Kenya’s second President Daniel arap Moi, who will be buried on Wednesday in Kabarak, Nakuru County, was a big fan of AFC Leopards.
During his tenure, Ingwe reached the semi-final of the Caf Champions League in 1985. The team lost to Leventis from Nigeria on goal aggregate before arch-rivals Gor Mahia won the Cup Winners Cup in 1987.
Mzee Moi invited both Ingwe and K’Ogalo to State House and gave each of them Sh3 million. He also gave them land to build their stadiums. Unfortunately, that has never happened.
Between 1979 and 1989 when Robert Kiberu and Jerry Saurer, both deceased, were Ingwe coaches, the team produced the bulk of Harambee Stars’ players.
They included goalkeeper Mahmoud Abass, Josephat Murila, John Arieno Papa (deceased), Abdul Barasa, JJ Masiga, Haggai Mirikau (deceased), Tony Lidonde, Hassan Juma (deceased), Wilberforce Mulamba, Moses Okwaro (deceased), Mikey Weche and Aggrey Lukoye.
Others were Pius Masinza, Peter Lichungu, Wycliffe Anyangu, Francis Kadenge (deceased), Washington Muhanji, Mike Amwayi, Francis Lubembe (deceased), Peter Zimbo Owade, Sammy Taabu (deceased), Ben and Dan Musuku among others.
Whenever Ingwe had an international match at home, Moi went to the stadium to watch the game. Fans will recall how he joked with the late Juma about “twanga, pepeta”. That’s how “pepeta” became popular among football fans.
When Moi invited Ingwe to State House after winning the East and Central Africa trophy for keeps after victories in 1982, 1983 and 1984, he told Abass: “Wewe unanyaka mpira kama nyani? (You catch the ball like a money). Abass got excited, he shoved aside two security men and shook Moi’s hand.
During Mzee Moi’s 24-year rule following the death of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in 1978, Ingwe have won 13 league titles, eight FKF Cup titles and five Cecafa Club Championship crowns.
Moi’s love for sports, compared to other African leaders, was unrivalled. He supported the development of sports infrastructure and national teams that represented Kenya.
He commissioned the building of the Nyayo National Stadium and the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. Mzee Moi was part of the Parliamentary football in the 1960s.
President Moi loved Harambee Stars. He motivated the squad to dominate the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.
Stars reached three successive Africa Cup of Nations (1988, 1990 and 1992) on the back a successful 4th All African Games that was held in 1987. Stars lost 1-0 to Egypt in the final at Kasarani.