Gor, Leopards recall Moi’s love for the beautiful game

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier and his AFC Leopards counterpart Dr. Dan Shikanda have eulogised former President Daniel Arap Moi as a true lover of sports who had special connection with the two Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants.

The two, poignantly point out Moi’s support for sports went beyond football, citing his keenness to promote sporting infrastructure as an investment that cut across all disciplines.

In an interview with Citizen Digital on Tuesday morning shortly after Moi was pronounced dead, Rachier recalled the year 1982 when the late President Moi donated land to Gor Mahia in Embakasi, Nairobi for stadium construction.

“For his love for sports, Moi gave us (Gor) land to construct a stadium. But we were later on dispossessed of the land by squatters under the influence of the then area Mp the late David Mwenje. We ended up losing the land,’’ said Rachier.

The long serving chairman added that the then club chairman Erastus Okul approached Moi with their grievances and were given another parcel of land in Kasarani. Rachier says they are still in the process of acquiring a title deed for the land.

Mandela Cup

On their way to becoming the first East and Central African club to win a continental football title, then known as known as Nelson Mandela Cup in 1987, Rachier recalls the support and motivation from the late Moi.

“Moi attended the finals, greeted all players both Gor and Esperance, and when Peter Dawo scored the winner, he incredibly elated. He removed and waved his hut and lifted high his famous ‘fimbo ya nyayo’ as a sign of respect to the team that had made Kenya and East Africa proud,’’ reminisced Rachier.

To date, the only Kenyan footballer to be conferred with a Head of State Commendation is Peter Dawo, after leading Gor to win the 1987 Mandela Cup.

‘’This was a great honour to our club (Gor). We shall remember this for many years to come. As a club, it is one of our greatest achievements, and Moi made it even more beautiful. We will surely miss him,’’ Rachier offered.

On the same note, Rachier has said he will ensure the stadium project is made a reality as the best way to remember Moi.

Moi Golden Cup

On his part, Shikanda has remembered Moi as a true supporter of sports, by word and deed.

“It would be impossible to talk about sports without Nyayo and Kasarani that Moi has left for us. Since he retired there is not a single sports facility of international standards built. Through Nyayo and Kasarani, he was a catalyst to the immense growth of sports, and particularly AFC and Gor Mahia in the football arena,” Shikanda said.

Former Leopards player Fred Ambani recalls the then Moi Golden Cup as another effort by Moi in sports.

Leopards were also given a parcel of land, that so far is claimed to have been taken over by ‘powerful forces’ according the Ingwe leadership.

“When he started the Moi Golden Cup that would mostly be an AFC Leopards ad Gor affair, he showed his value for the beautiful game especially in bringing people together. He would personally attend matches further laying emphasis of the importance of the occasions.

“Moi also used to also give players incentives as an added motivation sign which is something that should be seen as a good example to our leaders today,” Ambani recollected.

A unanimous call by the two clubs chiefs is the government of the day to emulate Moi’s commitment in development of sports in the country.

Report by Milton Ochieng and Godfrey Ashiali.