Opposition leader Raila Odinga led mourners in calls for the renaming of City Stadium to Joe Kadenge Stadium in honour of the fallen soccer icon.
Speaking at the memorial service for the soccer legend at Friends Church, Ngong Road, Nairobi yesterday, Raila said the country’s oldest stadium should be spruced up and named after the man who made his name on its court.
“City Stadium is a historical stadium. That is where Joe Kadenge played. We want it converted to a modern soccer stadium. We want to see the statue of Kadenge greeting you as you enter Joe Kadenge Stadium,” said Raila.
He delivered a condolence message from President Uhuru Kenyatta and promised to host a series of Kadenge memorial tournaments.
“We will first get a team of the elders to play before we come up with the Mashemeji derby,” he said.
Speakers at the service paid glowing tribute to the soccer icon, with some saying more should be done to improve the welfare of soccer players.
“Unless they (soccer players) earn, any programme that is dependent on the goodwill of the Government of the day will not be sustainable,” said Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi.
Mudavadi called for the setting up of a national Hall of Fame for the country’s heroes and heroines funded by the Government.
The memorial service was attended by, among others, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, nominated Senator Gertrude Musuruve, Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko and Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris.
The sports fraternity included Bob Oyugi, JJ Masiga, Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, Tom Tikolo and John Nyawanga, with whom Kadenge played in the 1970s.
Kadenge’s wives, Mabel and Maria, described him as a loving husband and a doting father.
Kadenge will be buried at his home in Gisambai village in Vihiga County on Saturday.
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