Kenya: How Coronavirus Handed Gor Mahia a Rare Gem

26 September 2020

As the football world recovers from the ravaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic, many stakeholders can't help but lament about how Covid-19 scuttled their plans in one way or another.

But for Cameroonian Bertrand Konfor, the virus turned out to be a blessing in disguise having played a key role in his move to record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia.

Konfor, who is expected to replace Tobias Otieno in the defensive midfield position, is among the 14 players signed by K'Ogalo this transfer window.

The 24-year-old joined the Green Army on August 31 on a two-year contract from Oman First Division League side Al Mudhabi.

Konfor revealed that he was on his way back to Cameroon from Oman via Nairobi when his journey suddenly came to a halt after the government indefinitely suspended international flights to curb the spread of the pandemic. Then, he had to stay in quarantine for a month since the government had ordered that all new arrivals be isolated regardless of their nationality.

"I was in quarantine for a month where I met a bishop who was also under compulsory isolation. He is the one who assisted me throughout that period and also hosted me in his house," said Konfor who revealed he has been in Kenya for the past five months.

His host, Bishop Joseph Kariuki, was very hospitable and catered for his needs at his home in Lucky Summer, Nairobi. Konfor has since moved to his own apartment provided by Gor Mahia.

As fate would have it, Bishop Kariuki introduced Konfor to his neighbour Gor Mahia defender Philemon Otieno and the two began training together. With their friendship blossoming, the duo used to go for fitness sessions at a gym in Upper Hill and training at Gikambura grounds in Ruiru. They also participated in friendly matches involving non-league sides where Konfor impressed.

"After seeing me play, Otieno called Gor team manager (Jolawi Obondo) and told him about me. He (Obondo) watched me play and was also impressed and that's how the club contacted me officially," Konfor told Nation Sport. "I never knew I would join the team because I was just passing by Kenya."

Even though he has been called for trials by Cameroon national junior team coaches, he has not yet made the cut to represent his country in any international competition.

"I've not played for the national team but I'm looking forward to that. I love African football and aspire to play for my country in future. There is a lot of talent in Cameroon and competition is very high," he said.

Konfor, who has in the past turned out for Ahli Sidab and Jalan in Oman, says he is eager to make the Green Army happy with his performances on the pitch.

"I will reward their passion. When football resumes they will see for themselves what they have been hearing about me. I promise them that I will do my best on the pitch and help the team win titles," said the midfielder who scored five goals for Al Mudhabi last season.

Konfor will don jersey number 18 at Gor though he says his favourite number is 28. He becomes the second Cameroonian to don Gor colours in the modern day KPL after Baldwin Ngwa.

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