Against all odds Tusker beat off strong challenge from 2010 defending champions Ulinzi Stars and inconsistent Gor Mahia to clinch the 2011 league title in fancied fashion
A renown European based football administrator once reckoned that coaches are like fish, 'as they stink after a while.'
And Sammy 'Pumzo' Omollo, a football 'guru' for his entire life, probably knew this better than most of us.
The 42-year old's reaction after learning of his dismissal at the helm of the Kenyan Premier League side Tusker FC- a team he led to their first league title in four years during his first full season-was straight from the text book.
"I do not harbor grudges (on this decision), least of all in this industry. Such is life and these things do happen.”
Omollo moved over to Tusker FC at the start of the 2011 KPL season to replace James Nandwa, who was shoved aside for failing to achieve the 'minimum' target set by Tusker's ambitious management of lifting the league title, after two attempts.
Many would have been forgiven for doubting Omollo, who had a professional stint in the Indian Premier League during the twilight of his playing career, when he assumed the coaching reigns at the helm of one of the 'bigwigs' of Kenyan football.
How would he therefore, according to the skeptics, turn around the fortunes of a club that prioritizes winning the championship?
Needless to point out, this happened to be the responsibility that would bring the best out of the youthful tactician, who was in his third stint at the club, following two spells as a player, initially for two seasons starting 1990 then for the same duration after a stint with another top side Gor Mahia in 1994.
Against all odds, Tusker beat off strong challenge from 2010 defending champions Ulinzi Stars, an inconsistent Gor Mahia and Sofapaka to clinch the 2011 KPL season in fancied fashion, with attributes that bordered on a disciplined and effective brand of football.
A relatively busy summer in the transfer market that saw the capture of former Sofapaka playmaker Patrick 'Petit' Kagogo and the return of Jerry Santos from Tanzania's Simba SC, suggested that the brewers were well placed to face the next stage of their challenge.
It turned out not to be the case.
Tusker were eliminated from the preliminary rounds of the African Champions League by Rwandan side Patriotic Army (APR) courtesy of a 1-0 aggregate score line earlier this year, before being bundled out of the annual CECAFA club Championships held in Tanzania in June, from the group stages, after failing to either secure a win or score a goal against opposition pundits had suggested to be 'inferior'.
Then their were the initial signs of the discontent from the team's relatively small fans base, and the administration.
The proverbial noose around Omollo's neck was tightened after the recent dismal return in results that saw Tusker's chances of retaining the League title this season fade.
However, one would have to question the club administrators’ contribution to the team's performance over the second leg of the current campaign.
How the management opted to sanction the sales of valuable players including Paul Were to AFC Leopards, Jerry Santos to Coastal Union, and Brian Mandela to South African side Cape Town Santos, without adequately replacing the duo, was to say the least treasonable.
Sources also claim that the team survives on a 'bare minimum' budget with salaries, allowances, training and match day preparations the only budgets catered for. Expecting Omollo to steer the ship into fourth gear under these circumstances was therefore, going to be a very tall order.
Tellingly, Omollo joins the exclusive club of coaches including Gabriel Kingi, Ezekiel Akwana and Alfred Imonje who have succumbed to the increasingly competitive standards of the Kenyan Premier League.
Tusker will only be able to justify Omollo's sacking by clinching this season's league title.
Omollo on the other hand needs not worry much. A self imposed break, followed by a refresher course in coaching preceding an inevitable return to the game would be my road map if I were him but am not.