Kenya Rugby great Benjamin Ayimba has passed away aged 44.
Born on 27 August 1976,Ayimba enjoyed a stellar playing career in the backrow at Impala RFC, the club that he joined in 1995 after completion of his studies at Maseno School between 1991 and 1994.
He eventually captained Impala to two Kenya Cup league and Enterprise Cup doubles in 2000 and 2001. He also led the side to three National Sevens Circuit titles in 1999,2000 and 2001.
Ayimba would have stints at record Kenyan champions Nondescripts in 2002 and English side Cornish Priates between 2003 and 2005.
Capped for Kenya in the sevens and fifteens versions of the game between 1997 and 2006, Ayimba featured for Kenya Sevens at the 1998,2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games as well as the 2001 and 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournaments in Argentina and Hong Kong respectively.
After briefly coaching the Kenya Fifteens, he would then take up the Kenya Sevens coaching job between 2006 and 2011. He steered the side to a first ever World Series final in 2009 in Adelaide,before creating more history by steering Shujaa to a first ever Rugby World Cup Sevens semifinal in 2009 in Dubai.
Returning for a second tour of duty as Head Coach in 2015, Ayimba led the team to a maiden appearance at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil as well as a first ever World Series title when his side beat Fiji 30-7 in the 2016 Singapore Sevens final.
Away from Kenya Sevens, Ayimba had coaching stints at Homeboyz,Mean Machine and Kenya Harlequin where he served as Assistant Coach until his passing.
Family spokesman Oscar Osir confirmed Ayimba’s death, telling the Kenya Rugby Union, “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.
The family and close friends would like to extend their deepest gratitude for the prayers and the overwhelming moral and financial support that you all have offered during Benjamin’s last days.
May the Almighty God rest Benjamin’s soul in peace.”