It’s been exactly one year since Aberdeen Shikhoyi left us. The memories are unambiguous within us. Her impact and contribution on women’s rugby in Kenya cannot be put in plain words.
This tribute is dedicated to the 27 year old captain, Aberdeen Shikhoyi, who succumbed to a spinal injury sustained during the first leg of the Elgon Cup in Kampala.
The former Mwamba Invaders captain passed away on April 28 2012 after a week at The Nairobi Hospital.She was buried in her family home in Kasavai village, Ikolomani Constituency kakamega District on May 12, 2012.
Moving to the Capital after completing her secondary school studies, Aberdeen started off at the Jericho based soccer team Makolanders. After several years at the team she was introduced to the sport of rugby by a friend. Eventually joining Mwamba in about 2007 after being attracted by the medals won by her friend. A natural sports woman, it took Aberdeen a short time to get noticed by the coaching staff.
Rugby grew into her passion and a part time juggling between it and teaching at the Friends Church Primary School, Eastleigh.
A year later she was one of the ladies shortlisted for national selection and had already been integrated into a training role for the new ladies back at her club.
Aberdeen came into the national spotlight in 2010, after she was chosen as the 15s and the 7s vice captain. She played a leading role in the team that won the Elgon Cup in 2010 and 2011. She also was the stand out performer in the 7’s side that reached the final round of the world cup qualifiers in Botswana where they narrowly lost to South Africa 7-5. She captained the team to three editions of the Dubai sevens.
In the return match here in Nairobi the team was inspired by their captain to win the match 15-3 taking the aggregate to 21-18 in favor of the Kenya Lionesses. The win and the retaining of the title were dedicated to the quick recovery of Aberdeen.
Unfortunately few hours later, her family, team mates and the rugby fraternity was met with the sad news of her demise.
During her stay in hospital she was positive about a triumphant return to the pitch and joked about some unfinished business.
The four-foot-eight-inch player was responsible for the steady development and rise of women’s‘ rugby in the country. She was dedicated to the growth of the game.
In recognition of her contribution, messages of condolences streamed in from all over from the world from the IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasett and SARU Chief Officer Jurie Roux among other prominent figures in the rugby world and beyond.
In Her Honour
The Kenya and Ugandan Rugby Unions have plans underway to rename the ladies Elgon Cup to ‘Aberdeen Shikhoyi Memorial Cup’ in honour of the fallen Kenya Women’s captain.
Abedeen’s family also set out plans to set up the Aberdeen Shikhoyi Memorial Foundation that would focus on charity and also help to raise funds for women injured in the cause of sport.
Since here demise her team mates have upheld her memory in the best possible way, by putting great performances on the pitch. Most recently finishing fourth in the African Sevens Cup, the team is now under new management that has put in place structures to main stream the women’s game. She surely is smiling down at the progress.
Aberdeen Shikhoyi (1985 – 28 April 2012 – “WE SHALL NEVER FORGET!!!“
(By Harry Bor, Editing by Poghie)
What do you think?