The retired footballer praised the former president as one who was keen on matters of sports and development
Gor Mahia legend Peter Dawo has said former President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi left an indelible mark on football in the country.
Dawo said Moi, who was Kenya‘s president for 24 years before passing away in 2020, was keen in helping football grow and he also attended games which inspired both Harambee Stars and clubs like Gor Mahia achieve a lot during his reign.
When Gor Mahia won the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in a two-legged final against Espérance Sportive de Tunis in 1987, Moi was at Kasarani to hand Kenya’s heavyweights their trophy. His presence, Dawo says, just showed how he cared for football growth and players.
The retired footballer also spoke about the construction of sporting facilities during Moi’s time as another reason why the former leader loved sports.
“He [Moi] attended and handed over the trophy to us when we played and defeated Esperance. This was somehow rare in Africa at that time but he did it to encourage us and we felt his love as players,” Dawo told Goal.
“Remember it is during his time Kenya built the two international stadiums; Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani and The Nyayo National Stadium.
“Harambee Stars were the first team to play at Kasarani during the All-Africa Games and Gor Mahia became the first club to play at the same venue too.”
Kasarani Stadium was built specifically for the continental games while Nyayo Stadium was constructed in 1983.
Dawo explained the President’s impact during an All-African Games semi-final tie between Harambee Stars and Malawi when the match was prematurely postponed after the lights went off.
He says Moi intervened to have the match played the next day and that gave Harambee Stars time to prepare more for Malawi. At the time when the lights went off, Kenya were trailing 1-0 to the Cosafa nation but ended up winning the match when it was replayed.
“He was attending the stadium almost every time Harambee Stars were playing at home and I can remember vividly his presence that day [against Malawi],” Dawo concluded.
“He prevailed upon the organizers of the match to let the game be played the next day and we took the advantage of the postponement to re-energize and face Malawi. They looked superior to us and the blackout was a blessing in disguise for us.
“We defeated Malawi 1-0 and proceeded to the finals where we lost to Egypt unfortunately.
“He was a great fan, helped in football growth and that is not debatable.”