Consistency is key for Stars says retired ace Munyendo
Kenyan football in the late 1980s and early 90s would not have been complete without the mention of the great scorer, Dennis Munyendo.
Munyendo who is now the Chief Principal at Saint Ignatius Mukumu Boys along Kakamega –Webuye road hails from Mumias County and his history in football dates back when he was still a pupil at Mumias Primary School.
After finishing his formative education, he joined St .Peter’s High and soon established himself in their team before he transferred to Musingu High and completed his O-Levels playing for football giants Kakamega High’s famous Green Commandos at the nationals.
Back in the days when academic excellence and football were not strange bedfellows, Munyendo joined Kenyatta University for his undergraduate studies in the Bachelor of Arts in Education but to quench his passion, he joined local outfit Super FC from Bumini before moving to Motcom from Kakamega.
He then secured a move to Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants and 12-time national league champions, AFC Leopards.
He joined a formidable side that had stalwarts such as like Aggrey Litali, Jared Ingutia, Barnabas Lihanda, Peter Owade Zimbo, Joseph Mukatia, Gabriel Olang’a, Alfred Imonje and Eliud Omukuya.
“Leopards was my stepping stone to the highest ladder of playing for national team Harambee Stars. After three years there, I was called to the national team in 1985 and played in a World Cup qualifier against Algeria at Nyayo Stadium where we drew.
“They beat us 3-0 in the return leg and unfortunately we did not qualify but I’m happy to have been called up to the national team,” Munyendo recalled with pride.
“I remember playing with the great goalkeeper Mahmoud Abbas and other legends Josphat ‘Controller’ Murila, John ‘Bobby’ Ogolla, Ambrose Ayoyi and Wilberforce Mulamba,” he added.
Comparing that side that qualified to three straight Afcon finals 1988, 90 and 92 under Coach Mohammed Kheri to the current team that has not secured a berth at the biennial continental competition since 2004, Muyendo identified consistency in the squad and technical bench as the difference.
“What made the team perform better is because the line-up was always intact, save for only few call-ups at an interval of every two years,” he declared.
He revealed players would be paid a modest allowance of Ksh20 for local and Ksh30 for international games as opposed to the current rates that can top Ksh10,000.
In 1986, Munyendo suffered a serious knee injury that makes him walk with a slight limp to date that signalled a premature end of his national team career before returning to the game in 1988.
Two years later, he retired when he was posted to Kakamega High and served as an assistant coach of the legendary coach, the late Chris Makokha before joining Emusire High School as Principal and coach.
“I’m satisfied with the work I did for this country in terms of sports and it is now time to give back to the society,” he added.
He is now the Head coach of Tsunami FC from Mukumu Boys and has also started an academy in the same school to nurture young talent.
“I have great plans and I’m optimistic of achieving them in due course,” the ever smiling Munyendo wrapped.
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