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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 10 November 2014


The lakeside city of Kisumu has for the last two weeks witnessed what has come to be known as a 'green invasion', when the Gor Mahia football club was in town.
The team's presence over the weekend to play their last match saw thousands of fans stream to the city in buses and private vehicles, singing and chanting the team's slogan.
The fanaticism and fanfare left residents yearning for more of such days, with businesses operating 24 hours to satisfy supporters who had travelled from as far as Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru and Eldoret.
Leaders are now calling for more Gor Mahia matches to be played in Kisumu to spur its economy.
The 'Green Army', who never shy away from controversy, cheered their team to lift the coveted Kenya Premier League title for the second year in a row. They then thronged the city's eateries and night clubs to celebrate their team's glory.
The fear by some business owners of possible hooliganism and looting drove them to close early. But when all was well after a 3-0 thumping of Ushuru FC, most business remained open until the wee hours of the morning.
Most supermarkets also remained open for two days as the fans streamed in to buy various commodities.
"We rarely make such amounts in one day. I wish business was like this every day," said a teller at Nakumatt Supermarket.
There were traffic snarl-ups for the better part of Saturday, while on Sunday, over 2,000 fans congregated at the Jomo Kenyatta sports grounds, where they queued and took baths in turns before leaving the city.
It costs Sh20 for a shower and caretakers at the public bathrooms claimed Gor Mahia fans spent over Sh40,000 at the facility, an amount never seen there before.
However, not everything went smoothly as some fans proceeded to Lake Victoria and bathed in the full glare of customers eating at the nearby Lwang'ni Beach restaurants.
Others walked naked into the restaurants, which overlook the lake, and demanded soap for bathing.
"They even harassed some women and threatened to drown them in the lake if they did not get soap. Some resorted to sun-bathing naked, claiming it was a ritual," said Gladys Akello, a restaurant owner.
Most entertainment spots in the city centre had planned for an after-party the moment it was made official that the final match was to be played in Kisumu. Most night clubs were even decorated in Gor Mahia colours.
Famous clubs in Nyamasaria treated revellers to songs from Ohangla sensation Emma Jalamo, while the players were given a special party at Club Samba.
Gor Mahia fan and merchandise designer popularly known as Jarunda said it was booming business for his company. His 3,000 Gor T-shirts were all bought that night.
"I printed 3,000 pieces, each going for Sh1,300. As you can see, nothing is left," said Jarunda.
He urged Governor Jack Ranguma to deal with the solid waste that is threatening to choke the city before making Kisumu Gor Mahia's home ground.