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Staunch Gor fan Mzee Moi, fare thee well

Monday February 10 2020

President Daniel arap Moi is introduced to Kenya’s team to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, by Olympics legend Kipchoge Keino (centre). PHOTO | FILE |

President Daniel arap Moi is introduced to Kenya’s team to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, by Olympics legend Kipchoge Keino (centre). PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

TOM OSANJO
By TOM OSANJO
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The ever-lasting picture of President Daniel arap Moi and sports was taken on the Saturday of December 5, 1987. It has a beaming Moi, donning a hat that was the trademark of a Gor Mahia supporter of the 1980s, handing over the Nelson Mandela Cup to K’Ogalo captain Austin ‘Makamu’ Oduor.

It was the white smoke we were all waiting for to start the raucous party of song and dance. Gor Mahia had brought pride not only to its legion of supporters scattered across the globe but also to the country as a whole because that was the first time a team from Eastern part of African was winning a continental cup.

I attended nearly all the home legs of the continental campaign matches and President Moi always came out to lead us Gor Mahia supporters from the front. It was simply hedonistic as we trounced team after team on the roller coaster ride to the continental diadem.

Thus, when I received the news of the former Head of State’s death last Saturday, my mind was on auto taking me back to that boisterous Saturday evening, including the very place I saw as I watched that historical match.

Talking to this newspaper, Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier said Mzee Moi loved sports and gave financial assistance to the club whenever it was playing continental and domestic matches.

Rachier was further quoted acknowledging that Mzee Moi gave the club two parcels of land in Embakasi and Kasarani and attended the Mandela Cup final when Gor Mahia beat Tunisia giants Esperance to lift the prestigious cup in 1987.

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“Mzee Moi loved sports, he was always coming to the stadium and gave us land in Embakasi and Kasarani to construct a stadium. We are yet to get the title deeds, but the one at Kasarani is still intact,” Rachier said.

However, Moi’s love for sports was legendary and cut across all disciplines. Kenya Motor Sport Federation chairman Phineas Kimathi has eulogised Moi as someone who had motorsport at heart.

All of us who followed the All African Games held in Nairobi in 1987 still remember with nostalgia an upbeat Moi dashing from an athletics race to go rally support for the national football team Harambee Stars.

Most memorable was when the Stars faced off with their Malawian counterparts at the Nyayo National Stadium. Within a few minutes it was clear that the home boys were in the deep part of hell and could only be saved by a miracle.

The miracle came in the form of an abrupt power blackout and the match was postponed to the next day and Harambee Stars got their groove back in the rematch, going ahead to trounce Malawi.

The Malawians suspected foul play.

At Gor, as the country mourns Moi, what we are asking the management is that it does something with the parcels of land were gifted by the departed leader.

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