NAIROBI, November 1 – In the 10 frenzied minutes it took a crew to assemble the stage for champions Gor Mahia to receive the newly glittering SportPesa Premier League trophy, their supporters were treated to the raw statistics as the class of 2015 wrote history as the first team to win the league unbeaten in the new KPL era.
The three time back-to-back champions who emulated the class of 1976 that was led by club legend Allan Thigo, had been top of the table for a record 252 days, from the moment they beat Mathare United 4-2 at Nairobi City Stadium in their season opener on February 21.
KO’galo wrapped up their season in style after outdoing in-form Muhoroni Youth 2-0 courtesy of Ali Abondo and ‘Engineer’ Michael Olunga second half goals to complete a fine campaign after going 30 matches without tasting defeat.
It has all came together for Gor in one joyous celebration, patiently waiting five weeks, since they were confirmed as champions after beating Sony Sugar 1-0, to get their hands on the shiny silverware to celebrate in front of their supporters.
To spice the party, the team kept the old cup for good after clinching the hat-trick of titles for the first time in three decades when the club won in it 1985.
Frank Nutall’s team have been in a class of their own, winning 24 matches in 30 games to successfully retain the title by a massive 78 points, the highest to be collected by a team in the 16 team KPL format league.
“It’s great for us to win the league unbeaten and write history. I thank my technical bench, players and supporters and everybody who has pull together for us to reach this far.
“It has been a difficult season, struggling financially and for us to get to this point, I’m happy for everyone. We are just enjoying today,” ecstatic Gor head coach, Nuttall stated after the win.
Gor have been too good for all teams this season, as they demonstrated by showing the character of a champion in the second half to record their 14th home victory out of 15 home matches and complete the double over Muhoroni.
It was a spirited start by Muhoroni, but the reality is that their season ended when they secured a top eight finish after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with struggling giants AFC Leopards last weekend.
After a dull first half that saw both sides create less chances, Olunga tore the right to bring in a fine cross but there was no one to tap home as Gor resumed on a high.
Abondo then light up the stadium when he netted the opener in the 62nd minute from a superb free-kick to send the Green Army into jubilation.
Olunga who prior to the game was two goals behind Jesse Were in the golden boot hunt, was man-marked but he found space to seal the win six minutes to stoppage time.
The Harambee Stars lethal forward fired home his 19th goal and the winner to ensure the champions’ party could start in earnest when he shot low and hard from the edge of the box past keeper, Daniel Kiptoo.
The final whistle indicated the start of the party at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium where unlike the past two seasons, the Green Army maintained decorum to give players ample time to celebrate with their families and take photos of the trophy.
Wearing T-shirts written “3-peat Champions 2013-2014-2015”, the players sprinkled water on Nuttall who has only lost one league match since succeeding countryman Bobby Williamson in September last year.
The trophy lift was a familiar feeling for the captain, Jerim Onyango, having done so in 2013 and 14 but this time he was joined by defender Musa Mohammed who has skippered the team the entire season.
The two captains were handed the big eared trophy by patron and former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga who was accompanied by Siaya Senator, James Orengo.
A lap of honour took forever, soaking it all up again as they made their way towards their fans in all four corners of the stadium to mark their record 15th national title that with no doubt crowned them as Kings of Kenyan football.
-GOR unbeaten journey-
21/02 Gor Mahia 4 Mathare United 2
19/03 Gor Mahia 2 Bandari 1
22/03 Gor Mahia 3 Chemelil Sugar 1
08/04 Gor Mahia 3 KCB 1
12/04 AFC Leopards 1 Gor Mahia 1
15/04 Nairobi City Stars 0 Gor Mahia 3
19/04 Gor Mahia 0 Sofapaka 0
26/04 Ushuru FC 0 Gor Mahia 2
02/05 Gor Mahia 2 Ulinzi Stars 0
06/05 SoNy Sugar 0 Gor Mahia 1
10/05 Western Stima 0 Gor Mahia 0
17/05 Gor Mahia 5 Nakuru AllStars 0
24/05 Muhoroni Youth FC 0 Gor Mahia 1
01/06 Thika United 0 Gor Mahia 2
06/06 Gor Mahia 1 Tusker FC 0
27/06 Chemelil Sugar 1 Gor Mahia 4
08/07 Gor Mahia 2 Thika United 0
12/07 Mathare United 1 Gor Mahia 1
09/08 KCB 1 Gor Mahia 6
12/08 Gor Mahia 2 Ushuru FC 0
15/08 Gor Mahia 3 Nairobi City Stars 1
19/08 Nakuru AllStars 1 Gor Mahia 1
23/08 Gor Mahia 2 AFC Leopards 0
29/08 Bandari 1 Gor Mahia 2
13/09 Ulinzi Stars 0 Gor Mahia 0
16/09 Gor Mahia 1 SoNy Sugar 0
21/10 Sofapaka 0 Gor Mahia 2
25/10 Tusker FC 0 Gor Mahia 1
28/10 Gor Mahia 1 Western Stima 0
01/11 Gor Mahia 2 Muhoroni Youth FC 0