By Roselyne Obala

NAIROBI, KENYA:  Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba has acknowledged the Government’s failure to honour former athletes.

Namwamba said it is a national shame to watch former heroes and heroines, who put Kenya on the world map in the 1960s and 1970s, languish in poverty.

“These sports men and women put the image of the country on the international the map yet  they have been   forgotten,” said the minister.

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He said it was depressing to watch former athletes suffer. He cited the case of Olympian Nyandika Maiyoro who was recently evicted from his house.

“When Joe Kadenge, a former football wizard, visited my office recently, I was disheartened to see how he is struggling to make ends meet today,” said Namwamba.

Special trust fund

The minister announced that his ministry will soon  put in place a special trust fund to support former athletes.

“The trust fund will recognise and honour past athletes even as the country acknowledge the present ones,” he added.

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Namwamba said that honouring our heroes will boost the morale of upcoming athletes to perform even better at international circles.

“This fund, hopefully, will  improve the living standards of our sporting heroes. The country is respected globally in athletics, rugby and  volleyball and soon, we will also ensure we improve our performance in football,” said the minister.

Thanked footballers

He thanked local celebrated football players like Dennis Oliech, Donald Mariga, and Victor Wanyama, among others, for their commitment to the national team, Harambee Stars.

Namwamba spoke in Kakamega when he opened the second National Youth Training ball games and athletics championships on Tuesday.

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He commended National Youth Polytechnic trainees and officers from North Eastern Province, saying despite facing many logistical challenges, they still turned up  for the championships.

“I’m impressed that despite the difficult terrain, poor infrastructure, and security challenges,  participants from North Eastern Province  turned up for the competition,” he said.

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