Flashback: Just how good was Simon “Seppe” Mulama, the jewel in the midfield-The Story

By Hillary Mukasa

Mulama 1When Mr. Peter Mulama and Mrs. Dymphina Mulama were gifted by God with twins, He did not just bless them with children. Simon Mulama “Seppe” and Titus Mulama “Tito” were half children and half football geniuses. Just like the football dynasties of the Origi’s, Serenge’s, and Oliech’s, the Mulama’s would also have their football dynasty composed of Simon, Titus, Austin and Felix. Simon and Titus football careers would blossom the most.

Early exposure

During his youthful days Simon Mulama found himself surrounded by people who played football. This included his brothers, neighbor’s, dad and his friends. With all the encouragement from these people Simon was inevitably destined to reach great football heights.

Role Models

The boy who would later be idolized by fans and players grew up watching a lot of local football before he got to the age where he could watch and follow foreign football leagues and competitions. He admired watching Wilberforce “Maradona,” Mulamba Abdalla Shebe, Abbas Khamis “Zamalek” Magongo, JJ Masiga and Ambrose “Golden boy” Ayoyi. In the neighborhood he enjoyed watching players such as the late Peter Serry, Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno, Habil Khachisa, the late Vincent Odhiambo, Tedium Rogers, and many other players that never made it to the top league or the national team. Mulama joined MYSA during its inception in 1987 through the MYSA Youth League and competitions.

At MYSA Fair Play was Key, Respect (for yourself, teammates and opponents) was also important, Hard Work, among many other values .My coaches back then included the late Paulo, Sammy Shikuku (Shaft), Joseph Otieno (Mango), Murunga, Okoyo, Batasaro Ouma, and then the man who did all the magic was Coach Dickson Ochieng”. Acknowledges Mulama. He studied his primary education at Dr. Aggrey Primary school in Nairobi.

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Skills away from the field: Simon Mulama imparting soft skills and sharing his past experiences with the youths during the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom 2019.
(Photo courtesy)

Football at Kakamega High School

In 1993 Kakamega High School admitted a football diamond in the name of Simon Mulama. As a form one he was already a master of ball control. He was magical and incredible. “This boy can make it in the first team,” Remarked Chris Makokha the Head Coach of the Green Commandos in a training session. Here at Kakamega High School he joined the likes of Solomon Shikanda, Yusuf “Nigger” Ahmed  Jeff Oyando, Abubakar Yusuf, Maurice Sunguti, Elisha “Young Pele” Ochieng, acrobatic goalkeeper  Dan Shikuku, Jumanne Muhando, Bonventure Maruti and goalkeeper Anthony Fwaya who would later convert to Islam and change his name to Mohamed. The list of supreme players he found at Kakamega is long and can be a story on its own. He was later joined by other football icons Isaiah “Kobobo” Imbusi, John “John Toes” Amimo, the late John “Director” Khalid “Director,” Johna Mwangi, Geoffrey Kasisi Njuguna and goalkeeper Sebastian Owino. This team could make Harambee Stars. The array of super talents was a joy to watch and they bewitched the jubilant fans.   It was a pleasure and a privilege to have Simon Mulama in the Green Commandos team. He was the jewel in midfield.

“The fact that Kakamega High School had the ability to attract some of the best youthful talents from all over the country made them a football power house and the place to be for budding football stars. Green Commandos had a great technical bench led by a very qualified coach that doubled up as a physics and mathematics teacher the late Chris Makokha.  Dennis Munyendo a former midfield wizard himself and a Biology teacher was the perfect assistant coach of the team. The administration was supportive and valued sports and other extra-curricular activities and always wanted the school to be the leading example. The school had great training facilities that improved every aspect of the technical development of the players.” Justifies Mulama on what attracted him to join the football giants of Kakamega.

In Kakamega High School Simon was intelligent and likable. The football fans in and out of the school fell in love with the football artistry of Simon Mulama. The football mad fans in the community always greeted him with a standing ovation. This wonder boy always made impact wherever he played. Being young and already in the team, soon enough it became obvious Mulama would become great. When playing for the Green Commandos his football prowess and admirers grew greater. He was in a team of stars and the beauty is that when you play with great players the game becomes easy. In 1995 the Green Commandoes won the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) football championship in Meru. Mulama was a key figure in this indispensable team and that was his most defining moment at the Green Commandos. By the time he left the Green Commandos for Kisii High School he had already occupied a permanent place in the heart of the fans in the school and beyond. “Unfortunately I had disciplinary cases with the school administration which high school students do and hence suspended indefinitely from Kakamega High School. I had to part ways with the school,” Mulama point out.

While Mulama’s exist from the Green Commandoes was bad news, to Kisii high school it was good news.

 

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The Green Commandos class of 1995. Simon “Seppe” Mulama standing third from right
(Photo -Hillary Mukasa)

The dream continued at Kisii High School

 

Mr. Kinaro a former long serving Principal of Kakamega High School in their golden football era was in charge of Kisii High School when Mulama arrived. The Principle, a former boxer himself had given priceless support to the Green Commandoes. He indeed extended the goodwill to Kisii High School since football was in his DNA.

Mulama joined Kisii High School to complete his studies and play football. “I had to move to a school that could embrace my ability both in and out of class,” states Mulama. At Kisii High School the Games Master Mr. Jason Onwon’ga and was in charge of the soccer team “The dragons.” Additionally they had very talented and refined players. “At Kisii high school I met football masters such as Abdul “Daddy” Abdalla Sunday Odhiambo, John Mo Muiruri, Geoffrey Okoth, Ramadhan Balala, Gerald Mwawase, Daniel Sakwa, John “Abitch” Otieno, Evans “Jadu” Omondi , Joseph Asuza, Kamande “phiri”, Geoffrey Chibole, Hassan Denje and Patrick Obaga among many other stars that never made it to the top leagues,” Mulama. While at Kisii High School Mulama won the KSSSA football Championship in Kaimosi, Kakamega in 1997 and played for Gusii Mwalimu and Shabana FC.

In the “Ingwe” den

After high school Mulama joined the big boys at AFC leopards famously known as “Ingwe” which means a leopard in luhya vernacular language. “Here I played under coaches Abu Koroma, Jacobsen Fleming and Sunday Kayuni assisted by Martin Ndagano and Alfred Imonje. Notable players at the den were Martin Musisi, Edmund Bogonko, Mathew Owino “Ottamax,” the late Marius Mugisha, Agripa Nyanje, James Khayimba, Chris Ojiambo, Philip Ouma, Francis Oduor, the Ambanis, and Vincent Tendwa. “I mean it’s hard to leave anyone out of the list.”Points out Mulama. Winning the KPL with Ingwe was his best moment. He participated in the CECAFA competition in Zanzibar in 97/98. He also participated in the Moi Golden Cup Championship.

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Simon Mulama (Jersey 14) of Mathare United faces off Francis Xavier of AFC Leopards with a golden touch on the ball.

Football career at Mathare United “Slum boys”

 

Simon Mulama’s next stop after Ingwe was at Mathare United popularly known as the “slum boys”. “Majority of the players here including my brother Titus were players that I had played together or against and grown together. At Mathare I was coached by the late Jonathan Niva and Gabriel Kingi Njoroge. Notable players I joined in the team were Duncan Ochieng, Sunday Odhiambo, Titus “Tito” Mulama, John Kureshi, Walter Odede, Alfred Chege, Paul Ambembo, Franklin Shelimba Saulo, Ali Mohammed and Francis Kimanzi. The class of 99/2000 was just fantastic.” Recalls Mulama with nostalgia.

At Mathare United, Mulama the football prodigy participated in the 1999 Confederation cup knock outs, KPl, Moi Golden Cup and 2001 Confederation’s cup knockout.

A flight to the land of Pharaoh’s and Pyramids

After a successful spell with the slum boys Mulama flew to Ismailia a city in north Eastern Egypt known as “The City of Beauty and Enchantment,” and touched down safely. He penned his signature for Ismailia football club. “Players here were technically endowed since they start playing at a young age. The league in Egypt was better than the KPl in all aspects. The Egyptian league is very organized. “Our arch rival in the Egyptian league was the Suez Canal. It was a match everyone expected the club to win by all means. The huge rivalry was because we shared borders at the canal, among other reasons. Notable players in Ismailia were Said Mouwad, Mohammed Barakat, Abdul Hamid Basyouni, Mohammed Homos and Mohammed Salah Abougrisha.” Mulama. The coach was Mohsen Salah while the team sponsor was the President of the club Osman Osman. Ismaily SC is well known for being rich in skillful players and for the enjoyable style of play which is the reason they are called the Egyptian Samba. The team was established in 1924.

Sweden

Mulama also played professional football in Sweden for one season for Skelleftea FF and Vasteras Ik.

Donning the National colors

All players dream of representing their national team at one point of their career. Simon Mulama’s exceptional talent earned him a call up to represent the Nation. Mulama was able to feature in the CECAFA, Castle Larger tournament and several other international matches.

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Simon Mulama with Divock Origi’s father Mike Okoth at Harambee Stars them days.

He played against Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi, Burkina Faso and Gambia. A true Kenyan patriot he was. Playing for Harambee Stars against all these countries cannot be called a weakness. He had to be great.

 

In the Harambee Stars jersey he was coached by Christian Chukwu, the late James Sianga, Reinhardt Fabisch, and briefly by Jacob “Ghost” Mulei.

Simon Mulama’s other side of the coin

Mulama knew too well that football was a short career. He knew that after an illuminating football career life would never be the same out of limelight and after the applause. He was awarded a scholarship to study at Park University in the US. He made hay while the sun shone to avoid the depression that most sports personalities go through after retiring from football and sports because of lack of planning for retire. “The University team had other talents such as Eric Ongao, Enock Odede, Chris Lisaka, Felix Makacha, David Waithaka and Saidi Isaac all from Kenya. We had other nationalities like Tiago Sajben from Brazil, Ross Stride from Scotland, Justin Borseman Dutch/ Canada, Henock Belayne and Makete Gashaw from Ethiopia, Magnus Patle from Iceland. We had very talented players”. Mulama.  At park University Simon participated in intercollegiate soccer competitions and won a lot of silver wear.

In the US he started working with youth teams and when he returned home he picked up from there and worked with Ujuzi Soccer Academy. Later on he joined A.C Nakuru as the head coach for a season and was back in 2011 in the same capacity. Asked about the difference between being a player and a coach in a team Mulama answers “You can coach from the pitch, but you can’t play from the touch line.”

Simon Mulama “Seppe” will be forever remembered for what he did on the field. It was a pleasure and privilege to have him in any team. As a player, person, professional he is fantastic.

 

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After hanging his boots

 

In the US he started working with youth teams and when he returned home he picked up from there and worked with Ujuzi Soccer Academy. Later on he joined A.C Nakuru as the head coach for a season and was back in 2011 in the same capacity. Asked about the difference between being a player and a coach in a team Mulama answers “You can coach from the pitch, but you can’t play from the touch line.”

Simon Mulama “Seppe” will be forever remembered for what he did on the field. It was a pleasure and privilege to have him in any team. As a player, person, professional he is fantastic.

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