John ‘Softie’ Ndirangu’s move from AFC Leopards to arch-rivals Gor Mahia is certainly one of the biggest and most controversial moves any player would make. As recent history shows, players who moved from either side of town across to the opposing side hardly maintain their best form. Just recently, as the 2015 season came to a close, defender Jackson Saleh, then an AFC Leopards vice captain, crossed over to Gor Mahia. As fate would have it, Saleh didn't last at Gor as 6 months later, he returned to Leopards albeit on loan. His form wasn't the best, and on expiry of his loan deal, he returned to Gor and was eventually dropped.
Just two season’s ago, Softie potential was certainly unmatched. The pacy winger with terrific dribbles was certainly destined for greater things. He was a standout player at Nakuru All Stars. He would join Kariobangi Sharks, wading off massive interest from a host of clubs. In the June mid-season transfer window, the former All Stars player finally inked a deal at AFC Leopards, in a move he termed as ‘a dream come true.’
Ndirangu got off his stint on a flier with some blistering runs, pinpoint assists and trademark dribbles that would often send the stadium into frenzy. That never lasted long, as he slowly but surely started fizzling out. Reports suggested that the player was battling with off pitch issues. In some reported cases, he missed training.
Soon, he started missing training. His performance went down. He lost his place in the starting lineup and became a reserve player. More often than not, his introduction to the team had little influence. He lost his magic touch. Off pitch issues continued to cloud his season.
With the arrival of Briton Stewart Hall, Ndirangu’s future hang in the balance. A confidential report seen by Kenyanstar in November, revealed that the player had been put on the exit list by coach Stewart. Among the players considered unwanted in Hall’s 2017 plans, Ndirangu topped the list.
Ndirangu sought to find a new home. He eventually attracted suitors from K’Ogalo where he penned a long term deal in a move that will certainly attract immense attention.