You did not bear to visualize it occurring; you simply had to wait for it. The flat feeling before a ball was kicked perhaps the perfect antidote for the explosion that was to come after.
Prior to kick off, this blog talked about the Nairobi Derby as perfect stage for transfer window targets to show their worth- I might have been ill-timed. The lesson was hidden in an element of surprise coupled with a disheartening reality that even the mighty can be brought down to earth.
Back down to dry land they came but not before Timonah Wanyonyi sent them to nirvana with a beautiful ending. Some things are learned over time and executed not so many times in a real football situation. The ambience and flare that paused and stroke home the finish was one to marvel. If it didn’t put any of his later attempts to shame, then at this moment- it did raise the profile of the assist maker, Dani Sserenkuma.
Had the match ended with such a score line, millions of the internet and newspaper space would have been devoted to ‘Jehovah’ in honor of the young man. While they will not revert to ‘Satan’ even with the glaring 1-3 score line shocking the green army, the real turnaround was the redefinition of roles for a select group of players.
The Dutch man Hendrik Pieter de Jong hasn’t spent so much time with the boys in blue and white, actually not time you can speak of but for a start, no one ever thought of having Shikokoti in a deep defensive midfield spot.
Bump off a few figures of his sign on fee; Shikokoti is like any other player in the premier league, a center back likely more revered in the past than in the present, his ability has certainly had a cost increase, clearly showing with each interception and pass as he went down into his new office.
Along the other end, Gor Mahia had no time to exorcize the ghost of the missing Akumu as Jacob Keli slid the egg between the branches of an onrushing Jerry Onyango.. Phrases like “Had he” and “Had it been” quickly rented the air as Jacob Keli galloped away in celebration, it’s like an Akumu’s foot might have intercepted such a pass- after all, that’s what he did best, but now they badly missed him.
Kindly understand, this piece isn’t a prediction of Keli’s rise to form in the absence of Wanga, however, the absence of the latter brought with it more good than bad for the ex KCB man. De Jong was a man everyone pitied even before a ball was kicked at AFC Leopards when the attacking line ability to gel was talked about, however, everything appears to have bet into his hands with the transfer of Allan Wanga.
The struggles, however will be present when I seek to compare Jery Onyango and Kasaya. The latter an understudy of Jerry at Gor Mahia, had to be dropped by Logarusic before Zico at Sony sought his services. I always think Kasaya was made for such a match even though many will be right to argue that Jerry was born for such games.
The added duty for Jerry and where he terribly let his team down was he for once lacked the command. Kasaya might have never had it either but rightfully so, it isn’t his job, when he gets even an ounce of it; we all know what can happen.
Observing the body language of ex KCB Coach and current AFC Leopards assistant coach Abdalla Juma and Gor Mahia’s Bobby Williamson, one noticed the contrasting difference and similarity. While all went through a contrasting evolution of emotions, each one was learning and who was the teacher here? De Jong.
Had anyone thought De Jong was re-writing the rule book of static positioning in his fielding of Mudde and Mangoli, they were about to acquire it totally amiss. Mudde and Mangoli caused Gor Mahia all sorts of trouble, the latter scored while the Ugandan was at fault for skewing wide what would have been a tormenting fourth.
Coming in almost the time the league is in a transfer mode and with teams like Gor Mahia tipped to miss a few musicians (some who might never be comfortable to supplant), does De Jong’s Derby win spark the thought of testing players in new parts and discarding and early write offs amongst other premier league managers? Subsequently all, sometimes football is a gamble, a gamble that is intended to instruct us- If not instantly; then in the close future.
(All images courtesy The official Kenya Premier League Facebook Page)