Legendary women coach Olumbo dies

By francis marangu
Feb 03, 2014
  • The late Thomas Smatts Olumbo.

The Kenyan basketball fraternity is in mourning following the death of Eagle Wings head coach Thomas “smatts” Olumbo on Sunday.

The experienced coach lost the fight for his life at the Mbagathi District Hospital where he had been admitted. Olumbo has been ailing for a long period and even missed most of his club’s league matches last season when they failed to defend their title.

The 53 year old, however, managed to lead the side to the Zone V Club Championships in Burundi last August where they successfully defended the title.

In November, Olumbo also accompanied Eagle Wings to Morocco for the Champions Cup for Women winning bronze for the first time by a Kenyan club.

His career of over 20 years has seen him handle the national ladies team on many occasions including leading the side to the Zone V All Africa Games qualifiers in Rwanda in 2007.

His latest international assignment was the 2011 East and Central Africa Inter Cities Championships where he led the Nairobi team to victory.

Olumbo won three league titles with Eagle Wings in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and two Zone V titles in 2012 and 2013. Until his death, Olumbo was the Kenya Basketball Coaches Association, KBCA, chairman.

“It is indeed a very sad moment for the Coaching/Basketball fraternity to lose one of its greatest minds. Coach Smatts has done a lot for basketball and we should celebrate his life,” said Co-op Bank coach Carey Odhiambo who is a member of KBCA.

KBCA was set to hold its first coaches forum for this year on February 8 at the Railways Club under Olumbo’s chairmanship. Olumbo was synonymous for his preferred pose at the entrance of Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium everytime he came to watch league matches.