Oliech Second Coming Spices Mathare, Gor Crunch SPL Showdown

Jan 05 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Kenya record international goal scorer in line for his debut with the champions against the log leaders he made his name at MISC Kasarani

Gor Mahia FC striker, Dennis Oliech, trains at Camp Toyoyo, Nairobi on the eve of their SportPesa Premier League clash against Mathare United FC on Saturday, January 5, 2019. PHOTO/Duncan Sirma/SPN

  • The top bill SportPesa Premier League (SPL) clash of the 2008 title winners and log leaders against the giants they are aiming to topple from the throne has already served up rich subplots including digs on social media
  • Buoyed by their recent good record against K’Ogalo, Francis Kimanzi’a men are determined to lay a marker of intent in their pursuit of only a second league title in their history under the former Harambee Stars head coach who led them to their first
  • Mathare need no reminder of Oliech’s class having burst to the local top flight scene as a precocious teenager wearing their yellow in 2002

NAIROBI, Kenya- The second coming of Dennis ‘The Menace’ Oliech to domestic football will have a nation on tenterhooks when his former side Mathare United FC host Gor Mahia FC at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Sunday.

The top bill SportPesa Premier League (SPL) clash of the 2008 title winners and log leaders against the giants they are aiming to topple from the throne has already served up rich subplots including digs on social media.

Five games into the fresh season, the Slum Boys lead the standings on 13; seven points clear of record 17 time domestic league titleholders who have played a game less.

Buoyed by their recent good record against K’Ogalo, Francis Kimanzi’a men are determined to lay a marker of intent in their pursuit of only a second league title in their history under the former Harambee Stars head coach who led them to their first.

In the run up to the fixture, Mathare’s social media department could not resist a dig at their big rivals on their Facebook page spicing up the traditionally saucy contest.

“Hi Dylan Kerr Congratulations on your appointment at Black Leopards Football Club

“Hope your successor at Gor Mahia FC has consulted you on what to expect on Sunday. This is one fixture you dreaded,” the Slum Boys posted.

Raised stakes

They tagged immediate former coach Kerr who left the club for South Africa ahead of the new season as well as the champions in an act that only served to raise the stakes higher incensing Gor fans who beseeched their heroes to show the Slum Boys who is boss.

The accompanying screen shot illustrated K’Ogalo have not beaten Mathare in their last four SPL encounters, with the 2008 winners following up their domestic double over Gor in 2017 with identical 2-2 draws over both legs last season.

In their last encounter played at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu on September 30, Kimanzi’s men recovered from going 0-2 down in front of a partisan crowd to rescue a point late on in the coronation ceremony of Gor, putting a dampener to the title party as skipper Harun Shakava hoisted the SPL trophy aloft following the thrilling encounter.

On Friday, Mathare announced that after spending the past season at the club on loan from Liberty Professionals, Klinsman Omulanga has made his move permanent with the budding forward signing a two-year deal on SPL transfer deadline day.

Omulanga came off the bench to score twice last term and is penned under one for the future at the team that will be desperately seeking to avoid another deflated title bid after their storming start last term ended with an eighth finish.

Big news

After defeats to Bandari FC and Kariobangi Sharks FC sandwiched between a 4-0 hammering of hapless Zoo Kericho FC, Gor celebrated the big news of Oliech’s signing with a welcome 2-0 victory over Chemelil Sugar FC to revive their title defence that threatened to unravel so early in the season.

Hassan Oktay, who took over the hot seat from Kerr has his work cut out having been forced to chase the early pacesetters when he has barely settled at his new side.

The addition of Oliech, 33, the record Kenya international goal scorer to his fire power sparked huge debate, with some hailing the move as a stroke of genius for the team that has been struggling to find a potent replacement for departed Rwandese goal machine, Meddie Kagere.

Other have written off ‘The Menace’s’ arrival as a public relations gimmick with the former French Ligue 1 sides AJ Auxerre and Ajaccio forward coming to the team from a two-year hiatus from the game.

What is not in doubt is the pulling power the man known in his hood as ‘Kajole’ has in the land and the Green Army cannot wait to lay their eyes on the forward who has promised to score 25 to 30 goals having joined K’Ogalo to fulfil the wishes of his late mother, Mary Auma.

Dennis follows in the footsteps of his siblings, the late Steve Okumu- a Gor superstar of the 90s who formed a deadly attacking duo with Steve Odiaga- Andrew Oyombe, Kennedy Oliech and Kevin Oliech in donning the revered green jersey.

K’Ogalo faithful can only salivate at the potential of a lethal striking partnership between the former Stars captain and club record signing, Rwanda international Jacques Tuyisenge which on paper, is enough to fire the club to a record-extending 18th crown despite the misfiring start.

In Francis Kahata, who remained at Gor after his prospective move to Algeria fell through and Humphrey Mieno, the champions have the creative juice to feed their vaunted forwards that explains why optimism is high among their passionate followers.

Mathare need no reminder of Oliech’s class having burst to the local top flight scene as a precocious teenager wearing their yellow in 2002.

Gor’s sworn enemies, AFC Leopards SC were leading the Slum Boys 1-0 with five minutes left on the clock when the menace entered the fray. It only took the then explosive forward less than two minutes to tie the match before completing the turnaround with the winner in time added on for a stunning 2-1 victory.

Needless to say the handful of Ingwe fans at Nyayo National Stadium that afternoon almost sparked a riot, unable to comprehend what they had just witnessed and from then on as the tired cliché goes, the rest for Oliech is history.