I write this a few hours before I join other members of the Green Army to lay siege at Kasarani Stadium as we host the Congolese side DC Motema Pembe. An incurable optimistic like the rest of the soldiers in this army, I am hoping Gor Mahia will give the Congolese a warm welcome to the East African Community (I am told they have shown interest in joining) by giving them a thorough hiding.
As I have said here before, even rabid optimism needs to be tempered with some caution and I am alive to the fact that a football match can go either way. I have watched Congolese teams over the years and I am aware that they tend to be technically superior to the teams from our necks of the wood.
I have also seen Gor Mahia at its finest since that first February I went to the stadium in 1984, and I must say, we have the rich history we can always hang on when the going gets tough. As the legendary wordsmith Roy Gachuhi penned in this newspaper on Saturday:
“It was my fortune to watch Gor Mahia in 1979 and 1987. It was my joy to know in person this enchanted group of amateurs who worked their jobs by day and played their football by evening, who sang and danced to rhumba music and then translated its rhythms into flowing moves on the pitch and who, 40 years before Eliud Kipchoge gave words to this pursuit, made us know, no human is limited..."
I was not of age to watch the class of 1979 under the tutelage of player/coach Allan Thigo and to which Roy paid a glowing tribute. But I followed the 1987 campaign passionately and I still remember the exact place I sat on that day in early December of that year when captain Austin Oduor ‘Makamu’ lifted the Nelson Mandela Cup to our roaring approval.
Far and away, Gor Mahia is the best team in this our neck of the woods. However, to be sincere, we must admit that the team as currently constituted, is not in the same class of their predecessors of 1979 and 1987.
Be that as it may, I am confident that Steven Polack and his boys will give us a good show this afternoon. The boys are largely unknown on the African football stage and while many may see this as a negative thing, the optimist in me sees the positive- the boys are young and hungry for recognition and these two are always a sure motivational factor in any sport.
Meanwhile, as a reader Stephen Kariuki has written to me, we need an urgent solution to the sinister danger our league is facing of teams not honouring their fixtures because they are in financial dire straits. I will write about this very soon, Bwana Kariuki.