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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

No Sserunkuma, No Problem: Gor Mahia's Ready Replacement for Mzee

Danny Sserunkuma is officially a Simba player. The pint-sized Uganda international has signed a two-year contract with the 18-time Tanzanian Premier League champions ending his hugely rewarding stint with Gor Mahia.

His departure to the Ligi Kuu Bara will potentially leave a big hole in the Gor Mahia set up, something that the club’s hierarchy needs to address before they start their continental campaign in mid January.

Be it a transfer driven by the player’s quest to add more bucks on top of what Gor Mahia has been offering (the more likely reason) or a plain desire to test his resolve in a different league, Sserunkuma’s departure might harm the club’s ambitions.

And here is why.

Since joining the record champions midway into the 2012 season, the former Nairobi City Stars forward has been a vital cog in the club’s year on year title charge. In his first full season with Gor, the Ugandan found the back of the net on 17 occasions, just one short of the 18 Sofapaka’s John Baraza netted to claim the golden boot. His goals pushed Gor to within a whisker of claiming their first League title since 1995 only to be beaten to it on the final day by Tusker FC. However, he took home the Premier League Player of the Year gong.

His goals dried up a bit last year but his contribution was still immense in Gor’s title winning season. He scaled up to top the goalscoring chats this season, his 16 goals helping K’Ogallo become the first team in the last decade to defend the KPL crown.

You may be wondering why the article thus far has concentrated on his goalscoring exploits but that’s what he is paid to do. Since signing for the 1987 CAF Cup Winners Cup champions, Sserunkuma has finished as their topscorer in the last three seasons with 41 goals in total. His nearest challenger during that period is Rama Salim with 17 goals, almost two and half times less.

With such statistics, the Gor Mahia topbrass should be panicking, and if they are not, they must be feeling they have someone within the club who could fill up his boots, or that they can acquire the services of someone who  could do even a better job.

A few names have been thrown in the air but there has been no official communication from the Chris Omondis of the K’Ogalo world. That notwithstanding, the Green Army should look no further than a player within their rank.

George Blackberry Odhiambo has always been a darling of the Gor faithful and his performances towards the tail end of this season showed just why. Playing alongside the Ugandan, Blackberry was a joy to watch sometimes with his dribbling and willingness to take on defenders setting him apart as from many of his peers. Before leaving Gor in 2010 for Danish Superliga side Randers, the Thur Gem born player had already cemented his place in the Gor Mahia folklore and it wasn't a surprise that he re-signed for his boyhood club in January.

Odhiambo’s one-year contract expires at the end of this year and Gor could do far worse than adding more years to it because in the absence of Sserunkuma, the 22-year-old has the ability to make ‘Mzee’s’ absence feel insignificant. His biggest asset is versatility. He is comfortable on both the left and right channels, could play in the hole behind the striker but also do the job as the main man upfront.

So while the Yin may have already jumped ship for more mullah, the Yang is still very much a piece of the K'Ogalo cake and it might not be rocket science finding his support cast.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!