Ex-Kenya football captain Otieno hospitalised with COVID-19

Former Kenya football captain and its most-capped player Musa Otieno is recovering in a Nairobi hospital from COVID-19, in a development that has brought the effects of the global pandemic into sharp focus in the country.

Otieno, who made 105 appearances for Kenya’s Harambee Stars from 1993 to 2006, tested positive for COVID-19 and has been admitted at a government facility while being placed on a ventilator for the past two days, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I have been in constant contact with the family and I want to assure the football family that our legend is responding well to treatment. On behalf of the Kenya Association of former footballers we would want to wish our captain fantastic a quick recovery and let’s keep on praying for our legend,” his friend Athanas Obango said on Tuesday in a statement approved by the Otieno family.

The news has shaken the domestic sporting fraternity that is reeling from the effects of the pandemic, which has seen activity suspended countrywide since March.

Kenyans took to social media to wish the former skipper and no-nonsense defender – who established himself at South African Premier League side Santos FC – a quick recovery, as his case brought home the impact of the disease.

“He has been risking it all to ensure families in Nairobi’s slums have food on their tables during these tough times. And now Musa Otieno has tested positive for COVID-19. Pray for his healing and that of all COVID-19 patients,” radio presenter Carol Radull wrote on Otieno’s Facebook page that became home to hundreds of tributes to the retired defender when the news spread.

Since hanging up his boots, the former skipper has been engaged in nurturing new talent and improving the literacy levels in Nairobi’s low-income estates where he grew up through his Musa Otieno Foundation.

Otieno was keenly involved in the distribution of foodstuffs and amenities to players hit hardest by the pandemic during the lockdown, in conjunction with the country’s Ministry of Sports and other well-wishers.