[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Kenyan football fraternity is mourning a former Kenya Football Federation (KFF) secretary general Hussein Swaleh, who was among the 32 Kenyans that perished in Sunday morning’s Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash that was on its way from Addis Ababa.
The former KFF boss was serving as a Confederation of African Football (CAF) match official from 2018 to 2020. He was returning home after serving as Commissioner in the Caf Champions League match between Ismaily SC (Egypt) and TP Mazembe (Democratic Republic of Congo) played on Friday in Alexandria.
Hussein Swaleh’s contribution to Kenyan Sports is unmatched having been the KFF secretary general at the time Harambee Stars last played in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2004. Working under the then KFF chairman, Maina Kariuki, Swaleh was in charge of the team for three years. He was elected-in in 2001 alongside Mohammed Hatimy who came in as the treasurer.
Unfortunately, their term was cut short as the then Sports Minister, Francis Nyenze, dissolved the KFF amidst corruption scandals by the chairman Maina Kariuki. Kenya was banned by FIFA in June 2004 because as a result but the ban was later lifted in August 2004 after FIFA came to an agreement with the government.
Kenya’s current football governing body, Federation of Kenya Football (FKF) led Kenyans in mourning the late Swaleh.
“Football Kenya Federation wishes to express its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of FKF Lower Eastern branch chairman Hussein Swaleh and all victims of the #EthiopianAirlines Flight B-737-800Max that crashed today, shortly after take-off,” read a tweet from their official account.
FKF boss Nick Mwendwa also gave his farewell to Swaleh on social media. “Sad day for football. You were doing what you loved most. Fare thee well my chairman. Until we meet again,” Mwendwa tweeted.
“The President of the Confederation of African Football, Ahmad Ahmad, and all the African football family send their condolences to our dearest Hussein Swaleh Mtetu’s family, his relatives and to the Kenyan Football Federation,” Caf said in a statement.
Swaleh was also into politics as he was the former councilor for Kirimari ward in Embu County. Kirimari ward MCA Morris Nyaga sent a message of condolences to the family and Swaleh’s fans.
“I understood that he would have arrived in Nairobi at around 10 am and take a vehicle to Embu. I was shocked on leaving church to learn that he was one of the victims of the ill-fated plane,” said Nyaga.
Nyaga added that they were to meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss an upcoming ward tournament dubbed Collo Super Cup Tournament in which Swaleh was the chairman.
Swaleh was also influential in helping Stars striker Dennis Oliech, arguably the finest East African talent of his generation, secure his first professional contract with Al-Arabi SC of Qatar, opening the door for a greater flow of Kenyan talent overseas.
“He was a man, who knew what he wanted for Kenyan football,” former Harambee Stars coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee told Goal.com, “and said it straight without mincing words.
“I have lost a friend and a mentor,” added Mulee, who worked in tandem with Swaleh, secretary general between 2000 and 2004, to guide Kenya to the Afcon finals in Tunisia where Kenya registered her first win at that stage beating Burkina Faso 3-0.