Kayci Odhiambo reminisces on victory over K’Ogalo and Confederation Cup ambitions

Kayici Odhniambo leaves Alpha Onyango helpless during their 2-1 win over Gor Mahia on Sunday. Photo Credit: AFC Leopards


Kayici Odhniambo leaves Alpha Onyango helpless during their 2-1 win over Gor Mahia on Sunday. Photo Credit: AFC Leopards

FKFPL Kayci Odhiambo reminisces on victory over K’Ogalo and Confederation Cup ambitions

Mark Kinyanjui 15:30 - 17.05.2023

Odhiambo returned from a grueling injury to help Leopards beat Gor Mahia for the first time in seven years.

Kayci Odhiambo helped create history for AFC Leopards last Sunday as they beat Gor Mahia in a packed Nyayo Stadium on Sunday afternoon with a resounding 2-1 win over their sworn rivals.

It was the first time Ingwe beat Gor Mahia in seven years, much to the aghast of K’ogalo fans and the delight of the Ingwe faithful.

Odhiambo was just 14 the last time Leopards beat Kogalo. To many of you who may not realize just how long ago it was, he was just a form one student at Olympic High School at the time.

The derby itself felt unique in its own way. The atmosphere was electric and was also spectated by the who is who of the country, including both president William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Although Leopards started quite shakily with Gor Mahia dominating proceedings in the opening 30 minutes, they missed a penalty through Benson Omalla, which injected some confidence into Ingwe players and they dominated proceedings from then on.

“It was a fantastic feeling. The atmosphere, the intensity of the game and its general quality was very high. It was a great experience and a hard one to forget anytime soon,” Odhiambo said.

“The penalty miss( by Omala) changed the game and we started playing with confidence, and we scored two goals which helped us win,”

Patrick Aussems’ intent has always been to make Leopards play some progressive attacking football with an insistence to play out from the back and work the ball into the box in typical modern style.

For that blueprint to be successful, you need players who are very good and comfortable on the ball. Odhiambo is one of the best in the local league at bringing the ball out of defence. Before becoming a center back, the 21-year-old was initially a defensive midfielder.

While trialing for Leopards two years ago, he was asked to fill in at center back in an eleven-aside match because the opposing team was short on numbers.

He impressed and earned a deal at the den as a defender. Given his background as a midfielder,it is no wonder he is so good on the ball. So good is he, he even put Gor Mahia’s Alpha Onyango ‘in the mud’ during the match with a nonchalant press-resisting move past the K’ogalo attacker.

“I like being a proactive defender on the ball. I enjoy this style of play where we are instructed to build up from the back.

“I am very comfortable with it as someone who can bring the ball out of defense. It is the coach’s instructions an the availability and cohesion with my teammates that enables me to do what I am doing,”

Odhiambo has already suffered two serious injuries in his young career. In April last year, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in April while in action against Wazito. Something he admits got him “contemplating thinking about quitting football”.

“It was crushing news for me and it became really tough when I had to stay months without recovering and I didn’t see myself getting better. I contemplated quitting football and going back to school in order to start another career.”

However, he recovered in time and got back into the team, where he played more matches, but he suffered yet another injury just a few months later.

He describes rehabilitation and missing action as “a nightmare” for any football player.

“Any rehabilitation is part of a footballer’s worst nightmare because you basically cannot do anything to help the team.”

Odhiambo played 70 minutes before being subbed off, understandably considering Patrick Aussems insisted he was giving him a run of minutes to get his match sharpness back

“I did not make any big difference if I am being honest. The team was just performing well and producing fantastic results even before.”

Leopards have a rare chance to get continental football next season by winning the FKF Cup this season. They will face Kakamega Homeboyz at the Nyayo National Stadium this Sunday.

“We hope for the best this weekend and ask for God’s favor to be upon us to get to the continental stage. It is going to be a big positive in our careers as players, and the club will also gain alot from that.”

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