Charles Thuku @PeopleSports11
President Uhuru Kenyatta has embraced the proposal that Kenya’s oldest sporting facility, City Stadium, be renamed Joe Kadenge Stadium in honour of the country’s fallen football legend.
ODM leader Raila Odinga relayed the President’s consent to mourners who had gathered at Charter Hall on Tuesday night to raise funds in aid of Mzee Kadenge who died on July 7 while receiving treatment at a Nairobi hospital.
“Kadenge was a patriotic Kenyan who nurtured the skills of many in the game. He also contributed a lot for the national team during the Gossage Cup in the yesteryears and it is only in order that he is honoured by the State,” said Odinga.
Mr Odinga said he had spoken to the Head of State as well as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko about the matter and that both had accepted the idea.
“I have personally talked to both of them and the renaming of the stadium will be done as one way of honouring Kadenge,” added Odinga, who also said that Kadenge’s Mariakani house in Nairobi’s South B estate will be handed over to his family as directed by the Head of State during his visit to the legend two years ago.
“Joe was desirous to permanently own the home when he was alive and the wish has been granted by the President,” he said.
The stadium was originally known as African Stadium before it was renamed to Donholm Road Stadium. It would change to Jogoo Road Stadium after Kenya gained independence in 1963 and finally to Nairobi City Stadium. Kadenge, who featured for Abaluhya FC (now AFC Leopards), played several times at the stadium in the 1960s.
During Kadenge’s requiem at Friends Quakers Church in Nairobi yesterday, Odinga repeated the sentiments, saying: “We want the tartan track at the stadium removed and wholesome renovations done so that it can be a football-only stadium before it changes names. The President will then open it officially after which a match between Leopards and Gor Mahia legends will be played.”
During the fundraiser in which over Sh4 million was collected, Odinga donated Sh1 million and presented a similar amount from Uhuru. Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko gave the same figure.
Other high-profile guests who contributed at the event were Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) secretary general Francis Atwoli (Sh200,000), Amani National Congress party boss Musalia Mudavadi (Sh150,000), football legends (Sh120,000), Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi (Sh100,000) and Football Kenya Federation (Sh100,000).
Donations were also received from Makadara MP George Aladwa, Nairobi Women’s Representative Esther Passaris, senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) and Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay) as well as former FKF boss Sam Nyamweya, Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi and Vihiga Woman Rep Beatrice Adagala, among others. Kadenge will be buried in Soliani Village, Vihiga County on Saturday.