The Gossage Cup

Volume 17, Issue 2 | Published 07/10/2020  

AwaaZ will be running a series of articles on the development of football in Kenya by running stories first published in ‘Kickoff – The Game, The Glory and Greats of Kenyan Football’ by Roy Gachuhi - courtesy of the Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board. Published in 2018 it is an invaluable addition to the trove of the history of Kenyan Football.


A tale of resilience, short wits and the birth of a legend.

The description of Uganda’s fourth goal during the 1945 Gossage cup match with Kenya dug up long forgotten childhood memories of tactical instructions issued to players when I went to school in the 1960s. I do not remember the coach, usually the games master, telling his young charges to ‘place’ the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach. Instead, he emphasized brute force.

‘Enter with it’ was a phrase mockingly used to taunt a boy who knocked on the dormitory door at night after being locked out when time to get in and sleep had passed. It was chanted by those already ensconced in their blankets inside. The phrase had its origins on the football field. The teacher told his strikers to shoot so hard that if the goalkeeper gathered the ball, he would be propelled by its momentum to ‘enter the goal with it’. Apparently, this was possible. Kenya and Uganda lined up for the 19th Gossage cup clash on 30 March 1945 where the latter registered a crushing 4-1 win. But it was the fourth goal that was on the lips of everyone that day. Here is how the East African Standard reported it:

‘Uganda went further ahead when another goalmouth melee ensued and yet again they demonstrated the fine understanding between their inside forwards and the power of their shooting. A pass from the wing half-sent Ntarego, the outside left, away and he crossed to Ngandua who, in turn, slipped a neat pass to Mpanga. The latter had a tussle with the Kenya backs, which he won, and from a range of a yard or two sent in a pile-driving shot, which put both ball and goalkeeper into the net. Khamisi, with excellent anticipation gathered, but the force of the drive winded him and he was “out” for some minutes. Uganda now led 4-1.’

The Gossage Cup was the big football contest between Kenya and Uganda, and later Tanganyika and later Zanzibar. It was first played in 1926. The tournament was sponsored by a soap manufacturing company, Gossage, a precursor of the East African Industries which is today Unliver. It went by this name until it was renamed the East African challenge cup in 1967 and subsequently the Cecafa East and Central Africa challenge cup in 1971.

Through its different mutations, it has stood the test of time and is Africa’s oldest football tournament. An early Kenyan star of the Gossage cup was a striker named Galib who featured in most of the country’s score sheets, and who was sorely missed when he didn’t play. Galib played in 1930s and 40s. He was replaced as Kenya’s leading star by Elijah Lidonde and Shem Chimoto before the 22 year-old North Nyanza FC prodigy, Joe Kadenge, entered the scene in 1956 to start a superb 14-year career with the national team. Tanganyika didn’t participate in the Gossage cup until 1945. In addition to that first appearance, they also played a select Nairobi team after the Gossage Cup.

This friendly match was reported by the East African Standard thus:

‘The brief result of the match between a Nairobi African XI and the Tanganyika Gossage cup side last Saturday has already been published. Nairobi won by 4-1, after leading 3-0 at half time. The Tanganyika side shows much promise and it is to be hoped that they will continue to compete in the Gossage cup competition, despite failure at the first time of asking. They played good, close football, but appeared to feel the effect of altitude and were a foot short on the ball nearly all the time in a game played at a very fast pace.

Ateka scored first with a fine cross shot after accepting a forward pass and soon after a penalty for hands gave Nairobi their second goal. Nairobi scored again close on half time.  Tanganyika opened strongly after the interval after three minutes play and gained a good goal through their inside- left when the Nairobi defence blundered. Both sides came near to scoring again after this but the respective defences were good and the shooting not as accurate as earlier on. Both goals had narrow escapes and after a period of heavy pressure Nairobi scored their fourth and last goal only five minutes before full time. Sila made ground, beat three opponents and scored with a shot high into the net. Sgt Tansley reffereed the game very capably.’

The Gossage cup was not held in the years 1927, 1933, 1934 and 1950. Reporting on the 1945 edition from Nakivubo grounds in Kampala the East African Standard said the match was ‘the nineteenth of the series of inter-territorial Association football matches between the two and Uganda now have won 12, Kenya 5 and two matches have been drawn.’

Photo: The national soccer team played in the Gossage Cup in the 1959s under the captainship of J J Musundi

Uganda is by far the most successful Gossage cup nation. It has won it a total of 21 times in the years 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1935 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1943,1945,1947, 1948, 1952,1954, 1955, 1956,1957,1962 and 1963. Kenya won it 11 times in the years 1926, 1931, 1941,1942 , 1944, 1946, 1953, 1958, 1960, 1961 and 1966; while Tanganyika later Tanzania, won it four times in 1949, 1951, 1964 and 1965. Kenya and Uganda shared the trophy in 1959. In preparation for the campaign at the Illala Stadium, Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika in 1959, the Kenya team played a warm-up game against Coast province combined. It hammered them 6-1 but pundits were not satisfied, pointing out that the massive win was not so much illustrative of Kenya’s superiority, but rather the coast’s ineptitude. Still, there was a bright spark in the team – Joe Kadenge. A report of those proceedings said: ‘The highlight of the game undoubtedly came from North Nyanza’s Star Winger, Joseph Kadenge. From about 30 yards’ range he smashed a powerful and accurate shot into the corner of the net leaving the coast keeper rooted in his tracks.’

Of the impending campaign in Tanganyika, it added: ‘If Kenya’s forwards can continue to produce shots of this calibre they will score a hatful of goals.’ That was the birth of Joe Kadenge as a Gossage Cup star. He formed a formidably attacking partnership with Ali Kajo from Mombasa.

The Gossage cup brought the high and mighty of the day to the arena. In Nakivubo Stadium during that match where the goalkeeper was propelled into his own goal by the power of Mpanga’s blockbuster, the top echelons of Uganda’s government were there.

This was the summary of the match as reported by the East African Standard:

‘While Kenya had a fair share of the play, more particularly in the second half, Uganda’s win was a merited one. The margin rather flatters the Protectorate but is more indicative of the Colony’s weakness in front of goal; they foozled several good scoring chances. Kenya missed Galib, their original Capt. and centre -forward, sadly. He was unable to play owing to the death of his mother earlier in the week. Uganda’s combination, especially that of the inside forwards, was excellent and the principal factor in their victory. H E the Governor of Uganda and H.H. the Kabaka of Buganda were among the spectators who numbered between 8,000 and 9,000. There were two changes in the Uganda side, last week’s Capt Kimanyi, being dropped through illness. Both teams were presented to H.E. the Governor before the Kick-off.’

The successor to the Gossage Cup, CECAFA’s East and Central African Senior Challenge cup, has not grown in prestige with the passage of time. That it is sometimes not held for lack of a sponsor or host is tell-tale of how far down football standards in the region have gone.

Ameer M Keshavjee, a former Kenyan and winner of the Sovereign’s Medal, the highest Canadian award for volunteerism conferred by the Governor General of Canada, has called upon the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to take the lead in making free post-secondary education a basic human right. Keshavjee was speaking at the Award Ceremony held at the historic McDougall Centre in downtown Calgary on 31 October 2019 where the Honourable Lois E Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, presented him with the honour on behalf of the Governor General of Canada.

A product of apartheid South Africa where he was a victim of the racist educational laws, Keshavjee has always championed higher education for its transformative potential in changing the human condition. ‘Money is not the issue,’ he exclaims. ‘There are about 93 billion dollars in unutilized scholarship funds in North America,’ he says. ‘Unfortunately, students in most cases do not know how to tap these funds.’ Keshavjee over the last 32 years has made it his business to help students access these resources and this he has done as a one-man civil society initiative purely as a volunteer.

Mr Alexio Caeteno De Souza founded the Kilindini Bar in 1908. He came from Goa to Mombasa by Dhow in 1898 and initially joined Smith, Mackenzie and Company as a shipping clerk before buying the Grocery cum Bar from Costa Bir and Sons in 1908. The bar was located on Sharibhai Street in the Ndia Kuu area, which was later re-named Mwakilingo Street. The area surrounding the bar then was bushy and frequented by wild animals and the story goes that during the World War in 1914 the family were evacuated to Mazeras for a couple of days before they could return to the area.

Due to the then prevailing racial restrictions, the bar was patronized exclusively by the elite white colonial class and private sector clients as Asians and Africans were barred from visiting the bar. Mr A C De Souza was once fined the equivalent of KShs 4000/- for serving an African.

The lack of a local brewery meant that the beers were the ones imported from South Africa (the Union Castle) and other brands from Europe and Japan. A beer cost 75 cents and was sold on credit resulting in many clients defaulting on their debts. The bar was one of the first customers of the East African Breweries when it opened in Mombasa. It is interesting to note that the secretary to the branch manager of the Mombasa Brewery was Sylvia De Souza, the daughter of A C De Souza.

My Reflections on The KENYA-US FTA

Volume 17, Issue 2 | Published 07/10/2020  

An intense debate has been raging on the proposed Kenya-US Free Trade Agreement. I should commend those who have organised this debate, especially the Uganda branch of the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI). I should also commend several people whose valuable contributions have helped me write this paper.

I have refrained from joining the debate. I have reasons for this to which I will come later.

What does Kenya want out of the FTA?

It is a long list, but the main ones are the following:

  • Export local value-added agricultural products to the US
  • Get US investments – so called foreign direct investments (FDIs)
  • Acquire telecommunication technology and pharmaceutical products from the US
  • Protect key domestic economic sectors from threats of imports

Kenya wants these before AGOA lapses in 2025. [AGOA is the US African Growth and Opportunity Act passed by the US Congress in May 2000]

What does the US want in return?

We all know that President Trump has been pursuing an “America First policy” in its trade negotiations with other countries. For Kenya, it is a long list, but the important ones are the following:

  • A US agreement to supply Kenya with telecommunication technology and pharmaceutical products, but it wants “comprehensive market access” for these products – please note that “comprehensive” is a euphemism for an agreement that keeps the Chinese out of this sector.
  • Export to the US of our Processed agricultural products, such as grains/feeds, soyabeans, livestock products, and horticultural products
  • A discussion re regulations on digital taxes, intellectual property, and corruption in Kenya.

What does the Civil Society want?

Earlier I commended SEATINI and other Civil Society organisations (in Kenya, East Africa, and beyond) as well as some individuals that have made valuable contributions to the debate. I’ll just mention a few.

Professor Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile (who teaches law at the University of Arkansas) has made some very important points, among them:

  • Is full investment liberalization in Kenya’s interest?
  • Caution against illegal acquisition of public lands; illegal dumping of toxic wastes and other forms of environmental pollution; and protection of children from “child labour”.

Lori Wallach (the Director and Founder of Global Trade Watch in the United States) has made good suggestions on how Kenya might negotiate with the US. For example:

  • The FTA should “…be negotiated transparently, replacing the corporate advisory system with an on-the-record public process…”
  • It should “Protect digital privacy by excluding e-commerce rules that shrink the policy space of Congress and U.S. regulators”.

Sanya Reid Smith (Legal Advisor and Senior Researcher at the Third World Network - TWN) has done an excellent technical analysis, on for example:

  • Trade Facilitation;
  • Intellectual Property; and
  • The very contentious issue of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

SEATINI, as I said, has been one of the driving forces behind the debate. I’ll mention a few of its suggestions:

  • A joint Kenya/US civil society statement to be placed in the media – such as the East African in Kenya – to argue why the FTA with the US is not a good idea and has potential dangers.
  • A webinar between key US members of Congress and Kenyan civil society to discuss some of our concerns.
  • Member to member outreach for US and Kenyan legislators.
  • TWN has done research showing that US FTAs do not attract FDIs. This could be more widely circulated.

My views on the way forward

As I said earlier, I have deliberately refrained from joining the debate.

This is how I see the situation. (You may not agree with me, but we can discuss this later.)

I repeat that many of the above suggestions are excellent. We must try them out – if nothing else than widening our horizons beyond our civil society level. For example, let’s put a joint US-East African statement in the media, and bring together US Congress members with our parliamentarians.

Let me give you my hands-on experience – not as a “professor” but as an activist:

  • 1982-2005: in southern Africa as a grassroots “consultant”.
  • 2005 to 2010: in Geneva as the Executive Director of the South Centre - a “think tank” of the global South initiated by President Julius Nyerere (among others)

Before 1982 I was involved in the struggle against Amin’s military regime in Uganda. He was overthrown in 1979. In 1982, after the collapse of the UNLF Government of which I was a member, I went to Zimbabwe. I had great hopes because I saw Mugabe as a revolutionary.  For some 15 years, instead of joining the university, I went to work with grassroots communities in the rural areas. I worked with spirit mediums in the Zambezi Valley, and with the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA). I also worked with the Zimbabwe Congress Trade Unions (ZCTU).   

In the early 1990s, Mugabe, pushed by his neo-liberal finance minister, borrowed money from the IMF. As expected, the IMF’s money was conditional:  Zimbabwe had to sign the Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP).  Mugabe capitulated to the dictates of global corporate capital. The spirit mediums in the Zambezi Valley, who had contributed so much to the liberation struggle, were disappointed. So was I. In 1994 I decided to quit working as “rural development consultant,” and turned my energy to fighting the IMF, the World Bank, and the newly created WTO.

It is a long story of struggle. Zimbabwe, with all the resources it has – diamonds, oil, iron ore, vanadium, tin, platinum – is today in a state of anarchy.

Let me wind up.

So yes, let us try all those measures our Civil Society community has suggested – some of which I have listed above. However, please do not get surprised if nothing happens.  I have learnt from experience that it is realpolitik that dictates government actions. For example, you can have our parliamentarians meet members of the US Congress. But the Congress has no power. Effective power resides with the mega-American corporations and the military – the Pentagon.

The situation in Kenya is no different. The richest people are: the Kenyatta family, Naushad Merali, Bhimji Deepak Shah, Nicholas Biwott, Manu Chandaria, Daniel Moi and Family … the list goes on.

I will give an example.

In 2007, the Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KSSFF) filed a case against the Government on the issue of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) with Europe. In their plaint the Forum argued that it is putting at risk the livelihoods of millions of small farmers. On 30 October, 2013, the High court ruled in the farmer's favour. Now, 20 years later, the KSSFF is still in the wilderness.

That is realpolitik.

Let me conclude:

  1. Our neo-colonial regimes – not just in Kenya but all over Africa with a few exceptions such as Eritrea - are in cahoots with the Western empire to exploit the poor famers and workers.
  2. Some of our Civil Society members believe that we depend on America. The reality is the exact opposite. It is America that needs our resources – especially now, with the Chinese knocking on the doors with better terms than what the US or the UK can ever offer. I am not in favour of “development aid”, but the Chinese offer long-term finance (unlike the West) and invest in infrastructure development (unlike the West).
  3. But please do not beg. Kenya has enough natural resources to look after its people. If Trump comes begging on his knees for our resources, let him crawl a bit. If North Korea’s Kim Jong-un can beckon Trump to come to the border between North and South Korea, and Trump takes the next flight out, then why can’t we in Africa.
  4. Learn from Eritrea – a very small country. In 1991, it ended the 30-year war of independence from Ethiopia. It is a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) whose economists make annual visits to the country asking Eritrea if it needed finance. But - and this is significant – President Isaias Afwerki refuses to be induced by the IMF. Afwerki is defiantly independent. Nobody is rich in Eritrea, but nobody goes without meal and the basic necessities of life.

One final word on ideology

Marx, Mao, Keynes and the Neoliberals

Marx taught us that the "Base" (the productive forces of science and technology) determines the "Superstructure" (the state and governance). Mao taught us that in the short run it is possible for the Superstructure to shape the Base. Keynes taught us that governments need to increase state expenditures and lower taxes in order to stimulate demand and pull the global economy out of depression. All three had one thing in common: the relationship between economics, politics and the role of the state. This is contrary to the neoliberal economists who advocate that the state must not interfere with the economy: the private sector and free trade will sort out things by a merry-go-round "laissez faire".

  • Let the official US-Kenya FTA take us along a merry-go-round "laissez faire" circus.
  • But let us respect our people’s dignity, even if they are poor and we can’t feed them.

Yash Tandon

28 August, 2020