NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 10- Former Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars tactician James Siang’a has passed on following a long battle with diabetes at his rural home in Bungoma County.
Siang’a had been in and out of hospital for the past year and he finally succumbed to the illness in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
“It is a great loss and I have received that news with shock. It is a big loss for this country because he was one of the best coaches we had. In my career I can comfortable say he is the best I have ever worked with,” Gor Mahia custodian Jerim Onyango, who was Siang’a’s skipper at Gor in 2009 told Capital Sport.
Much credit to Gor Mahia’s first league title in 18 years in 2013 went to the legendary Siang’a who formed the new generation of K’Ogalo players.
Siang’a, who also had stints in Tanzania and Uganda, recruited a heavily young Gor Mahia squad that had the likes of Jerim, Teddy Akumu, Kevin Omondi, Ibrahim Kitawi and George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo.
“Most people didn’t believe when he said that but actually when we won the league in 2013; everyone acknowledged that indeed Siang’a had seen the future. He really believed in us, the young players and all of us credit him for the growth of our careers,” Jerim added.
It is also said that Blackberry gifted the former coach with a car when he landed his first ever pro-stint with Danish side Randers, acknowledging him for the growth of his career.
Siang’a had a decent stint with Tanzanian giants Simba SC, leading them to the CEACAFA Kagame Cup title in 2002 and the CAF Champions League group stage in the following year.
The famed goalkeeper, who played for both Gor and the national team earning the nickname ‘Abawa’ managed Harambee Stars twice.
He had his first stint between June and September 1979 but the short spell ended in September. He was back again in May 2000 taking over from Nigerian Christian Chukwu. He left in November that year soon after Kenya failed to make it past the group stages of the CECAFA Senior challenge Cup.
In 2002, he landed an opportunity to coach the Tanzanian National Team.
Apart from Simba in Tanzania, he also coached Morogoro United between 2004 and 2005. He also had a stint with Mtibwa Sugar in 2007. Before joining Moro United in 2004, Siang’a was in Tanzania where he coached Express FC