The former head of state ordered clubs to change names and adopt those that reflect national images
Gor Mahia legend Peter Dawo has explained the importance of former President Daniel Moi’s stance on detribalising Kenyan clubs.
President Moi, who served as the country’s leader for 24 years and died in February 2020, requested clubs to do away with their names that carried tribal tags. Dawo said it was important for clubs to rename themselves as that helped in forging national unity.
Due to the President’s directive, Abaluhya Football Club changed to AFC Leopards, Luo Union was renamed Re-Union Football Club while Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association were wound up for their failure to change.
It is only Gor Mahia that did not have to change the name as Moi was convinced the name did not have any tribal connotations.
“Moi directed that tribalism should be abolished from Kenyan clubs and it is at that period the players from various tribes started crisscrossing to the other clubs which were dominated by one community,” Dawo told Goal.
“It was very hard for a player from one club to join another that was dominated by a certain tribe at that time.
“When players from Gor Mahia joined AFC Leopards and vice versa we started a new era in our football. Moi really loved sports and this remains one of his big achievement.
“Tribalism in sports was bad because even players were divided and that ended up affecting even performances generally.
“He helped end tribalism for sure in football and the process also helped in national integration.”
Among the notable players who played for both AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia in the 1980s and 1990s are Paul Ochieng, Dan Shikanda and John Okello.
In fact, Dan Shikanda is the current chairman of Ingwe.
Dawo also spoke about the pieces of land that were awarded to Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards by the then-President to build their own stadia and training grounds.
Gor Mahia were given a piece of land in Embakasi to construct a training ground but the land was evaded by squatters who have not vacated up to now.
For AFC Leopards, it is reported they are yet to get a title deed for their 2.8-acre piece of land that is adjacent to Moi Sports Complex, Kasarani.
“It is also in the public domain Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards were given parcels of land by Moi,” Dawo concluded.
“How the whole issues have been managed until now those facilities have not been built is beyond my comprehension.”