Death of five rugby players affects game in Kenya

The death of Mike Okombe on Nov. 4 after he succumbed to stab wounds from assailants was the latest in string of misfortunes that has befallen the sport in 10 months.

"What has befallen the rugby in Kenya is unprecedented in the history of sports in the country. Losing five young and talented players within a short period is something that is not easy to fathom," former chairman of Kenya Rugby Union told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Autopsy revealed that Okombe, 27, did due to internal bleeding after he was stabbed on the chest, head, back and cheek before he had cleared with his former club, Nakuru top Fry but was yet to sign a new deal with Kabras Sugar.

Four people, including three rugby players, were arrested after the incident, including his girlfriend.

Prior to that, the rugby fraternity suffered a loss after KCB center half, James Kilonzo, was shot in the chest in the morning of July 24 while undertaking cash transaction in Nairobi.

In January, Homeboyz prop Andrew Wekesa, who had just graduated from local university died aged 26 after he was stabbed by thugs in a county neighboring the capital city, Nairobi after visiting friends.

In December 2016, Victor Wayodi, who turned out for Mwamba RFC, died after he collapsed during a match against a visiting team from western Kenya.

The 24-year old scrum half died from cardiac arrest just a week after another budding star Ogeto Gecheo who succumbed to spinal injuries that the 19-year old sustained while tackling an opponent.

Following the two deaths that occurred from the field, rugby officials came up with new safety measures to reduce fatalities that made it mandatory for medical personnel and standby ambulance to be present during matches that are sanctioned by the union.

The absence of the players from their respective teams dealt a blow to the clubs they played for and in some instances contributed to dismal performance to the clubs.


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: