What you need to know:
- Kayange noted that Ayimba helped him develop his rugby profession back in 2006 when he appointed him Kenya Sevens captain, bypassing other experienced players in the team.
- “When I met him for the first time in early 2006, he dismissed me as slim, not able to cope with the game. That I needed more muscles,” said Kayange, who was shocked when Ayimba picked him captain towards the end of 2006.
Friends and family members of the late former Kenya Sevens head coach, Benjamin Ayimba, Tuesday celebrated his life at a requiem mass held at Our Lady Queen of Peace, South B in Nairobi County.
Father Jose Binu led the congregation through the first reading from the books of Wisdom 3:1-9 and Psalms 130: 1-8 and second reading from the book of Revelation 14:13 followed by John 11: 17-27.
Ayimba's wife, Caroline Waswa and former wife Lois Onyango, together with their children Brian, Gabriel, Keenan and Eli, attended the service though Ayimba’s body was not present.
However, friends will be able to view the body and pay their last respect sand tributes Wednesday at the RFUEA grounds along Ngong Road from 12noon. Ayimba will be buried on Friday in Uranga, Siaya County.
Also present were Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Oduor Gangla and Ayimba’s family spokesman Oscar Osir, who were the only persons allowed to eulogise the fallen rugby icon during the service.
Osir was the team manager, while Ayimba the coach when Kenya Sevens reached their maiden Sevens World Cup semi-finals.
Those who paid their tributes on the sidelines were former KRU chairman Mwangi Muthee, Kenya Rugby League Federation (KRLF) chairman Edward Nyakwaka and Humphrey Kayange, who captained the team during the 2009 Sevens World Cup.
From the first reading basically touching on Catholics funeral lectionary, Linu said Ayimba’s soul was in the just hands of the God because of his good deeds and no torment shall touch him.
Linu emphasised on the importance of living a holy life quoting Revelation 14:13 in part: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
Gangla said Ayimba was like a brother, star rugby player, a leader of men, global super star and honest to a fault.
“Benja loved his sons, life and God,” said Gangla.
“An enduring image of him on his knees thanking God upon Kenya’s qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics remains embedded in our minds and hearts.”
Osir said Ayimba, 44, loved everybody and anything he touched on, but was tough when making decisions and sticking to them.
Muthee said Ayimba represented everything that is rugby.
“We are talking about his character, determination, teamwork...and he stood for everything that represented rugby,” said Muthee, adding that the game drained him completely, having left everything on the pitch. “He died with his rugby boots on,” said Muthee.
Kayange noted that Ayimba helped him develop his rugby profession back in 2006 when he appointed him Kenya Sevens captain, bypassing other experienced players in the team.
“When I met him for the first time in early 2006, he dismissed me as slim, not able to cope with the game. That I needed more muscles,” said Kayange, who was shocked when Ayimba picked him captain towards the end of 2006.