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Francis Kadenge: Gifted winger, master dribbler, goal poacher

Francis Kadenge was one of the finest right winger from Kenya every young football player with ambition wished to emulate in the 1980s when AFC Leopards was a mighty force to reckon with.

He was in the thick of things for Leopards when they dominated the East and Central Africa Club championship, lifting the crown three times consecutively in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

His service on the field will never be forgotten in the history of Ingwe after scoring the winning goal against stubborn Admarc Tigers (2-1) to lift the title in 1983 in Zanzibar. The tricky winger emerged the top scorer in the tournament.

Kadenge, a product of the famed Bernard Zgoll Youth Centres, packed plenty of speedy, was an excellent, sometimes audacious dribbler and had an eye for goal. He could dribble in tight spots and relished taking on the defence.

His skill was good enough to make him burst into the very competitive Harambee Stars of the 1980s.

Born 53 years ago. November 4, he was raised in Nairobi’s South B Estate. Like his more famous father, Joe Kadenge, he played for Maragoli United (Imara FC) before moving to AFC Leopards in 1982 together with the likes of Peter Lichungu, Mickey Weche, Omar Shaaban, Mike Amwayi, Dan Musuku, Issa Suleiman, Peter Ouma, John Arieno and Henry Omondi.

He also had stints in Re-Union in between a professional football sojourn in Oman.

Kadenge came from a football playing family. His younger brother Oscar is currently a Leopards player. His other brother, Evans is an assistant coach at Nzoia United, a Division One side, while another brother, Rodgers, played for the defunct Utalii FC and Volcano United. Kadenge is survived by three sons.

At the time of his demise he was based at Gisambai village in Tiriki, Vihiga County after relocating from Nairobi. He passed on on Sunday at Nyanza General Hospital in Kisumu, a gifted player who brought flair and excitement to Kenyan football.

AFC Leopards 1980s dream XI: Mahmoud Abbas, Pius Masinza, Patrick Shilasi, John Arieno “Papa”, Josephat Murila, Abdul Barasa, Francis Kadenge, Haggai Mirikau, Joe Masiga, Wilberforce Mulamba, Mike Amwayi.

By John Ashihundu

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Club News

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Harambee Stars

Kenya v Lesotho @ KPL
Kenya v Lesotho @ KPL

Africa Nations Cup: Lesotho bundle Kenya out of qualifiers

A dull Kenya, lacking purpose and urgency, was on Sunday held to a barren draw by Lesotho in Nairobi to exit the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Lesotho advanced to the group stage 1-0 on aggregate thanks to their slim victory in Maseru a fortnight earlier.

It was a match that Stars needed to win by two clear goals but at the final whistle, the home team had hardly threatened the Lesotho goal. The visitors were in fact rather well organized belying their lowly FIFA ranking in the world.

Kenya’s ace striker Dennis Oliech was a surprise figure on the pitch after reports all through the week indicated he would be unavailable for the crunch match. It did not matter. His sharpness and verve of yesteryears were not on show and his touch and efforts showed a player perhaps on the lee ward side of his career.

The same could be said of McDonald Mariga, erstwhile a rock at the heart of the team, but this afternoon reduced to a bland player who was thankfully substituted early in the second half.

On this afternoon and on that performance by the home team heads were surely going to roll. And it seems they have. A livid Football Kenya Federation president Sam Nyamweya announced at the venue soon after the match that the entire Harambee Stars technical bench had been fired.

On the field AFC Leopards winger Paul Were was a lively substitute after coming in for out of sorts Edwin Lavatsa early in the second half.

Lawrence Olum, notching his second international cap, put the ball in the net on 70 minutes but it was never going to count, the referee long having blown the whistle for a foul on the Crocodiles’ goalkeeper.

Jamal Mohammed, another of the Stars old guard set up Oliech with a brilliant cross, but the striker sent the ball wide off the mark.

Francis Kahata, Victor Wanyama and Oliech all had decent chances to make the breakthrough but it clearly was not going to be Kenya’s day.

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  Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Gor Mahia 25 13 9 3 30 16 14 48
2 Sofapaka 25 13 7 5 37 18 19 46
3 Tusker 25 11 9 5 33 21 12 42
4 Chemelil Sugar 25 10 11 4 19 12 7 41
5 Ulinzi Stars 25 8 14 3 26 19 7 38
6 Thika United 25 8 10 7 26 24 2 34
7 Mathare United 25 9 6 10 16 22 -6 33
8 KRA 25 10 3 12 19 27 -8 33


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