Crispin Oduor: Kenya’s one-club man
When Noah Abich retired from active football on October 15, 2020, it was evident that Kenya was not devoid of players who have a longer shelf life.
Known for his trademark set-pieces and expertise in free-kick taking, Abich who played for a record 12 teams hung his boots at 33.
Among the teams Abich, who is now at the technical bench of City Stars, played for are Sony Sugar, Tusker, AFC Leopards, Kakamega Homeboyz, Sofapaka and City Stars.
There is also Musa Otieno who enjoyed an illustrious career and made 300 appearances in his career right from his Ofafa Maringo neighborhood team Bedjos, Kenyan Premier League teams Tusker and AFC Leopards, Harambee Stars as well as South Africa side Sanlam Santos, scoring more than 300 goals.
But perhaps unbeknown to many football fans in the country, there is another active player who has defied age in the name of Mathare United’s Crispin Oduor.
Just like fine wine which gets better with age, Oduor, 33, says he will play football as long as his body shall allow him to.
Oduor, who attended Makongeni Primary School from 1994 to 2001, first turned out for Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) Mbotela zone team from where he was plucked by scouts to join the senior team.
“I used to play in the MYSA zone and I think the selectors were impressed by my talent. It was in 2007 and I must say I was elated to join the senior team,” reminisces Oduor.
Born and brought up in the football-mad Makongeni estate in Nairobi, Oduor reveals that his mentors then were his older colleagues in the neighbourhood who had premier league experience.
Those who played a big role in shaping Oduor’s careers were former Gor Mahia player Patrick “Adesh”Oyiengo, Francis Ocholla, Julius “Awilo”Owino, Fred Onyango and current Gor Mahia gloveman Boniface Oluoch.
“These are the players who inspired me and I heeded their advice on matters football. I did not look back and the rest is history,” said Oduor.
All this time, Oduor, an alumnus of Aquinas High School, had established himself as an upcoming player in off-season tournaments like Extreme, Koth Biro and Dick Wathika Cup while turning out for the makeshift Makongeni Combined.
Oduor was in the crack Mathare United squad of 2008 which went ahead to clinch the KPL title which was the last time the team laid its hands on the gong.
“We won the title under coach Kimanzi (Francis). This was a brigade that was determined to do well right from the onset of the season and I’m glad that God answered our prayers,” recounts Oduor.
Due to his exploits, Oduor was then to earn his maiden call-up for Harambee Stars in 2017, the year in which he won the Cecafa Senior Challenge Challenge Cup with the team.
“I was fielded by coach Stanely Okumbi in matches against Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and this gave me some experience. I hope that one day, I will get another call-up.”
As for now, Oduor, who has yet to play for any KPL side, will continue serving the Slum Boys until when his body says no.