The team was now focused and signs of winning the 3rd game was now visible. It was a do or die situation and we had only 2 points so were the other teams who had tied most of their games.
Game 3: Gor Mahia vs Limbe Leaf FC.
K'Ogalo maintained their defense and midfield and brought in Goro Oronge as a striker (9) and William Obwaka at the right wing (7). Ben Oloo and Gedion Khamisi were retained in their previous roles. The warm up was thorough and was conducted by Zangi. His warm ups were always thorough that i once got tired before the game during our friendlies in Kenya but i was now getting used to them.
As the game started we were fully psyched for this game. Limbe Leaf had Jack Chamangwana (Captain) in the sweeper role and was Africa's best ranked sweeper during that time and was dreaded in the whole continent. The game started and it was like the Limbe keeper had a cap at the net side which was like a charm and we had observed this in the previous games they played.
I had watched a game in Kisumu where Gor were having a terrible time with Bata Bullets from Malawi in a previous CECAFA tournament and field marshal Allan Thigo had to remove the cap from the net side only for Abbey Nassur to equalize in the dying minutes.
I did the same after most of our attempts were failing and took the cap off the net side. This brought a big uproar from the Limbe Leaf team and a small fracas was to ensue and Jack Chamangwana used offensive words against us and said we will not win the game for we believe in magic. A sensational feeling came into me like never before and i told Jack that lets wait and see.
Almost immediately after the incident which took roughly 5 minutes in the 25th minute, i saw Nyangi Odembo with the ball some 25 metres away and i knew what was coming. Artillery, as he was later to be called unleashed one of his trade mark shots and immediately i saw Nandi Amos stand up and i knew what i had to do. REBOUND and that is exactly what happened for the shot was too heavy for the keeper and i just latched on the loose ball and tapped it home.
Len Jullians used to call that goal "asante sana". I had to remind Jack Chamangwana that i will be back with another goal. We celebrated the goal but one player was not celebrating. John "Bobby" Ogola. He was actually reminding me that we needed another goal for us to be confident and it was clear to me that the commander had put more responsibility on my head.
Jack Chamangwana was in deep problem for in his attempts to overlap, it was me tracking him all the way. At this time i think i saw Jack Chamangwana panic and as patient as vulture, i knew my prey was about yield. This came in the 2nd half in the 60th minute when Zangi floated a ball in the box and i saw the great man hesitate and there i was with a half volley and half drop kick shot for the second goal.
Limbe leaf were buried for we were in a buoyant form. Nyangi Odembo scored the third goal with a sizzler in the 85th minute for us to emerge victorious 3-0. Gor Mahia were at the top of the pool for the other matches were drawn. Man of the match: Goro Oronge.
The following day was a rest day but we never rested. We were back at the University ground where we used to train and more plotting was done for the next game against the host Al-Hilal FC.
Game 4: Al Hilal vs Gor Mahia FC.
Both teams needed victory badly for this was a decider. The same line up was maintained for the combination was perfect. The die was cast and nothing short of victory was needed and we were playing against the clear favourites. The stadium was packed and noisy full of their fans. We were pelted as we entered the Stadium but this only motivated us.
The game started at a cracking pace and the early stages it was all Al-Hilal. We resorted to our earlier strategies of man to man marking for the opponents were too swift. This way we put them on pressure and they conceded a foul. our 1st free kick goal came as i saw Bobby Ogola approach the ball almost 30 yards away. The thunder that struck the ball was so great that most people saw nothing only for the ball to be found at the back of the net.
Bobby Ogola had struck the ball with so much power and Gor Mahia were one up by half time. At this juncture the Sudanese fans were getting impatient and started heckling the players and pelting them.
The second half belonged to us for the opponents were disillusioned and they soon conceded a corner. The corner ball was taken and from the furthest end of the play, i saw Austin Oduor rise above everybody to score the 2nd goal. The defense were moving up to support the attack and this made us very solid. William Obwaka was to score the 3rd goal from a goal mouth melee after Al-Hilal had scored a cosolation goal from a penalty shot.
K'Ogalo was in full bloom with the wings flying high and the defense intact. William Obwaka was in top gear and Ben Oloo was "break-dancing" on the other wing. Swaleh Ochieng and Isaiah Omondi were rock steady in their full back roles. Austin and Bobby had already registered their presence in the tournament and were unbeatable both on air and ground.
We took the games one by one as they came. At this time, there was no stopping Gor for nobody could do it better than us. The confidence levels in the team were high and we were topping the pool with 6 points .Please note that those days a win was 2 points. We were through to the Semi- final and our runner up was Simba SC. After the match, Al Hilal players were beaten by their fans and we had to come to their rescue. The situation was very tense.
Please check out for the last and final part of these series that is the semi-final and the final on Monday, 22nd June 2014.