Joe Kadenge was born on March 16, 1935 in Soliani village, Hamisi Sub-County in Vihiga County. He is a former Kenyan football player and coach. He has been referred as the finest footballer ever produced by Kenya.
‘Kadenge na mpira’ is a phrase the makes many remember, arguably the best striker Kenya has ever produced. The commentators of the day in particular one Leonard Mambo Mbotela had the best description of Kadenge’s soccer prowess and marked the slogan as part of the glory days in Kenyan football.
He started his professional career in the Nakuru Allstars and played for Harambee Stars for 14 remarkable years.
Kadenge’s arrival on the big stage way back in 1958 when as a barefooted prodigious 23-year-old, he produced an amazing performance that played a significant role in Kenya’s victory in the Gossage Cup tournament – a forerunner of the present day Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.
The following year, Kadenge inspired Kenya’s 2-0 Gossage Cup victory over Uganda, scoring one goal and assisting the other. Gossage Cup - a tourney between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar - began in 1926.
Kadenge, who attended Musingu Intermediate School in ‘Kachmega’ went on to display his magic with Nakuru All-Stars, Maragoli FC and Abaluhyia FC now AFC Leopards - a club he helped win the 1966 Premier League.
The father of Oscar Kadenge and the late Francis (both footballers) was a striker for Harambee Stars for 14 years.
In 2002, he managed the Kenya National Football team and was later succeeded by Jacob Mulee in 2003.
In 2010, he was invited by Fifa to represent East and Central Africa in gracing the opening ceremony of the World Cup finals in South Africa.
In 2012, he was appointed the First Kenya Football Ambassador by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
Joe Kadenge: The Life of a Football Legend, authored by veteran sports journalist John Nene, was launched in 2015, immortalizing the long awaited untold story of Kenya’s foremost football legend. The biography’s launch came just eight months after the legendary footballer celebrated his 80th birthday.
In 2005, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the SOYA Awards.
Mr Kadenge was later diagnosed with diabetes after suffering a stroke in 2006.
After years of ill health, he died 7 July 2019 at the age of 84.
Date of Birth: 16/03/1935
Date of Death: 07/07/2019
Place of Death: Nairobi
It’s such a shame that a national broadcaster like KBC have no footage of us in action.