By Mukurima X Muriuki
I have forgotten which month in the year 1994 Ace of Base released the hit song “All that she wants.”
What I will never forget about 1994, however, is Kenya Breweries..
I am a Gor Mahia fan, yet In 1994, my heart and soul was Kenya Breweries. I was not alone. Every Kenyan was!
Kenya bururi had done well in the transfer market and not only enjoyed a deep bench, the team boasted some of the best players, arguably, in the country:
Patrick Nachok-a goal poacher; Henry Motego-well built, high soccer IQ and a lethal shot; Sammy Shollei-the periscope of the team’s midfield submarine, always looking and lurking for that dangerous link play; Sammy Omollo-traditional defender and his philosophy “Ukikosa mpira usikose mguu”; Peter Mwololo-a unique ability to string passes akin to a juju man from his home in Ukambani stringing lies together. This was the team of the moment!!
Kenya Breweries carried Kenya’s hopes in the African Cup Winners. I recall the team making opponents look like barbecue chicken-from Ferroviário da Beira to Rayon Sports; from Stade Tamponnaise to Gabon’s Mbilinga FC-we beat them all!!!! What stood between Kenya and the trophy was Daring Club Motema Pemba from Zaire!
In the final match, I remember requesting my grandfather to buy 2 pairs of Dynocel batteries, to power the wooden Sanyo radio from which I would follow the match commentary, broadcast by KBC Idhaa ya taifa. If my memory serves me right, it was Nick Okanga Naftaly and Billy Omara transmitting the match. Elina Sifuna Shiveka did a good job linking fans to the two, from the Nairobi studio! Wacha tu!
By God’s grace, 2 years earlier, I had learned the art of gymnastics. I could do as many back-flips as my body could carry. On this day, I found this art coming in handy. I did 5 back flips when Patrick Nachok opened the scoring. Not to be accused of bias, I did another 5 when Henry Motego added a second goal! We were beating someone in their home turf!
The return match would be held in Kasarani two weeks later. All that Bururi needed was a draw, and they would emulate Gor Mahia as the only Kenyan club to have won a continental championship!
Reke ngwire….let me tell you! My friends and I would troop to Baricho to watch the match, this time, live from Kasarani as broadcast by KBC TV.
We chose to watch the match at Kabiacu hotel because of their grand yet mandazis! After all, this was a day for grandiosity! The trophy was ours to lose! Warui, the owner was a fair man and promised that for every goal Breweries would score, he would give us an extra andazi. Who can beat that? But our destiny was in the team’s hands!
My friend, the thrashing Kenya Breweries received at home! Hahahahah!!!! 3-0!
The rest is history!