6goals past him and still man of the match – John Busolo – the story

John Marsel Busolo or simply JB, that is the name his childhood friends call him.

But how do you concede 6goals in a match and go ahead to be crowned man of the match? That is the story of John Busolo.


His football career starts at Kaloleni welfare before he joined Black Mamba and later moving onto to Maziwa fc. He was in the first batch of players that moved the team from the super league to the top tier league in 1985, when Rashidi Shedu was in charge. Here he was in the company of Erick Ochieng, brother to Zimbo Owade.

He plied for Maziwa FC for a season before AFC Leopards showed interest in him. In 1986 he moved to the den, here he was in the company of Mahmoud Abbas, the late Mosses Mulamba, Wilberforce Mulamba, JJ Masiga, Tony Lidonde, Francis Kadenge, Mike Amwai, Patrick Shilashi, Omar Bongo, Josephat Murula ‘Controler’, Dan Musuku among others. The coach was William Grams.

After warming the bench for a month, his break came; just as any other yesteryear player he won the opportunity by chance and his first game was against Gor Mahia. Mahmoud Abbas who was the number one choice goalkeeper was away, Omar Shaban who was the second choice goalkeeper was nursing an injury and Francis Lubembe the third choice goal keeper had just had a finger accident. Whatever that is.

Time had come for the new kid on the block, John Busollo to stand between the poles, but he had to ask for it, all the same.

According to him, he played the game at night, he replayed those moments in his room as he waited for the D day. He knew he was going against Bobby Ogola ‘the six Million Dolar man’, Sammy Onyango Jogo, George Onyango Fundi, Abbas Magongo Hamisi, Peter Otieno Basanga, George Somo Otieno, big names by all means.

These are the days, the days that the derby made careers and equally killed careers. And on the D Day Nairobi was oozing with an attitude of a big day, the air that siphoned his breath on that day was different. Nairobi was calm and it stood still as the noisy fans matched towards the City Stadium. After all, it was the mother of derbies being played.

These are the days that players never used the changing rooms within the stadium. The fear of black magic reigned supreme with our football circles.


It was the counter, from a corner kick, that he easily picked above everyone’s head. He looked up and he saw Francis Kadenge and a few seconds later the crowd on one side went water silent as the crowd on the other side roared up above their feet. AFC Leopards were one goal up against arch rivals Gor Mahia.

Second half and Ben Musuku netted the second goal, another counter. Gor mahia came alive through a free kick that sent Busollo with the ball to the back of the net. He was that light.

After this match, his football career started proper. He had picked that Jersey and kept it, until.

It was the very team that exposed his exploits, which also exposed his weaknesses, the return match against Gor Mahia. He left his post earlier than anticipated and bumped into Ariano papa the late. Peter Dao just sat on the ball and sent it in through the goal post.  AFC Leopards fan bayed for his blood and he did not leave the stadium until 3am the next day.  That is how you get inducted in the den.

He lost his jersey to Omar Shaban, just as he had earned it. AFC leopard fans did not even want him sitting on the bench in the games that followed.

The late Coach Charles Kumi Gyamfi from Ghana was in charge of the team when Busolla wanted to quit the polls for striking position. He had given up being goal keeper.

He was again given a chance to stand between the poles after the coach realized that he was losing interest.

He was manning the goal posts for AFC leopards when El Hally National of Egypt thrashed them 6 goals to one, wonders he was still named man of the match, otherwise we would have had a cricket score line. On return leg, AFC Leopards carried the day 2 goals to nothing in Kakamega, Bukhungu stadium. The year is 1987. This game earned Alfred Sambu, who was the then club’s chairman, a ban after claims of match fixing.

It was that game in Egypt that earned him a call up to the national team, never mind that he picked the ball in the net six times. Reinhardt Fabisch was the Stars Coach then.

Busolo was at AFC Leopards for 3 seasons, until 1989. After AFC Leopards he moved to the coastal based side Bandari FC under Mohamed Kheri.

His first game with the Stars was against Cameroun in the Africa cup of Nations in Algeria; Kenya had already played 2 games and had already been bundled out of the tournament. It was just another formality game.

He was going against The Rodger Millers of this world, Emmanuel Kunde and the names that mattered in football. Stars were beaten 2 goals to nothing.

He left Bandari FC after Steven Firi scouted him during the East and Central tournament in Uganda. Firi had come for a striker, but when he spotted Busolo, he knew he wanted him. Days letter he got a call from Mike Mokoena, founder and owner of Qwa Qwa Stars FC now Free State fc. He was calling him for trails. Together with Tom Odhiambo they were off for trials in South Africa.

A month later, they had not played, there was no trials, they were all shipped back home.

Busolo was to head back to South Africa in 1998, on landing he was thrown in the deep end when his club was facing Kaizer Chiefs FC in the finals of the BP top 8.

This game remains one of his most memorable games in a career spanning generations.

45minutes later, Busolo had conceded two goals. And the noise of the Amakhosi fans had rendered the air. A few minutes into the second half, and the Amakhosi noise had died, as chants of JB JB JB rendered the air. Qwa Qwa FC had leveled the score.

90minutes of play out and the teams head to penalty; Busolo concedes the first two kicks as his team mate misses their first 3 spot kicks. Drama unfolds when he goes ahead to save 3 penalties and his team mates converts their three remaining penalties.

Busolo was in Free State South Africa for 3 years, he retired from the pitch due to a shoulder Injury and moved to the United States, where together with friends they formed Alabama Saints FC, but his shoulder injury kept him out of play.


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