Kitty for nation’s sporting legends long overdue

The late Kenyan football legend Joe Kadenge (in a hat) greets players during the 2017 Chris Onguso Annual football tournament in Vihiga County.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • The Lidonde family is also mourning the death of Patrick Lumumba Lidonde, 60, who passed away in Boston, US last weekend after being on life support for several days. 
  • He was the son Elijah, and a brother of Tony and Abdi.
  • Lumumba’s body is expected in Nairobi on January 22 for burial at a date to be announced later.

I support a proposal by the Director of Immigration, Alex Muteshi, for the government to set up a kitty to support the country’s sporting legends.

Many of them are languishing in abject poverty yet they did the country proud internationally during their heydey.

While their counterparts abroad enjoy unbridled finance success when plying their trade in overseas leagues, many former Kenyan footballers live in misery.

They struggle to make ends meet by resorting to menial jobs as football in Kenya continues to be regarded as a pastime activity. 

Individuals like Muteshi alone cannot turn around the legends’ lives, but the government can because it has the resources to do so.

The government has done its best to uplift sports standards, but it needs to do more by allocating more resources resources.

Kenya is a land endowed with talent, and if more money is invested in supporting upcoming players, we will be guaranteed of even better standing on the world stage.

While speaking at the weekend during the burial of Mama Edina Lidonde in Ikolomani, Muteshi said that he receives pleas for assistance from many legends who live miserably.  

Edina, 89, was the wife of the legendary Elijah Lidonde and the mother of retired footballers Tony Lidonde and his step-brother Abdi Lidonde who both played for AFC Leopards and Harambee Stars in the 1970s and 80s.

Edina was described as a hard working community leader who was an inspiration to many.

Muteshi is among ardent Ingwe supporters who have stood by the club whenever it is faced with financial constraints.

He said they will find ways to sponsor a “Lidonde Memorial Tournament” in Kakamega and urged Members of Parliament to use the National Government Constituency Development Fund to set aside money to support sportsmen and women.

He said that if used properly, the kitty will help in training coaches and referees and improve playing grounds, which will in the long run improve the standards of football.

Former international Josephat Murila, who attended the funeral, welcomed the proposal of a memorial tournament to be organised by former players, coaches and members of the Lidonde family in appreciation of the legendary Elijah Lidonde’s contribution to football in the 50s and 60s.

Lidonde, who was regarded as one of the best strikers ever produced in Kenya, also played for and managed AFC Leopards and the national team Harambee Stars. 

The Lidonde family is also mourning the death of Patrick Lumumba Lidonde, 60, who passed away in Boston, US last weekend after being on life support for several days. 
He was the son Elijah, and a brother of Tony and Abdi.

Lumumba’s body is expected in Nairobi on January 22 for burial at a date to be announced later.

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