Raila, CS Owalo ‘battle’ out for Gor Mahia patron ‘position’
Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance principal Raila Odinga met with the 2023 Kenya Premier League winners, Gor Mahia, popularly known as K’Ogalo, and their officials on June 27, 2023, after he jetted back into the country.
An ardent Gor Mahia (and Arsenal) fan, the opposition leader expressed excitement at getting to meet and spend time with the team players who recently bagged their 20th unprecedented league title at the Moi International Stadium in Kasarani.
“I’m back in town and pleased to meet Team Gor Mahia! Congratulations to them once again. Let’s meet at Kamukunji now!” said Raila Odinga.
He hosted the team at a VIP lounge where he was also presented with a Gor Mahia jersey printed ’20 times champions’ at the back and covered in several signatures- presumably from the winning team members.
Raila also got to hoist the KPL trophy that the Football Federation of Kenya awarded K’Ogalo at a private VIP award ceremony that was unexpectedly held in Kasarani too.
Raila was accompanied by Orange Democratic Movement party’s deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya and MP Opiyo Wandayi among others. Unconfirmed reports indicate he also awarded the team Sh1.5 million for their historic victory.
Raila’s love for K’Ogalo and financial support, however, appears to be challenged by ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, another ardent supporter of the team who has been known to splash millions on the team and bailing them out of financial difficulties.
Prior to Gor Mahia playing in the finals against Nairobi City Stars and beating them 4-1, CS Owalo splashed Sh 1 million on the team to boost their morale. Upon winning the league title, the CS splashed another Sh 3 million on them. Nairobi News previously reported that the players received Sh 1 million, the technical bench was handed Sh 500,000, the administration Sh 1 million, the driver/support staff received Sh 200,000 and the security received Sh 300,000. He also promised to buy the team a bus like that one of European league players Manchester United within two months.
This fan love and financial support appears to be pitting the prolific Raila Odinga against CS Owalo on whom can be considered the official K’Ogalo patron. Raila has been the bonafide patron of Gor Mahia for close to two decades, often spotted at their games whenever they are played in the city; and as of late, the same can be said of CS Owalo.
In the grand scheme of things, Gor Mahia is known as the uniting factor of the entire Luo nation, one of the big voting blocs in the country. The two leaders understand that their unconditional social and financial support for Gor Mahia is one of the ways they can Luo nation.