Thursday, May 23, 2024

Mango, football coach who left sweet taste in players’ mouths

The late youth soccer coach Joseph Otieno Mango takes his prices by way of the paces in Huruma. [Courtesy, Titus Mulama]

Joseph Otieno Mango was a person of many phrases.

In all probability this epitomised what was his function as a soccer coach; at all times shouting his voice hoarse as he always issued directions to his gamers.

Identical to Abraham, Mango had many sons. However in contrast to Abraham, the daddy of many countries, Mango wasn’t recognized past the Kenyan borders. In actual fact, he was not as standard as your high-profile soccer coaches together with former Harambee Stars tacticians Jonathan Niva, Francis Kimanzi, Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, and even Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno. No, he wasn’t.

Only a few knew him like they’d with former Sofapaka coach Ezekiel Akwana, former Posta Rangers tactician John Kamau, Tusker FC coach Robert Matano…

Only a few heads would have turned on the point out on the title Joseph Otieno Mango, only a few.

However to the locations Mango trotted as he guided his troops, they certainly knew and can at all times keep in mind this title. From Huruma to Githurai 45, Kajiado to Kibwezi or Kitui, Mango nurtured so many skills. He touched and helped change numerous lives.

“I’ll at all times keep in mind coach Mango. I performed beneath him within the early Nineteen Nineties within the Mathare Youth Sports activities Affiliation (MYSA) leagues. You possibly can see that he had a ardour for youth soccer,” mentioned former Harambee Stars midfielder Titus Mulama.

“Mango would at all times inform us to make sure we do extra than simply play soccer. To him, life wasn’t all about soccer, however greater than that. Now that we’re not energetic gamers, we’re reaping from his sensible counsel.”

The late youth soccer coach Joseph Otieno Mango (proper) with one in every of his groups. [Courtesy, Titus Mulama]

To Mulama brothers Titus and Simeon, former Mathare United gamers Walter Odede, Sunday Odhiambo, David Waithaka, Franklin Shelimba or Fredrick Nadduli, Mango stays a useful gem.

To his followers, he’s the supply of their pleasure. To his son Calvo, he’s a fallen soldier, to his younger footballers in Githurai, an actual cornerstone. A person of all seasons.

Certainly, only a few would know that he took his final breath final week on Friday. As Kenyans had been busy planting timber as a means of alleviating the gods to minimize the depredations of the incessant raging floods and have a greater life, Mango was busy preventing to salvage his.

Ultimately, Kenyans succeeded of their quest of serving to cope with the deluges, however, sadly, Mango misplaced this contest.

He had confronted so many well being battles earlier than and received. However when it mattered most, he misplaced this remaining match. It’s fairly unlucky that he’ll by no means have a rematch. It was the ultimate tie that ended on the sound of the whistle on Friday at 7:15pm.

The late youth soccer coach Joseph Otieno Mango takes his prices by way of the paces in Huruma. [Courtesy, Titus Mulama]

Exterior the sector, Mango took pleasure in making buddies. An avid listener too, he was. A person of the folks. He was fast to listen to, unhurried in his speech and gradual to anger.

Mango wasn’t so blessed with sartorial magnificence as many have come to affiliate with quite a few soccer coaches, however he had a style for nice issues.

As he sauntered in to Msupa Lounge on Saturdays for reggae classes, he had his most well-liked spot. The soft-spoken tactician would request for his favorite tunes, which DJ Edwin ‘King Tubbz’ Muyera of King Lion Sounds household, would gladly yield.

Singing alongside nearly each reggae music, whereas buzzing to a couple others, Mango would hardly depart the dance ground. The one time he’d be lacking from motion was throughout his scarce however well-timed toilet breaks. They had been far in between anyway lest he missed out. He was a very good dancer too.

Another second, he’d be nodding his head, eyes closed and swaying from side-to-side, in tune with the beats. This man Mango.

The late youth soccer coach Joseph Otieno Mango (second proper) in the course of the Subsequent Star match. [Courtesy, Titus Mulama]

You’ll by no means miss a two-litre thermos on his desk. When it was not filled with scorching water, then he can be having fun with his favorite African tea. His love for tea was undisputed. For positive, Khwisero in Kakamega County has misplaced a son.

“He would at all times request for Black Star Liner, songs by Mighty Tradition, or Prodigal Son. He beloved these songs a lot. Our classes received’t be the identical once more,” remembers King Tubbz.

Each time you met Mango, with certainty, he would have a backpack strapped round his shoulders. What’s not sure is, nonetheless, what contents had been within the bag.

Sadly, yours actually won’t ever get to know as a result of coach Mango has gone on a journey to the land of no return. And since nobody has ever returned to inform the story, it’s a closed chapter after 56 years with us.

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