Top Kenyan Footballers Who Are Serving Long Prison Sentences

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Footballers Shem Nyaberi and Tedium Rodgers PHOTO/Courtesy

Football is an admirable sport and just like other countries, in Kenya, the game draws a lot of enthusiasm from both players and fans.

While footballers such as Victor Wanyama and Michael Olunga are making millions from the sport, others are serving time in prison or, at some point, were involved in crime.

WoK looks at Kenyan footballers who have been involved in criminal activities or wrongfully implicated in crime.

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Some of these players have maintained their innocence.  

Tedium Rodgers

Tedium Rodgers, also known as Teddy was serving his sentence at the Kamiti Maximum Prison.

The 47-year-old was playing as a midfielder for Mathare United Football Club by the time he was arrested, although he didn’t get a chance to appear for the side in the Kenyan Premier League.

He has played alongside heavyweights such as Wanyama who was his teammate while at JMJ Academy before the former moved to Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA).

Teddy and his two accomplices were arrested while fleeing with stolen goods in an attempted robbery along Thika Road in 2001.

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“I had an injury at that time, so I wasn’t playing football. But with a new wife and a young child, life was tough. My mother also depended on me so as I was recovering from the knee injury, I started getting involved with some of my friends, who were thieves

“We successfully accomplished three missions, but on the fourth attempt we were arrested, charged with robbery with violence and condemned,” he told Daily Nation.

He was released in 2019.

Byron Robert Otieno

The former Kariobangi Sharks striker is serving his sentence at the Kamiti Maximum Prison.

Byron Robert Otieno was sent to jail after being found guilty of robbery with violence back in 2015.

Nicodemus Arudhi

Also known as Daniel Odhiambo, Nicodemus Arudhi played for Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars for over 10 years.

The footballer had been jailed several times and was once charged with murder, and had many run-ins with the law, but many of them were unrecorded.

His life was cut short in June 1981 after he offered to show police officers where he hid his guns, but decided to escape prompting the police to gun him down.

The government, however, paid Ksh 250,000 to Arudhi’s family as compensation.

Eric Salim

Eric Salim, alias Spring was arrested and convicted while still a minor.

He was a promising player thanks to his time at Ofafa Jericho Secondary School which saw him scoop awards in the national secondary school games.

Speaking to Nation, Spring said he was convicted after being identified as part of robbers who had robbed a home in Syokimau.

“I was meant to travel to Norway with our school team for an invitational tournament that year but I couldn’t make it because I was constantly sneaking out of school to join my friends in crime or doing drugs

“Then, one day we were all arrested somewhere around Wilson Airport after robbing a family at their home in Syokimau and since I was captured  by  the CCTV cameras, I was eventually condemned to death,” he said.

Anwar Yogan Mwok

Anwar Mwok who played for Mathare United was among Al-Shabaab fighters killed in battle with Kenyan troops in Somalia in 2017.

He was killed while riding an explosive-filled truck at the Kulbiyow Kenya Defence Forces camp on January 27.

Mwok who was born and raised in Siaya lived in Umoja Estate with his family until 2013, when he left for Somalia to join Al-Shabaab.

Moses Opula

52-year old Moses Opula too is serving time at the Kamiti Maximum Prison having being arrested in 2007.

By the time he was arrested, Opula was goalkeeping trainer at AFC Leopards and an assistant coach to tactician, Mickey Weche.

He was arrested, although his accomplices were released, and condemned to death after a long trial.

“I was walking with a group of bad friends and was arrested together with them. Surprisingly, all of them, who were the real culprits, were released at different stages during the trial, but I was tried and condemned to death,” Opula said.

Eric Otieno

The former Ulinzi Stars player was arrested and charged with being in possession of a pistol in circumstances which indicated that they intended to commit a felony.

Otieno was arraigned alongside his teammates Tom Ogweno and Elvis Ayany teammates in January 2011.

They were all sacked by Ulinzi following the incident.

Shem Nyaberi

Shem Nyaberi was arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport  (JKIA) in 2005 while flying out to Seychelles where he was based as a footballer.

The footballer was arrested in possession of 300 grams of heroin.

Nyaberi was found guilty of drug trafficking and was jailed for 10 years but served only 6 years and 4 months upon remission of his term.

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