Former Kenya Sevens head coach Benjamin Ayimba is dead.
According to the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU), family spokesman Oscar Osir confirmed Ayimba’s death.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Benjamin on Friday 21 May 2021. Benjamin succumbed to the multiple complications he was being treated for over the past couple of months,” Osir told KRU as seen on their website.
Ayimba (44) had been battling cerebral malaria, which has kept him away from the public eye since the start of 2021.
On May 9, Ayimba’s family gave an update on his health status, urging Kenyans to keep on contributing money to offset the medical bill of the ailing rugby legend.
The Kenya Rugby Union confirmed the news through their Twitter handle, where they paid condolences to the Ayimba family.
A warrior rests…
We join the Ayimba family and the entire rugby and sporting fraternity in mourning legendary backrow and former @KenyaSevens Head Coach @benayimba who passed away on Friday 21 May 2021.#RipBenja pic.twitter.com/YPG8M4yF1Q
— Kenya Rugby (@OfficialKRU) May 22, 2021
Ayimba had previously been admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Private Wing.
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His illustrious career aside, Ayimba will be remembered as the man who brought the trophy home, after Kenya thrashed Fiji 30-7 in the 2016 Singapore Sevens final.
Ayimba completed his studies at Maseno School in 1994 and joined Impala Saracens the year after. He captained Impala to two championships, the Kenya Cup in 2000 and the Enterprise Cup in 2001.
He also steered Impala to three National Sevens Circuit titles in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Ayimba also played for Nondescripts in 2002 before moving to and Cornish Pirates in England between 2003 and 2005.
He was part of the Kenya Sevens squad that featured in the 2001 and 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournaments in Argentina and Hong Kong respectively.
He also played for Kenya at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games.
After leaving his brief role as Kenya 15’s coach, Ayimba coached the Sevens team between 2006 and 2011, where they secured their first-ever World Series final in 2009 in Adelaide, Australia. In the same year, he led Shujaa to its maiden Rugby World Cup Sevens semi-final in Dubai.
His second stint as Kenya Sevens head coach was between 2015-16, where he coached the team to its first-ever appearance at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 2016, Ayimba and the team made history when they won the World Series title after Kenya beat Fiji 30-7 in the 2016 Singapore Sevens final.
Locally, he had coaching stints at Kenya Harlequins (Assistant coach), Mean Machine and Homeboyz.