• The trip to Norway opened doors for Midenyo's career as a footballer as soon enough he was called up to the Mathare United side that was now in the top flight league.
• It was not long before his qualities were noticed by national team selectors and he was called up to the Harambee Stars squad for the first time in 2000 after impressing in age group levels.
Built like a battle tank and with the speed of a jet fighter, George Midenyo was always a tough adversary to many opponents on the pitch from when he was a youngster growing up in Huruma Estate, Starehe Constituency in Nairobi.
So indestructible was the striker that his friends nicknamed him 'Tompo' after a ruthless villain in the movie Kickboxer starring martial arts hero Jean Claude Van Damme.
"My former primary school mate David Olando gave me the name because he thought it suited me since I was aggressive and ruthless. And because I did not like it, he was determined to get to my nerves by calling me Tompo and before I knew it, the name stuck," reveals Midenyo.
Tompo started playing football at Dragon football pitch (Masinde grounds). His role model was his cousin, the late Osunga"Rambo" Kitoto, who used to play football and boxing.
It took an opportunity with the Mathare Youth Sports Association for a young Midenyo to truly realise he could make a living out of the sport.
"When I was selected to represent MYSA U16 in Norway Cup, it really hit home that football could be my life. I tasted the professional touch and never looked back since then," he narrates.
The trip to Norway opened doors for Midenyo's career as a footballer as soon enough he was called up to the Mathare United side that was now in the top flight league.
There, he would play alongside his youth team colleagues like the Mulama brothers, Titus and Simon as well as Sunday Odhiambo, in an exciting to watch youthful Mathare side.
It was not long before his qualities were noticed by national team selectors and he was called up to the Harambee Stars squad for the first time in 2000 after impressing in age group levels.
"The late Reinhardt Fabisch surprised me. I knew I was good but not that good enough to rub shoulders with international players because I was only 19. I was enjoying my holiday up country when Simon Mulama called me and asked if I saw the newspaper," says Midenyo.
"Mzee umeitwa Hambaree (You have been called up to Harambee Stars). We were all excited at home and I had to leave immediately because we were to report for camp in two days."
The Kenyan Premier League title winning striker added: "Our first match was an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Gabon in two weeks. I made the bench. My first game was away in Gabon which I played for 90 mins as an attacking midfielder. We drew 1-1 despite Musa Otieno being sent off. My second match was against Morocco, those who were there knew what happened,"he recounts.
Having already tasted what it felt like to play in Europe having travelled with the under 16 Mysa team in 1996, Midenyo already had an idea of what it took to succeed as a footballer overseas.
After leaving Mathare to join Tusker in 2006, Midenyo would claim his first league title with the brewers a year later.
Having achieved one of his objectives when he took up football, becoming a league champion, Tompo was on the move again, returning to Norway to join Raufoss. There he would stay for a year. He then moved to Sweden joining Mjallby and later Husqvarna.
"Outside Kenya, football is different. It wasn't easy to adjust to everything including the quality of the ball, the food, environment, culture, weather, language and friends. You need to work four to five times harder than the rest," he observes.
"As a pro player, you are not to be compared with any of their local or professional players. You must be outstanding in your own way/s. It was a good challenge. If you manage to conquer all these, then you automatically become a king. You will be treated as you have never experienced before."
Midenyo returned to Kenya in 2011, rejoining Tusker and going on to win another KPL title under the tutelage of Samany Omollo. Despite missing out on a place in the Stars squad that featured in the 2004 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia where Dennis Oliech had replaced him as the speed merchant, Midenyo harbours no regret.
"The truth is I never regretted playing or being in football. Whatever happened or did not happen was part of life. If you are used to giving your best and persevere in everything that you do, then it's hard to regret," he philosophies.
Midenyo has been a champion severally and in hindsight, he feels he achieved what those closest to him felt he would do in the game.
"I remember my best friend, Elijah Kanyi used to tell me: 'Wewe lazima ubebe kikombe na kila team unaenda (you will win trophies with every club you play for)," recalls Midenyo.
"I have won every major tournament in Kenya since I was a youth."
Despite being a difficult customer to deal with as an individual, Midenyo too had his fair share of miserable outings, not least when he played continental football.
"My toughest opponent was Al Ahly of Egypt in 2006 when I played for Tusker FC, half of that team went ahead to win the Afcon at home the same year," he says.
Having already hang up his bots after further stints with Gor Mahia and Nairobi City Stars, Tompo took the effort to get his coaching badges and was in the technical bench of Wazito in 2018.
"I am really looking forward to coaching a Premier League team. At the moment I'm running a soccer academy in Karen/Ngong area," he discloses.
Ever an outgoing person, Midenyo engages in hiking as well as weightlifting in his free time. His advice to the current generation of players is to learn to work hard when they are still young.
"Don't wait until it's too late. Don't be ashamed to seek advice from the veterans, they've been there and have done that. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work hard," an apt inspiration from someone who turned his inner energy into the fire that lit his football career.