By James Goro Oronge,
The last time K’ogalo won the CECAFA club championship was in 1985 in Khartoum and i happen to be a surviving member of that team for we have lost many players in that squad.May their souls rest in peace. I am motivated intrinsically to write this for GOR Mahia FC are soon going to Tanzania to play in the same championship and are lucky to have John “Bobby” Ogola the Assistant coach in the team because he was part of the squad in Sudan. He had also won the championship with K’ogalo earlier in Malawi.
It would be ideal to give you some background of the club before the departure to Khartoum. Six K’ogalo players had been suspended by CAF that year after an incident in Cairo, Egypt in a match against Zamalek ( this later led to the naming of Abbas Magongo to “Zamalek”).
The six players were 1) Abbas Khamis Magongo “Zamalek” 2) George onyango “Fundi” 3) Peter Otieno “Basanga” 4) George Otieno “Solo” 5) Abbey Nassur 6) Abdalla Shebe ???and the coach Lens Julian. This put K’ogalo in an awkward position as most of the suspended players were top players. Gor had to recruit in a very short time and the man charged to recruit then was the team manager Amos Nandi.
The manager was to recruit players in these positions left vacant by the suspended players which he managed by recruiting-: 1) George Nyangi Odembo- Midfielder 2) Swaleh Ochieng- Defender 3) Ben Oloo- Winger 4) Arthur Onyango- Midfielder and 5) Goro oronge- Striker/Midfielder. The players fitted in the team perfectly apart from the young Arthur Onyango who was yet to get his rhythm.
The next stage was intensive training for one month only and a lot of friendlies were organized during this period and i recall one of them where MOTCOM from Kakamega thrashed Gor 5-0. The fans were not amused and wanted all of us to be canned but thanks to the Police who gave us an escort back to our camp at Milimani Hotel.
I was shocked because a fan was actually on me saying that i had come all the way from Kisumu to ashame Gor in Nairobi. My belief is that the coach was giving everybody a chance and played a totally unbalanced team.
The next friendly games were good for we won all and the best being against a tough Nakuru combined team with the legendry Washingtone Muhanji in Goal for Nakuru combined. The result was 2-0 in our favour and i scored a brace. That was enough for my ticket to Khartoum in my first floodlight game.
The players who made it to Sudan were-: Tirus Omondi (late) David Ochieng, Swaleh ochieng, John Bobby Ogola. Austin Oduor (Captain), George Nyangi Odembo, William Obwaka, John Okello Zangi (late), Gedion Hamisi (late), Goro Oronge, Ben Oloo breakdance, Sammy Onyango Jogoo (late) Hesborne Omollo (late) Michael Adede, Owiti Maua, Arthur onyango (late) Isiah Omondi.
The team manager Amos Nandi, Coach Maurice Chieng Sonyi, Team Doctor Sam Agutu and team assistant Ochido Kamkunji. The team boarded a Kenya Airways flight together with AFC leopards who were the defending champions enroute to Khartoum where we were met by Rachuonyo Mboya who was the Kenya envoy in Sudan.
Read Part 2 of this series tomorrow on how Gor-mahia approached every game in this championship.
N/B The writer is former Gor Mahia legend James Goro Oronge who currently lives in Kisumu one of the only players who was equally talented in Table tennis.
Dont miss out part two it will be so interesting .