MUSINGU FOOTBALL LEGENDS: Some of the schools greatest players ever

Football is the people’s game. We live it, we breathe it. This article looks at Musingu football legends. Musingu High School has produced some of the most iconic players in the history of Kenyan football. From Washington Muhanji to Keffa Tasso and Bernard Agunda to Steve Oliech Okumu, the school has a catalogue of history makers and record breakers from different generations that is unbelievable. They are the players we wish we were. Putting a list of 25 greatest Musingu football players of all time is no easy task especially since you are picking out of a massive talent pool in the second most successful footballing team in Western Kenya which is the home of football. There are possibly several omissions from the list which would easily fit in. After days of meticulous research and asking living football “Wikipedia’s” this is the list I came up with.

1984 Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) National football Champions: The supremely gifted Musingu Scorpions pose for a photo in Mombasa.
(Photo- Courtesy Keffa Tasso)


Simply put, Kabwoya was an essential part of the 1984 Scorpions team that conquered in the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) National Championship in football in Mombasa and he is the second goalkeeper to make it on this list. The late John Kabwoya was a calm goalkeeper and very good on one on one situations. Great in defending crosses and corner kicks by the opponents. Kabwoya the shot stopper had only one challenge of shouting instructions to his team mates since he was a stammerer.  He played briefly for KCC before joining Mumias Sugar FC. “John Kabwoya was very funny and always a joy to be with”. Mike Kisaghi a former goalkeeper supremo says.


Were was calm and focused on the ball and not the man with the ball. The born leader was a great defender that played a pivotal role for Musingu in the many awards they won. The unprecedented success he had with Musingu in 1984 cannot miss to be mentioned when talking about him. Were was in the Green Commandos team of Kakamega High School when they clinched the KSSSA National football Championship in Thika. The year is 1986. Were played a crucial role when Mumias Sugar FC was promoted from the Provincial league to the Super league (equivalent to the now KPL). At Mumias he was in the squad of Etole, Hezron Osuka (RIP), Michael Otieno, Sylvanus Bulinda and Milton Orwe among others. He also played for MOW.


He is primarily remembered as a striker. When we talk of quality Joseph Ngaira had it. Not only was he a brilliant player but a great scorer too. Joseph Ngaira was nicknamed killer because his fierce shooting ability. His shooting prowess is legendary and of course there is no argument over that. His shots can be compared to those of Henry “Ndovu” Motego, Sylvanus Bulinda and George “Nyangi” Odembo. He was a hit man and used any opportunity to shoot at goal. Opposing defenders ensured he did not get a space to shoot on target. The stocky striker played for Musingu Scorpions in 1986 and 1987. Ngaira was a striker who had a nose for goal and played for MOW and AFC Leopards


He was an immensely tough character in the center.  The Musingu High School squad of the mid and late eighties boosted of names such as Arthur “Coimbra” Odhiambo Onyango, Anthony “OfeK” Okumu, Joseph “Killer” Ngaira, Festus Serenge, Captain  Patrick Mutai, Wenslaus Ambata, Mike Otieno and of course Tom Major. While the strikers scored the goals, Tom Meja kept things water tight at the back. The defender with tough tackles was humble and one would hardly believe he would tackle the opponents as hard as he did. Tom Meja was a king pin defender in the Rivatex FC team that won the Moi Golden Cup in 1990 and finished 3rd in the top league behind giants AFC Leopards and the Mighty Gor Mahia. Tom Meja was tough in the air and also featured for AFC Leopards after leaving Rivatex.


Here is a famous   Musingu Scorpions defender on the list who was a pillar in the team. He is one of the most important players from Musingu. Back in those days they nicknamed him Murila. Momanyi was nicknamed Murila after Josephat “Controller” Murila one of the coolest defenders to ever grace the Kenya soccer fields.  Momanyi was undisputedly a great center back that was in the magnificently talented Musingu Scorpions team that clinched the KSSSA title in 1984.  He was the Vice-Captain to Keffa Tasso and ensured that he defended like life and death when the Scorpions said on the pitch that Kakamega would not win the most coveted football trophy by Secondary Schools in 1984. The hero was good in aerial duels and was cool in defense. Momanyi played for Mumias Sugar and KTM in the top tier football league. He is a qualified engineer.


Justus Wekesa is one of the game’s greatest players from Musingu. His height was like that of Peter Crouch. The lanky forward excelled on the flanks and was blessed with blistering pace and acceleration. In his school days he competed in the 100M race. He played for MOW and AFC Leopards.


Labeled by Keffa Tasso as an exceptional no 7 and it is not difficult to see why. He was a deadly winger and great in shielding his ball. The football star was an influential member of the 1984 history making team. He played for Mumias Sugar.


Andrew Mugaisi was a key member of the squad that clinched the KSSSA in 1984 and was indeed a driving force in. The extremely gifted offensive player from Musingu joined Kangaru High School for his A- level education. Mugaisi was a good passer and played for AFC Leopards. The deadly offensive player terrorized opponents from the left flank with effective crosses. He got a scholarship to study in USA and lives there. The football legend occupies a special place in Musingu hearts.


Makacha is a younger brother to Felix Makacha and he began his football career as a youth at MYSA. During his football career he played for Mathare United, AFC Leopards, Kangemi United, Club Sport Herediano of Costa Rica, IK Sirius in Sweden and Harambee Stars. He was a key player for Mathare United when they won the KPL in 2008. Austin Makacha was awarded as the best midfielder in the 2008 KPL with a total of 8 goals under his name. Makacha Captained Musingu when they finished as the runners up in the KSSSA National football Championship against Kisii High School in Kaimosi, Kakamega.

Mighty Musingu Scorpions in 1987 (Photo Courtesy-Patrick Mutai)


The former Kenyan international played for Harambee Stars in 1998 and was part of the Harambee Stars team that knocked Algeria out of the World Cup qualifiers in 1997. Okumu played for the Mumias Sugar FC team that won the Moi Golden Cup. He also played for Shamako Babes, MOW and AFC Leopards. He is a Ward Administrator in Etenje Ward of Mumias West Sub-County and FKF Secretary General, Kakamega Branch. Anthony Okumu was a key player in a very strong Musingu Scorpions team in 1987 with players like Michael Ojay Otieno, Festus Serenge, Patrick Mutai, Lumumba, Joseph Ngaira, Arthur “Coimbra” Odhiambo Onyango, Wenslaus Ambata, George Ambaisi, Tom Meja, Noa Ndunde and Protus Munyendo. They may have not won the KSSSA National Championship but they captured the hearts and minds of a generation of football fans in the region.


An elder brother to Festus Serenge, Joe was a key striker for Musingu Scorpions when they won the 1984 KSSSA National football Championship and was constantly on the score sheet whenever he wore the Musingu jersey. He played for Kisumu Breweries, MOW and AFC Leopards. Joe knew how to position himself as a striker. In his playing years some nicknamed him Roger Milla the Cameroonian striker who scored 4 goals at 38 years in the Italia 90 World Cup. Joe Serenge has been an MCA in Kakamega for 3 consecutive terms. He is a hero on and off the pitch.


Another revered of the 1984 generation. He did everything with his left foot. A very good, strong well-built player with a gifted left foot that could take on any defender at will. Omboko could go through the opposing defenders like a hot knife in butter. He scored very teasing goals. Thomas Omboko played for the triumphant Musingu Scorpions in the 1984 KSSSA Championship in Mombasa. When AFC Leopards beat FC Kalamu of Zaire 4-1 in the African Cup Winners Cup in 1988 at Nyayo National Stadium Thomas Omboko scored a brace. The other scorers for Ingwe were Patrick Shim and Wilberforce “Maradona” Mulamba. The AFC Leopards squad that day was comprised of goalkeeper Omar Shaban, Wycliffe Anyangu, Hassan Juma, David Akoi, Mickey “T9” Weche, Sammy Taabu, John “Shoto” Lukoye, Keffa Tasso, Patrick Shim, Wilberforce “Maradona” Mulamba and Thomas Omboko. This is the day Lutumba Menga of FC Kalamu caused mayhem at the stadium when after being sent off by the referee he slapped him on his cheeks like a child. Security personnel had to intervene quickly.


Born in Kapsabet, Patrick Mutai was the Captain of the remarkably gifted Musingu scorpion’s team in 1986 and 1987. Mutai was elected as the Captain of Rivatex FC from 1988 to 1995. This justifies how great he was as a leader on and off the pitch. When Rivatex won the Moi Golden Cup and finished in a respectable 3rd position in the Kenya National Football League the win was galvanized by Captain Mutai’s arm band. Leading by example was his norm. Winning these accolades was his stage and that cannot be denied. He played in an era when Rivatex FC enjoyed priceless support from the parent organization Rivatex Textiles Limited. Mutai was called to the National team in 1990.

12. PIUS “Khoikhoi” MASINZA

That Pius Masinza is one of the greatest Captains of the Musingu football team is a question beyond many. It is no exaggeration to say that Masinza set the standard for the Scorpions. That’s the way it has to be. Pius Masinza was absolutely admired during his days at Musingu. We are not only talking about the player now but also about the man. To many he was the greatest thing that could have happened. Born in Shitaho in Kakamega, Pius Masinza was a beneficiary of the German tactician Bernhard Zgoll’s football program. While in primary school he went through training sessions conducted at Bukhungu Stadium by the German tactician who “discovered Kenyan football”. He was nicknamed Khoi khoi by his beloved fans because he was as dark as Shaka the Zulu. In 1978 the Captain of the Musingu Scorpions single handedly eliminated the Green Commandos of Kakamega in the qualifying matches of the KSSSA football competition. He scored the two goals that were enough to sink the would be best football school in the Country. Musingu qualified for the KSSSA National competition for the first time that year and represented Western Province. The first school to represent Western Province in the KSSSA National Championship was Kamusinga High School in 1973 when the games were hosted in Kakamega. Kamusinga emerged as the Champions. Pius Masinza was the games prefect in Musingu and as a boy and student he played for MOW in the Kenya National Football League. Immediately after completing his O level examinations Khoi Khoi joined arguably the strongest AFC Leopards team of all time. The year is 1980. He joined and blended well with Mahmoud “Kenya One” Abbas, JJ Masiga the bulldozer, Wilberforce “Maradona” Mulamba, Mickey “T9” Weche, Haggai “Shama Shama “Mirikau (RIP), Noah “Landmawe” Wanyama amongst  many other indispensable players. Khoi Khoi played a crucial role in the glory days of AFC Leopards. “At one point the media reported that I was dead but he denied the claims. I am still alive and kicking” Said Pius Masinza in my Interview with him.


In Kenya we have football Dynasties such as The Wanyama Dynasty, The Oliech Dynasty, The Kadenge Dynasty and The Mwololo Dynasty. When we talk about the football Dynasties in Kenya we cannot fail to mention the Serenge Dynasty. This would be unfair. Festus Serenge, Joe Serenge, Fred “Kapro” Serenge, Anthony Serenge, Zedrick Serenge and Maurine Serenge all played in the highest tier of Kenyan football. Their sister Judy Serenge played volleyball for Kenya Pipeline and the National team. Judith Serenge flew the Kenyan flag in the World Cup and the Olympics.  Their late dad Paul Serenge was himself a football legend part from being a polygamist. “The football prowess of my dad made many women love him. Whenever he played he brought Kakamega to a standstill.” Fred Serenge the elder brother to Festus says.

As famous for his sportsmanship as his football prowess, Festus Serenge was a key player for Musingu Scorpions in the mid and late eighties. Success to him seemed inevitable. After Musingu he played for Rivatex FC alongside several other former schoolmates. He was a key player in the victorious Rivatex FC team that won the Moi Golden Cup in 1990 and finished 3rd in the top league. While at Musingu he was selected to play for the Kenya Secondary Schools team in Zambia. At Kenya Breweries now Tusker FC Serenge played a key role in the Africa Cup Winners Cup final in 1994 to become the only team after Gor Mahia to reach the finals.

At Tusker FC Festus Serenge scored many goals as an overlapping defender. They had a defenders competition to score goals. The healthy competition was between Festus Serenge, Vincent Kwarula and Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo. When Tusker won the KPL in 1994 Festus Serenge scored the winning goal against Transcom FC which was enough to win the prestigious title. Tusker FC won the HEDEX Super Cup in 1994 and 1995. On both occasions Serenge scored crucial goals. No wonder a Malindi FC player from Zanzibar was heard saying “anatuonea, lazima tukicheza nao atufunge” in Swahili to mean he is unfair to us whenever we play against them. He has to score against us. Festus Serenge was a true gentleman of the game.

The invincible Scorpions in 1987. (Photo Courtesy- Patrick Mutai)


Steve Oliech Okumu was the first born in the Oliech Dynasty a family of leading footballers in the country. Okumu, the brother to Denis “The Menace” Oliech, Kennedy Oliech (RIP) and Andrew “Apache” Oyombe scored the lone goal that helped Gor overcome Zamalek in a CAF Cup in 1998 at Moi international Sports Center Kasarani.  He died in an accident in Rhode Island in 2002 at 26 when he had just arrived for a football scholarship in the USA. In 2019 when Dennis Oliech scored for Gor Mahia against Zamalek at Moi international Sports Center Kasarani he dedicated his debut goal in the CAF match to his late brother Steve Okumu the last Kenyan to score against Zamalek. Okumu played for MOW, Mumias Sugar, AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars and scored on numerous occasions.

In 1993 as a youth passionate with football I watched him score a brilliant goal against St. Peters Mumias at Kakamega High School. He beat all the defenders including the goal keeper and stabbed tapped the ball in an empty net. It is a goal that has never erased in my memory.  Very few strikers would score such a goal and Steve Okumu was one of them. I watched him from the terraces of Bukhungu Stadium when Musingu played against Kakamega in the District finals in 1993 and I wondered who that was. He was doing everything right. His combination with Bernard “Makambo” Agunda and Bernard Makuto against Abubakar Yusuf, Yussuf “Nigga” Ahmed and Maurice Sunguti of Kakamega was all that a football fan would wish for.


Bernard Agunda was a hero for School, Club and Country. The hero captained both Harambee Stars and Tusker FC. In 2002 he lifted the Castle Lager Cup under the tutelage of Jacob Ghost Mulei. Agunda was the Captain of Tusker FC formerly Kenya Breweries when they clinched the CECAFA Championship in 2008. The gifted midfielder played for Utalii FC and undisputedly won the KPL title in 1997. Agunda had a brief professional stint in Seychelles. There are many memories about Bernard Agunda. He was always a winner with success year after year. He deserved it all. Nothing was given to him. The amazing player achieved it through dedication, and fighting for the colors of his team. Agunda was skillful with perfect control and vision. He will always be remembered as a giant of Musingu football. For such talent you should thank someone above us all. God.


There was much more to Dennis Munyendo than just football ability and sports journalists have written in that respect. As a footballer though he was simply remarkable. He played in an era when football fans filled the stadiums. The biology teacher played for MOW, AFC Leopards and Harambee Stars. At Kakamega High School he was the Assistant Coach to Chris Makokha where he rose to the position of Deputy Principle. He was also the Principal and football Head Coach at Emusire and St Ignatius Mukumu boys.


Nothing and nobody got past the Musingu legend in his heyday. When you think of quality defenders Gabriel Olang is a defender everyone would like to be compared to. A talented central defender, lanky and very strong in the air he sat for his final examination in Musingu in 1983. When Enock Momanyi played in position 5 for Musingu and Gabriel Olang position 4 the defense was water tight. Olang, the bonafide superstar had very good timing and was very cool and composed. He was never short of confidence and was good in build ups from the back and supported the midfield. With the composure he had he never folded under pressure. The technically sound center back was a thorn in the flesh to fellow defenders when he moved forward. He would dribble well and he had a rasping shot. During corner kicks he always soared above the rest and scored easy goals. Called Gabbu in short he was very disciplined and rarely booked by the referee. He played for MOW, Volcano United and Harambee Stars. He was the Team Manager of Harambee Stars under Adel Amrouche.


Mike Otieno produced magic when it was needed and his talent as a goal scorer was undeniable. He signed for Gor Mahia in 1987 as one of the youngest players in the team and started to play in the 1988 season. The prolific goal scorer played for Gor Mahia during the golden era of the team alongside household names such as Tobias “Jua Kali” Ochola, Sammy “Jogoo” Onyango, Peter Bassanga Otieno, Austin “Makamu” Oduor, and Peter Dawo among others. Mike Otieno fitted exceptionally well among these stellar names. During his high school days he played for MOW of Kakamega. In 1986 he played a crucial role when Kakamega High School was crowned the KSSSA National football Champions in Thika. In 1987 he switched camp to arch rivals Musingu High School and joined a squad blessed with true brilliance.  In that squad he played alongside other greats like Captain Patrick Mutai, Festus Serenge, Arthur “Coimbra” Onyango, and Anthony “Ofek” Okumu amongst many others. With Gor Mahia he won the league, Moi Golden Cup and played in the Africa Cup Winners Cup then called the Nelson Mandela Cup. He played for Harambee Stars in the qualifiers of the 1992 AFCON in Senegal only to be left out because of a knee injury.


He was christened “Coimbra” after playing for the Kenya National Youth team in Italy in the eighties. When he was at his best the ball became obedient to him, and the game became an invitation party. A midfielder that one wished for is what Arthur “Coimbra” Onyango Odhiambo was. The defensive midfielder was artistic and very strong. He was good in aerial balls and a deadly free kick taker. Everyone was talking about him. He was in the K’Ogalo team that clinched the CECAFA Championship in 1985. Arthur Onyango was among 5 Gor Mahia players that had been recruited to fill the vacant positions left by the Gor Mahia players who had been suspended in the infamous match against Zamalek of Egypt. He was recruited alongside George “Nyangi” Odembo, Sawaleh Ochieng, Ben “Breakdance” Oloo and Goro Oronge. Len Julians was the coach. At KCC he played alongside Mike Kisaghi and Isaac Kwoba amongst many other gifted players. Coimbra also played for Kisumu Posta. He will forever be remembered by Musingu loyal fans for creating a formidable midfield partnership with Keffa Tasso in 1984 when they beat the mighty Green Commandos.


When we mention a player with lightning speed, powerful and lethal we are likely talking about Mike “Computer” Wambani. One of the finest players of his time Wambani had blistering speed, was a prolific goal scorer and serial killer. Wambani possessed a naturally gifted scoring ability. During his playing days everyone was talking about the prodigy. He loved scoring goals. Just as simple as that. Computer was that good. His two goals in the KSSSA football finals in 1984 cemented his name in the Musingu High School Wall of fame. He scored two quick goals with 5 minutes to go after Kakamega High School had been leading 2-1. Kennedy Likhaisi the Kakamega High School right fullback nicknamed boxer had 5 minutes of nightmare in the dying moments of that memorable match.  Mike Wambani turned him upside down and made him a super highway.  Wambani made the fullback chase him from the center until he scored. It was the Scorpions and Wambani’s finest hour. Very few strikers in that tournament would score two quick goals against such a well-organized defense. That was Green Commandos. You never beat the Green Commandos in 5 minutes like Wambani the Computer did. There were few computers in Kenya in that generation. From reliable information Kennedy Likhasi nicknamed boxer because of his physic was never seen on a football pitch again. Wambani featured in the Kenya Secondary Schools National team that clinched the Inter Secondary’s Championship in Zambia. Mike “Computer” Wambani played for MOW, Panpaper and Harambee Stars. Perhaps if he would have played for AFC Leopards he would have had a more illuminating football career. His career ended prematurely due to injury.


He was a footballing genius. There is no way you can claim otherwise. I am writing about an unbelievably super talented left footed forward and an opportunistic goal scorer. The goal poacher was lethal and speedy.  Alfayo was one of the most complete players ever of the Scorpions during his era. He played for the scorpions in 1985 and 1986. Musingu finished 2nd in the KSSSA National Championship in football in 1985 after losing to Homabay boys in the final. Musingu Scorpions beat the Kakamega High School Green Commandos 1-0 in the District finals at Chavakali High School and guess who the scorer was. It had to be Alfayo Odongo the striker with amazing footwork. When Rivatex became the first team outside Nairobi to win the Moi Golden Cup in 1990 Alfayo Odongo was their key player.   Finishing 3rd in the National Football League behind Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards added an extra feather to Alfayo Odongo. Rivatex played against Gor Mahia in the first Super Cup organized by The Standard Newspaper in 1991.  Before that match the fans were entertained by Congolese Rhumba band from Kinshasa TPOK Jazz short form of Tout Puissant Orchestre. Rivatex lost 2-0 and Alfayo Odongo was voted as The Most Valuable Player (MVP) in Kenya in 1991. He played for Harambee Stars in the 1992 AFCON in Senegal. Alfayo won a penalty against Nigeria in that AFCON which Captain Mickey Weche slotted home perfectly. The truth is that he is still a symbol of Musingu Scorpions and the Nation. In fact when you talk about the late Alfayo Odongo to the fans and journalists he still appeals, despite the fact that he stopped playing a while ago.

Keffa Tasso plus Mike “Computer” Wambani =Victory. (Photo Courtesy- Keffa Tasso)


When I told Keffa Tasso that I was writing an article on the greatest players to ever play for Musingu High School he told me it was a nice idea but he doubted if he would make it in the list. I took it as the joke of the year. For those who knew him Tasso was a great person. As a player what is there to say, he was visionary, very creative and artistic on the pitch. He was the sensational Captain, personality, leader of the excellent Musingu Scorpions team that clinched the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) National football Championship in Mombasa in 1984. The most memorable match was against the Green Commandos of Kakamega in the final.  For many people it was the most important match that is difficult to repeat it. In that final one man stood out as the symbol of Musingu football team. Fans were fascinated by him. He was the star of the show against the Kakamega High School deadly midfield trinity of Dennis Munyendo, George “Nyangi” Odembo. It was of course a hard nut to crack for our hero Keffa Tasso. The football legend was a key member of the AFC Leopards team that won the league unbeaten in 1986 and 1988. In 1986 they won both league clashes against arch rivals the Mighty Gor Mahia. Tasso the engine in the team played in a strong AFC Leopards team that included other marvelously gifted players such as Dan Musuku, Peter Zimbo Owade, Omar Shaban, Mickey “T9” Weche, Wilberforce “Maradona” Mulamba and Patrick Shim amongst others. He played for AFC Leopards from 1985 to 1994. The sporting icon joined Reunion in 1993 and back to the Leopards den in 1994 but didn’t feature much due to work schedule. He stopped playing for a while before he signed for KCB in 1997. If Coach Johnstone Mukonyi was the best Coach in 1984 then Keffa Tasso was the best Captain.


When we mention Washington Muhanji we are talking about a goalkeeper regarded as one of the best in the Country and one of the most iconic figures to have ever played for Musingu High School. It is at Lanet Scarlet and Harambee Stars that his true prowess came to light. One of Washington Muhanji’s greatest memories is stopping President George Weah from scoring during the World Cup qualifier in 1989. The goalkeeping legend was between the posts for Musingu High School before he joined the national team in 1981 until he left in 1994. For a long time the legend was the back up of Mahmoud “Kenya One” Abbas. At Harambee Stars the acrobatic goalkeeper played with the likes of Austin “Makamu” Oduor, Vitalis Owuor, Abbas Khamis “Zamalek” Magongo, Sammy “Jogoo” Onyango and Douglas Mutua amongst others. These are players that football lovers stared at when they met them.  The legendary goalkeeper was between the posts for Harambee Stars in the 1988 AFCON in Morocco. Muhanji was a main pillar in the strong Lanet Scarlet team that was difficult to beat at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. The team had many gifted players including Ambrose “Golden Boy” Ayoyi. He also played for AFC Leopards briefly and later became the AFC Leopards goalkeeper trainer under Abdalla Juma. Muhanji was the Assistant Coach of the Somali National team under Coach Alfred Imonje in the Tusker Challenge Cup in Tanzania. He trained as a goalkeeper instructor in Johannesburg in 2010 before the FIFA World Cup. Muhanji will be always remembered in Kenyan football.

3 thoughts on “MUSINGU FOOTBALL LEGENDS: Some of the schools greatest players ever

    • This is a brilliant piece that brings back fond memories. Frauzen Fran Fun! Frauzen Fran Fun!
      Oti! Oti! Oti! Matalangala! Matalangala! Otiiiiii!


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