FIFA has just announced that Reinhard Fabisch, a former Dortmund soccer player but known mostly to Kenyans as national coach for Harambee Stars in 1987, 1997 and 2001-02, is dead at 57 of an undisclosed illness. His last assignment was as coach of the Benin national soccer team.
Fabisch was perhaps one of the best known foreign coaches in Africa. His passion for the life and the sport could hardly be discounted. Those who knew him say he was as mild mannered off the soccer pitch, as he was aggressive during a game – pacing from end to end and constantly barking instructions at the players.
Under his watch, Kenyan soccer reached its highest peak. He lead the Kenyan National team, the Harambee Stars through many battles that seemed unfairly matched – In 1987 the Kenyans defeated a much favored Malawian team before battling it out with the Pharoah’s in the 4th All Africa Games at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. Although they won the game – the Stars lost the Final. Fabisch resurfaced in 1996, to draw against the Super Eagles; and again in 2002 to lead the Stars against Tanzania for a 5-1 victory.
May the man who gave life to Kenyan soccer, rest in peace.