Can Gor Mahia emulate the feat achieved by their 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 gong 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 top the score charts with 26 goals en route to claiming the title.
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.
ONE GAME AT A TIME
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’s take one game at a time.”
Ochieng adds: “They have been very competitive and gone through first leg unbeaten, but they must know that the second leg will be harder and must prepare adequately.”
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 defence, full backs Abouba Sibomana and Karim Nizigiyamana have been joy to watch .Sibomana epitomises the modern era left- back, full of gas and elegance while his close friend Nizigiyamana has been prowling the right back like a Tiger.
On Saturday, he was at his best, making a run down his flank to find Meddie ‘Lwanda Magere’ Kagere to nod the ball 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 financial hardships.