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FKF Premier League

Musa Otieno: Why I left Gor Mahia to sign for rivals AFC Leopards

20:32 EAT 14/05/2021
Harambee Stars assistant coach Musa Otieno
The legendary defender reveals what prompted him to ditch K’Ogalo for rivals Ingwe during his playing time in 1992

Kenyan legend Musa Otieno has opened up on the reason he left FKF Premier League champions Gor Mahia for rivals AFC Leopards.

The towering defender, who won 90 caps for the Harambee Stars and also played in South Africa's Premier Soccer League for Santos between 1997 to 2011, has revealed his decision to quit K’Ogalo for Ingwe was not tribal but it was because he needed money to take his ailing father to hospital.

“I did not leave Gor Mahia because they did not have money, no, they had money but they took time to sign me and give me the money, and also my dad was sick and needed medical attention so I needed money to help him,” Otieno told ArochoLive in an interview on Friday.

“So when played against AFC Leopards and I put up a good show by shutting down James Nandwa, Mohamed Abbas came to me, he asked me if I had already signed for Gor Mahia and I told him I had not signed yet, Abbas then told me not sign for them [Gor Mahia].

“My dad was already seeking to go to hospital and we did not have money, as he was our sole breadwinner, so the following day, AFC Leopards then under the chairmanship of Cyrus Jirongo came for my services, they moved and took my dad to hospital and gave me a sign-on fee of Sh200, 000, and remember that was in 1992, and then paid for my school fees from form one to four.

“So I ended up moving on to AFC Leopards from Gor Mayia, and it was not because of tribal lines, but because they helped me in terms of paying my school fees, that was my biggest hurdle as my dad was sick and was also struggling financially.

“So when I joined AFC Leopards, I found the late coach Jack Johnson, who welcomed me and told me he will look after me, he will make sure I have gone to school and also play football.”

On his debut game for Ingwe, Otieno said: “My first game was against Kenya Breweries and was coming up against Henry Motego, the bulldozer, and in 1989, I was scaling Nyayo Stadium to watch Motego play, I took the chance, we were ten men down at 1-1 and it was me who scored the winner with a powerful header.”

Asked why he ended up signing for Tusker from AFC Leopards, Otieno explained: “I think the reason I ended up at Tusker was because I was looking for a job, our target those years was to get a job, and Tusker promised me a job, and I signed for them because they gave me a job.

“Tusker that time was the well-managed team, they were run professional, we could sleep in very posh hotels and I think they did not have any pressure like AFC Leopards.”

Otieno is one of Kenya's most successful and decorated footballers, having made his national team debut for Kenya against Zaire in 1993 at the age of 19 and later captained the Harambee Stars numerous times.

He was also a member of the Kenyan 2004 African Cup of Nations team, who finished in third place of their group in the first round of competition, thus failing to secure qualification for the quarter-finals.