Gor Mahia in the 90s

Gor Mahia won the Kenya National football league 4 times in the 90s 90, 91 ,93 and 95 and the Moi golden cup only once (95). In fact Gor Mahia would have won the league in 1992 as well. They were tied with arch rivals AFC Leopards on the final day and the winner was bound to be determined by goal difference. AFC beat Transcom 7-0 on the final day. If this result were investigated, it is likely that it would have emerged that Transcom were bribed to concede several goals. On the continental scene the club reached the quarter finals of the champions cup in 1992 and the quarter finals of the CAF cup in 1993.

The 1990s was the beginning of a downward spiral for the club. The years between 1990 to 95 saw Gor Mahia continue to dominate the local scene. However it was obvious to all that the previously lofty standards of the club were in decline. It became extremely difficult to sustain the self-supporting club as a society.

In addition the economy in Kenya has taken a tumble leading to financial difficulties for several Kenyan clubs. Whereas in the past, the club was able to secure employment for players at Parastatals such as KPTC, economic reforms in the country made this impossible. This made it more difficult for community teams to attract the best players.

The club was now unable to retain most of the good players who leave soon after their arrival in search of greener pastures or due to frustrations caused by lack of payment of allowances. Several outstanding players came and went within a year unlike in the past when players stayed on for several years thus building familiarity.

The early 1990s saw the departure or retirement of most of the players who featured in the crack squads of the 1980s. David Ochieng , Onyango Fundi , Odembo Nyangi , Ochieng Pierre and many others retired from active football. Austin Oduor and Abass Magongo left for the middle East while others like Sammy Onyango joined other clubs. Coach Len Julians , returned briefly in 1991 and managed to steer the club to yet another League title. Among the players paraded by the club in the early 90s include goalkeeper Charles Omondi “Korea” , Jared Ochieng Achieng , Sammy Omollo, Allan Odhiambo, Paul Ochieng , Felix Otieno and Mike Otieno.

One of the clubs biggest highlights came in 1992 when they eliminated traditional giants Canon Sportif de Yaounde In the Africa Champions cup. After settling for a barren draw in Nairobi , most pundits had written them off. However they managed to force a 1-1 draw in Cameroun thanks to a stellar defensive effort by among others Otieno Zico , Sammy Omollo, Paul Ochieng , Tobias Ocholla and Allan Odhiambo. This enabled the club to reach the quarter finals. That defensive unit is one of the best ever to play in Kenya. The crowd in Yaounde was stunned at the elimination of their favourite team by Gor Mahia. Gor Mahia reached the quarter-finals of the Africa champions cup which was the best ever performance by Gor Mahia in that tournament.

In 1993 Gor Mahia played in the CAF cup. In round 1, they faced Coffee of Uganda. They won the first leg 1-0 in Kampala thanks to a thunderous free-kick from new signing James Atuto. They however collapsed in the return leg at Nyayo stadium but managed to scrape through on penalties. In the second round they played Hellenics of newly free South Africa which was an all white team from Cape town. Having lost the first leg 1-3 in Cape Town, the situation looked perilous. The return leg was initially played at Nyayo stadium whose field was drenched due to torrential rain. By the 70th minute, the score was 0-0 and Gor Mahia were staring elimination. However the referees deemed the pitch unplayable and called off the match. The South Africans were chagrined and protested bitterly. The game was replayed the next day at City Stadium and Gor Mahia duly won 2-0 to eliminate the South Africans. Then in the quarter-finals, Gor Mahia faced Atletico Aviacao of Angola. After two scoreless draws, the match went into penalties which the Angolans won. Joseph Asembo was an excellent goalkeeper but could never save penalties. The Angolans scored 4 penalties and Gor Mahia missed 2.

In 1994, Gor Mahia played Mebrat Hail of Ethiopia in round 1 of the Africa Champions cup. They won the first leg 2-0 with goals from Aggrey Obonyo and Tom Okaya. However on this day Gor Mahia were completely outplayed by the Ethiopians who confidently knocked the ball around. Gor Mahia scraped through on away goals having lost the second leg 1-3. Round 2 saw a re-match with Egypts Zamalek who exactly 10 years earlier had eliminated them under dubious circumstances.In the first leg in Nairobi Gor Mahia played a superb game with Dan Ogada and Tom Okaya pulling the strings in midfield while Dan Shikanda ran rings around the Egyptians from the left flank. After drawing the first leg 1-1 Gor Mahia once again lost to a dubious penalty in Cairo. The score was 1-1. Zamalek were awarded a penalty. Goalkeeper Charles Omondi Korea twice saved the penalty but each time the refree ruled that he had infringed by moving before the kick. Zamalek scored on the 3rd attempt and won the match 2-1. Once again Gor Mahia had given the mighty Egyptians nightmares.

In 1995 was a relatively successful year for the club as they won the national league title as well as regaining the Moi Golden cup in grand style. Players like Dan Ogada , Allan Odhiambo , Steve Odiaga and Tom Okaya spearheaded this campaign.

In 1998 Gor Mahia faced Zamalek in the 1st round of the CAF cup. The game was won by a thunderbolt of a shot from Steve Okumu. Gor Mahia’s line up on that day was : 1.Victor ‘Vicky’ Onyango 2.Pius ‘Apuoyo’ Wamaya 3.Joseph ‘Jose’ Akinga 4.Allan ‘Ale’ Odhiambo 5. Josiah ‘Kaki’ Ougo 6.Tom ‘Gazza’ Juma7. Patrick ‘Adesh’ Oyiengo 8.Dan ‘Dunga’ Ogada 9.Steve ‘Brigadier’ Odiaga 10.Frazier Ochieng

1996 was the most disastrous year in the club’s history. They were eliminated in the 1st round of the Africa champions league by Zimbabwean outfit, Dynamos, leading to the worst riots ever seen in Nairobi. In the League they finished 8th which was unprecedented in the clubs history. In 1997 , the club recovered and almost won the National League , only losing by goal difference to eventual winners, Utalii. Among the players who were instrumental in that campaign were Victor Onyango in goal, Josiah Ougo and Tillen Oguta in defence, Frazier Ochieng and Dan Ogada in midfield and Bonaventure Maruti, Steve Okumu and Steve Odiaga in attack. The club was unable to hold on to these superb players , many of whom left for various destinations including the Middle East. The last two years of the millennium were characterised by inconsistent performances by the club mainly due to lack of finances. Because the club is flat broke they have been unable to hire a qualified professional coach, Additionally the club has been unable to retain its quality players most of whom leave after a short period for greener pastures.

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