CECAFA '85: Khartoum Memories Part 5

 

The beating of EL-Mereikh players was sad and it reminded me of the day that K'Ogalo fans wanted to cane us at City Stadium after losing to MOTCOM 5-0. Football can sometimes be dangerous yet it is the most loved of all games.

Final Game: AFC Leopards Vs Gor Mahia.

This game was played in Khartoum as Leopards struggled to beat a strong Simba SC in a tough encounter in Omdurman on extra time or penalty shoot out. The final stage was set between AFC Leopards vs Gor Mahia FC in Khartoum, which was now turning to be our home and people were now respecting us in this city.

We also believed that this was our true ancestral home and we had to win this cup. At this juncture, i would like to thank an employee in the Kenyan Embassy who always prayed for us and made our meals every match day. Our food supplies were ferried from Kenya courtesy of Kenya Airways. This man had a very good prayer and moved any living person who knows Christ.

There was no big crowd to cheer us up with only the national team coach Marshal Mulwa in the crowd and showing openly that he was with the Leopards, even advising them on how to approach the game and this did not augur well with us.

However the game was approached cautiously by both sides with Leopards probing but we were tight in defense with Nyangi Odembo playing confidently in the midfied. Please not that the line up that started in the Semi final was maintained. I thought Leopards had more opportunities in the opening minutes but soon Gor Mahia were in top gear and football was at its finest.

Murila was always calling Tasso to fall hence making Leopards retreat and Ainea Isabwa, a skilled but slow, stocky player could not match the pace of William Obwaka. Nyangi was playing with full authority in midfield and i was exuding with confidence like never before.

A loose ball was sent in the Leopards goal area in the 40th minute and William Obwaka tapped it home for the first goal. Then we had to defend the goal carefully till the end of 1st half. I believe Murila was holding most of the Leopards players behind for he was always calling for support and this made Kepha Tasso to stick behind all time and he himself was not at all supporting the midfield.

This was a mistake in the Leopard defense and it immediately registered in my mind. The 2nd half started well and they were pressing for an equalizer as the game became very tense. We resorted to our marking system and this got Leopards on the wrong foot as i gave William Obwaka a 30 yard text book pass in our own half, reminiscent of Allan Thigo, into the open space and he set off for a quick sprint which resembled the run and goals of Jarzinho of Brazil in the series "The world on their Feet" a series we had watched earlier before the match.

William Obwaka scored his second goal of the day in the 91st minute as we rode to a 2-0 victory over the perceived stronger AFC Leoopards. Man of the match: William Obwaka.

We concluded the game by a short prayer and thanked the Lord for it was over and we were Champions of CECAFA 1985. I had struck gold in my first international engagement.

My appreciation goes to Sam Agutu who made sure my injury in the semi finals was treated well for me to participate in the finals.

We celebrated at our Embassy in Sudan but Leopards players refused to join the party, only Mulwa put on a brave face and attended and was always consulting with Bobby. Two days later we boarded a Kenya Airways plane back to Nairobi with AFC leopards in the same flight but the cup and mood changing places. We were in cloud nine and AFC Leopards were miserable. We were in cloud nine and AFC Leopards were miserable.

Please read more on our arrival in Nairobi in the final episode of the series.

Midfielders

Collins Okoth

Francis Kahata

Amos Nondi

Ernest Wendo

Antony Mbugua

Innocent Wafula

Baron Oketch

Godfrey Walusimbi

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