The sporting fraternity continues to pay tribute to one of Kenya’s fastest and most skillful rugby players, Allan “Malala Sibwor” Makaka, who died in the early hours of yesterday.
The 37-year-old former Kenya Sevens star died early Saturday following a grisly road accident in Nairobi along Mombasa Road on the Southern Bypass interchange near Airtel Kenya headquarters in Nairobi.
Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), his former Kenya Sevens coach Edward Rombo and Kenya Sevens team-mates, Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu and Dennis “Ironman” Mwanja are among those who eulogised Makaka on Saturday.
His workmates at Royal Media Services Limited, where he was sales team leader, having worked at the media company for the last eight years, also mourned the former Kenya Harlequin player who also turned out for the now defunct Ulinzi Rugby Football Club.
A statement from KRU condoled with the family following the passing on of Makaka. “Makaka was a warm individual off the pitch, and his death is indeed a huge loss to his family, friends, colleagues and the rugby fraternity at large,” said the statement. “May God grant his family, friends and colleagues strength during this trying time.”
Rombo, a former Kenyan international, who handled Kenya Sevens team at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games in Australia, described Makaka and former Kenya sevens skipper Sydney Ashioya as his greatest wingers.
“Makaka and Ashioya were the fastest players in the team at the time. In fact Makaka was renowned in the World Sevens Series from 2003 to 2005 as one of the top three fastest players the series,” said Rombo, adding that Kenya’s opponents, among them Fijian players, feared Makaka for his speed.
“Makaka was also a hard worker, and as I said, the fittest by far and a solid defender. He was also a popular team character always the mover and shaker of all off-pitch activities,” said Rombo.
“Makaka was larger-than-life, lively and happy character.”
Former Kenya Sevens coach Simiyu and Mwanja, the latter who is deputy coach of Kenya Cup champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), said playing alongside Makaka was a great honour and joy for them.
“He was the fastest on the pitch, and his great rivalry with Oscar Osir brought out the best in them and the team,” said Simiyu, adding that Makaka gave his all his to the team. “He carried the team spirit and it made him one of the most beautiful souls around.”