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Joe Kadenge Collapsing From Hunger Says More Than Meets The Eye

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Retired soccer legend was rushed to hospital after he collapsed Wednesday while watching a football match at Toyoyo, Nairobi. Medical personnel who rushed him to the hospital said he was not breathing well amid complaints of hunger. The legend famed for ‘Kadenge na mpira’ phrase had been ailing a few weeks but got better and was discharged.

The story of the kind of life the legend is living has been told a million times, but it lands on deaf years of the government. Kenya is known for caring less about its sports legends when girlfriends and family members of sports officials are given free rides and accommodations to Olympics.

The manner in which sports are treated in this country is so biased that some benefit at the expense of others. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world, but it’s not treated with the same respect in Kenya despite the country having produced some of the best players in the region.

We are not strangers to the number of times Harambee Stars players have complained of unpaid allowances or have been on the go slow for the same reason. This has affected the performance of the national to the extent of toppling them from being a top team in Eastern Africa.

The Kenya that would hold soccer greats like Nigeria, Cameroon in the mid-nineties is no more due to poor leadership and lack of government support. The majority of Kenyan soccer players are from Western and Nyanza; the regions have no proper stadia or any good soccer facility to write home. Scouting of new talents is mostly done in Nairobi locking out many upcoming soccer stars in those parts of the world.

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Not just Joe Kadenge, the entire soccer fraternity is not treated like athletics. Over 90% of the runners are from Rift Valley, that’s where scouting is done though neighboring regions like Kisii has produced good long distance runners too, Western has the potential to produce short distance runners, but the focus remains only in North Rift.

The region (Eldoret) boasts of the good sports facilities, 64 Stadium received a good face lift, in fact; Olympic trials were held there. Athletics legends have been appointed to the administration of the sport they once excelled in. The 1972 Olympic legend Kipchoge Keino who is now tainted by corruption is the chairman of Nock (National Olympic Committee of Kenya).

Kadenge is ignored and left to languish in abject poverty but God forbid the day the worst will happen, the government will rush to take care of the funeral expenses, politicians will cling on any desperate reason and tell stories to identify with the family. They will not mean any good but that will only provide a better platform for politics and opportunity to woo the community’s vote.

It’s a shame that the most celebrated soccer legend in Kenya collapsed due to hunger, he is a hustling taxi driver who recently could not afford kshs 95,000 for the eye operation and had to depend on good wishers to step on the bill.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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