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Nairobi County win Kadenge memorial tourney



By VICTOR OTIENO            
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Just like discipline forces honour their departed colleagues with gun salutes, on Sunday, a number former footballers and the sport’s enthusiasts turned up at City Stadium in Nairobi to honour the late Joe Kadenge through what he loved – playing football.

It was an action pack day with about 20 matches being played in the event dubbed The Joe Kadenge Greatest Inspiration Football Tournament.

Kadenge, 84, died on July 13 at the Meridian Hospital in Nairobi after long illness.

Legends FC, which comprised a number of former AFC Leopards players, is among the eight teams that took part in the seven aside tournament, where the games were played in a round-robin format.

The players, mostly veterans donned replicas of Leopards kits, the colour being the difference between the teams. While some of the kits were stripped blue and white, which is the official colour of Leopards jerseys, others were stripped green and white.

Kadenge started his football career as an attacking midfielder and second striker for the defunct Maragoli United, before crossing over to Leopards (then Abaluhya United) in 1996.

And after final whistle in the final match of the day, Nairobi County team were crowned the tournament’s champions. They won all their matches to carry the day on 19 points.

With the first tournament now done, focus shifts to the July 19 one, which will take place a day before Kadenge is buried at his Hamisi home in Vihiga County.

SportPesa Premier League side Leopards will lock horns with best footballers in county under the name Vihiga County FC. They will battle it out with two other teams- two teams – Maragoli United and Wazee wa Kazi.

According to the tournament’s chairman, Dan Shikanda, a former Kenyan International and Leopards players, a football team from Tanzania may also feature in the event.

Shikanda said they organised the football tournaments as a way of “honouring Kadenge, who was a role model to many local footballers in a special way by what he loved.”

The matches will be played at a school near Kadenge’s home. His body is being preserved at the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.

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