Death of a legend: Rugby fraternity pay tribute to departed Mng’ong’o
Former Kenya Rugby Union chairman Mwangi Muthee led the rugby fraternity in paying tribute to fallen former player and legend of the game George Mng’ong’o.
Mng’ong’o is a former scrum-half who offered distinguished service to Mwamba RFC.
He died at the weekend as a result of an asthmatic attack and cardiac arrest, a postmortem carried on Monday at the Chiromo mortuary revealed.
In his eulogy, Muthee hailed the late terming him as the “reason why black players are enjoying the sport in the country”.
“These were the pioneers of rugby in this country; he set up the platform that many of today’s players enjoy.
Having come from a rugby playing school – Lenana – and gone to the University of Nairobi they were players who knew the importance of developing rugby in this country.
Rugby was a game for the white until the late 1960s when the likes of George started playing that we saw black players going for the game.
Bill Okwiri, the late John Muhato, Tom Oketch – are the original pioneers of rugby in this country and we should celebrate them,” mourned Muthee.
Muthee’s sentiments were echoed by former Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba.
“Just the fact that they started a club that had no white players at all showed how much passion they had to bring the game to the black people. He is a legend and the rugby fraternity has lost a great mind and big fan of the game,” added Ayimba, former head coach of the sevens team.
Former 15s a side coach Mike ‘Tank’ Otieno also recognized the impact the legend had in the game.
“Forming Mean Machine, the first all-black rugby team in Kenya then going ahead to form Mwamba RFC takes courage and passion.
George was a mentor to me; I loved how he played his rugby and to lead the transition from a white dominated game to having blacks involved and enjoying the game is tremendous, we will forever miss him big time,” mourned ‘Tank’ Otieno.
A legend of the game, Mng’ong’o enjoyed a great career since joining the Duke of York School between 1967-1973 which was later renamed Lenana School in 1970 by Principal James Kamunge.
In 1974 he played for Mombasa in Kenya Cup and later joined Kenya Harlequins.
He continued playing for Harlequins even while studying at the University of Nairobi.
The legendary scrum half Toured Seychelles, Mauritius & Re- Union with Quins in 1976, the first overseas tour by the club since inception.
He was a No 9 in the match between Miro and Rugby Roma Olympic Algida of Italy on 7 June 1976. Miro won 20 – 12.
This famous win by Miro was a victory for the Africanisation of the game in Kenya.
On 1 June 1976 he won the Kenya Cup with Kenya Harlequins Vandals who drew with Kenya Harlequins Ruffian’s in the final.
He was one of the founders of University of Nairobi rugby team Mean Machine in 1977 and Mwamba RFC in 1978.
While with Mean Machine, on 28 May 1977, they won the Kenya Cup on 28th May 1977 after beating Impala Boks 15-12.
On 5 June 1982, George captained the Kenya rugby team in a game against Anti – Assassins. In this game Kenya lost 0-19.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.