Gor Mahia’s win over AFC Leopards yesterday had the Green Army in tears of joy and made the walk along Thika road after 5PM enjoyable. Celebrations will continue with social media banter throughout the week as the green side of the country in soaks in their bragging rights. If your colour is blue then you’d be advised to keep of social media and maintain a low profile in social gatherings for the next few days. However once the celebration has cooled down, the question the pundits will ask themselves is whether this Gor Mahia side is worth being ranked as one of the best sides ever in the league?
It is a question the Gor Mahia faithful of old will never contemplate due to nostalgic reasons, and indeed some would consider it an abomination to rank any team above the one that won the continental title in 1987 or reached the finals in 1979. So I will limit myself to the league.
Among the best teams considered to have graced the league was the Gor Mahia team of 1976, the Luo Union team of 1975, the AFC Leopards team of 1986, Gor Mahia in 1987 and the Gor Mahia team of 2015. This is based on the way these teams dominated the league, with Gor Mahia in 1976 and 2015 as well as AFC Leopards in 1986 going unbeaten. So I have decided to take a look at how these teams compare statistically, assuming that the number of wins in a season is a fair indicator of just how strong a team is. Given that different seasons have had different number of league participants, I will look at the win percentage as compared to outright wins. The current team has so far won 16 of their 20 games, that’s 80% of their games, tied with the 2015 team. Which team however did better than this?
Another good parameter to look at is the winning streaks that these teams put out and the goals they plundered in that period. The current team is on a 7 game winning streak with 18 goals, already one more match and two more goals better than the 2015 team although Muhoroni Youth did set the record of 9 consecutive league wins with 14 goals in that season. Again, the AFC Leopards team of 1986 was prolific, setting what I believe to be the all-time record of 19 consecutive wins while scoring almost 3 goals per game on their way to clinching the title.
Some Gor Mahia fans have started dreaming of an unbeaten season. Personally I would wait until they cross the 30 game mark before dreaming but still, with a 26 game unbeaten record, it is interesting to see where this team ranks among the previous Gor Mahia sides. While they are still way off the 1989-1990 team that went 43 games unbeaten, their win percentage (77%) is better than the 65% accomplished by that team but still way below the teams of the 70s.
While this team does not yet top any of the three charts I have used above, it is clear that they are close to the previous great teams and with games still to play, who knows what records they may break. They might never achieve the incredible treble accomplished by the likes of Peter Dawo and Abass Magongo, or might not have the prolific scorers of the ilk of Hesbon Omollo or Sammy Onyango ‘Jogoo’, but may be it is time we put aside the nostalgia and rank them with the other great league sides of the past.