Tributes galore for veteran fan Ayieko
Fallen diehard Gor Mahia fan Laban Ayieko was laid to rest in an emotional send-off at his rural home in Ahero, Kisumu, at the weekend.
The burial was attended by fans from the neighborhood and several club branch officials.
Ayieko died three weeks ago after a short illness barely a year after losing his wife.
He will be remembered for his bursts of speeds over 100 metres especially before Gor’s matches and could execute the same almost without breaking sweat.
Although he was not competing with anyone, Ayieko- who was usually clad in shorts, T-Shirt and sports shoes-did what he knew best by sprinting over the distance in a short time.
Ayieko mesmerised fans who had a lot to feast their eyes on before the referee blew the first whistle signaling the start of a match. He would then declare himself the undisputed champion by raising his outstretched arms in the air, leaving the crowd in stitches.
Gor Chairman Ambrose Rachier led the club’s fans in mourning a man who left an indelible mark in the club’s cheering squad.
“The family has my deepest sympathy and unwavering support. I wish it peace, comfort and courage during this difficult time,’’ said Rachier.
He added: “Ayieko was a source of entertainment to our fans before the beginning of matches and to say that we shall miss him would be an understatement,”
Rachier said the club’s management would pool resources to help the family in the dark period.
Gor Chief Executive Officer Lordvick Aduda also took the opportunity to condole with the family of the deceased.
“On behalf of Gor, please accept my deepest sympathies. I want to let you know that my thoughts are with you and your family. “I’m wishing you and your family courage and peace during this time of mourning,” said Aduda.
Another popular Gor fan Jaro Soja said he had learned of Ayieko’s death with profound shock.
“I hold you close in my thoughts at this sad time. I was deeply sorry for the loss and may God rest the soul of the department in eternal peace,” said Soja.
Ayieko’s fanaticism was only comparable to that of AFC Leopards and Harambee Stars fan, the late Issac Juma who was hacked to death early this year in his rural home in Mumias over a land dispute.
However, unlike Juma, Ayieko was an unsung hero in football fanaticism as the former was awarded the KPL Chairman’s lifetime achievement award (KPL FOYA) for his contribution to football two years before his demise.