And cometh the hour, cometh the man as they say. Leading scorer, Ugandan Dan Sserunkuma, etched his name in the hallowed roll of Gor Mahia legends by sinking an 89th minute winner to snuff out the challenge of closest rivals Sofapaka 1-0 on Wednesday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The agonising 18-year wait is still a point shy being officially confirmed but no one is in doubt- K’Ogalo are the 2013 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions! The champagne can now be uncorked!
“It’s not good for my heart!” Bobby Williamson, the Scotsman who led Gor past the finish line in a tense encounter gasped after the final whistle, with his players and the Green Army involved in a rancorous lap of honour.
“You can see what it means to them, they have waited for it for a very long time. We never played as well as we can do but their determination did it in the end,” he added, admitting that it was not pretty to the eye but nonetheless, the job was done as the doctor ordered.
On Sserunkuma, the talisman who angled for a move away from the club two months ago, Williamson, the former Uganda Cranes coach who did not give the diminutive player a look in for the national side had only one clear answer.
“We will do our best to ensure that he does not leave the club again.”
For Sofapaka, the latter day titans who picked up the crown in 2009, it was a bitter end to their spirited fight to deny Gor the inevitable after a match they shaded possession and chances.
“We did well, we possessed the ball in the first half and the only thing we lacked was a goal and that was our undoing. Today was not our day,” midfielder Bernard Mangoli, who was declared the man of the match told.
His Ugandan coach, Sam Timbe, who would have enjoyed a fairytale introduction to the KPL had he succeeded in supplanting Williamson whom he moved here from across the border well into the second leg, was crestfallen.
“We lost chances and we were punished and at the end of the day, they are where they are.
“That is football and we will build on our key areas for next season,” he offered as he ensured he would melt away from the scene at the first opportunity.
In a cagey first half, Gor’s latest sensation, Tim Wanyonyi, blew over the first clear cut opportunity to score when Sserunkuma cut the ball back from the by line, with the youngster somehow putting the ball past Duncan Ochieng in the Sofapaka goal just after the half hour.
The 2009 champions came so close to scoring twice in as many minutes after the break, with Mustapha Kasolo and veteran John Baraza, their top marksman heading wide and being thwarted by Gor custodian, Jerim Onyango in that order.
Williamson brought on former Stars international, Patrick Oboya, Paul Kiongera and Moses Odhiambo to wrest back control of the midfield in the dying minutes.
Oboya’s pace and trickery made the difference, first releasing Wanyonyi on goal with a tearing pass on the 78th, only for the youngster to pass up the chance for glory by once again finding the wrong side of the post.
Minutes later, his attempted header across goal to set up Sserunkuma in the box fell to Ochieng’s grateful hands after being miscued but his next telling contribution made all the difference.
Oboya back heeled flick saw Sserunkuma tear past two defenders and lob Ochieng for the winner besides cuing the bedlam among the Green Army who at long last, could start the mother of all parties like it was in 1995.