The departed stars in 2020
As the sports fraternity struggled to make ends meet in a year that saw their source of livelihood cut short due to the suspension of most sporting activities both locally and globally because of the coronavirus pandemic, the year was made even harder by the passing on of numerous sports personalities in the country.
From accidents to terminal illnesses to some just collapsing and losing their lives, many disciplines were thrown into mourning as their members, both young and old had their lives cut short.
In football, long serving football coach Henry Omino succumbed to cancer in March.
Until his demise, Omino had handled several clubs including Kisumu All Stars and Western Stima.
Football was hit again with the passing on of Harambee Starlets goalkeeper trainer and kit manager Rosemary ‘Maara’ Aluoch after a short illness.
Until her demise, the former women national team player, was running a youth academy in Dandora that aimed at keeping children away from crime.
The initiative saw her clinch the 2017 Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) community hero award.
Kevin Oliech, the last born of the Oliech brothers lost the battle to cancer in September while undergoing treatment in Germany.
At club level, the striker suited up for Mathare Uniuted with whom he won the Premier League title in 2008, he also featured for Tusker, Thika United and Nakumatt among others.
Football’s list continues as Shabana lost their veteran defender Evans Omoke following an injury sustained during a friendly build-up match ahead of the NSL season resumption.
Football administration was not spared as it lost a former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) National Executive Committee member and CAF match commissioner Mohammed Omar.
Additionally football president Mohammed Hatimy succumbed to Covid-19 related complications in November.
Nairobi City Star’s long-serving manager Neville Pudo adds to the list of football administrators. The 63 year old collapsed at his house in Nairobi in November as well.
Rugby was hit just as hard as the fraternity mourned the loss of 28 year old Kenya Simba and KCB player Tony Onyango who collapsed in his house after a training session.
Another youngster’s life, Eliakim Oundo, a Sigalame High rugby 15’s player passed on after suffering head injuries during the Busia County Secondary School Games.
Former Kenya Seven’s winger Allan Makaka also passed on in a tragic road accident along Mombasa road.
During his active years, he featured for Ulinzi and Harlequins. John Maina, a former Mwamba RFC chairman between 1983 and 86 also passed on this year.
Kenya’s first Taekwondo Olympian Dickson Amwari, who represented the country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, won gold at the 2007 Africa Games and silver in flyweight at the 2003 and 2011 Abuja and Maputo games died at the age of 35.
Additionally, athletics legend Ben Jipcho who started his career in the 60’s passed on in July.
He was a silver medalist in the 3000m steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games and a 5000m gold medalist at the Afro-CAN Games.
Others who transitioned in the year 2020 include sharp shooter Edward Legei who was a four-time Kenya Open Bailey champion.
Douglas Maina, a Africa Games boxing bronze medalist, Mike Mucine, a three-star AIBA certified coach.
Francis Kaari who served as the second vice president of the Kenya Boxing Federation among other Kenyan great sports personalities.