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Former Harambee Stars coach dies in Nakuru hospital

Former Harambee Stars tactician and the founder of the defunct Nakuru Youth Olympics Centre, Sammy Nyongesa is dead.

He died at the Nakuru War Memorial hospital at 1am on Friday, according to his wife Rose Atieno Nyongesa.

Nyongesa, 64, was the father of the former Harambee Stars, AFC Leopards and Ulinzi Stars striker Michael Baraza.

Baraza was at his death bed on Friday. He was admitted at the hospital on August 4, before succumbing to prostate cancer.

His widow confirmed his demise to Nation Sport.

“It’s true coach Nyongesa is no more. He died at 1am,” said Mrs Nyongesa.

She added: “I have lost my best friend and husband. I have lost a strong pillar in my life. I leave everything to God.”

FOOTBALL LEGACY

Nyongesa was once the team manager of AFC Leopards during the reign of chairman Alfred Sambu. He founded the Nakuru Youth Olympic Centre in 1975.

Retired Colonel Eliud Gachoka, who joined Nakuru Youth Olympic Centre in 1975, said Nyongesa shaped his career and described him as a “very dedicated, morally upright coach who has left behind a rich football legacy”.

Afraha Stadium manager Didmus Munialo, who also played under Nyongesa at the Youth centre, described him as “his football mentor.”

Some of the players, who passed through him include John “Mo” Muiruri, Ambrose “Golden Boy” Ayoyi, Sammy Taabu, Dick Anyanga, Dick Odouri, Simon Wakhaya, James Odawa and John Navikhonelo among many others.

Other prominent players, who benefited from his coaching skills and went on to feature in top flight football include George Odongo, Michael Obonyo, Michael Otieno and Michael Ambani among others.

Nyongesa, a strict disciplinarian, started his football career in Kitale playing for Kitale Elgon Stars in the 1960s under coach Jackson Munialo and Shem Shimoto.

He got his first call up to the national team while he was still 15.

COACH OF THE YEAR

His first national assignment was in the Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda, where Kenya lost to Uganda Cranes.

Nyongesa was named the Player of the Year in 1977, before winning the Coach of the Year award in 1979.

But for the football lovers in Nakuru, he is best remembered for guiding Nakuru All Stars to claim the first ever top flight league title in 1963.

The former veteran coach had upgraded his coaching skills and held a Class Two Fifa Coaching certificate.

In an interview with Nation Sport in 2016, he said his memorable match as a player remains the absorbing tie between Nakuru All Stars and Gor Mahia, where he scored twice and was at hand to assist the third goal that saw the once celebrated Nakuru side beat K’Ogalo 3- 2 at the Nairobi City Stadium.

Besides playing for Nakuru All Stars, Nyongesa also played for Kenya Farmers Association (KFA), Abaluhya FC (Abeingo FC) and was the founder of the defunct Bata Bullets of Limuru.