He had just won the 2010 Kenya Premier League gong for the best player of the season. His stars were shinning bright and he was the talk of every Kenyan football pundit and fan well acquainted with the local league. His confidence was sky high and he was increasingly becoming an indispensable figure in the national team set up. Am talking about George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo.
After helping steer his team to second place in the league in 2010, the 21-year-old got rave reviews which included being named in Goal.com’s Hot 100 as one the young players to look out for in 2011.
Being mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze, on-demand Lille winger Eden Hazard, Manchester United defender Phil Jones, Sao Paulo midfield kingpin Lucas, Barcelona and Spain’s Thiago Alcantara, Arsenal duo Oxlade Chamberlin and Riyo Miyaichi, Athletic Bilbao’s Iker Muniain and Uruguayan star Gaston Ramirez is no mean feat.
But while most of the aforementioned players have blossomed and seen their careers hit new highs in their respective clubs, Blackberry’s career seemed to hit a snag when he landed a professional contract with Danish side Randers FC in January 2011. His departure left a big hole in the Gor Mahia front line but the club let him go for the proverbial greener pastures.
Little did the mo-hawk wearing superstar, his club, fans and coach Zedekiah Otieno know that the prodigious Thur Gem-born winger cum forward will serve only over a year of his contract and make two starts for his new employers.
Blackberry made his debut for the 2006 Danish Cup winners replacing one-time capped Danish international Jonas Kamper in a 2-1 loss against FC Nordsjælland. He only played one more game as the club which was formed in 2003 after a merger of six teams was relegated to the Danish 1st Division after finishing second from bottom with only six wins and 34 points.
And just 15 months into a four and a half year deal, Blackberry’s contract was cancelled meaning that he has to return home to start reviving his initially dazzling but now dormant career.
A swift return to Gor Mahia is on the cards and how valuable would his services prove to be for the 1987 Mandela Cup winners who are just three points above relegation zone after a tumultuous start to the season.
K’Ogalo’s front line of Moses Odhiambo Rasta, George Midienyo, Edwin Lavatsa and the now released Demonde Selenga have been firing blanks this season. Gor have hit the back of the net only seven times in 12 matches, a ratio of 0.58 goals per game as compared to the 1.1 ratio per game that they managed in the season that preceded Blackberry’s departure.
So when the mini KPL transfer window opens in June, K’Ogalo’s Croatian coach Zdravko Logarusic should look no further than bringing the 2009 "Most Promising Player" and 2010 Kenyan Premier League Player of the Year back to Gor. He looks so good in green and white, and the green and white army would love him back.
And That's thesteifmastertake!!