TBT: When two Harambee Stars players claimed the same hat-trick

TBT: When two Harambee Stars players claimed the same hat-trick

Joel Omotto 09:33 - 28.03.2024

With Michael Olunga becoming the latest Kenyan star to score three goals in a match, the last hat-trick for Harambee Stars had two players claiming it 26 years ago.

On August 15, 1998, Harambee Stars recorded one of their biggest ever wins in history when they thrashed Djibouti 9-1 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Nairobi.

On the day, Sammy Okoth also made history by becoming only the third player to ever score a hat-trick for Harambee Stars following in the footsteps of Mike Okoth and Abdul Baraza.

Okoth gave Harambee Stars a 2-0 lead after scoring in the third and sixth minutes before Maurice Sunguti also scored a brace, in between Said Mahad’s goal for the visitors, and Francis ‘Killer’ Oduor would make it 5-1 after 30 minutes.

Okoth completed his treble in the 65th minute followed by a brace from Boniface Ambani while Oduor completed the rout five minutes from time to give Abdul Majid’s men one of the big victory.

However, Okoth’s third goal became the subject of contention as both him and Ambani claimed it. According to Ambani, the goal should have been credited to him as he hit the ball home and it crossed the line before Okoth got his foot onto him.

“It was my goal. I should have scored a hat-trick that day but they recorded it for Okoth. I saw the ball cross the line but Okoth got on the end of it and it was given to him,” Ambani told Pulse Sports.

However, Okoth maintains he is the bonafide scorer of the goal, insisting records and videos back him.

“The competition was fierce and that is why things like those arose. Otherwise, it would not have meaning. Everyone wanted to compete and it helped you score in each game,” said Okoth.

“Records are there which show I was the one who scored and even if the clips were to be played, they would show it is me who scored all three goals.

“In fact, I did not start with him [Ambani], I was with Sunguti upfront and John Mo [Muiruri]. I was not even given a home pass.”

On the day, Kenya’s starting line-up had Matthew Ottamax, Kennedy Ambundo, Josiah Ougo, Francis Oduor, Musa Otieno, Philip Ouma, John ‘Mo’ Muiruri, Tom Juma, Eric Omondi, Maurice Sunguti and Sammy Okoth.

Ambani would come on a substitute to replace Sunguti before he scored his two goals. Nick Yakhama was the other substitute, replacing Eric Omondi, while goalkeeper Ottamax was taken off for Victor Onyango.

It is not the first time Ambani is laying claim to a record he feels belonged to him but was never recorded in his favour.

Before Elvis Rupia scored 27 goals in the FKF Premier League last season, the leading scorer, according to records, had been Gor Mahia legend Maurice ‘Sonyi’ Ochieng who netted 26 in 1976.

However, Ambani has insisted to date that he also scored 26 goals during the 2006 season while at Tusker FC even though records show he bagged 21 that year.

"The problem is that some goals were not even recorded. The one who wrote 21 is not even sure; I am sure because I scored them,” Ambani told GOAL in 2021.