NAKURU, Kenya, Aug 24 – Fallen former Harambee Stars assistant coach Sammy Nyongesa will be remembered for many great deeds among them establishing the National Youth Centres which produced superstars.
Nyongesa, who died on Friday in Nakuru, has mentored hundreds of football players among the Ambrose ‘Golden Boy’ Ayoyi, Sammy Abida, Joseph Odera, John ‘Mo’ Muiruri, Sammy Taabu, Isaiah Otieno, Dickson Anyanga, Simon Wakhaya, James Odawa and John Navikhonelo.
His own son, Michael Barasa went through the National Youth Centres to become a prolific player who rose to become the AFC Leopards Captain besides playing for Nakuru’s Ulinzi Stars and later Western Stima as well as leading the attacking front in the Harambee Stars team.
Nyongesa, a father of nine died on Friday night at about 1:00 am following a long battle with prostate cancer which was diagnosed at stage four.
The 77-year-old former player winner of different football titles had been admitted at the Nakuru War Memorial hospital where he passed on.
He started his football career in Kitale where he played for Kitale Elgon Stars in the 60s and rose to be named Football Player of the year in 1977 and later won Coach of the Year Award in 1979.
Nyongesa, who was described by his students/mentees as cool, humble and a strict disciplinarian also trained coaches in Nakuru before he was grounded by disease.
One of his trainees, Hassan Hussein who coaches 08 Community Football Club in Nakuru West said the country has lost a great mind and diligent patriot who gave his life to football growth.
“He taught us the importance of professionalism, discipline, sacrifice and integrity in our work and the need to pass knowledge to the younger generations,” he said.
Husein added that even in sickness, Nyongesa still spared time to mentor young footballers and he established Nyayo team, a club of boys aged between 10-15 years which was training at an open field near his home in Ngata farm.
Nyongesa’s wife, Rose Atieno said people are gathering at their home for burial arrangement while his husband’s body is at the Nakuru War Memorial Mortuary.
A close family confidant said his final send off might be delayed to allow his two sons who are working abroad time to travel home.
-BY WANJIRU MACHARIA-