What you need to know:
- It’s therefore important that the club finds a way of honouring the fallen and living legends as a way of appreciating their immense contribution
- It's for this reason that I think the idea of club patron Alex Muteshi of erecting a monument in Kakamega town to serve as a historic museum has come at the right time and should be supported by all Luhya leaders including those in influential positions
- Although a monument cannot replace a life, it is the best we can do to show our respect to those who brought glory to this great club that has always remained an unifying factor of the Luhya community
The history of AFC Leopards cannot be complete without mentioning various legends who brought glory to this great club during their heydays.
Since its formation in 1964, AFC Leopards (previously known as Abaluhya FC) has seen many great players don the club’s jersey and contributed to its vast success over the years.
The first generation under coach Elijah Lidonde namely Livingstone Tiema, Joseph Were, Charles Makunda, Jonathan Niva, Antony Mukabwa, Moses Wabwayi, Daniel Anyanzwa, Joe Kadenge, Arthur Okwemba, Meshack Luchendo, David Asibwa, Livingston Madegwa, John Nyawanga left an indelible mark at the club.
It’s therefore important that the club finds a way of honouring the fallen and living legends as a way of appreciating their immense contribution.
It's for this reason that I think the idea of club patron Alex Muteshi of erecting a monument in Kakamega town to serve as a historic museum has come at the right time and should be supported by all Luhya leaders including those in influential positions like Chief Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula.
I want to thank Shinyalu MP, Fred Ikana for supporting the idea and agreeing to be included in the group that is spearheading the monument project to be built in memory of our legends who brought glory to the club and the national team.
Apart from displaying portraits of the departed legends, the monument to be built in Kakamega town will have records of the Mulembe Nation history and culture, and other community individuals believed to have accomplished something great and deserve to be honoured, remembered and emulated.
Luhya community has many forgotten historical figures who deserve to be recognised and celebrated including the legends who played for North Nyanza and the national team under the regime of British colony.
They include Elijah Lidonde, Shem Chimoto, Levy Khayati, Enock Wiraka, Isaac Lugonzo, Alfred Mukaisi, Paul Serenge Amwayi, Peter Muchuma, Omari Wembe, Elijah Masinde Nameme, Joseph Sesera, Style Musonye, George Situma, Munialo Opicho and Musa Libafu Mukangula.
There is also the Ingwe golden era of the 80s that included Joe Masiga, Josephat Murila, Mahmoud Abass, Wilberforce Mulamba, Francis Kadenge, Patrick Shilasi, Abdul Barasa, Haggai Mirikau, the Musuku’s, Mike Amwayi among others.
Although a monument cannot replace a life, it is the best we can do to show our respect to those who brought glory to this great club that has always remained an unifying factor for the Luhya community.
Their names should be preserved there for the sake of documented history, and demonstrate to outsiders what the community values and strives for. Without memory, there is no culture!
According to Ikana, among those to be remembered should include former coach the late Robert Kiberu, the most successful tactician of the Kenyan Premier League giants.
Kiberu who died in 1990 and buried in Luwafu-Salama, a Kampala suburb achieved tremendous success with Leopards between 1979 and 1985.
Under his guidance, Abaluhya which would later be renamed AFC Leopards turned tables against the region’s best in 1979, when they won the East and Central African Club Championship played in Mogadishu after edging KCC FC 1-0 in the final.
This was the team’s first regional title in 13 years and the Kenyans quickly tagged him ‘Super Coach’.
Thereafter, Kiberu--who also played and coached Express FC of Uganda and the national team of Uganda in the 60s--led Leopards to win the league title in 1980, 1981 and 1982.
Astonishingly, Abaluhya cemented their dominance by winning a hat-trick of regional titles in 1982, 1983 and 1984.