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A tribute to former Gor Mahia FC all-rounder Masanta Osoro

Updated Saturday, November 5th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3
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By Omulo Okoth

Masanta Osoro, a former Gor Mahia stopper, will be buried today at Daraja Mbili in Kisii.

Osoro died two weeks ago. Newspaper obituaries that have run for the past week have passed almost unnoticed.

But the few football fans of yesteryears have a lot to say about the man who was eager to make a name.

Gor Mahia players, officials and fans at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on their departure to Conakry, Guinea, where they were to play Horoya. Masanta Osoro is squatting far left. Other notables (from left) are Jerry Imbo, Andrew Obunga, Tom Oyake, Sebby Omolo, Ogolla Machine, Paul Oduwo, Duncan Migan, Laban Otieno, Ogwanjo, Maurice Ochieng’, George Ayuka. STANDING: Joe Aketch, David Ouma, Charles Abondo, Francis Mudany, Eunice Adhiambo, Dan Owino, Romanus Odongo, James Tirop, David Okello, George Yoga, Sammy Owino, Otieno Kola, and Jackson Aluko. [PHOTO: COURTESY]

His name may not resonate with the current Gor players or the legion of their fans. But to football fans of yesteryears, Osoro was a celebrated player, who could have played in European league.

He played in that golden era, which included Jerry Imbo, Paul Oduwo, Sebby Omolo ‘Osuga’, Duncan Migan, George Yoga ‘Rakula’, Laban Otieno, Maurice Ochieng’ ‘Sonyi’, Andrew Obunga ‘Singh’, Francis Mudany ‘Power’, Ogolla ‘Machine’, Allan Thigo ‘Ogango’, and others.

A former Gor player, David Okello ‘Andiwo’, now a golfer, recalls his days with Osoro, with whom he toured the continent.

"Masanta was a good defender. He used to play in the forward line in school and even wanted to continue in the same position, but there were many better players in that position like Thigo, Yoga, Nashon Oluoch ‘Lule’, Sammy Owino ‘Kempes’, Peter Ouma, Martin Ouma ‘Ogwanjo’, Obunga, Jackson Aluko, among others," recalls Okello.

He later moved to number five. It was discovered he was an all rounder and later settled on four. Bob Ogolla joined from Kisumu Hot Stars before Masanta. He was too good to be benched thus rendering Masanta an irregular player.

"When Gor played Canon Sportiff de Younde (1979), it was Masanta who played No 4," recalls Okello. Gor Mahia fans of that generation would not wish to be reminded of this match.

Gor lost 2-0 in Nairobi and were drubbed 6-0 in Yaounde, amid allegations of match fixing.

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