Oliech Dream Winner Powers SPL Champions Gor Past Rangers

Jan 09 - by Louis Kalinga for SportPesa News

Record Kenya international goal-scorer settles keenly contested encounter 2-1 at MISC Kasarani to send the Green Army into raptures

Gor Mahia FC captain Dennis Oliech in action during a SportPesa Premier League (SPL) match against Posta Rangers FC at the Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Gor won the match 2-1. PHOTO/SPN

  • Playing in his first SPL start of the season Oliech, who returned to domestic football with Gor after a two-year hiatus in football ensured all the headlines will be all about him in the only way he knows how when he found the target in first half stoppage time
  • With that, history was made as Oliech scored his first goal in the domestic top flight since 2002 when he was terrorising defences as a talented teenager in Mathare colours before he left for Doha to launch his international career
  • Gor did not take their foot off the gas and kept causing problems for the Rangers defence searching for the goal that would seal the victory for the champions

NAIROBI, Kenya- The perfect Hollywood script was written at the iconic Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Wednesday afternoon when record Kenya international goal scorer, Dennis Oliech popped up with the winner for SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions Gor Mahia FC in their 2-1 victory over Posta Rangers FC.

Playing in his first SPL start of the season Oliech, who returned to domestic football with Gor after a two-year hiatus in football ensured all the headlines will be all about him in the only way he knows how when he found the target in first half stoppage time.

Charles Momanyi and Francis Nambutie traded goals for Gor and Rangers before the former Harambee Stars captain who skipped  his team on the day sprinkled the stardust to settle an encounter that lifted the titleholders to fifth on 10 points, four adrift of leaders Mathare United FC .

Truly, the record league winners seeking an 18th title are now poised to embark on the task of reeling in the early pacesetters after edging out the struggling mailmen who slumped to 14th on six and with Oliech showing a glimpse of a return to his devastating best, the rest of the SPL should stand and take notice.

Gor, who are preparing to defend their SportPesa Cup crown in Tanzania will be buoyed by the return to form of the country’s most revered striker who showed glimpses of the havoc he can wreck last weekend in their 1-1 draw against Mathare where he came on as a substitute in the second half.

Hassan Oktay sent out a much-changed squad from the 11 that wore the green and white against the lum boys at the weekend, with the most notable being calling on Oliech to lead the champions out as skipper.

Regular captain Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango were dropped from the starting line-up at the heart of defence to be replaced by Pascal Ogweno and Momanyi. 

Rangers lucky

With a point to prove after what by their standards was a stuttering start to the season that yielded two victories, a draw and two defeats in their first five, Gor raced out of the blocks with mean intent.

The mailmen almost conceded a goal in the opening minute when Ugandan Shafiq Batambuze got on the end of a George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo corner but Gilbert Osonga hacked his effort off the line. 

Rangers got lucky yet again in the fourth when Kenya international Francis Kahata slipped past Charles Odete on the left flank and his attempted cross came off the crossbar. 

In the 11th, Kahata found space on the flank and sent a teasing cross into the area but Odhiambo failed to get on the end of it. 

Odete then went into the book in the 22nd after upending his tormentor-in-chief Kahata in cynical fashion and four minutes later, the pressure told when Rangers collected the ball from their net.

Yet again, the star midfielder was in the thick of things, sending in a corner that sparked a melee in the box and after an almighty scramble, Momanyi forced it in for 1-0 to the champions with Rangers goalkeeper Levis Opiyo needing treatment on the pitch. 

After a four-minute stoppage, the game resumed but Opiyo went down and had to be substituted as the match approached the half hour mark with Eliud Emase taking his place. 

The defensive frailties that have affected the titleholders this term came to the fore in the 41st when Rangers levelled matters at 1-1 when Brian Osumba sent a cross into the Gor box and Francis Nambute equalised with a cheeky finish. 

Stage set

The referee added a mouthful nine minutes to the half due to the injury stoppages and coach Oktay took off Ogweno who was responsible for the Rangers equaliser and replaced him with Joachim Oluoch. 

The stage was then set for the moment of the game.

Wellington Ochieng sent a fantastic ball into the box and Oliech opened his body and dispatched the ball to the net with a left-footed finish, before going on his knees to dedicate the goal to his late mother Mary Auma, the reason why he joined Gor. 

With that, history was made as Oliech scored his first goal in the domestic top flight since 2002 when he was terrorising defences as a talented teenager in Mathare colours before he left for Doha to launch his international career.


That was 16 years since his last goal. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. 

The referee finally blew for half time, the champions leading by two goals to one. 

Oliech kicked off the second half for Gor and he came close to his brace barely a minute after the restart with a right-footed attempt at goal that went inches wide as he threatened to bring the house down. 

Gor continued to dominate the match, with Rangers finding it hard to piece together any fruitful attacks toward Fredrick Odhiambo’s goal. 

Oliech and Burundi striker Francis Mustapha linked up well in the 55th but the national team record scorer’s back heeled through ball was well read by the Rangers defence. 

Ken Mutembei replaced Joseph Nyaga a minute later as the mailmen sought a way back into the game. 

Batambuze came close to extending the champion’s lead from a free-kick in the 65th but substitute keeper Emase saw it all the way through. 

Rangers made another change bringing on Luis Tera in place of Osumba. 

In the 71st, Kahata released Oliech and he went on a run that made fans nostalgic of the golden days as he skipped past two defenders but his left-footed shot went inches wide of the goal. 

New signing Erisa Ssekisambu was thrown into the fray a minute later in place of Odhiambo and he almost made an immediate impact but his attempt went flying over the bar. 

Gor did not take their foot off the gas and kept causing problems for the Rangers defence searching for the goal that would seal the victory for the champions. 

Seasoned defender Jockins Atudo was the closest his side came to restore parity for the second time in the entire second half but his shot from a free-kick went inches wide. 

Substitute Oluoch got on the end of a Batambuze corner in the 83rd but was not able to keep his shot down. 

Boniface Omondi came on with two minutes left of the 90 to replace Mustapha as Gor looked to see out the narrow lead. 

Atudo received the second yellow of the match for arguing with the referee a minute later, only adding to his team’s frustration.