Hero Siang’a has fallen

11Sep 2016
The Guardian Reporter
Guardian On Sunday
Hero Siang’a has fallen

East Africa’s football fraternity is in mourning following the death of former Kenyan international goalkeeper and veteran coach James Siang’a.Siang’a, 67, lost a long battle with diabetes at a Bungoma hospital at around 10pm on Friday.

The late James Siang'a

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa, his Tanzania counterpart Jamal Malinzi, Cecafa Secretary General Nicholas Musonye and Uganda Cranes coach Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic, have led in paying their tribute to the legendary former goalkeeper - who was also renowned for grooming young footballers.

“We have just moved his body to the mortuary. He has been unwell since the time we had that fundraiser in Nairobi (in 2012), and been on treatment all through,” Hilda, the widow said yesterday.

Siang’a’s demise completes a chapter of one of the most successful and celebrated Kenyan football stars.
"Kenyan football has lost a legend in James Siang'a. FKF want to pass on our condolences to his family and friends. He was truly a great man," Mwendwa said.

Musonye added: “My condolences to the family. I have known him since my days as a Nation journalist back in 1972 when he was playing for Kenya. We have kept in touch since. Cecafa mourns with the family.”Siang'a enjoyed a successful stint as goalkeeper with both Luo Union and Gor Mahia in the 1970s.He also played for the national football team during that period.

Following his retirement, the late Siang’a switched to the dugout, where he handled among other teams, Harambee Stars during three different spells, Tanzania’s Taifa Stars, Kilimanjaro Stars and Gor Mahia and Tanzanian giants Simba SC, Uganda’s Express FC with relative success.

During his spell at Simba, Siang’a was remembered for leading the team to the group stage of the CAF Champions League in 2003, after knocking out then tournament holders Zamalek. He also won the Cecafa Club Championship title with Simba in 2002. He later had a brief spell at Mtibwa Sugar and Moro United.“Very sad news. Rest well Siang’a,” Tanzania’s FA President Jamal Malinzi said.

“I am very sad following the passing on of my dear colleague, Kenyan gentleman and African coaching giant. My condolences to the family, Kenyan and African football lovers,” said Uganda Cranes coach Milutin Sredovejic.
Burial arrangements are underway.