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Kenya’s football legend James Siang’a is dead

East Africa’s football fraternity is in mourning following the demise of former Kenya international and veteran coach James Siang’a.

Siang’a lost a long battle to diabetes at his Bungoma home at around 10pm on Friday.

“We have just moved his body to the mortuary. He has been unwell since the time we had that fundraiser in Nairobi (in 2012), and been on treatment all through,” Hilda, the widow told Nairobi News.

Siang’a’s demise completes a chapter of one of the most successful and celebrated Kenyan football stars.

He enjoyed a successful stint as goalkeeper with both Luo Union and Gor Mahia in the 70s.

The legend in hospital. PHOTO | FILE
The legend in hospital. PHOTO | FILE

He also played for the national football team during that period, specifically under the tutelage of Elijah Lidonde and Joe Kadenge.

Following his retirement, the late Siang’a moved to coaching, where he handled among other teams, Harambee Stars during three different spells, Tanzania’s Taifa Stars and Gor Mahia and Tanzania Simba SC, Uganda’s Express FC with relative success.

CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

During his spell at Simba, Siang’a was remembered for leading the team to the group stage of the CAF Champions League in 2003, after knocking out then tournament holders Zamalek. He later had a brief spell at Mtibwa Sugar.

“Very sad news, Rest well Siang’s” Tanzania’s FA President Jamal Malinzi said.

“I am very sad following the passing on of my dear colleague, Kenyan gentleman and African coaching giant, and African coaching giant. my condolences to family, Kenyan, African and Cecafa football,” said Uganda Cranes coach Milutin Sredovejic.

Cecafa Secretary General Nicholas Musonye said: “My condolences to the family, I have known him since my days as a Nation journalist back in 1972 when he was playing for Kenya. We have kept in touch since. Cecafa mourns him.”

Burial arrangement are underway.