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When We Were Kings

Seeing that we will be playing Yanga SC in the Semi-Finals of the Sportpesa Super Cup Tournament, let us take a moment to remind ourselves of the great history of our club through the below article. This article was originally done by Emmanuel Mketu for the Ingwe Fan Magazine. Enjoy..


SON: “Dad, my pals in school told me that Leopards won the CECAFA Cup for the third year in a row sometime in 1984 – are they right dad?”

DAD: “Yes son, it’s true, but they were dead lucky son, all the way through the tournament”

SON: “Why dad?”

DAD : “Well in the group stages …”

SON : “What dad, did they have a team from Eritrea, Somalia, and Rwanda in their group?”

DAD: “Well no, they had Nkana Red Devils, Berec Power Pack, Small Simba and Yanga!”

SON: “Well they still sound like easy teams to me dad”

DAD: “Actually Yanga are the current champions, Nkana Red Devils had reached the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Champion Clubs the year before the 1984 championships, Berec Power Pack had trounced ADMARC Tigers..”

SON: “Tigers?”

DAD: “Yes, the team that Leopards beat in the 1983 Finals!”

SON: “Jeez dad, that sounds like quite a difficult group then”.

DAD: “Yeah, I suppose you are right son, but they were still lucky – it took a shot by JJ Masiga against Kampala City Council in the semis to get through to the final”.

SON: “Oh is that the goal where your hero Leonard Mambo Mbotela goes berserk shouting “JJ Masiga, shujaa wa ‘Lepards’ anaipatia ‘Lepards’ bao!!!!”

DAD: “Yes son it is”

SON: “Oh ok. Well what happened in the Final, who did they play?”

DAD: “Gor Mahia”

SON: “Gor who?”

DAD: “Exactly son, but they had topped the group with El Hilal, Kampala City Council, Rio Tinto, yes, Rio Tinto, and Printing Press of Somalia.”

SON: “Damn dad, they sound good”.

DAD : “Yes, I suppose you’re right son”

SON: “So did Leopards win on penalties or something”

DAD: “Errrrr, no, they won in regulation time”

SON: “How the hell did they get past Gor Dad?”

DAD: “Well they did – they won 2-1 at Nyayo National Stadium, before the entire Kenyan cabinet”.

SON: “Were Gor crap at that time – had all their decent players gone or something?”

DAD: “Well actually they still had players like Sammy Onyango Jogoo in the side. And Gor had won the 1983 Kenyan league so they were there in their capacity as champions of Kenya.”

SON: “Wow, the Leopards beat the Kenyan champions. Who scored?”

DAD: “Dr. JJ Masiga”

SON : “JJ Masiga? Again? For crying out aloud dad – what a great player he was!”

DADL: “Well there were other great players like Wilberforce Mulamba, Michael Amwayi and the goalkeeper Mahmoud Abbas. He caught the ball like he had a magnet in his hands!”

SON: “Jesus Christ – so Leopards won the CECAFA for the third year in a row?”

DAD: “Yes son, they damn well did”.

SON: “So after all that I suppose other teams have gone ahead to win it three times in a row?”

DAD: “Not quite son, Kenya Breweries, or Tusker now, Simba of Tanzania have won it twice in a row but no other team has won it three times in a row!”

SON: “No way – aren’t Leopards now the most successful team in the competition’s history”.

DAD: “Sadly no. Simba of Tanzania are. They have won it six times compared to Leopards and Tusker who have won it five”

SON: “So what about Gor Mahia?”

DAD: “They have won it three times. In 1980, 1981 and 1985”.

SON: “Ha ha Dad! You must be kiddin’ me!”

DAD: “Am telling you. It gets worse son, Gor haven’t won CECAFA since 1985!”

SON: “That is a long time. Whom did they beat in 1985 again?”

DAD: “You’ll never believe it. They beat Leopards! William Obwaka, the gynae scored 2 goals”

SON: “Against the best defence in East and Central Africa?”

DAD: “Yes!!! Against the best defence in East and Central Africa. Let us not talk about that game son!”

SON: “So let’s talk about the 1984 Final, who scored first?”

DAD: “Leopards did. Dan Musuku took a freekick, Tony Lidonde crossed it in and Mike Amwayi did the rest. David Ochieng Kamoga could only pick the ball from the net”

SON: “Kamoga? That is a funny name dad – is that a fish or something”

DAD: “No son, I think that is kamongo!”

SON: “So who scored next? Gor Mahia?”

DAD: “Yeah, through the evergreen Sammy Onyango Jogoo”

SON: “How?”

DAD: “Well he hit a lucky shot that seemed to be going out. Mahmoud Abbas ignored the shot, it hit the post, then rebounded on a surprised Abbas and rolled into the goal!”

SON: “That was lucky!”

DAD: “Yeah. But you can’t rely on luck to win these games”.

SON: “Yeah. And you cant mess with a wounded Leopard!”

DAD: “You bet son! Musuku was at it again sending another cross that JJ Masiga smashed in”.

SON: “So let’s get this straight dad – JJ Masiga scored the winning goal in the Semi and also in the Final?

DAD: “That about sums it up son”

SON: “Dad?”

DAD: “Yes son”

SON: “Can I have a Leopards jersey for my birthday on Sunday, and can you stop calling me Melvin – I’m ‘JJ’ from now on”

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