'A true soccer ambassador!' - Raila Odinga leads Kenyans mourning legend Joe Kadenge

Goal Kenya
The legend died at his Nairobi home after a long period of illness and prominent figures in the country have mourned his death

Former Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga has led the country in mourning the death of Joe Kadenge.

Kadenge, who is considered one of the greatest footballers to have played for Kenya, took his last breath on July 7 at his Nairobi home.

In a message of condolence, Odinga described the former AFC Leopards striker as a true icon who represented Kenyan football.

"We have lost one of the greatest talents to ever grace a football pitch in our national uniform. Joe Kadenge was a true ambassador for the country and Kenyan soccer. May he rest in eternal bliss," Odinga said in a Facebook statement.

"May his spirit inspire more young people to pursue the game.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the soccer fraternity for whom he was a figure to emulate."

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa feels the departed football icon will live in the minds of football lovers in the country for long.

"I am saddened by the passing on of Kenyan football legend Joe Kadenge. His contribution and dedication to the game will forever be remembered and cherished both within and across our borders," Mwendwa noted in a statement on the official FKF website

"On my own behalf and that of the entire Kenya football fraternity, I wish to send my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Kadenge. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at these trying times, may you find solace in the memories."

Former AFC Leopards chairman Mathews Opwora also mourned Kadenge.

"My deep condolences to the family of Joe Kadenge following his passing on today. AFC Leopard Sports Club has lost a true legend," Opwora told Goal.

"Through his football prowess, he became renowned as "Kadenge na Mpira ".. for both Abaluhyia Football Club (AFC Leopards) and national team Harambee Stars in the East, Central and African continent."

Former FKF President Sam Nyamweya admitted Kadenge's death is a big blow to the sporting fraternity in the country.

"Kadenge was a symbol of inspiration to many Kenyans and also the true legend of football and sports in Kenya," Nyamweya said in a statement seen by Goal.

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"He not only played for Kenya in the pre-colonial days but also served the sport diligently as a team manager for the national team Harambee Stars, coach and also an advisor to many football players and managers in this country."

Kenyan international captain Victor Wanyama also paid tribute to Kadenge.

Apart from AFC Leopards, Kadenge also played for Maragoli United FC and was once the team manager for the Harambee Stars.