Raila leads heavyweights in hero send-off for Sianga

Departed Gor Mahia legend, James Sianga
Departed Gor Mahia legend, James Sianga

Gor Mahia legend James Siang’a was laid to rest at his Ugenya ancestral home on Saturday in a sombre funeral attended by a host of Kenyan football greats and former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.

Speakers at the burial brought forth the issue of how the nation handles its sporting legends with the former Harambee Stars head coach passing on in poverty in Bungoma as the funeral committee struggled to raise funds to give him a befitting send off.

Burial committee chair; George Sunguti, expressed his dissatisfaction with how the Government has been handling those who brought fame to the country.

Fellow Stars legends, Mohammoud Abass (keeper), Allan Thigo (striker) who also played for Gor, were among a multitude of mourners who came to pay their last respects, echoed Sunguti’s remarks.

Sianga, who lost a long battle to diabetes at a Bungoma Hospital at 70 on September 9, was given a heroes farewell where opposition chief, Raila led a legion of political heavyweights from Nyanza and western regions in eulogizing the fallen legend.

They included Siaya County Governor; Cornel Rasanga, MPs Paul Otuoma of Funyula, Rangwe’s George Oner and Opiyo Wandayi of Unguja as well as Homa Bay Women Representative; Gladys Wanga.

The former Premier asked the Government to recognise legends and accord them respect when the curtain falls on their careers saying it was sparking the exodus of talent to pledge allegiance to countries.

Sianga will be remembered for being the longest serving K’Ogalo and national team keeper having stood between the sticks for 15 years.

He also coached various teams in the region including Gor and Kenya Breweries (now Tusker FC), Simba Sports, Mtibwa Sugar and Moro FC all of Tanzania as well as Express of Uganda. He leaves behind a widow Hilda Sianga and four children.

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Story By Milton Ochieng
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