Gor Mahia goalkeeper Oluoch: From midfielder to keeper
Rodgers Ndegwa and agencies
Gor Mahia goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch has been known as a revered custodian from his days at Tusker and Harambee Stars for several years but did you know that he started off as an offensive player?
Oluoch, one of the most decorated players in the Kenyan Premier League has won six titles (two with Tusker in 2011 and 2012) and four with Gor (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019), and also led K’Ogalo to the later stages of the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup.
He also has 29 caps for the national team. However, this would not have been possible had he stuck to the position he started out in.
Oluoch was a dependable midfielder at both Joseph Apudo High School and Railways FC before his late brother George Odhiambo, a former Gor custodian, influenced him into goalkeeping.
“It is true I started out as a midfielder before falling in love with the gloves. It began like a joke and I still remember that day to date.
There is a day my neigbourhood team failed to raise a quorum for a match and they asked me to fill the number by playing upfront,” Oluoch told the club’s website at the weekend.
He added: “That is exactly how I had my first experience as an outfield player. But in the next incident, our goalkeeper failed to turn up for a match and this time around, I was given the responsibility of guarding the posts. I think all this happened in the early 2000s.”
Oluoch admits that outfield role has been crucial in him becoming a dependable goalkeeper.
“That strong background developed both my confidence and ball-handling skills. That is why I am never afraid to dribble the ball past an opponent.
It also happened at a time when my late brother was a goalkeeper at Gor Mahia. He used to train and impart more goalkeeping skills on me,” said Oluoch.
Oluoch, who joined Gor in 2015 after six years with Tusker, has however lost top spot at K’Ogalo to Tanzanian goalkeeper David Mapigano and he will have to regain top form to convince coach Steve Polack to start him more regularly. -Additional information from gormahiafc.com