Ottamax: Williamson warned me of 'snakes' in Harambee Stars

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FOOTBALL Ottamax: Williamson warned me of 'snakes' in Harambee Stars

Kiplagat Sang 11:26 - 29.06.2023

The former goalkeeper trainer claims there was a lot of cold war during his time with the national side.

Former AFC Leopards goalkeeper Mathew Ottamax has claimed he was an unwanted technical member at Harambee Stars when he served under Bobby Williamson.

Williamson was appointed the Kenya head coach to take over from Adel Amrouche and proposed to work with Ottamax at Harambee Stars.

"It was at Harambee Stars that my proposal as the team goalkeeping coach was met with a lot of opposition, as I came to learn from Bobby Williamson, who after hearing a lot of negative vibes from the panel that was made of our local coaches, settled for me yet had no clue who I was.

"So when we met for the first time at our first training session at City Stadium, Bobby came to me and said, 'I have heard so much about you', and I went like, 'Please tell me!'. The gentleman he was didn't want to sever relationships; instead, he said, 'I will work with you in any way'. We became very good friends."

The retired footballer revealed that at times he was excluded from the contingent that travelled for international duties.

"The cold war didn't end there, unknown to me, my job was to train the keepers, but when the team was traveling outside the country, there was always a reason to leave me behind, ranging from funds to certain required travel numbers, and I was always the sacrificial lamb. This happened about four times, two with the senior team and two with the Under 23," he narrated.

"I remember one day after bidding farewell to my family, knowing that I was going to Botswana, I was left in a hotel, and to save myself this embarrassment, I did not check out until when the team flew back; that is when I went home to my family as if I had traveled to Gaborone.

"Then, when we regrouped for the return leg in Nairobi, one federation official had the audacity to tell me how my goalkeeper had a poor game in Botswana. Being that bold person, I asked him, 'Was I to give him instructions from Nairobi?"

Amid this cold war, Ottamax's relationship with Williamson never deteriorated.

"When Williamson had enough of these games being played on his friend, this time we were to travel to Ethiopia for the CECAFA Senior Challenge, and I had confirmed my ticket with my team manager, Willis Waliaula," he continued.

"I later got a call from Williamson late in the night asking me what kind of nonsense this was; that I'm being replaced from the traveling contingent with a quack interpreter. If you can remember the furore I caused until I travelled.

"Our bond with Bobby Williamson grew tighter; we used to catch daily pints after sessions in Ethiopia, and he would tell me to watch out, 'he is a snake' in allusion to some members of our technical bench."