KENYAN PREMIER LEAGUE (2013, 2014, 2015):
By the end of 2015, Gor Mahia were headed for national glory. Champions back to back in 2013 and 2014, they looked set to equal an earlier feat when they won the league thrice in a row (1983, ’84 and ’85).
No club had ever won the championship more than thrice in a row and none had repeated a triple crown. Gor were beckoning greatness in 2015. By mid-August, with nine matches to breeze through, they were poised for record-setting “three-peat”. With a comfortable 55 points in the bag, 11 points clear of struggling Ulinzi Stars in second place, the outcome was not in doubt.
Other Kenyan clubs that had achieved the treble were AFC Leopards in 1980, ’81 and ’82 and Ulinzi Stars in 2003, ’04 and ’05. Gor Mahia, with 14 league titles, already had one hand on the trophy.
Gor’s success provided an uplifting cheer to sooth the grief of a string of depressing results from Harambee Stars.
The Stars had fortuitously clinched the Cecafa gold in 2013 on home soil, inspite poor planning prompting visiting teams to wonder whether bungling at such a scale was not tantamount to a deliberate plan to rid the game of fair play. Teams had trouble in hotels because Football Kenya Federation had not paid bills. On the afternoon of the final, Sudan, who were Kenya’s opponents were held hostage at their hotel and were late for the match because FKF had not cleared bills.
For their KPL victory in 2013, Gor got the ticket to represent Kenya in the 2014 Africa Champions League, but made an early exit. As champions (2014) again, they were back in 2015 this time performing much better, but going out in the third round to a much better organized AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville. Gor Mahia’s fixtures in the 2015 KPL looked pretty decent and if they were to go on and win the title again, and keep the players for the 2016 Champions League, a much better performance looked to be in the offing.
The Kenyan Premier League continued to be the bright spot of Kenya football. Since 2008 when South African pay television company, SuperSport, bought the broadcast rights of the league, investing millions into the competition, a professional approach to running the competition has taken root.
The 16-team KPL has also had other sponsors since then including East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and Puma, who provide footballs to the league and clubs.
In 2008, Mathare United were the first champions of the professional era and in 2011 and ’12 Tusker were the first team to win back to back title in the “new” era, perhaps inspiring Gor Mahia ambitions.
Previous Kenya football league winners:
- 1963 : Nakuru All-Stars – (Nakuru)
- 1964 : Luo Union – (Nairobi)
- 1965 : Feisal – (Mombasa)
- 1966 : Abaluhya – (Nairobi)
- 1967 : Abaluhya – (Nairobi)
- 1968 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1969 : Nakuru All-Stars – (Nakuru)
- 1970 : Abaluhya – (Nairobi)
- 1971 : Abaluhya – (Nairobi)
- 1972 : Kenya Breweries – (Nairobi)
- 1973 : Abaluhya – (Nairobi)
- 1974 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1975 : Luo Union – (Nairobi)
- 1976 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1977 : Kenya Breweries – (Nairobi)
- 1978 : Kenya Breweries – (Nairobi)
- 1979 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1980 : AFC Leopards (formerly Abaluhya) – (Nairobi)
- 1981 : AFC Leopards – (Nairobi)
- 1982 : AFC Leopards – (Nairobi)
- 1983 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1984 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1985 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1986 : AFC Leopards – (Nairobi)
- 1987 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1988 : AFC Leopards – (Nairobi)
- 1989 : AFC Leopards – (Nairobi)
- 1990 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1991 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1992 : AFC Leopards – (Nairobi)
- 1993 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1994 : Kenya Breweries – (Nairobi)
- 1995 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 1996 : Kenya Breweries – (Nairobi)
- 1997 : Utalii – (Ruaraka)
- 1998 : AFC Leopards – (Nairobi)
- 1999 : Tusker (formerly Kenya Breweries) – (Nairobi)
- 2000 : Tusker – (Nairobi)
- 2001 : Oserian Fastac – (Naivasha)
- 2002 : Oserian Fastac – (Naivasha)
- 2003 : Ulinzi Stars – (Nakuru)
- 2004 : Ulinzi Stars – (Nakuru)
- 2005 : Ulinzi Stars – (Nakuru)
- 2006 : Sony Sugar – (Awendo)
- 2007 : Tusker – (Nairobi)
- 2008 : Mathare United – (Nairobi)
- 2009 : Sofapaka – (Nairobi)
- 2010 : Ulinzi Stars – (Nakuru)
- 2011 : Tusker – (Nairobi)
- 2012 : Tusker – (Nairobi)
- 2013 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 2014 : Gor Mahia – (Nairobi)
- 2015: – (??)
Gor Mahia in Africa Champions League – 2014 and 2015:
Courtesy of their back-to-back Kenyan Premier League titles in 2013 and 2014, Gor Mahia earned the right to represent Kenya in each of the seasons that followed.
However, on both the 2014 and 2015 editions, Gor Mahia bowed out of the competition in the first round after going over only one hurdle – the preliminary.
Gor Mahia were struggling to find their footing again in Africa after years of absence. Their name and flamboyant fans onces ruled Africa.
In 1979, they lost the final of the Africa Cup Winners Cup to Canon Yaounde of Cameroon. Then in their greatest sporting moment, Gor won the 1987 Cup Winners Cup after beating Tunisia’s Esperance in a two-leg final.
Coincidentally, it was Esperance who, 27 years later, eliminated Gor Mahia in the first round of the 2014 CAF Champions League.
2014 CAF Champions League:
Gor Mahia 1-0, 0-1 (aggregate 1-1), US Bitam (Gabon) won 4-2 on penalties
Gor Mahia 2-3, 0-5 Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia) Lost 2-8 on aggregate
2015 CAF Champions League:
Gor Mahia 1-0, 2-3 CNaPS Sport (Madagascar) won (agg 3-3) on away goal rule
Gor Mahia 0-1, 0-1 AC Leopards (Congo Brazzaville) lost 0-2 on aggregate
Gor Mahia at Cecafa Kagame Cup:
2014: Gor Mahia’s outing in the Cecafa Kagame Cup in Kigali was a disappointment. They were bundled out by better organized teams from East Africa. The Kenyans had not made the championship for years and were overshadowed by such teams as eventual winners El Merreikh of Sudan, beaten finalists APR of Rwanda and other regional heavyweights like Azam of Tanzania. Gor Mahia did not make it beyond the pool stage.
Gor Mahia’s performance in Kigali:
Lost, Gor Mahia 1-2 KCCA (Uganda)
Lost, Gor Mahia 0-1 Atletico (Burundi)
Drew, APR (Rwanda) 2-2 Gor Mahia
Drew, Gor Mahia 2-2 Telecom (Djibouti)
Gor Mahia squad:
Frederick Onyango (captain): 18. Haroun Shakava, 15. David “Calabar” Owino, 5. Musa Mohammed, 2. Godfrey Walusimbi, 6. Collins “Gatusso” Okoth, 3. Geoffrey “Baba” Kizito, 9. Timothy Otieno, 17. Eric Ochieng’, 8. Danny Sserunkuma, 11. George Ogutu
Reserves – 23. Joel Bataro (GK), 7. Simon Mburu, 13. Charles Bruno, 14. Kennedy Omogi, 4. Kevin Onyango, 12. David Otieno, 20. Joseph Kariuki, 16. Arthur Semazzi
Coach – Robert [Bobby] Williamson (Scotland)
2015: In the tournament held in Tanzania, Gor Mahia were a great improvement from the previous year. After a terrific show on the opening day at the National Stadium against home boys Young Africans which Gor won 2-1, they were put right up there as tournament favourites.
Gor Mahia were to go all the way to the final, but lost 0-2 to the better team, another Tanzanian giants Azam who had not conceded a goal throughout the championship. Their better fortune was a result of better signings earlier in the year making them look like genuine championship material. On Gor Mahia’s starting line-up, six players were foreigners from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Liberia.
Gor Mahia results:
Won, Young Africans (Tanzania) 1-2 Gor Mahia
Won, Gor Mahia 3-1 KMKM (Zanzibar)
Drew, Khartoum National (Sudan) 1-1 Gor Mahia
Won, Gor Mahia 3-1 Telecom (Djibouti)
Won, Gor Mahia 2-1 Al Malakia (South Sudan)
Won, Gor Mahia 3-1 Khartoum National (Sudan)
Lost, Azam (Tanzania Mainland) 2-0 Gor Mahia
Gor Mahia squad in the 2015 Cecafa Kagame Cup:
The team was heavily influenced by foreigners. Gor Mahia breezed majestically through the pool stages and when they came unstuck in the final on August 2, 2015 in Dar es Salaam, it was against an Azam team that also depended on the talent of many foreigners plying their trade in Tanzania.
Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga was one of the tournament’s revelations, blending sublime skills with an eye for goal. He scored five to earn the Golden Boot Award. Azam defender, the veteran Serge Pascal Wawa from Cote d’Ivoire, was the MVP (Most Valuable Player) and one of his outstanding contributions was rugged tackling against Gor in the final.
Gor Mahia squad (Kenyan unless stated):
- Boniface Oluoch
- Musa Mohammed (captain)
- Abouba Sibumona – (Rwanda)
- Karim Nzigiyimana – (Burundi)
- Haroun Shakava
- Innocent Wafula
- Glay Dirkir – (Liberia)
- Khalid Aucho – (Uganda)
- Godfrey Walusimbi – (Uganda)
- Michael Olunga
- Meddie Kagere – (Rwanda)
- Frederick Onyango (GK)
- George “Blackberry” Odhiambo
- Ronald Omino
- Hassan Ali Abondo
- Ernest Wendo
- Enock Agwanda
- Eric Ochieng’
- Collins Okoth
- David Juma (GK)
- Doctor: Patrick Opiyo
- Team manager: Jolawi Abondo
- Assistant coach: Frank Ouna
- Asst coach: John “Bobby” Ogolla
- Head coach: Frank Nuttal (Scotland)
2013 Cecafa Challenge and Harambee Stars performances (2013-15):
On December 12, 2013, the day Kenya was marking her 50th year of Independence from Britain, the Kenya Year Book commemorating the day was out; and the Kenya national football team, Harambee Stars, would uplift millions of spirits via a rare victory.
At the Nyayo National Stadium, Harambee Stars would beat Sudan 2-0 in the final of the Cecafa Challenge Cup, to open a promising chapter for the sports pages of the 2014/15 Kenya Year Book. Lifting the Challenge Cup was an achievement the Stars had done only once – in 2002 – in 30 years.
The Uhuru Day victory was something to enthuase football fans who had tolerated years of fruitless endevour.
There would be no Cecafa Challenge Cup Championship in 2014, the designated hosts, Ethiopia, backed out too late for organisers to find an alternate host. The 2015 edition was again scheduled for Ethiopia. All were hopeful the Ethiopians would not, for the second time, drop the ball.
Meanwhile, Kenya would continue to enjoy the sweetness of a trophy fantastic captain Allan Wanga handed them after scoring a brace — in the 34th and 68th minutes – to silence a Sudan team that had not been expected to buckle under easily.
Wanga’s feat would catch the eye the Sudanese as the giants of Omdurman, El Merreikh, snapped him up from Nairobi’s AFC Leopards. Wanga went on to prove his weight’s worth in gold by scoring the winning goal for El Merreikh to lift the Cecafa Kagame Cup Championship in Rwanda in 2014. El Merreikh got the better of Kigali’s APR.
In 2014 and 2015, Harambee Stars would continue to flounder, routinely falling out in the early rounds of continental and world championship qualifiers.
Below are names, results and statistics around Harambee Stars performances in the memorable 2013 Cecafa Challenge Cup:
Final, 2013 Cecafa Challenge Cup:
Thursday, Dec 2:
(At Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi)
Sudan 0-2 Kenya
– 1. Abdelrahman Ali: 4. Hamoda Bashir (captain), 8. Ismail Elsiddig, 6. Elrayah Ali Malik, 5. Malik Mohammed, 19. Amier Kamal, 11. Nadir Eltayeb (9. Mohamed Abdelmonem, 62’), 10. Mohannad Tahir, 2. Eltahir Elhag, 3. Faris Abdalla (18. Miaaz Abdelrahim, 71’), 12. Salah Ibrahim
Reserves not used – 16. Muner Elkhair (GK); 20. Abdalla Elzubair (GK), 17. Mugahid Faroug, 14. Idriss Suleiman, 7. Mohamed Abdelkarim
Not listed – 15. Ali Hussein, 13. Nazar Hamid
Coach: Mubarak Suliman (Sudan)
- Duncan Ochieng’ – (Sofapaka):
- David “Calabar” Owino – (Gor Mahia)
- James Situma – (Sofapaka)
- Aboud Omar – (Tusker)
- Jockins Atudo – (Azam, Tanzania)
- Peter Opiyo – (Tusker)
- Francis Kahata – (Thika United)/ (17. Paul Kiongera – KCB, (90+3)
- Anthony “Teddy” Akumu – (Gor Mahia)
- Clifton Miheso – (Thika United)/ (12. David Gateri – River Blackpool ASD, South Africa, 87)
- Allan Wanga, captain (AFC Leopards)/ (6. Noah Wafula – AFC Leopards, 85)
- Edwin Lavatsa – (Gor Mahia)
Reserves not used:
- Frederick Onyango – (GK);
- Musa Mohamed – (Gor Mahia)
- James Ndetto – (Ulinzi Stars)
- David King’atua – (Thika United)
- Jacob Keli
- Wycliffe Kasaya
- Scorer: 11. Allan Wanga (34’, 68’)
- Coach: Robert [Bobby] Williamson – (Scotland)
- Referee: Wiish Yabarow – (Somalia)
- Assistant ref: Mussie Kinde – (Ethiopia)
- Asst ref: Mark Ssonko – (Uganda)
- Fourth official: Waziri Sheha – (Zanzibar)
- Match commissioner: Abdiqani Said Arab – (Somalia)
2013 Cecafa Challenge Cup:
Tue, Dec 10:
Tanzania 0-1 Kenya:
- Duncan OCHIENG’ – (Sofapaka):
- James SITUMA – (Sofapaka)
- Joackins ATUDO – (Azam, Tanzania)
- David “Calabar” OWINO – (Gor Mahia)
- Aboud OMAR – (Tusker):
- Anthony “Teddy” AKUMU – (Gor Mahia)
- Peter OPIYO – (Tusker)
- Francis KAHATA – (Thika United)
- Clifton MIHESO – (Thika United)
- Allan WANGA, captain – (AFC Leopards)
- Edwin LAVATSA – (Gor Mahia)
- Frederick ONYANGO, GK – (Gor Mahia)
- Musa MOHAMMED – (Gor Mahia)
- Paul KIONGERA – (Gor Mahia)
- James NDETTO – (Ulinzi Stars)
- Noah WAFULA – (AFC Leopards)
- David KING’ATUA – (Thika United)
- David GATERI – (River Blackpool ASD, South Africa)
Coach – Adel AMROUCHE (Belgium)