What you need to know:
- At a personal level, I knew Collo more than 10 years ago when I was still on the football beat for my previous employer.
- I would often bump into him at the stadium while covering league matches. One interesting thing about this chap is that he seemed to draw people around him in a very friendly and cheerful way.
In the K’Ogalo fraternity, there are fans and then there are the super fans.
One Collins Ochieng Kwala belonged to the latter group, and proudly so. Collo, as he was simply known to his many friends, was a dyed-in-the-wool Gor Mahia fan.
Armed with his videography equipment, Collo was ever-present in almost all Gor matches. Any serious fan of the club will attest to this.
Sadly, Collo is no longer here with us. He breathed his last on Friday night after being involved in a tragic road accident.
Collo’s love affair with Gor Mahia was an open secret. He religiously and dutifully followed the club match after match, season after season. If our Football Kenya Federation Premier League had been more organised, this man would certainly have been a valued season ticket holder.
The most memorable image of Collo is one particular picture he took with Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry shortly after the club clinched the 2022-23 league title. In that picture, Collo and his teenage daughter Caren, both donning club jerseys, are all smiles while holding the league trophy with the Northern Irish coach.
To put everything in perspective, while Collo loved Gor Mahia, he adored his daughter Caren. Father and daughter often attended football matches together. There is no doubt Gor was merely his second love after his daughter. My heart truly goes out to this young girl who has lost a wonderful dad.
But Collo was not just passionate about Gor. Like all true fans of Kenyan football, he also loved Harambee Stars.
Back in 2019, when the Kenyan national team featured in the Africa Cup of Nations, after 15 years in the cold, he was among the fans who made the trip to Cairo to cheer our boys and to keep fans back home informed with timely updates on social media.
Collo was also a very resourceful mobiliser and a people person. He briefly flirted with politics last year when he contested the ODM primaries as he sought the party ticket for Umoja II Ward ahead of the General Election.
Although he was unsuccessful in his quest, he graciously conceded defeat but remained loyal to Baba’s party.
At a personal level, I knew Collo more than 10 years ago when I was still on the football beat for my previous employer.
I would often bump into him at the stadium while covering league matches. One interesting thing about this chap is that he seemed to draw people around him in a very friendly and cheerful way.
Along the way, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had ties with Collo from my wife’s side of the family. But with the passage of time, we met less frequently. Then came the utterly shocking news of his demise on Saturday morning. Go well Collo. Nind gi kwe wuod Gunda.
My heartfelt condolences also to family and friends of veteran sports journalist Sean Cardovillis who died on Saturday morning. Sports journalism in Kenya has been left poorer by your demise, Sean.