How Gor Mahia won first league title

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Gor Mahia was formed in February 1968 by the end of November the same year, the club had already been crowned the national league champions – but how was that first championship won?

The 1968 league was comprised of nine teams with Abaluhya FC – the two-time defending champions as the team to beat. Other strong contenders for the title were the coastal duo of Liverpool FC and one time champions Feisal FC. Other teams making the league included Nakuru Allstars, the 1967 runners-up Kisumu Hotstars, Maragoli FC, Ramogi FC and Maseno.

Gor Mahia’s first ever league game was against Nakuru Allstars on 28th April with ex-Nakuru Allstars player Walter Molo scoring Gor Mahia’s first ever league goal enroute to a 2-1 win. Star forward William Ouma ‘Chege’ added the second goal -the first of his 19 league goals that season.

The second match was an eagerly anticipated first ever “Mashemeji Derby”, billed in the dailies as the battle between the mercurial Chege and Abaluhya’s star winger Joe Kadenge. Chege came out on top as his brace ensured Gor Mahia carried the bragging rights in a 2-1 win.

After dispatching Kisumu Hotstars 4-1, Gor Mahia humiliated favoured coastal giants Liverpool FC 6-2 with Stephen Yongo scoring the club’s first ever league hat-trick.

After getting rid of Feisal (2-1) and Kisumu Hotstars again (6-2), Gor Mahia turned the heat once more on Liverpool FC with Chege scoring four goals in a 5-2 in the reverse fixture between the two sides.

First team to deny Gor Mahia maximum points
Ramogi FC became the first team to deny Gor Mahia maximum points that season holding them to a 1-1 draw before Nakuru Allstars became the first team to inflict them defeat in a 3-4 loss despite Chege scoring a hat-trick.

The team was however soon back to its winning ways, first beating Maragoli 1-0 before humiliating Maseno 5-1 with Chris Obure (former cabinet minister and Kisii Senator) scoring 4 goals in the process. Interestingly, all four goals were headers from Chege’s corners.

A loss against Feisal (0-1) sandwiched between victories over Maragoli and Ramogi meant Abaluhya FC were still in the hunt for a third successive league title going into the penultimate round of games.

With Kisumu Hotstars beating Abaluhya 2-1 in Kisumu, Gor Mahia, without their star striker Chege who was by then serving a jail sentence, went ahead to wallop Maseno 5-2 in their reverse fixture to secure their maiden league title.

The final match against Abaluhya was therefore just a formality but Chris Obure’s goal meant the game ended in a tie and Gor enjoyed the season’s bragging rights.

Despite finishing the season in jail, Chege emerged as the season’s top scorer, scoring 19 goals in just  14 matches.

Next week, we reminisce on how the 1974 league title was won

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