Media Watch: Balancing the pulpit and immense Gor Mahia role: Oudu finds favour

Just as there are two sure things in life, there are three sure places you’ll most likely find Peter Oudu James.

Say it’s on a Monday morning then you should head to Gor Mahia FC’s training camp where you’ll find the midfielder making his gradual recovery from a knee injury he suffered earlier in the season, a setback that came during his side’s 2-0 victory over FC Talanta. In the evening you’ll find him at home, and on Sundays, when not in action, he’ll be on the pulpit leading his praise and worship team at Christ Assemblies Church in Kariobangi. The 21-year old is not a hard man to find.

I intercepted him just after training, and for a man who doesn’t talk much, mined a few words off of him. How does he do it? Play at the top level and still get to lead worship on church, on Sundays – his very work days.

‘’Everyone knows,’’ he says, ‘’And when I don’t have a match on Sunday, I’m mostly excused to attend to service to the Lord.’’

‘’I wouldn’t say I have a calling in gospel music yet, I’d like to think of it as helping people to host the Lord’s presence,’’ says the midfielder who plays both he guitar and piano.

But he’s focused on his football career too, intends to earn the coach’s trust now that he’s back from injury. It wasn’t a pleasant start at Gor Mahia, and Oudu looks at a fresh restart with the knee problem behind him now.

It is not often that every other talented footballer signs for a premier league outfit while still in school, but that is what Oudu did -roped into the fold at Kariobangi Sharks right in his High school principal’s office – Dagoretti High School. He had been at four different schools at this point and all of them, on football scholarships. He reveals he could have landed a premiership deal way before moving to Dagoretti.

‘’I was at Upper Hill in 2017 and it was the first time Sharks inquired about me but this was rejected at the time. My guess is the school wanted us to focus on schoolwork given we were sponsored,’’ he reveals.

Born September, 20 2001, Oudu nurtured his footballing roots at Mwangaza FC in Homabay. His games teacher at Lake Primary School coincidentally ran Mwangaza during his free time and this granted the kid double sessions of football training at an early age. By the time he was ripe for secondary school, Usenge High School were the first on the door with a football scholarship deal. He heeded the call. One year later, Kanga came knocking – a National school. He could not resist.

‘’Even though it is my talent that earned me fully paid scholarships in high school, it wasn’t lost on me that priority number one was academics, and that explains why when a national school came for me I obliged. The scholarships were the only constants, but I wanted better grades too,’’ Oudu explains himself.

He only played five matches during his three-year stay at Sharks, so he says, and a loan spell was imminent. So in between, a staggering season with Nairobi Stima in the second tier colours his sojourns. He never made it to a colourful return at Sharks.

‘’I didn’t last too long when I returned. There was still the same old problem of getting playing time and I had offers. First, Coach George Owoko at Stima had wanted me on a permanent basis and then Gor Mahia offered me a tryout. So I left,’’ adds the piano man.

Mark Harrison was already in charge at Gor, assembling a fresh team when Oudu first arrived. A few training sessions and one friendly match and he was officially on the Gor Mahia 2021/22 roster.

Perhaps he had impressed too much as he walked out for a league start against FC Talanta a few weeks later. He wouldn’t see the end of their 2-0 victory. That is a while back and things have changed at the team, but most importantly for him, he is fully recovered and intends to play his part whenever called upon.

‘’The title or a top-three finish will be good for us. If I get to play a hand in a few games remaining, that will be a great starting point,’’ says an optimistic Oudu.

With quite the youthful team this season, Gor Mahia have stayed within sight of the 2022 league title and Oudu’s prayer that he returns soon enough and guide the team to a respectable finish is can be understood.

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