Kenya: Managing AFC Soundly Will Honour Ole Magelo

As the AFC Leopards fraternity continues mourning former club chairman Alex ole Magelo, may we come together in the future to properly celebrate this great man at a time when it is safe for all of us to gather!

Covid-19 has changed our lives in many ways, from lockdown restrictions to working from home. And one area that continues to be affected a lot is funerals.

Most supporters of this beloved club could not attend Magelo's burial in Kajiado County at the weekend due to strict Covid-19 rules imposed by the government. They followed the proceedings online as has been the norm since the coronavirus outbreak.

Traditionally, people from the Luhya community in western Kenya, where AFC Leopards enjoys a fanatical following, have relied on physical comfort, expressing emotions through singing and dancing to the Isukuti, passionate eulogies and supporting the bereaved.

But the stay-at-home orders, a ban on large gatherings and fear of travel and exposure is blowing these traditions apart whenever a loved one dies - no matter the cause of the death.

Relegation to lower tier

The story of Leopards will be incomplete without mentioning that Alex ole Magelo, 67, who died on May 8 at Nairobi Hospital after a short illness, left a mark on the country's most supported club.

Magelo did not even have roots in the Luhya community. Yet together with elder Vincent Shimoli, he led a team of well-wishers who rescued Ingwe at their hour of need after they was relegated in 2006 together with Shabana FC who have never risen from the lower league.

Gor Mahia survived by the skin of the teeth. After finishing top of their zone in the Nationwide League with 60 points, just a point ahead of Eldoret Mahakama, Leopards bounced back into the top-flight league in 2009.

Sofapaka FC were the other team promoted to the Premier League.

Magelo rose through the ranks from a committee member in the 80s to become chairman from 2010 to 2013.

In honour of this great man from Maa community, we must professionalise the management of Lepards so that our children and grandchildren will have a team to support in future.

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