NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has led the nation in mourning Kenya Sevens icon and former Shujaa head coach Benjamin Ayimba who passed away Friday evening at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Ayimba succumbed to the multiple complications he was being treated for over the past couple of months.
President Kenyatta eulogized Ayimba as a Kenyan great and an icon of rugby saying Ayimba had inspired a generation of Kenyans to take up and excel in rugby.
“It is a sad day in the history of Kenyan sports having lost Benjamin. From his exploits on the field as a rugby player and on the touch line as a coach, Benjamin inspired a generation of young Kenyans to take up and excel as rugby players. He was truly a national rugby icon,” the President eulogized.
“As a nation, we will forever be grateful for his great contribution to Kenya’s sports especially for the many accolades he earned the country over the years,” the President added.
President Kenyatta recalled the late athlete’s successes in rugby saying his most outstanding memory, as a rugby fan, was in 2016 when Kenya, coached by Ayimba, lifted the World Rugby Sevens Series main cup in Singapore after beating heavyweights Fiji.
He pointed out that the late Ayimba helped lift Kenya’s rugby from national obscurity to international stardom, positioning the country on the global map as one of the world’s emerging rugby nations.
“Besides earning Kenya accolades and global recognition as a rugby nation, Benjamin and his generation of players and coaches helped grow Kenya’s brand abroad benefiting sectors such as tourism, hospitality and aviation,” the President noted.
President Kenyatta prayed to God to give the family of the departed Kenyan hero strength and fortitude during this difficult period of mourning.
Other dignitaries who joined the rugby world in mourned the legend are Deputy President William Ruto, Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage Amina Mohamed among others.