Gor Mahia in the 70s

Gor Mahia reached the final of the Kenya FA cup in 1970 after beating Burnley of Mombasa in the quarters and Abaluhya in the semis. The semi final match against Abaluhya ended in controversial circumstances. In extra time, A free kick was awarded to Gor Mahia who rapidly took the free kick while Abaluhya were still preparing their defence. Centre forward Ben Obala scored. Abaluhya players abandoned the match and refused to resume the match. Gor Mahoa then played Nakuru All stars in the final. Only 5 minutes into the match, inspirational captain Joe Okeyo limped out of the game injured this demoralizing the playing unit who went on to loose 3-2. Matters were not helped by the fact that Gor Mahia finished the game with only 9 players after Paul Ndula was given his marching orders and defender Arthur Omondi left the game with an injury. The biased officiating by Williams Ngaah did not help either.

1970 will also be remembered by Gor Mahia fans as the year when the club almost ground to a halt due to frustration and harsh treatment from the then chairman of the Kenya football association, Martin Shikuku who meted out a series of unwarranted suspensions against Gor Mahia players and officials including legendary striker William ‘Chege’ Ouma. Shikuku and his committee went as far as deducting points from the club. The issue was resolved when Gor Mahia officials wrote a protest letter to minister for social services Masinde Muliro. The minister later dissolved the FA in a bid to end incessant bickering.

In 1971, the FA caretaker committee passed a directive encouraging the formation of institutional teams. Foremost amongst these was Kenya Breweries who after its formation, went on a recruiting spree poaching players from Gor Mahia and Abaluhya. Star players Samson Odore, Peter Odera, Francis Ooko and Henry Obiero all defected. Breweries went on to win the league in 1972.

In 1971, the club held its second annual general meeting. P Anyumba was elected Chairman, Mahallon Danga secretary general, Nelson Onyango asst secretary and Zack Mbori as Vice Chairman.

In 1972, Gor Mahia provided six players to the national team who represented the country at the 1972 Africa nations cup. The six were James Sianga, Daniel Nicodemus ‘Arudhi’, Jackson Aluko, John Chore, Allan Thigo and Stephen Yongo. The team coached by West German Eckard Krautzun performed creditably forcing two draws against Mali and Togo and narrowly lost to Cameroun. Daniel Nicodemus scored Kenya’s goal against Mali in a match that ended 1-1. Samson Odore who had left the club for Kenya Breweries in 1971 was also a key performer in ANC 1972.

In 1973 , P. Anyumba was yet again elected chairman in a closely contested election beating rival Dan Owino. Following the elections, the club was split into two with the rebel faction led by Dan Owino calling itself Gor Mahia United. Things became farcical when both teams turned up at the city stadium to play Kenya Breweries. Angry fans pelted the rebel team with stones. Those who defected to Gor Mahia United included James Sianga, Stephen Yongo, Sospeter Otin, William ‘Chege’ Ouma and John Otieno ‘Hatari. Prominent players who decided to stay with Gor Mahia were John Chore, Allan Thigo, Ben Obala, Jackson Aluko, Duncan Migan and Joseph Okeyo. To replace the defectors, the club went on a talent search and recruited players like George Yoga, goalkeeper Charles Ondiek, Tom Ajwang, James Ogolla ‘Kadir’ who joined from Bata Bullets and Laban Otieno Gor Mahia won the league in 1974 thus qualifying to represent the country in the CECAFA cup and the Africa champions cup. They reached the semis of the CECAFA cup in Zanzibar before loosing to Simba. The club however did not participate in the champions cup due to a protest filed by Abaluhya FC who had won a rival splinter league.

Gor Mahia hired Italian Peter Pampuro as coach in 1975. That year they opened their cup campaign in 1975 by beating Abaluhya 5-1. They went on to finish second in the league. Luo Union won the league that year. Gor Mahia were tied on points with Luo Union who were due to play Abaluhya on the last day. However Abaluhya conspired with Luo Union to loose the match and deny Gor Mahia the title. Luo Union went on to win the CECAFA cup in 1976 and 1977. In those days the rivalry between Gor Mahia and Luo Union was just as fierce as that between Gor Mahia and Abaluhya. Fans of either team were bitter enemies. Coach Pampuro established the club’s first ever youth team which was coached by Eric Omwango.

In 1976 Gor Mahia won the national league unbeaten thanks to the exploits of playmaker Allan Thigo who also acted as coach. He was ably assisted by stars such as Festus Nyakota, James Ogolla ‘kadir’ and new recruits Jerry Imbo who had been recruited from Black Mamba and Maurice Ochieng ‘Sonyi’ who had been recruited from Kenya Police. Goalkeeper George Ayuka was in sensational form throughout the season. Maurice Ochieng finished as leading scorer in the league with 20 goals, ahead of the legendary William Ouma ‘Chege’ who scored 16. The 1976 is one of the strongest the club had ever fielded. It included such stars as Masanta Osoro, Paul Oduwo ‘Cobra’, Festus Nyakota, Duncan Aluko and Duncan Migan, all of whom played for the national team at one point.

Gor Mahia then played in the 1977 CECAFA cup but suffered a humiliating 4-2 defeat to arch rivals Luo Union. At the 1977 Africa champions cup, Gor Mahia played in the Africa champions cup. They eliminated Yamaha of Malawi in the 1st round. Despite losing the Nairobi leg 1-2, Gor Mahia beat Yamaha in Lilongwe 2-1 then went on to win 5-3 on penalties. In the 2nd round they lost to Mufulira Wanderers of Zambia on post match penalties. Gor Mahia went on to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively in the 1977 and 1978 national leagues.

The 1979 league was decided on the final day. Gor Mahia were just one point ahead of rivals Luo United. In the final match of the season, Gor Mahia beat Luo United 1-0 thanks to a goal by Andrew Obunga following spadework by youngstar Sammy Owino ‘Kempes’.

1979 was an extremely successful year for Gor Mahia. Besides winning the national League, the club made it to the final of the Africa cup winners cup before crashing to Canon Sportiff De Yaounde in a debacle that left fans confused. That year Gor Mahia fielded an all-star line up that featured among others : Player/Coach Allan Thigo, keeper Dan Odhiambo, Paul Oduwo “Cobra” at right back, Otieno Bassanga at left back , John “Bobby” Ogolla at stopper , Mike Ogolla “machine” at sweeper, in midfield , Ugandan international Tim Ayieko was the linkman , Sammy Owino “Kempes” played inside right and Allan Thigo was the schemer.

attack Andrew Obunga played centre forward, George Yoga played right wing and schoolboy wonderboy Nashon Oluoch “Lule” played left wing. That was probably the best line-up Gor Mahia has ever fielded although one could argue for the 87 team. Nashon Oluoch Lule was then a form six student at highway secondary school. He was already recognized as the clubs best player and Kenya’s best ever left winger. He was a brilliant dribbler and crosser of the ball.On their way to the Africa cup final received a w/o over Al Ittihad of Egypt. In the second round they beat a very determined and stubborn Nsambya stars of Uganda. The first leg ended 0-0 in Kisumu and the second leg ended 1-1. In th thanks to a goal by Nahashon Oluoch “Lule”. In the quarters. they beat Kadiogo of Upper Volta 2-1 both home and away. Goals at home came from George Yoga who scored from an Andrew Obunga, corner and Allan Thigo. In the second leg, Andrew Obunga and Sammy Owino scored.

They then faced the much feared Horoya of Guinea, a team which had won the Africa champions league previously and was one of the most feared teams in Africa. Gor Mahia won the 1st leg 1-0 in Nairobi thanks to a header from Sammy Owino ‘Kempes’ from a corner taken by Andrew Obunga. On the Sunday of the 2nd leg, one Kenyan daily reported that Gor Mahia had lost 2-0 to Horoya in the 2nd leg leading to mass depression amongst fans. Only much later was it reported that it was indeed Gor Mahia who had beaten Horoya 2-0 leading to celebrations by fans all over the country.

In the final, Gor Mahia faced Canon Yaounde of Cameroun , the defending champions. Gor Mahia were extremely confident, some might say over confident. But they were soon chastened by the quality of this Canon Yaounde team. Within minutes of kickoff, JP Akon raced don the left flank and squared to Emmanuel Kunde who scored the opener. Gor Mahia fought for an equalizer to no avail. In the late moments of the game, Theophile Abega set up Jean Manga Onguene to score the second as Gor Mahia lost the the 1st leg 0-2.
It was a very strong Can Yaounde side that formed the bulk of the Cameroun team that played well in the 1982 world cup

Line ups.
Gor Mahia: Dan Odhiambo,Paulo Cobra Oduwo,Festus Nyakota,Bobby Ogolla,Mike Ogolla Machine,Jerry Imbo,Andrew Obunga,(John Chore),Sammy Owino Kempes,George Best Yoga,Allan Thigo”ogango wuon pap” and Nahashon Oluoch’Lule’ (Paul Owora).
Cannon: Thomas Nkono,Rene Ndjeya,Doumbe Lea,Ibrahim Aoudou,Isaac Sinkot,Emmanuel Kunde,Gregories Mbida,Theophile Abega,Jean Manga Onguene,Oule Oule (Ernest Ebongue),Jean Paul Akono.

Players cited lack of experience as the reason Gor Mahia inexplicably lost the second league 0-6. However there were allegations that some players were bribed to throw the game

Exit mobile version
Skip to toolbar