What you need to know:
- If we had more people like you, grassroots football in the country would be more vibrant than it is now, with the situation made worse by incessant bickering and ego wars in the top-heavy Kenyan football management structure.
- I will certainly step up my training to show up for the veterans’ game when the curtain comes down on this year’s Chris Onguso Champions Cup!
Still in the spirit of Mashujaa Day, today, I’d like to celebrate the consistency and focus of former Kenyan National Football League club Nakuru Police FC player, Christopher Mmbwanga Onguso.
Onguso, now Chief Inspector of Police currently attached to State House, featured for Nakuru Police from 1997 to 1999 in the National Super League and FKF Premier League (2000 to 2002) before hanging up his boots in 2003 to concentrate on police work.
His teammates also continued serving in the National Police Service after retiring from the game.
These include (with current ranks) Inspector Saleh Mulama Mabunde, Corporal Kizito Otieno, Inspector Fred Simiyu, Corporal George Murunga, Corporal Jared Mwangi, Corporal Lee Maina, Sergeant Isaack Marisoi, Sergeant Greg Katola, Sergeant Michael Nabiswa, Constable Job Musine, Senior Constable Wanyonyi, Chief Inspector Malenje, Constable Wesley Menza, Inspector Nichodemus Mwinzi, Corporal Antony Gikandi, Corporal Aswani Toto and Corporal Charles Odeny.
Onguso quickly rose through the ranks from Constable to Corporal, Sergeant, Senior Sergeant and Inspector to his current position as Chief Inspector of Police, with the mandatory six months’ training before each promotion.
Recently, Onguso hosted the Nakuru FC veterans for lunch in Nairobi and to bid farewell to Inspector Mabunde and Corporal Kizito (coach) who retired from the National Police Service last June.
But despite this busy professional schedule, Onguso launched the Chris Onguso Annual Football Tournament in 2011 to nurture talent in Vihiga County.
“The tournament has been taking place every end year with the prime objective of giving back to the community and promoting sports,” Onguso explains.
“The tournament takes place in Mahanga Village, Mungoma Location in Vihiga County. It is a community that hosts about 3,000 people, most of them being young men and women who have completed their secondary school education with little or no prospects of advancing in their education majority due to financial constraints.
“I have had first hand experience with the frustration and challenges faced by the youth in the village.”
The annual tournament attracts over 1,500 spectators on match day and 28 teams drawn from different sub-locations in Vihiga Country.
“This forges unity amongst these communities. During the tournament I ensure that there is no political infiltration and the main focus is the sports,” Onguso adds.
Onguso has since attracted sponsorship from betting firm Betika and next year, he plans on the tournament including teams from the entire county, representing the constituencies of Vihiga, Hamisi, Sabatia, Luanda and Emuhaya.
“We shall have 16 teams from each constituency. They will play on a league basis then the top four teams from each league will combine and make the final league which will go into quarter-finals, semis and final to be hosted in December, 2021, at a ground to be picked from one of the constituencies,” he explains.
With the Betika sponsorship permitting, Onguso projects that the prize money for the winners will be Sh1 million, up from the current Sh200,000.
Besides the fixtures, Onguso has over the years invited top players, present and retired, to inspire the local teams, led by the late legend Joe Kadenge.
Other players who have graced the tournament include John Busolo, George Sunguti, Reginald Asibwa, Josephat Murila, Mike Otieno, William Odidi, Washington Kamadi, Jacob Ananda, Francis Xavier, Francis Chinchili, Bonface Ambani, Fred Ambani, Zablon Amanaka and Richard “Papa Wemba” Asabe.
This year’s tournament, rebranded as Chris Onguso Champions Cup, starts this Sunday with the final scheduled for December 19 at Onguso’s alma mater, Ebwali High School in Vihiga County.
Former Harambee Stars players will also feature in an exhibition match.
This Saturday, Onguso will distribute uniforms to all 48 competing teams and launch the start of the tournament at the same venue.
Heroes like Onguso are hardly celebrated despite the huge contribution they make to society by organising such tournaments.
His rise from Constable to Chief Inspector is another motivating story for current players in the uniformed forces that they too can rise to the top by maintaining the discipline taken from football and sport in general.
Just like Elijah Koranga, the Scarlet FC legend, who is currently Defence Sergeant Major at the Kenya Defence Forces based at the Department of Defence.
I loved watching these players in the Kenya National Football League in the 1980s and 190s.
I’m more than impressed seeing them keep rising and yet still supporting the beautiful game. Without expecting anything in self-glorification.
By the way, the Chris Onguso tournament is non-political with no politicians invited.
Keep going CIP Onguso Sir!
If we had more people like you, grassroots football in the country would be more vibrant than it is now, with the situation made worse by incessant bickering and ego wars in the top-heavy Kenyan football management structure.
I will certainly step up my training to show up for the veterans’ game when the curtain comes down on this year’s Chris Onguso Champions Cup!
The 1990s Nakuru Police FC squad members (with current ranks):
1. Chief inspector Chris Mmbwanga Oguso
2. Chief inspector John Malenje
3. Inspector Saleh Mulama Mabunde
4. Inspector Fred Simiyu
5. Inspector Nichodemus Mwinzi
6. Sergeant Michael Nabiswa
7. Sergeant Isaack Marisoi
8. Sergeant Gregory Katola
9. Corporal Kizito Otieno (coach)
10. Corporal George Murunga
11. Corporal Jared Mwangi
12. Corporal Lee Maina
13. Corporal Anthony Gikandi Tosti
14. Constable Aswani Toto
15. Constable Wesley Menza
16. Constable Job Musine
17. Constable Sinia Wanyonyi
18. Constable Charles Odeny
19. Constable Michael Mwombe
20. Bakari Shamda - civilian staff
21. Peter wamaye - civilian staff
22. Dickson Mayaka - civilian staff