on ‘other issues’. “I have enjoyed my stay with Gor Mahia and would like to make it clear that I will not be part of the team next season.

“I enjoyed working with Gor Mahia players and was also happy to be part of the team that went 2015 league season unbeaten. I will always be there to support the team and will be available for any advice to the young players.”

Ogolla also thanked Gor Mahia fans for the support they accord the team. “K’Ogalo fans are the best in the region if not Africa. They support their team whole heartedly and I want to thank them for the support.”

The legendary Ogolla revealed that his contract with the club was to terminate on December 31. “My contract is supposed to end on December 31 but I have decided to make the decision so that I can plan for my future.

“I have informed club management of my intended move and so they are aware of it. I don’t need to be in Gor Mahia to serve in football. I will be open to other offers when good time comes.”

step aside after several years of distinguished service. On behalf of Gor Mahia online supporters club, we would like to thank Bobby for the work he has done.

Additional reporting from



Shujaa Bobby Ogolla still cementing his legacy

Gor Mahia assistant coach John Bobby Ogolla was recently honoured during the Mashujaa day celebrations along with other footballing legends Joe Kadenge and Mahmoud Abbas.

No footballer in Kenya has accomplished more than Bobby Ogolla as both player and coach. Inhis playing days, Ogolla who was fondly known as the “six million dollar man” won multiple trophies while playing in the defensive stopper position. As a youngster, he was a member of the Gor Mahia side that reached the Africa cup winners cup final in 1979. It marked the first time that a team from East and central Africa had accomplished such a feat.

Ogolla would then play a pivotal role in the Gor Mahia sides that won the CECAFA club cup in 1980, 1981 and 1985. On the local scene, Bobby Legend was the key defensive pillar as Gor Mahia won the national league in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1987.  With Ogolla in central defence, Gor Mahia would win the domestic   cup (then known as Moi golden cup ) in 1986 and 1987. That last year 1987 was the year when Gor Mahia went on to achieve continental glory.  That was Ogolla’s last season in action.

At national team level, Bobby Legend was the player who held the national team defence together. It was during this period that Harambee stars won the CECAFA senior challenge cup three times (1981, 1982 and 1983). And this was during a time when when Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe were full time CECAFA members.  During this period , Ogolla was recognized as the best defensive stoppper in the CECAFA region. To this day he is remembered by fans from Tanzania, Uganda and as far south as Zambia and Zimbabwe. None other than legendary goalkeeper Mahmoud Abbas considered Bobby Ogolla as the most crucial player in Harambee stars defence.


Bobby Ogolla with Peter Ochieng “Pierre” during his playing days


Ogolla was also in the Harambee stars squad that reached the final of the 1987 All African games. During this period, the All Africa games was a tournament for full strength national teams and not U23 as it is today. In fact Kenya came very close to winning that tournament but for a dubious goal scored by the Egyptians from what looked like an offside position. That feat remains to this day, the greatest performance by the Kenyan national team.

Ogolla’s defining moment came in the 1982 CECAFA cup final in Kampala. Kenya met hosts Uganda who had been heavily favoured.  The Cranes still had many of the players who had helped them reach the Africa nations cup final 4 years earlier. As hosts Uganda were expected to win. Bobby was assigned the task of marking Ugandan dangerman Issa Ssekatawa. The same Ssekatawa who was rop scorer in the Ugandan league three times in a row. Bobby completely marked Ssekatawa out of the game. The Ugandan attempted to intimidate Bobby with a vicious elbow to Bobby;s forehead. Bobby left the game briefly and received seven stitches while on the sideline. He came back and played like a true hero for the rest of the game with his forehead heavily bandaged and needing constant medical attention.

The word “dying a little for the country”comes to mind when people remember Bobby’s performances for Harambee stars. He was an inspirational player who instilled confidence in the rest of the team. But his contribution at club and national level wasnot limited to defence. He is one of the best free-kick takers in the history of the country. In each league season he scored 3 or 4 goals from direct free kicks. He had one of the most powerful shots ever seen in the country. His immense physical strength and robust tackles intimidated many strikers. Hencethe nickname “six million dollar man”.

Upon completing his playing career, Bobby took to coaching. He was an assistant coach to Gerry Saurer who assembled what is possibly the best Under 21 team ever assembled to Kenya. He was also an assistant coach when Harambee stars qualified and went to the 1992 Africa Nations cup. In the interim period he had several stints as coach or assistant coach of Harambee stars.

In 2009, he was a member of the coaching staff at Sofapaka who went on to win the national league title. He later took over as the head coach in 2010. In 2012 he returned to Gor Mahia as interim coach and later assistant coach under Zdravko Logarusic. With Bobby as part of the technical bench, Gor Mahia has won the national league 3 times, the domestic cup once and the Super Cup twice.

Bobby  the Legend who hails from Seme location in Kisumu county clearly holds the record for most titles won in Kenya as both player and technical bench member. And he is without a doubt the best central defender Kenya has ever produced. And one of the most committed technical bench members in  the country today. His recognition as one of the Mashujaa of Kenya is highly deserved and he continues to build on his legacy.


Gor Mahia take on Ulinzi as league tightens

The 2014 Tusker Premier league is destined for one of the most heart stopping finishes in its history. The four teams at the top are separated by only two points. Gor Mahia had a chance to put some space between them and the closest challengers but two succesive draws have complicated the situation at the top.

Still Gor Mahia has a chance to go top when they take on Ulinzi on Wednesday. They will have only 3 days to correct some of the errors they made against Tusker on Sunday. According to assistant coach Bobby Ogolla, the defense gave Collins Kimani too much space.

“We had victory snatched from our grip by a lapse in defence. Our defenders allowed Kevin Kimani too much space on the left and he destroyed us with that killer pass to Clifford Alwanga,” he told

Both Bobby Legend and new coach Frank Nuttall have their work cut out to fix the issues. Bobby thinks Gor Mahia played well and are still in the driving seat.

“Overall, we played well. Of course we are disappointed that we did not win this match as we had wanted to. We are however, still focused on retaining the title and are looking at our next game against Ulinzi Stars. We still have the advantage of having played one less match and this may just make a difference at the end.” said Bobby Legend to

If the defenders played below average, then one player who played well above average is captain Jerim Onyango who was rock solid between the sticks.

Ulinzi are surprisngly even with Gor Mahia in their all time record over the past few years. In April of this year, Gor Mahia beat them 1-0. In 2013, Ulinzi won the first leg while the second leg ended 0-0. A win for Gor Mahia will see them go to 46 points and atop the premier league. A draw will complicate things further and pull them further into the crowded leading pack.

New coach Frank Nuttall  has yet to win a match since he joined and Wednesday would be a good time to get his first win. Many have blamed a lack of player depth.  One person who thinks Gor Mahia’s playing unit is fine is former AFC Leopards and Harambee stars goalkeeper John Busolo.

“Only Tusker can prevent Gor Mahia from winning the trophy for a second time in a row. The KPL champions have everything they need to defend the title; Young players and passionate fans.” said Busolo.

He also thinks there are plenty of positives to pick from their recent CECAFA cup campaign.

“If you ask me, I think the tournament was a good opportunity to expose the young players in a very competitive environment. The experience will push them to win the title.”

Busolo had an illustrious career and was Kenya’s goalkeeper at the 1992 Africa Nations cup. More recently he was the goalkeeper trainer at AFC Leopards.

The match against Ulinzi will kickoff at 4pm on Wednesday at City stadium. May the 12th man turn out in large numbers.

Calabar Not eligible to play

Gor Mahia will have to shore up their defence. But they will have to do it without dependable defender, David Owino “Calabar”. Owino was booked on Sunday and Secretary General Chris Omondi has indicated that having accumulated 5 yellow cards, Calabar is required to miss one game. In his absence, Gor Mahia might count on new signing Charles Bruno.


The greatest Defensive Units at Gor Mahia

Story by Muroro-Pacho
Milimani-89, Strathmore-93

Gor Mahia has had its fair share of solid defenders since the club was inaugurated in 1968. This is a run-down of some of the best defensive quartets ever to play for Gor Mahia Kogalo.

The Mid 1970s

Mike Ogolla “Machine”

The Late 1970s

The Early 1980s

Bobby Ogolla, Peter Otieno Bassanga & Austin Oduor

Gor Mahia defence in 1985

The Late 1980s

The Early 1990s

Paul Ochieng and Tobias Ocholla

Sammy Omollo Pamzo who along with Bobby Legend are probably the best defensive stoppers.
Also in this pic is Joseph Owino

The Late 1990s

Tiellen Oguta and Josiah Ougo

On the way there : Gor Mahia’s defence in 2013

Class of 2013: Donald Mosoti, Solomon Nasio, David Owino


Gor Mahia legend finds success as tactician

John “Bobby” Ogolla has become one of the most reknown personalities in the increasingly popular Kenya Premier League. With his distinctive grey hair  and booming voice, the well spoken Bobby who is eloquent in both English and Kiswahili is always an interesting interview.

Of late he has found success as interim coach at Sofapaka where as we write, he has led a resurgence of the league’s defending champions, leading them to two key victories following the departure of Robert Matano. Last season he played a pivotal role as assistant coach, helping lead Sofapaka to win the league in their maiden appearance. He has a way of connecting with players and imparting his vast experience.

Prior to Sofapaka, Ogolla had coached World Hope FC. He has also had stints in the national team. Twice as the assistant to Reinhard Fabisch and on one occasion as national coach.

Ogolla in a recent interview

But most fans remember him for what he did during his playing days. Back then he was nicknamed “the six million dollar man”, after a super hero character from a popular TV show from that era. The nickname arose due to Ogolla’s incredible physical strength which he parlayed while playing for Gor Mahia and for the national team, Harambee stars, often using his robust physique to outmuscle opponents away from the ball. Aside from his impressive physique, “Bobby” also had a distinctive dress style; specifically one sock pulled to knee length and the other sock at ankle length.

Perhaps the most memorable game he played was the 1982 CECAFA cup final that was played in Kampala Uganda. In the final, Kenya played the match fancied Uganda Cranes. The Cranes were heavily favored having reached the Africa nations cup final in 1982 and previously in 1978. It was a strong cranes unit with players like Jimmy Kirunda, Godfrey Kataregga and dangerman Issa Sekatawa who was the top scorer in the tournament.

Ogolla played his heart out marking the dangerman Sekatawa out of the game. Midway through the second half, Ogolla received a vicious elbow to his forehead from a frustrated Sekatawa. He left the game briefly and received 7 stitches on the sideline. If Sekatawa thought he could cow Ogolla he was sadly mistaken. Ogolla returned to the game, 7 stitches and all and continued to stand tall against the Ugandan attack. Kenya eventually won the game on penalties. It was this performance, playing with 7 stitches and a huge bandage on his forehead as that earned him the nickname “Six Million Dollar man”, thanks in part to the graphic narration provided by broadcasting legend Leonard Mambo Mbotela. In those days, when the national team played, the whole nation listened intently to the game on the radio.

Ogolla’s legend was so big that to date he is still thought of by most Kenyans and indeed Tanzanians and Ugandans as the best stopper Kenya has ever produced, perhaps the best ever from East Africa. Yours truly has met Tanzanians who can never forget Ogolla.

Ogolla was also a free kick specialist. Not only did he possess a rocket of a shot but was very accurate and scored several crucial goals from free kicks. He started his playing career in Kisumu in the mid seventies and joined Gor Mahia in the late 70s. He was a key member of the Gor Mahia sides that reached the Africa cup final in 1979, won the CECAFA cup in 1980, 81 and 1985, won the Africa cup in 1987 and in between, won the national league several times. He also played a key role in the national team that won the CECAFA cup 3 times in a row from 1981 to 1983, several times emerging as the best defender at the tournament.

Sometime in 1984, Ogolla was pursued by the now defunct Benham FC. Rumours flew around that Benham had offered him a lucrative job in exchange for his playing services. Mass depression engulfed Gor Mahia fans who beseeched him to reconsider. Its not known whether the fans pleas are what convinced him to stay at the club. But he did stay on for another 3 years before hanging up his boots at the end of 1987.

His coaching and tactical acumen come from several years of working with coaches like Len Julians and Reinhard Fabisch.

Commentary by: Muroro-Pacho