Abondo, a man reborn at Gor Mahia
Twice rejected by Tusker, attacking midfielder Ali ‘Teargas’ Abondo is fast turning out to be the big thing at Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia.
He scored the lone goal on Wednesday as Gor dispatched home side Sony Sugar in Awendo to move seven points clear on the league standings.
It raised his season’s tally to a leading seven goal, only shared by Tusker sharp shooter Jesse Were. He is not only flourishing in the free role accorded to him by Scot tactician Frank Nuttall but also banging goals at will.
Slender in frame but mighty in spirit, Abondo has this term combined right decision and impeccable final touch to score match winning goals for K’Ogalo.
Interestingly, his return to K’Ogalo at the beginning of the current season was met with pessimism from the club’s know-it-all fans, who going by his record at the club in 2012, believed that he was just but another signing out to make up the numbers. His average performance at Tusker – the previous season – seemed to reinforce this viewpoint.
But within 10 league matches, the deadball specialist has confounded his critics and is fast warming his way into the hearts of the Green Army.
His beautifully executed free kick at a waterlogged Awendo Green Stadium that won the match for Gor was the latest in his impressive repertoire so far.
Oddly, his nickname ‘Teargas’, emanated from a peculiar incident – a rush high boot challenge on then AFC Leopards left back, Amon Muchiri, in March 2012, when K’Ogalo clashed with Ingwe in a tempestuous Mashemeji Derby at Nyayo Stadium.
That tackle, earned him a straight red card that touched off chaotic scenes on the stands as Gor Mahia fans protested the call forcing police officers teargas the unruly fans.
Its in reference to the teargas fumes that engulfed Nyayo Stadium that afternoon that Abondo was christened ‘Teargas’ by Gor Mahia fans, a nickname that has stuck todate.
Born on the shores of Lake Victoria on December 12, 1989, the home area of former club great John ‘Zangi’ Okello, Abondo cut his teeth at Thurgem High School and was in the Lake region school’s squad that won the national schools champions in 2004.
Other clubs that he has played for are Palos FC of Kisumu, Sony Sugar, Bandari and Tusker.
Abondo was a key member of the Gor Mahia side that won two domestic titles – the FKF Cup and the KPL Top 8 – in 2012 under Croatian coach Zdravko Logarusic before he crossed over to Tusker in June 2013.
His stay at the breweries was however short-lived, paving way for his return to Gor Mahia in January. Going by his current form, his former employers at Ruaraka must be green with envy.