neelwrites/fiction/shortstory/whatpegmansaw/150words/21/03/2017

NO KIDDING (159 words)

Image result for LUGOGO OMONDI

 

GENRE : HISTORICAL FICTION

By Neel Anil Panicker

In Africa, a poor kid’s life quest is a binary: become a criminal or a footballer.

There’s no third.

‘Hey, genuis,’ manager Musoke said. He was in charge of Cranes Coach, a man whose team had become a byword in excellence, having won the All Africa National Football championship for the sixth straight time.

‘If you’re so good why is you haven’t noticed that kid over there.’

Chief Coach Bukhard Pape didn’t reply.

Instead, his eyes followed his colleague’s gaze.

There, in the far corner of Kampala Football Grounds, a young black kid, no more than twelve, was putting on a mesmerising display of barefooted pyrotechnics; turning, twisting, lifting, and juggling a regular sized ball around his puny self, the ball a magnet locked around his ankles, waist, chest and head.

Mesmerised, Pape asked, “What’s his name.”

‘I checked. Omondi, Philip Omondi’

“I want that guy before he ends up dead. One day he’ll make all of Africa proud.”

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction # shortstory #whatpegmansaw # 159 words

Written for WHATPEGMANSAW GOOGLE STREET VIEW HOSTED AT

WHAT PEGMAN SAW

Kampala

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HISTORICAL BACKDROP:

In 1969 while juggling a ball at Lugogo, Omondi caught the attention of Cranes Coach Bukhard Pape and team manager Andrew Wasake Musoke. The duo was with the national team that had camped at Lugogo for preparations ahead of the CECAFA challenge tournament. Convinced by Omondi’s juggling skills, Pape invited him to the team as a ball boy during that tournament.

“No body can match his skills. I have never seen a player like him. He could change a game in a flash of a moment”.
“No body could match Omondi’s achievements both at national and club level. He was crafty and actually could do anything with the ball. At times, he could make you think he had the ball tied on his boot laces. And when it came to head and chest control, he was unrivaled and his passion was world class. I have never seen a player as gifted and talented as Phillip Omondi”
“You only compare Omondi when talking about Pele and Maradona. In Uganda and Africa, no one comes close. Omondi was just unlucky not to be born today. He could play in any team in Europe”
“Phillip Omondi was my idol”
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT OMONDI:
Coach David Otti (RIP) – His first coach in the Northern region team.
“No body can match his skills. I have never seen a player like him. He could change a game in a flash of a moment”.
Hassan Badru Zziwa – The observer Ltd.
“No body could match Omondi’s achievements both at national and club level. He was crafty and actually could do anything with the ball. At times, he could make you think he had the ball tied on his boot laces. And when it came to head and chest control, he was unrivaled and his passion was world class. I have never seen a player as gifted and talented as Phillip Omondi”
Sam Ssimbwa – Current Express FC Coach and was lucky he was at Lugogo when Omondi had a coaching stint.
“You only compare Omondi when talking about Pele and Maradona. In Uganda and Africa, no one comes close. Omondi was just unlucky not to be born today. He could play in any team in Europe”
Abedi Pele – Ghana and African football legend
“Phillip Omondi was my idol”
OMONDI FACTFILE:
Born 1957 and died on 21st/04/1999.
Played for only five clubs: Naguru youth FC, Fiat FC, KCC FC and Sharjah FC in United Arab Emirates.
Won two Kankungulu Cup titles with KCC FC (1984 & 1987)
Won two league titles with KCC FC (1983 & 1985).
Won one Cecafa title with KCC FC (1978) and the Cranes (1983)
Won the AFCON 1978 golden boot with 4 goals.

Trivia

On many occasions, it is very difficult finding an adjective that simply defines how talented the Late Omondi was. Not even reffering to him as the greatest or finest can be enough. Born to Kenyan parents in 1957 in Tororo, Omondi’s family later shifted to Naguru in Kampala district. He went to St. Jude Primary school and later Kololo Secondary School. Despite the fact that he went on to become a soccer star, Omondi’s career as a sports man in boxing. He was lured into boxing by friend and house mate at school, Shadrack Odhiambo a former national boxer.
QUITTING BOXING:
Omondi lost interest in the sport after he was frustrated by a judge’s decision that saw him lose a fight in a boxing tournament. Following what he called unfair judgment, the young boxer quit the sport and opted to join football despite pleas from his friend Odhiambo.
FOOTBALL CAREER:
In 1969 while juggling a ball at Lugogo, Omondi caught the attention of Cranes Coach Bukhard Pape and team manager Andrew Wasake Musoke. The duo was with the national team that had camped at Lugogo for preparations ahead of the CECAFA challenge tournament. Convinced by Omondi’s juggling skills, Pape invited him to the team as a ball boy during that tournament.
CLUB CAREER:
After the tournament, he joined Naguru Youth FC in1970 and later Fiat FC where he had played till 1973 when he was together with Tom Lwanga spotted by KCC FC Coach then, Mister Bidandi Ssali and he joined the club immediately.
In the same year, he helped Northern region coached by David Otti to the regional championships triumph beating Buganda region in the finals in which Omondi scored the winner. Amazingly, Buganda Coach Robert Kiberu had let the lad go after a few training sessions in which he was not convinced by Omondi’s displays. He had been taken to the Buganda team by Mzee Kezekia Ssegwanga Musisi.
HIS TIME AT KCC FC:
Omondi remains the Yellow lads greatest player of all time as he helped the club dominate football domestically and in the region. He played lots of games for KCC FC but in 1976, suffered a career threatening injury. While playing against Kilembe mines on 10th/April/1976, Omondi collided with Kilembe goalie known as Kikomeko rupturing his pancreas and under went three surgical operations in Mulago hospital and later one in England. He was pronounced dead on two occasions in that period and many an expert ruled him out of football forever.
SURPRISE RETURN TO FOOTBALL:
He returned from injury on 22/06/1977 in a league game against NIC to the surprise of many in the soccer fraternity including those who had declared his career over after the injury he suffered. He scored one of KCC FC’s three goals in the game.
A year later, Omondi helped KCC FC win the CECAFA club championship in January in Kampala making history as the first Ugandan side to lift the regional tournament. Two years later in 1979, Omondi left KCC FC and joined paid ranks in United Arab Emirates where he featured for Sharjah FC. However, with two years into his career as a professional, he suffered another injury in 1981 and made a decision to return home rejoining KCC FC in 1983 after recovering.
On his return, he scored and assisted important goals as KCC FC lifted the league title in 1983 and 1985 and later the Kakungulu Cup in 1984 and 1987.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “neelwrites/fiction/shortstory/whatpegmansaw/150words/21/03/2017

  1. Great piece of history. A sign of the good that sport can do for children and developing nations. Despite dying early his is a story of hope. Nice one – and thanks for all the factual information too.

    Like

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