NAIROBI, Kenya, November 3 – They promised it would be grand, and grand is what it turned out to be as Gor Mahia finally took custody of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) trophy at a packed Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The minor distraction of a 2-0 loss to KCB only served to slightly dent the celebration of ending 18 years of hurt when their captain, Jerim Onyango, who was only nine when they last lifted the trophy, held it aloft to vociferous reception from the Green Army well into the clear Sunday night.
“I was in standard three when Gor last lifted the cup and to do it is so great. Now we can focus on doing well in the continent, its been a long wait and the fans have been fantastic and this goes out to the them,” the barely audible custodian who played no small part in the triumph by being a formidable last line of defense stated.
Befitting the occasion, Gor players caused a stir when they rolled into the biggest sporting cathedral in the land in three stretch limousines; in what latter day youth term a ‘swaggerific’ display of largesse never before witnessed in domestic football.
Their roaring entry caused a 10-minute delay in the first KPL encounter of the day that saw Muhoroni Youth ensure their survival by beating hosts City Stars 1-0.
“The match was good but we wanted to be crowned champions in style by winning this match, but we are now focusing on the CAF Champions League which we want to make history,” said Scottish coach, Bob Williamson after Clifford Aluanga and Jacob Keli delivered victory to the bankers on the day.
That was just a diversion from the main event as the Green Army invaded the pitch when the players and technical bench resplendent in grey and green suits came out of the limousines.
In a cacophony of green and white, K’Ogalo took to the field and the party atmosphere saw the all conquering class of 2013 get lost in the occasion as KCB went about dominating them from the off.
Alwanga put them ahead with a free-kick on 37 minutes after Onyango handled outside the box and five later, Keli, who was a thorn the entire afternoon, nicked in to blast the second high into the roof of the net.
With Gor remembering why they won the title with three games to spare in the second half, KCB held on for the victory on the day but K’Ogalo’s rank and file were soon taking their places to get the medals amid wild cheering.
As the players sat in formation with white t-shirts bearing champions, a half naked supporter gate crushed to present a self-portrait to Dan Sserunkuma, their Ugandan top scorer whose late rally took Gor past the finish line.
Dignitaries, including former Prime Minister and patron of the club, Raila Odinga, jostled to be immortalised in the moment soon after Onyango raised the trophy aloft to confirm their record 13th crown, standing head and shoulders above all in domestic football history.
Soon, excited fans took over to get a feel of Giniwasekao (this thing is ours) as confusion reigned and the party spilled over to the ultra-modern Thika Super Highway and Nairobi’s CBD in a show that bordered on insanity.
In Kisumu City, the moment was marked by hooting of car horns and an impromptu match across the major streets as they joined their kin in the capital in going bonkers.