Gor Mahia boss was born on a train?
One of the most successful chairmen of Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia in recent times, Ambrose Rachier, has received the mandate to run the club for two more years.
During his campaign, the 64-year-old lawyer said this would be his last term in office.
Rachier pledged to complete plans he had initiated, before calling it a day.
He was born on a train in Molo as his mother travelled home.
“That is why my middle name is Molo,” said Rachier.
He spoke highly of one Elijah Mukayagi, who was on the train when his mother went into labour and helped her deliver. Rachier kept in touch with Mukayagi until he passed away a few months ago.
Played football while naked
Rachier’s father, a strict disciplinarian, was a priest while his mother was a teacher. The family of 11 siblings had a lively childhood, a thing Rachier feels is lacking in present generations.
“One of the favourite games we played was wrestling. You would pick grass and place it on the head of whoever you chose as your opponent and there was no backing out,” he added.
Together with his brothers, they enjoyed playing football but in a humourous way.
“Clothes were expensive yet precious and had to be maintained at all costs. This forced us to strip down to our undergarments to protect them from destruction while playing. We enjoyed the game more especially when it rained,” said Rachier.
Another game popular during the rainy season was oridorido, which involved sliding down a muddy slope while naked.
Rachier joined Alliance High School for A’ Levels and helped the football team to win the Central Province Cup in 1969.
“I was a central defender and former Lands Minister James Orengo was a lethal striker. But when we went on to Dar-es-Salaam University, we quit playing to concentrate on our studies,” recalled Rachier.
He said that after Gor Mahia was formed in 1968 he could not afford the gate charges, but could not afford to miss a match. A regular ticket cost 50 cents and the VIP ones Sh2.
“I climbed on trees outside the stadium to watch matches. Kaloleni resident Jaduong’ K’Omwanda, whose name gave rise to City Stadium’s nickname TokK’Omwanda, would chase us away but we always returned,” he said.
After practising law for years, he started his own firm that is one of the biggest in Kenya.
His career stopped him from following football for sometime but he bounced back in 2008.
It all started when when a group of Gor Mahia supporters came chanting songs outside his Reinsurance Plaza office.
When he went downstairs to find out what was happening, he realised they were chanting his name.
“They grabbed me and said Gor was holding elections and they wanted me to be the next chairman. Before then, I had only been helping the club financially behind the scenes,” he said.
At the election venue at City Stadium, his friend and outgoing chairman Erastus Okul was not defending his seat.
The elections were postponed for a week for proper organisation, and he clinched the chairman’s post.
Rachier said money remains the biggest challenge for the club.
“I want to make the club self-sustaining, so we can stop depending on well-wishers ,” he added.
“I want to leave the club while everything is running smoothly, and not when fans want to stone me,” said Rachier.
He retained the chairmanship at the rescheduled elections that were postponed last month following chaotic scenes that rocked the elections.
Rachier wants Gor to make a better impression at continental football next month.