This is sad story of a former Harambee stars player and Gor Mahia Fc team Captain who lives on a budget of below the dollar.
Having climbed up the ladder of success rung by rung, the experienced defender has quickly slid into economic despair. If you walk or drive to Makongeni Estate through Jogoo Road, you might see Awilo in his ‘office’ – a ruined structure erected on a garbage dumpsite where he has set up a small plastics collection centre.
That is where the Gor legend spends his time daily with hopes of making a living.
“I am in pain and shame. Look at me. I’m I the same man you knew two years ago? I have to feed my family through waste products that I collect from the neighbourhoods and many times I use the chokoras (streetboys) around to get more plastics,” says an emotional Awilo.
A born-again Christian, Awilo is a pale shadow of himself, without any interest to rejoin active football.
Besides collecting plastic bottles, he keeps dogs, hoping that one day he will be an accomplished dog breeder.
“I am a man who’s got hope that one day the good Lord will open the doors for me. I don’t believe in begging. If no help comes anytime soon, I will remain with my two businesses,” he says.
“I would love to get back to active football but will that feed my family? I am still open to chances either in management or coaching.”
Gor Mahia through the club’s secretary general, George Bwana, said they would want to take care of their legendary players but cannot afford to support them financially.
“As at now we don’t have a defined programme for ex-players. How do you employ Peter Dawo and leave Awilo or Zablon Otieno? Gor is a big club with so many ex-stars. As a secretary general, I have plans to set up a programme that will be beneficial to all players who retire from Gor,” said Bwana.
Awilo’s woes began in early 2011 when Gor Mahia FC decided to disband the then technical bench without notice.
“I went for training just like any member of the team and I was met with a rude shock. The whole technical bench had been disbanded,” Awilo told The Nairobian.
He says his life changed within a blink of an eye. He adds that he tried talking to the club’s officials without success.
“I explained almost everything to the club chairman Rachier Ambrose but all fell on deaf ears. Gor Mahia was done with me,” he says.
“Rachier, being a good man, paid my house rent for a few months, but with time, I was left to fend for myself at a time when my first born son had just joined Form One at Rang’ala Boys Secondary School.”
Awilo, a father of five, says he can barely afford to feed his family and pay his bills, let alone pay school fees for the children.
He currently risks eviction from his single-room house in Makongeni due to rent arrears.
“I haven’t paid rent for the last three months and to make matters worse, my kids ask me daily why they don’t board the school van to school like other children,” he says.
Awilo is married to Salome Owino, who describes him as a hardworking and God-fearing father and the source of inspiration.
Standard Media (c)