A sombre mood engulfed Bar Awendo Village in Ukwala, Siaya County as the body of James Oduor Radido, popularly known as Odu Cobra, was on Saturday laid to rest in their family home.
Speakers at the burial paid glowing tribute to the local football fan and journalist, who was among the victims of the DusitD2 terror attack on 14 Riverside Drive in Nairobi, last month.
His widow, Diana Rose Otieno, and two kids (Janell Akinyi and Giovani Ochieng) were joined by thousands of mourners, who turned up to bid farewell to the journalist, who won the hearts of many with his charisma and selflessness.
“I cannot find correct words to explain to our two little children the reason for your absence,” Diana said amid tears.
The late Odu Cobra will be remembered for his passion for football and journalism where he started Wadau TV – an online show that focused on local football.
He was also a coach at Kibera Black Angels Sports Academy where he helped mentor kids every Saturday.
Raymond Odhiambo, Hippos FC team manager, one of the clubs Odu Cobra featured for until his demise, told Nation Sport he had lost a “brother” who was with very close to him.
Religious, political and administrative leaders preached for peaceful coexistence among Kenyans, while asking for vigilance from everyone during this period.
Siaya Senator James Orengo said: “The government should provide a lasting solution to the killings that are happening in the country.”
Rarieda MP, Otiende Amollo, who plays for amateur football side Railways Wanderers, took his time to mourn Cobra.
“He was a magnificent midfielder who played with us at Railway Wanderers. Cobra was everything to us, and that’s why we are here today,” said Amollo, as he introduced some of the club’s players to the congregation.
“The true hero of Dusit attack is Cobra, if he didn’t die most of those lives could not have been saved,” he added.
“Sports is not just a pass time activity. There’s great potential in the sports industry as Cobra has shown us. More youth should embrace sports,” Orange Democratic Party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna told the mourners.
Earlier on before the funeral service, Kariokor’s Flat Tornadoes and a select village XI, teams that Odu Cobra played for in his formative years, played a testimonial match where the hosts won 2-0.
Chants of “Odu Cobra, Hatufurahii” rang the air for large spells during the match.