His goal was classic, ambitious, audacious, and perhaps uncharacteristic of him. The manner in which he took it could have deceived many onlookers into thinking he’s a seasonal goal poacher who finds the back of the net at will. That he scores when he wants. Never mind he had gone thousands of minutes and nearly a century of games without scoring.
Ladies and gentlemen, Amos Abuga FINALLY scored for KSJ! Now that is news. For what more can you call that moment when a man who has played as a striker almost for his entire playing career - as short as it might be – and never had that feeling that comes when you beat the last person on an opponent’s defence? It may have taken way too long to come and at some point, the man himself looked like he was beginning to lose hope on himself but kudos, he never did.
Ok, let me pull back a bit and start from the top. Kenya Sports Journalists went into the match against Ofafa Maringo at the back of a hard fought 1-1 stalemate against Umoja Veterans exactly a week earlier. The scribes were keen to beat and avenge the 4-2 capitulation they had suffered at the hands of their hosts the last time the two teams met at the same ground in October.
The match started with Ofafa dictating the play, zipping the ball across the unforgiving turf which seemed to work against the visitors. However, for all the possession they had, it was KSJ who created the first clear chances of the game. First, prolific frontman, Steve Obuya, sent a rasping shot from 30yards that rattled the crossbar before the scribes’ No. 8 Steve Steifmaster Ayoo failed to slot past the goalkeeper on two one on one situations, thanks in part to the bouncy surface.
KSJ’s profligacy would come to bite them as Ofafa went ahead in the 37th minute, Stephen Oliech sending a belter that stung KSJ keeper Vivian Akinyi’s palms on its way into the back of the net. One soon became two as the scribes failed to regroup in time to prevent Erick Shikhanda from putting his name on the scoresheet just five minutes later. 2-0.
KSJ looked rattled and you could hear calls for a drubbing from the Ofafa touchline. Until Amoh pounced.
Although KSJ were already trailing 2-0 before the workhorse halved the deficit, the manner in which the team celebrated was akin to some lower tier club winning a major championship. And what a goal it was. In what seemed like a flash of a second, Amoh killed the ball’s movement inside the area to a level that allowed him to hit it, no, thump it on its first bounce off the ground and into the back of the opposition net. Am not sure the goalkeeper saw it but he must have heard some hissing sound. What a shot son, what a shot!
Before it could sink in that he had scored, the down-to-earth twenty something year old was flanked, actually mobbed, by all his teammates save only for the goalkeeper. Even opponents seemed thunderstruck for a moment by the celebrations. KSJ’s technical bench, as few the bodies that were there, gave him a standing ovation. Those who could shout answered to that call of duty. They needed to on this day. Who knows whether we’ll have to wait for another solar eclipse to witness that occurrence. God bless him.
Having gone so many hours, days, weeks, months and perhaps years to find the back of the net, the willing runner must have forgotten how to celebrate, something that was underlined by his casual jog towards the center circle to meet and greet his ecstatic teammates. In fact, you could say his body was moving him forward rather than him coordinating the movement. The relief on his eyes was like that of a slave whose shoulders had been rid of a burden of magnanimous proportion.
He tried to hide the excitement, perhaps a bit too hard because you could see a shy smile stealing its way out of his face. His heart must have been beating twice its normal rate.
At half time, the team pledged to win the match for him. How could they not when perhaps the hardest thing – the man scoring – had happened? KSJ were a rejuvenated side after the interval. Although they started the second half on a casual way especially at the back, they smothered the pressure from the hosts who also fell victim to the poor surface.
As the game progressed and the half time water break navigated its way down the throat, KSJ began clicking into gear and created chances. The sustained pressure on Ofafa's back four soon paid dividends with Steve Obuya hitting a wonderful strike to level matters. And so as the minutes ticked by, the visitors, who had lost dependable centerback Gregory Mulemi with half of the game remaining, became more adventurous. The longer the game went on and Ofafa failed to convert some of their chances, the more likely a KSJ victory became. And they won it with 5 minutes remaining, Hamisi Mustapha running onto a through ball from Ayoo and curling in beautifully to give KSJ a 3-2 win. Timothy Olobulu did the honors of running the rest of the time down.
They may have won alright but this wasn’t a day for the hard working KSJ team to celebrate the victory. Rather, it was one where they had to raise champagne (not literally) to one man who pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat by achieving what seemed impossible for a long while.
I take my hat, if any, off to you Mr. Abuga!
And That's thesteifmastertake!!