Nicknamed Gatusso due to the similarity in style of play with Italian legend Genaro Gatusso, Collins Okoth, one of the best holding midfielders in the country, has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Gatusso’s first stint at Gor Mahia began in 2011 when he crossed over from Tusker. Good performances on the pitch had fans chanting his name — but it was not long before his ‘head began to swell’. He started skipping training, foul-mouthing club officials, the technical bench and even his own teammates.
In June 2012, new Gor Mahia coach Zdravko Logarusic decided to offload the combative midfielder, terming him a ‘bad egg in the basket.’ That marked the end of Gatusso’s first troubled stint at Gor.
He however didn’t take the sack lying down. “I do not care if Gor sack me. I am a good player and will get another club, he had posted on Facebook shortly after his contract was terminated.
Due to his immense talent, Gatusso was not short of suitors. AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia faced off for his services and he opted to join Sofapaka after they offered him a better package that Leopards couldn’t match.
It however didn’t take long before his disciplinary issues resurfaced at Sofapaka. And after missing a couple of training sessions and breaking team rules, then Sofapaka coach, Stewart Hall showed him the door. Gatusso was fired once again, less than six months after joining the club.
Unlike his departure from Gor, on being dropped by Sofapaka, the midfielder announced his retirement from football.
“I have retired from football. It has brought me so much pain. I want to go back to school. I didn’t clear school so I want to continue with my studies. I have talent in football, but I’ve had it.
I am now shifting my focus to education and see what happens next,” he said shortly after being shown the door by the Batoto ba Mungu.
His retirement however lasted for a couple of months as he later rejoined Tusker, but lasted for less than a year before Gor Mahia came calling again in June 2014 following Teddy Akumu’s departure to Sudan.
He played a key role in helping the team win the 2014 and 2015 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) titles and was severally pointed out for praise, not only for his immense talent, but also for his improved discipline and personal conduct.
But Gatusso being Gatusso went back to his old ways in early 2016 - skipping training, causing problems in the camp and all sorts of trouble. Coach Jose Fereira tried to talk to the midfielder to change his ways but without much success.
In August 2016, ahead of a league match against SoNy, Gatusso stormed out of the team’s camp and returned to Nairobi when he learnt that he had been listed as a substitute. That incident, many argue, marked the end of his career as he has rarely featured in the first 11 since with coach Ze Maria fielding him once in a while due to ‘pressure from above”.
And now Gattusso has finally been released by the club and once again, he will be club hunting.
“Gatusso stopped being a Gor Mahia player a long time ago. We were waiting for this transfer window to confirm his exit. He’s not in the coach’s plan. His contract with us expired on June 8, so he has left as a free agent,” club organising secretary Judith ‘Nyangi’ Anyango said when contacted.
Gatusso however says leaving Gor isn’t a matter of life and death and is confident he will find a new club soon.
“I left Gor Mahia after the Mashemeji Derby in May. I am surprised to hear the club say they have released me. I won’t die because I have left Gor Mahia. Watch out for my next move,” he said when reached for comment.