Best Tusker players of all time

Best Tusker players of all time


The 1994 Kenya Breweries team pose for a photo before their semi-final clash against Mbilinga FC at Nyayo National Stadium.

FOOTBALL Best Tusker players of all time

Mark Kinyanjui 06:53 - 13.05.2023

The brewers have produced some of the finest players to have graced a pitch for club and country.

Since being founded in 1969 by East African Breweries, Tusker FC (formerly Kenya Breweries FC) have produced some of Kenya's most iconic and best players, who have played a key part not only in making them the second most successful side in the country after Gor Mahia, but also for the national football team, Harambee Stars.

The club have also achieved memorable moments in Africa with the 1994 Africa Cup Winners' Cup run still fresh in the memory.

Some players achieved great success while playing for the club, while others, although may not have played for the club long enough to have achieved substantial success there, still used the club as a stepping stone to greater things abroad.

Pulse Sports highlights 11 players who can be classified among the best to have represented the 13-time Kenyan Premier League champions.

Best Tusker players of all time

11. Humphrey Mieno

One of the club’s recent greats, Humphrey Mieno, who former Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid striker Emmanuel Adebayor said reminds him of Yaya Toure given his playing style, is one of the greatest Tusker players of all time.

Mieno is one of the best Tusker players of all time, having achieved great success in the 21st century. He joined the Ruaraka-based outfit in 2015 and then helped the club win the double of league and cup in 2016 under then coach Paul Nkata.

His intelligent eye for pass, press resistance and vision from the middle of the park was key to Tusker’s success that year, before he left to Join Gor Mahia and then Ethiopian club Saint George, before returning to the club in 2019, where he has since won two more league titles and could win another cup double this season as captain of the club.

Mieno has particularly been praised this season for his crucial role in helping Tusker contest for a third straight league title, with many in awe of his natural composure, leadership and presence in central midfield.

10. McDonald Mariga

Victor Wanyama's elder brother, McDonald Mariga was the poster boy of Kenyan football in the late 2000s and early 2010s after taking Italian football by storm when playing for Parma before signing for Jose Mourino’s Inter Milan, where he was part of the treble-winning side that claimed the Serie A, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League in 2010.

The journey to that unbelievable high started at Tusker between 2003 and 2004, who he played for briefly while he was still at the Kamukunji High School.

Kamukunji's 'Golden Boys' also included Dennis Oliech, and won two consecutive National school games championships in 2002 and 2003. Given his stature, he is one of the best Tusker players of all time.

​9. Allan Wanga

In 2007, Allan Wanga made his debut in the Kenyan Premier League with Tusker FC. His pace was too much for the defenders and his shot was a nightmare for goalkeepers. He managed to score 23 goals to help the Brewers secure the league title while claiming the Golden Boot Award.

His tp form saw him attract the interest of Angolan giants Petro Atletico who paid Ksh9 million to sign him from Tusker in 2008. After his stint in Angola, he would pursue greener pastures in Portugal, Sudan Azerbaijan, Vietnam and Tanzania, before returning to the club in 2016 and still helped the side to a league and cup double in 2017. He is one of the best Tusker players of all time.

8. Boniface Ambani

Boniface Ambani lit Kenyan football alight at Tusker in 2006 when he netted 21 goals as Tusker finished one point behind winners, Sony Sugar. He is one of the best Tusker players of all time.

It was an unforgettable season for Ambani, with the win enabling him to launch his professional career in India, before joining Yanga of Tanzania where he continued scoring goals, but was forced to end his career after suffering an achilles tendon injury in 2010.

7. Jesse Jackson Were

Jesse Were is a born scorer and he proved it at Tusker, who he would score for 46 times between 2013 and 2015. He proved to be one of Tuskers best players of all time, although he did not win any trophies.

Although his side never managed to win any piece of silverware while he was there, his exploits earned him a move to Zesco United in Zambia, where he would continue scoring goals for fun for the side, with whom he won eight trophies and became their all-time leading scorer.

6. Vincent Kwarula

Kenyan football has struggled to produce top right backs over the years, and the position generally, has been a problem for the national team.

Vincent Kwarula is, therefore, one of the most successful right backs to ever don the national team colours. He was able to achieve this while working for Kenya Breweries FC. He is one of the best Tusker players of all time.

5. Sammy Sholei

Sammy Sholei was the periscope of the team’s midfield in the 1990s, always looking and lurking for that dangerous link play from the middle of the park. He is one of the best Tusker players of all time.

He played for Rivatex and Raymonds FC (both now defunct) before moving to Ruaraka where he was part of that team that reached the finals of the CAF Cup Winners' Cup in 1994. He retired from club and international football in 1997.

4. Sammy Omollo 'Pamzo'

Sammy Omollo was a tough-tackling traditional defender who lived by the philosophy "Ukikosa mpira usikose mguu" (If you miss the ball, don't miss the man). He is one of the best Tusker players of all time.

Omollo began his senior professional career at Kenya Breweries in 1990 where he made his Kenyan Premier League debut.

In 1992, he joined rivals Gor Mahia for two seasons before returning to Kenya Breweries. Pamzo helped Kenya Breweries reach the 1994 African Cup Winners' Cup final.

He played for the brewers until 1996 when he won the league before moving to India to play for East Bengal.

3. Musa Otieno

Musa Otieno’s track record speaks for itself. He is Harambee Stars’ most capped player of all time, with 90 caps for the national football team. He is one of the best Tusker players of all time.

Otieno, also known as Otero, enjoyed most of his career playing in the South African Premier League and had a brief stint in the USA, but he also honed his craft in the local league, first playing for AFC Leopards before joining Tusker in 1994, where he won two league titles in 1994 and 1996, partnering Pamzo in defence.

2. Mike Okoth

Mike Okoth, who is the father to AC Milan forward Divock Origi, actually started his career as a goalkeeper. However, he switched to being a striker while playing for Shabana after he conceded four goals against Zambian side Kabwe warriors in the African Champions Cup in 1987. His journey to becoming one of the best Tusker players is an unusual one though.

His switch from 'keeper to striker was an unprecedented success as he immediately became one of the league's top scorers, which attracted Kenya Breweries.

He joined the club in 1989, where he spent three years and continued scoring, which earned him a Harrambe Stars call up in 1990. He also represented the country at the 1992 and 2004 editions.

His goalscoring exploits earned him a move to Oman, before joining Belgian side KV Oostende, where he became a cult hero for the side by helping them avoid relegation in 1995, setting a great example for his son.

1.Henry Motego

Henry Motego is widely regarded in Kenyan football circles as one of the greatest to have played the game.  He is also the longest serving Tusker player on the list. He is the best Tusker player of all time.

Born and raised in Gucha, Motego began his career at Shabana FC and helped the club gain promotion to the Kenyan Premier League.

In 1987, the prolific striker was the league’s top scorer with 21 goals ahead of AFC Leopards’ Francis Kadenge and Gor Mahia’s Peter Dawo. His exploits on the field saw Shabana FC finish third in the league behind Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. 

He then earned a move to the Ruaraka-based club, where he would continue moving from strength to strength. Apart from a brief season playing for Al-Oruba between 1991 and 1992, he spent over 10 years playing for Breweries.

He won four league titles, one President’s Cup, two CECAFA Club crowns and helped the club reach the final of the 1994 Africa Cup Winners’ Cup against DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo, where, despite scoring in a 2-2 first leg draw in Kinshasa, they were drubbed 3-0 at Kasarani Stadium.

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