In Summary
  • During Joe Kadenge's burial at Gisambai Primary School grounds in Soliani village, Vihiga County, football legends also said a fund should be set up for use by retired players.
  • Led by veteran footballer JJ Masiga, the legends asked for recognition and support for AFC Leopards' new officials officials, led by President Dan Shikanda.
  • Kadenge's family eulogised him as a hero, painting the picture of a husband and grandfather who remained loving and caring despite his many struggles.
  • Kadenge's sister Esther Kavaya spoke of a a first born who was their father-figure and of a sports family with representation in different fields.

Veteran footballers on Saturday called for support for the struggling AFC Leopards club in honour of legend Joe Kadenge, who died in Nairobi on July 7.

During Kadenge's burial at Gisambai Primary School grounds in Soliani village, Vihiga County, they also said a fund should be set up for use by retired players.

Kadenge was the no.7 player in the club in his heyday.

At least 30 football legends attended the funeral alongside leaders including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli.

RECOGNITION

Led by veteran footballer JJ Masiga, the legends asked for recognition and support for AFC Leopards' new officials, led by President Dan Shikanda.

"Most of these legends were born long after Kadenge wore his first sports shirt in 1957. He helped inspire many soccer players," Masiga said.

"He treated all of us as his children. Some played with his son, Francis Kadenge. To honour this great man, AFC Leopards fans should rally behind the newly elected officials."

Shikanda said Kadenge was against what he termed as "football genocide", as illustrated in the book he wrote six years ago, which cited it as a threat to the growth of the sport in Kenya.

"In the book, Kadenge wanted people to stop football genocide. At AFC Leopards, we are laying structures to enable the team play football. Let us not kill our AFC Leopards. Rally behind the club."

Joe Kadenge's widow Mable

Football legend Joe Kadenge's widow Mable Kadenge during a requiem mass at Friends Church in Nairobi on July 17, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

CAREER

Kadenge commenced his football career as an attacking midfielder and second striker for the defunct Maragoli United, before crossing over to Abaluhya United (now referred to as AFC Leopards) in 1964.

He is remembered for his silky skills, deft touches and mazy runs at the centre of the pitch, which resulted in the phrase 'Kadenge na Mpira (Kadenge with the ball)' courtesy of renown broadcaster Leonard Mambo Mbotela.

He also played for and successfully coached the national football team, Harambee Stars.

Kadenge's body was flown to Kakamega from Nairobi on Thursday for public viewing at the Bukhungu Stadium before it was transported to his Vihiga home.

Football legends who attended the funeral included Michael Otieno, Justus Muhati, John Shoto Lukoye, George Sunguti, Tony Lidonde and Mohamoud Abbas.

Others were Tom Simiti, Josephat Murila, Abdul Baraza, Timothy Madonye, Aggrey Lukoye, Arthur Okwemba and Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee.

Joe Kadenge's widow Maria

Football legend Joe Kadenge's widow Maria Kadenge during a requiem mass at Friends Church in Nairobi on July 17, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

LOVING FATHER

Kadenge's family eulogised him as a hero, painting the picture of a husband and grandfather who remained loving and caring despite his many struggles.

Widows Mable and Maria Kadenge noted that their husband brought Solian village and the country fame.

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