End of an Era
Joe Kadenge, better known by the term “Kadenge na mpira” which loosely translates to Kadenge with the ball. This came about due to his exceptional skills dodging the ball from his opponents and his ease at scoring.
He was born in 1935 in Vihiga County making his debut in football aged 22, where he joined Nakuru Ministry of Works and later joining Nakuru combined. He has been viewed as one of the best wingers, goal scorer and amazing ball control.
He was one of the best Kenyan players to be signed at AFC Leopards while it was still known as Abaluhya United. He drew his inspiration from the late Shem Chimoto, Elijah Lidonde, George Situma, Omari Okumu, Alfred Mugaizi, Levi Khayati and Munialo Apicho.
He played for the Kenyans National Team Harambee Stars between 1957 and 1968 most notably for the Africa Cup of Nations and East Africa Challenge Cup.
Kadenge retired from international football, but continued to play for Abaluhya United before heading to Maragoli United in 1977.
His sons have followed in his footsteps, the late Francis Kadenge played for Maragoli United, Rodgers Kadenge played for Utalii FC and Evans Kadenge playing for Nzoia Sugar.
Kadenge became the Hrambee Stars coach in 2002, a position he underttok until 2006 when he suffered a stroke. A relapse of the stroke took his life on Sunday 7th July at the Mariakani Hospital where he had been rushed for treatment. He was scheduled to travel to Egypt for the AFCON but he wasn’t fit health wise to travel.
President Uhuru Kenyatta mourned the late legend stating that he represented the best of our football, terming him as iconic.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa described him as someone who was dedicated to sports.
Kdenge’s autobiography “The Life of Legend “was launched in 2015 which documents his life and times in football.
A requiem mass will be held on Wednesday, 17th July at the Friends International Church, Nairobi.
The burial cost for the fallen hero has been estimated at Ksh5m.