John Baresi Odhiambo is a name that lingers in the minds of Kenyan soccer lovers after his epic performance against Nigeria - Super Eagels at Kasarani Stadium during the 98 world cup qualifier match.
George Finidi the speedy Nigerian winger was born in April 1971 at Port Harcourt - Nigeria. " Finidi" means Future Full of Pils". His combative style of play and the way he could take on defenders especially fullbacks was the most glorious thing his fans loved while watching him play. Not to forget his vital goals when his team needed them most.
Matthew Owino Ottamax is one of the best goalkeepers to grace Kenyan soccer. His antics and reflexes between the goalposts while making crucial saves during his prime time while playing were the best memorable moments every soccer fan would cherish. Ottamax was also known for effectively commanding his defenders while in goal.
Felix Makacha is a name that took Kenya Premier League with storm in the 1990s. His combative style and work ethic on the field of play was applauded by many a fan. His articulate passing skills, ball control and tackles could not go unnoticed whenever he played a match in the Kenya Premier League.
William Inganga came to prominence while playing for Nyang'ori High School, his exploits during secondary ball games in Western region attracted the attention of AFC Leopards SC scouts.
Kamaliza (a Swahili word that translates? to end) was a sign to bringing to a progressive end bitter rivalry between the two estate teams and that began a success story for the new team.
Eric Ochieng' aka Cantona is one of most iconic soccer athletes to grace Kenya Premier League in the 1990s.
The most eagerly waited match by Kenya as a country; if Stars could pull a surprise in Lagos then Stars would be near their dream of playing in their first ever World Cup and that would have been France 98.
A towering defensive talent from Eastlands Maringo estate, George Waweru’s soccer talent was evident since his high school days at Ofafa Jericho High School.
Harambee Stars came into this match with a must win approach in order to make their chance of playing the Africa Cup of Nations 1998 edition in Burkina Faso a reality.
The match was played at Nyayo stadium. Harambee Stars wore their traditional white black striped tops, black shorts & black sock with white strips on the top. The brave warriors of Namibia wore red top, green shorts & green socks. The Brave Warriors came into the match with immensely experienced players. Kenya, under the late coach Reinhardt Fabisch fielded a youthful side with the likes of Eric Ochieng aka Cantona, John Odhiambo aka Baresi, John Luchuku, Josiah Ougo aka Kaki, Eric Omondi aka Tojo just mention but a few.
The match commenced on a high tempo with both sides looking for an opener. Unfortunately in the 35th minute of the match the Brave Warriors forward Uri Khob scored the only goal of the match which was the decisive goal & eventually gave the Namibians the win. Harambee Stars pressed but to no avail, as the Namibian shot stopper Kanalelo denied Harambee Stars an equalizer with his heroics saves. Despite jeers and confusion from the fans who had thronged into the stadium to support Harambee Stars, the Namibian goalkeeper seemed to be unperturbed and remained unmoved making brilliant saves, one after the other.
Stars gave their all but the Brave Warriors stood their ground. After the final whistle was blown Stars players looked dejected though they had put on a spirited fight. The Namibians qualified for the AFCON 1998 edition at Burkina Faso together with Cameroon in that group with Indomitable Lions as group winners and Brave Warriors as runners up.
Photo: Alamy Stock
Mickey Weche aka T9, was a very combative and solid defender, one of the best ever to be produced by Kenyan soccer.
Mickey Weche got his nickname from soccer enthusiasts because of his hard tackling tackles while defending for his team. T9 is a name given to stray dogs in Tanzania which during those days would bite your heels and leave you dead.
Mickey Weche had a stellar soccer career with AFC Leopards SC, Reli FC and Harambee Stars. His defending proficiency earned him several call ups to the national team. He represented Harambee Stars in the 1992 AFCON edition at Dakar Senegal whereby he was the team captain and scored the only goal in the tournament for Stars; a penalty against Nigeria.
Mickey Weche also played for Reli FC. He marshalled the defence with the likes of the late Charles ‘Fundi’ Oduor. After his retirement from soccer T9, as he was affectionately known by soccer lovers in the country, joined coaching. He coached Strathmore University soccer then Ingwe signed him to the technical bench. He would later return to the Strathmore University soccer team.
Harambee Stars came into this match after a sterling come back from three goals down to beat Burkinabe at the same venue.
Under the stewardship of the late Reinhardt Fabisch, Stars needed a win so as to make their World Cup dreams a reality. The West African country Guinea alias Syli Stars jetted in the country with a star-studded team, with majority of its players hailing from the French league. Their contingent was lead by team captain Titi Camara.
The match commenced on a high tempo in the 3rd minute. Stars were awarded a penalty which captain Musa Otieno converted. Stars pressed Guinea but failed to find the back of the net again for the second goal.
The match was very explosive to a point where Syli Stars captain Titi Camara had a confrontation with German coach Reinhardt Fabisch on the touchline and did spit on his face. Kenya played very well but no more goals could be yielded. The match ended 1 - 0 in favour of Harambee Stars.
This is how Harambee Stars lined up:
Goalkeeper: Francis Onyiso ( Ulinzi Stars).
Defenders: Musa Otieno(Sanlam Santos - South Africa), John Luchuku (AFC Leopards SC), Josiah Ougo ( Gor Mahia), Vincent Kwarula (Kenya Breweries)
Midfielders: Eric Omondi ( K.C.B.), Eric Ochieng’ (AFC Leopards SC), Suleiman Rashid ( U.A.E.), John Odhiambo ( Gor Mahia)
Forwards: Ken Simiyu (Nzoia Sugar F.C.), Mike Okoth Origi ( Belgium).