Ernest Wendo: Gor Mahia midfield general joins exclusive club after another title triumph

Ernest Wendo: Gor Mahia midfield general joins exclusive club after another title triumph

Joel Omotto 09:33 - 24.06.2024

The 33-year-old has added another league crown to his glittering collection, taking him to the summit of players who have the most Kenyan Premier League medals.

Gor Mahia’s long-serving midfielder Ernest Wendo has joined an exclusive club of players who have won seven Kenyan Premier League titles following K’Ogalo’s crowning on Sunday.

While most of the players were winning their second crown, following Gor Mahia’s back-to-back league triumphs, as others laid their hands of the first one, Wendo was celebrating a milestone.

The 33-year-old veteran midfielder has seen it all at K’Ogalo having joined in 2015 from Bidco United and never looked back.

Wendo anchored the Gor midfield for eight years before he lost his position as a regular in in the just-concluded campaign although he has still put in a great shift on the rare occasions when he started or when coming off the bench.

He arrived at the club when Gor Mahia’s renaissance had just began and formed part of the team that has become so dominant in the Kenyan league.

Wendo’s first title arrived in 2015 when K’Ogalo, went unbeaten the entire season, but he would wait for a year before adding another one as Tusker claimed the 2016 crown.

With Gor Mahia winning four titles between 2017 and 2020, Wendo was a key component of the side, before they returned on the winners’ podium again in the last two seasons.

Wendo is now tied on seven titles with Gor Mahia legends Boniface Oluoch and George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, won it at both K’Ogalo and Tusker FC.

However, unlike the others, Wendo has done it all at one club, serving Gor Mahia for nine uninterrupted years, something that is rarely seen in recent years in the Kenyan league.

“He is the definition of a true professional, he does his talking on the pitch and training ground. He also takes very good care of himself and it is no surprise that he has lasted this long at the top,” said Oluoch, who played with Wendo at Gor Mahia and now works as a goalkeeping coach at the club.

Outgoing Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry has previously explained how Wendo’s professionalism and discipline has set the standards at the club.

“Earnest looks after his body, the stuff he does off the field is good. He does not run around shopping malls or visit friends for ten hours a day. He knows you know that ‘this is my job and I want to make the most out of it and I am going to do what is right off the pitch as well as off it’,” McKinstry said on One on One Podcast last year.

As he gets into the twilight years of his career, Wendo has been evolving at Gor Mahia, turning from an all-action box-to-box midfielder who had the tendency to play on the edge, which constantly left him getting booked or sent off, to being a mature player who dictates play from the middle of the park and sits in front of the defence.

“We told Ernest that look, we do not need you to charge up and down the pitch all the time. We want you to be the pivot and that guy who is almost sitting in front of the back four and almost like a nightclub bouncer,” McKinstry said of Wendo’s evolution.

“Leave the aggressive pressing to the likes of Alpha Onyango, Sydney Ochieng, John Ochieng and even Austin Odhiambo. Do not be the conductor. Be more of a general, a bit like Roy Kean later in his career.”

With a 10th straight season at K’Ogalo possibly in the offing, Wendo will be itching to regain his place as a regular under McKinstry’s successor while he will have his eyes on a record eighth league crown.