By Mercy Mwai.
Senators want Nyayo National Stadium renamed to Joe Kadenge Stadium in honour of the departed football legend who died on Sunday after a long illness.
While eulogising him yesterday, the senators said there was need for the country to rename the stadium in remembrance of Kadenge who “left a big mark in sports.”
In their tributes, the senators, who put their political differences aside, described Kadenge as a true national icon who deserves to be immortalised through the renaming of the country’s second biggest sporting facility.
Led by Minority Leader James Orengo, senators Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Gerorge Khaniri (Vihiga ), Getrude Msuruve (nominated) said while it is important to celebrate Kadenge now, it is unfortunate that this was not done when he was alive.
The senators said the glowing tributes currently being accorded to Kadenge were typical of what Kenyans do whenever a person dies as they only remember them in death.
Khaniri, who brought the motion to the floor, painted a grim picture of how Kadenge’s family lives and asked the senators to come up with a law to assist all national heroes in future.
He briefed the Senate of Kadenge’s burial arrangements, saying there would be a fund raiser at Charter Hall next Tuesday followed by a requiem mass at Friends’ Church on Wednesday before the body is flown to Vihiga on Friday for his interment the following day.
Orengo, who was the first to suggest that Nyayo be named after Kadenge, described him as an icon who had no equal, saying he could have easily fitted in the formidable 1970 Brazil World Cup winning team that consisted greats like Pele, Rivelino, Jaizinho and Gerson.
He said renaming Nyayo after Kadenge will not affect anything as retired President Daniel arap Moi, whose slogan while still in power is named after the facility, already has many other institutions bearing his name.
Sakaja and Wetang’ula reiterated the same. “Any good dribbler in Kenyan football was referred to as Kadenge. His dribbling skills brought fame to Kenyan football,” Wetang’ula said.
Sakaja added: “Kadenge has left a vacuum that will be hard to fill. Renaming Nyayo Stadium after him will go along way to immortalise the man who is easily the best Kenyan footballer of all time.”