• "When I joined Gor I felt relieved. At least I had that chance to get them what I took away back then and also fulfill one of my dreams of playing in a big club,” narrates Agogo.
• For an orphan who achieved his dream of using his God-given talent to earn a living, Agogo has few regrets.
The afternoon of November 10, 2012 is a day many die-hard Gor Mahia fans will remember without juggling their minds.
It was the day that the club’s 17-year heart-breaking wait to be crowned Kenyan champions was supposed to end.
Going into the match with a one-point lead over second-placed Tusker, all Zdravko Logarusic’s side needed to do was beat Thika United and confirm their first top flight title since Zedekiah Otieno lifted the trophy back in 1995.
It was a fete a generation of talented K’Ogalo players John ‘Baresi’ Odhiambo, Josiah Ougo, the late Charles Fundi, among others had failed to achieve.
Thika United, however, had no room for sentimentality in what was then dubbed the ‘Milk Derby’ with Gor being sponsored by Tuzo while Thika were backed by Brookside. The clash ended 1-1 leaving the Green Army desolate and in utter anguish as the pot broke at the door.
The player responsible for the melancholy that engulfed the K’Ogalo nation was none other than Kennedy ‘Agogo’ Otieno. The left footer combined with Francis Kahata to silence the jam-packed City Stadium with the opening goal in the first half.
Though Rama Salim would equalise late in the tie, a flurry of missed chances meant Gor lost out to Tusker in the gripping title race. Though he would join Gor five years later, going on to help them clinch the Kenya Premier League title for a fifth time since the 2012 debacle, memories of that dramatic afternoon remained etched in Agogo’s memory.
“When I joined Gor I felt relieved. At least I had that chance to get them what I took away back then and also fulfill one of my dreams of playing in a big club,” narrates Agogo.
Agogo began playing football at Kirindo Primary School through to Agoro Oyombe Secondary and in between he used to play for Lazio Roma at Kibra’s Woodly grounds and Olympic, now known as Soccer Talent Academy.
“Back in the days, Dennis Oliech and Ronaldo — the Brazilian striker — used to be my role models. I tried to play like them from a very early age,” recalls Agogo.
His talent shone when he was barely a teenager.He was named the best player in the East African school games in 2002 and while he was in high school, he was twice (2006-07) awarded the Most Valuable player in the school championships. This opened the doors to his career development prospects.
“My breakthrough came when I joined Posta Rangers as a developing youth and while there, I was scouted by Thika United where I made a name for myself,” reminisces Agogo.
As he sought his way through the football ladder, the guidance of his high school teacher, Jared Ogola and then Posta Rangers coach, Peter Ambesta, was pivotal.
“The two were the most important figures early in my career and their advice shaped how I developed my own style,” he states.
It was, however, the performance against K’Ogalo that really introduced Agogo to the Kenyan football-loving-public. It eventually earned him moves to Western Stima and a further stint at Posta before eventually landing at Gor.
It also gave him the confidence to unleash his whole array of talent from left-footed thunderbolts to sublime free kicks, earning call ups to national team Harambee Stars.
“Playing for the national team made me grow and mature faster in football. The much I acquired from national team changed my view and made me see football as a career,” Agogo remarks.
He was part of the Harambee Stars team that won the Cecafa Senior Challenge on home soil. Though he never ventured outside the country in pursuit of greener pastures, Agogo, through his interactions with the likes of former teammate Michael Olunga,Francis Kahata and Clifton Miheso, has an idea of what it takes to play abroad.
“Playing outside the country really needs one to have a big heart and character including a strong attitude because the expectations are so high that there is no day your performance should plumet,” he opines.
For an orphan who achieved his dream of using his God-given talent to earn a living, Agogo has few regrets. But also being sound academically unlike most of his contemporaries, he rues failing to get a football scholarship in the USA.
“I regret on missing a chance of a football scholarship because I had no money to fund the process,” he rues.
Among some of his achievements since he was a young boy was winning the East Africa junior championships, winning the Super League with Posta — earning promotion to the National Super League, third place finish in KPL with Thika United, runners-up in KPL top 8, winning the Cecafa tournament with Harambee Stars, domestic cup champion with Gor and finally a KPL champions medal with Gor. He also mentions his greatest personal fete was scoring a hat trick for Thika United.
Zesco United defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino remains his greatest opponent.
With football still suspended due to government restrictions on public gatherings, Agogo, like many Kenyan youths still has to keep himself busy.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I am currently doing Kazi Mtaani (a government project to help Kenyan youth earn a living) farming and coaching young talents as I wait for the resumption of the league,” he reveals.
Having seen some of his compatriots living a life of penury after squandering the fortune they earned from football, Agogo has wise words for players.
“Football is a process and it's something that God gives you as a talent. So for you to move smoothly have self-discipline, dedication, patience and passion,” he says.
The 31-year-old graduate concludes: “Sports career is shorter compared to other careers so go to school too, choose a good course and study as this will help you after the sporting career is over.
“I did Human Resource Management and right now I am doing a degree in Finance at KCA University. Last but not least learn to invest the money you are get during your active days.”
Kennedy ‘Agogo’ Otieno
Club: Gor Mahia
2008 - Posta Rangers
2009 - Thika United
2016 - Western Stima
2017- Posta Rangers
2018 - Western Stima
Education: Kirindo Primary 2003
- Agoro Oyombe Sec School 2007
- Mount Kenya University 2013
- Currently KCA University
Honours: best player east africa U-14 (2002)
- Best player in school games (2006 and 2007)
- Super League champion with Posta Rangers (2008)
- Top scorer Shield Cup (2016)
- Player of the month twice
- Won KPL with Gor Mahia (2019)