Odongo “Alaba” Michael: A two footed player whose pace and ability frightens defenders-The story

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Never say never: Michael Odongo challenges Lyod Wahome of Tusker FC in a KPL match at Thika Municipal Stadium in 2018.

When two high school boys joined KeMU FC in 2013 to play in the Upper Eastern Provincial league they were relatively young. This was part of CSR by the University to develop football at grassroot level. One lacked strength but boosted mesmerizing technique. The other had a combination of strength, added to the technique and composure. Skeptics believed they were in experienced and untried and would not manage to play in the FKF Nationwide league when KeMU FC gained promotion but the coach picked them. They were Ian Munene and Michael Odongo.

 

Born in 1995 in Meru County, Michael Odongo started playing soccer in Meru primary and later Muslim Secondary School. His father motivated him to get the success that he had not achieved himself as a football player in yesteryears.

When Odongo started playing for KeMU FC in the provincial league he was in form 3. After completing his KCSE, he was admitted at KeMU to study hospitality and tourism. Apart from studying he represented a very successful KeMU FC team. He was converted as a fullback and the rest became history

 FKF Nationwide League

In 2014 KeMU FC participated in the FKF division one league as a left full back. Odongo was capable of breaking oppositions play and creating chances with equal ease. KeMU, the Christian based University from Mt. Kenya region was always a marvel to watch. Playing well seemed to come naturally. Apart from delivering stunning crosses, the left back had everlasting stamina for overlapping. He never disappointed in a KeMU jersey

In the 2015 National Super league in which KeMU FC impacted well, the AP`S, Green Berrets, Kangemi All Stars and the Wazito were still there. “The most memorable league match that year was against Strathmore FC in a University derby at Strathmore Complex. “The rivalry was purely about football. The unbelievable happened. Strathmore was leading 3-1 by the stroke of halftime. KeMU FC showed all their skills when they made a dramatic comeback and won 6-3”. Odongo would later be nicknamed “Alaba” by his team mates for he always adored this accomplished fullback.

The easiest league match was a 9-goal bonanza past hapless Taqaye FC from Malindi to clock the highest scoring record in a match by any team in the league that season. Everything was running KeMU’s way in a perfect soccer pitch at Finlays in Timau in front of a crowd led by cheer leaders. In terms of sheer ability Odongo was as good as anybody when it comes to fullback position.

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Passion beyond reason: KeMU FC in the FKF Superleague

East Africa University Games

In 2014 Michael Odongo represented KeMU and the Kenyan flag in Uganda Christian University and Mukono in the bi annual games. Odongo could play everywhere but it’s at left fullback that he has been of greatest importance to KeMU, “The toughest match was against Islamic University of Uganda. It was really tough because many of their players featured for Uganda Cranes and the top tier league. We managed a 2-1 win although we lost several kilos after the game.” Says the left fullback who had quietly became an important player of KeMU. KeMU reached the quarter finals stage.

KUSA National Championship

The KUSA 1st runners up trophy that KeMU won in the National University Championships in JOOUST, Bondo is as cherished as anything in the trophy’s cabinet in KeMU. It makes a place of honor in the trophy cabinet because its tangible proof of the prowess the team possessed. If there was a better fullback than Michael Odongo in that KUSA National Championship then I don’t know him. KeMU lost to the former soccer legend Tobias Ochola coached KU in a post-match penalty shootout.

KPL the promised land

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The boy’s abit special: Michael Odongo evades an opponent  from Ulinzi Stars in a KPL clash at Thika Municipal stadium.

After KeMU Fc withdrew from the FKF Super league in 2016. Odongo played briefly for Ruiru Forest Rangers in Meru as a way of giving back before he joined the KPL.  “The journey to the KPL was not a bed of roses but hard work and commitment. “The KPL standards were by all means higher than the lower tiers. Better pitches and higher quality of officiating was evident”. Explains Michael “Alaba” Odongo.

At Thika United he played as a midfielder. His role models were Saad Musa, Masakidi and Kevin Opiyo. Saad was his greatest role model and inspiration. He always encouraged youthful players. Odongo’s first KPL match was against Bandari FC at the Thika Municipal Stadium. “I felt great as I had always dreamt of playing in the KPL.” At Thika United he was later joined by former KeMU FC players Stephen Mwiti and Melvin Muthoni “Pass master.” Ibrahim Mwiti “Blacky” formerly of Mahakama FC and Mutindwa FC from Meru also joined the trio towards the end of the 2018 season. Odongo scored a memorable goal that beat mighty Gor Mahia Fc 1-0 towards the end of the season. If he had scored the same goal against Gor Mahia in the eighties he would experience what William Obwaka saw when he scored against AFC Leopards in a CECAFA Championship whereby Gor won.

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Doing what he loves most: Michael Odongo of Bidco United dribbling in an NSL match in 2019.

National Superleague (NSL)

After relegation of Thika United to the Super league Odongo featured for them before joining neighbors Bidco United. Former KeMU FC captain and midfield maestro Sean Opuora welcome him in his new club. Sean was the captain at Bidco and continued from where he had left his arm band role at KeMU FC. The fact that Odongo did not burn bridges early this year he returned to Thika United.

Like any footballer in Kenya Odongo hopes to done the national colors for Harambe Stars one day and play professional football like Kenyan icons Dennis “the menace” Oliech and the two brothers Victor Wanyama and Mc Donald Mariga.

After his playing days he hopes to own a football academy and nurture talents and help establishing footballers to achieve their dreams.

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