By Uche Dozie
Sport Writer, kick442.com-Nigeria
Kenyan ex-international footballer, Ouma Martins aka Ogwanjo has died, aged 71.
The Gor Mahia great passed on at his rural home Hawinga in Alego, Siaya County after suffering from stroke for three years leaving behind his wife and seven children.
‘Chati’, as mates called him was an integral part of the Gor Mahia team that conquered the Kenyan league in 1976 as they the team went on an unbeaten run.
He also featured for Harambee Stars in the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations.
”He was a good midfielder with great dribbling skills. He would sometimes play on the flanks and was among the key players alongside Allan Thigo. Apart from playing with him in Gor before he left at the end of 1980 season, I played against him while I was at Luo Stars,” said one of Austin Oduor who captained Gor Mahia in 1976.
Thigo, Ouma’s former teammate who broke the news, also talks about the impact of the late winger in the team in their days.
”There was never a dull moment with Ogwanjo Chati around,” Thigo told Standard Sports when condoling with the family of the former winger.
”He loved football and he would do anything to make the team. I remember in 1971 when German Eckhard Krautzun took over the Kenya National team, the name Harambee Stars had not yet been coined, he assembled combined teams from each of the country’s provinces at the time.”
”Nairobi had four teams, Gor Mahia, Abaluhya (AFC), Kenya Breweries and Nairobi Combined. Krautzun wanted to pick his team without anyone’s prodding. Competition for places was very tough.
“Ogwanjo Chati, a left-winger noticed our left-back Sospeter Otin was absent. He quickly filled the position. His attacking instincts later won the heart of Krautzun and was drafted as a left-back. Later, we chided him for being cunning. ‘Now you will forever play as a defender’ we told him,” Thigo remembers.
He will be buried on Tuesday at his home county Siaya where another 1972 AFCON hero, goalkeeper James Siang’a, was buried on September 10, 2016.
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