Unbeaten Gor Mahia aim to emulate the great 1967 squad
Can Gor Mahia emulate the great squad of 1976 that went an entire league season unbeaten?
The K’Ogalo juggernaut has been on a roll throughout the first leg, navigating through rigorous 15 first round fixtures without losing a match.
They have been impeccable, playing finesse football laced with flair and verve. Their class, and elegance has been out in sundry.
From as many matches, they have scored the highest number of goals at 30, while conceding the least at six.
This averages two goals a match and as they prepare for the second round of matches, their loyal fans will be following with bated breath whether they can walk the same path taken by the ‘Invincible Squad’ of 1976.
In that year, K’Ogalo won the coveted title for the third time (after 1964 and 1974) thanks to the exploits of deadly play maker Allan Thigo.
In that great squad, there was also the lethal goal poacher in Maurice ‘Sonyi’ Ochieng who went on to claim the Golden Boot with 20 goals, ahead of the legendary William “Chege” Ouma at 16.
Fast forward to today, Gor is showing signs that they have come of age and are exhibiting the thirst of not only claiming the title for the third straight year but also attaining invincibility.
Club legend and current deputy coach John ‘Bobby’ Ogolla who joined the club in December of the same year shortly after the historic league conquest says: “With focus, we can go the great length but we must take one game at a time. Nothing is impossible. We have played in the first leg, but it all depends on how we will take care of ourselves in the second leg. There are a number of factors that will decide but let’ take one game at a time.”
“It’s always great to make history. So far, our strength has been the preparations we had. Before the league started, we were in continentals and that means we begun the journey before others so were competitive very early in the season.”
Back then, Thigo was the heart and soul of the team, the engine of their attacks, but the current outfit is more coherent and have quality in every department.
In goal, former Tusker custodian Boniface Oluoch has returned to top form, keeping ten clean sheets in a row. It is hard to believe that he is the same player who went an entire season without kicking a ball just 18 months ago owing to injury.
He could be in line for his third Golden Glove award after he won the individual accolade in 2011 and 2012 while at Tusker.
In defense, full backs Abouba Sibomana and Karim Nizigiyamana have been joy to watch. Sibomana epitomes the modern era left- back, full of gas and elegance while his close friend Nizigiyamana has been prowling the right back like an uncaged Tiger.
On Saturday, he was in his destructive element, making a mazy run down his flank to find Meddie ‘Lwanda Magere’ Kagere to nod home.
Kagere has been tormenting defenders at will, and he put up another virtuoso performance to justify why K’Ogalo signed him against Tusker in Kisumu.
Meanwhile, AFC Leopards will draw satisfaction by finishing the first round of matches at position four despite the hardships they have been facing.
Their awe-inspiring Sunday 1-0 win over Sofapaka ensured that Gor maintain a 12- point lead at the summit of the table ahead of Sofapaka who are on 27 same as third placed Ulinzi Stars.
Ingwe on 25 are followed by Western Stima who wrap up the top five on 23 points.