How Gor Mahia won League in 1974

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At the beginning of 1974, having gone five years since winning the league on their debut season in 1968, Gor Mahia were not prepared to wait for another year for a league title.

The situation had been compounded by the fact that their arch-rivals Abaluhya FC had since won two league titles.

Preparations for another league title assault had however been hampered by internal rivalries that led to the decamping of some of the club’s key senior players including Kenyan internationals James Siang’a, William Ouma Chege, Daniel Nicodemus, Stephen Yongo and Fred Siranga to Luo Union.

Gor Mahia responded by recruiting youthful players such as Laban Otieno and George Yoga to build a team around Allan Thigo who had remained at Gor Mahia.

With Abaluhya opting out the league, the star-studded Luo Union were quickly installed as the favourites for the title with a strong challenge expected from Kenya Breweries.

Gor Mahia however, began the campaign strongly with four consecutive victories against KFA (2-1), Kisumu Hotstars (4-1), Kenya Prisons (3-1) and Digo United (3-2) to announce their intentions of reclaiming the title.

Consecutive losses to Champion (1-3) and Black Mamba (1-2) slowed the momentum giving hope to Luo Union and Kenya Breweries who had experienced mixed results as well as coastal side Champion who had also made a flying start.

Gor Mahia would soon recover their mojo and go on to win 9 of their next 10 matches with victories against Gema (1-0), Ramogi (3-0), Feisal (7-1), Kenya Prisons (2-0) and Feisal (2-1) before losing to Mwenge (1-3).

A key battle against new enemies Luo Union saw Gor Mahia come up triumph with a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals by John Chore and Jackson Aluko to cancel out old boy William Ouma ‘Chege’s’ goal.

After exacting revenge against Black Mamba (4-2) for their first-leg loss and walloping Kisumu Hotstars (4-0) once again, Gor Mahia would then record what is their record biggest win in the league to date, a 12-0 walloping of Digo United with Laban Otieno scoring 4 goals, Peter Ouma ‘Pele’ helping himself to a hat-trick and further goals from Allan Thigo (2), James Ogolla ‘Kadir’, John Chore and Jackson Aluko.

Champion, who were also putting up strong results put a damper on Gor Mahia’s progress with a hat-trick from Jumanne Ali and a goal from Charles Anderson cancelling out strikes from Allan Thigo (2) and Laban Otieno to ensure they did a double over Gor Mahia. This hiccup followed by dropped points against Bata Bullets  (2-2) and Luo Union finding form, 12 wins in 13 games, made for a nervous run in.

Gor Mahia were able to however maintain their nerves, winning 9 consecutive games; Abeingo (3-1), Kenya Breweries (2-1), Hakati (1-0), Kenya Breweries (2-0), Hakati (2-0), KFA (4-0), Abeingo (4-1), Mwenge (5-1), and Gema (3-0) before their penultimate game against challengers Luo Union ended in a barren draw. Already crowned champions Gor Mahia finished the job with a 3-0 drubbing of Ramogi.

Laban Otieno finished the season as Gor Mahia’s top scorer with 18 goals, and tied with Luo Union’s William Ouma ‘Chege’ for the league’s honors ahead of Kenya Breweries’ Peter Odera and Champion’s Charles Anderson on 16 goals.

Other notable scorers for Gor Mahia that season were Allan Thigo (13), Francis Mudany ‘Power’ (12) and John Chore (10).

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