Kenyan football mourns ‘Odu Cobra’ killed in DusitD2 terror attack

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16

Until the afternoon of January 15, 2019, James Oduor, known by most of his close friends as ‘Odu Cobra’ was a healthy, banter-loving, football enthusiast working with South Korean Electronics company LG in Nairobi.

But, Cobra hissed his last in the late hours of the day, on the eve of his birthday, as his young life was taken away by a terrorist’s bullet when a reported group raided the DusitD2 hotel, where the company’s offices are located.

“There has been a head count at LG offices and unfortunately, Odu has been confirmed dead. His family has already been informed,” said Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) vice chairman James Magayi.

Oduor was among the LG officials who held a meeting with SJAK on Tuesday morning, working on preparations to launch an improved partnership between the two on the Kenyan Premier League player of the Month Awards.

Unfortunately, that would be the last time Oduor would be seen alive as hours later, he was dead.

He sent out a series of tweets saying that their offices were under siege from unknown gunmen, but at around 4pm when he sent out his last, nothing was heard of him, with his phone going off.

Friends and family frantically made efforts to reach him, all unsuccessful until Wednesday morning when it was confirmed he was among the people killed by the terrorists.

Not only was Oduor key in the SJAK/LG partnership, but was also a huge football enthusiast and a freelance journalist with his own channel, Wadau TV.

“Congratulations on being shortlisted. Mine did not make it but I am happy that we have at least four Kenyans. I must try again next time,” Oduor told Capital FM Sports writer Timothy Olobulu when they last met at the SJAK end-year party last month, in reference to his shortlist on the AIPS Media Awards where he had also submitted his work from Wadau TV.

Kenyan football fans poured into social media to pay their respects to Oduor whose jovial and friendly nature had cut across.

“No one ever defended me the way you did @Oducobra, even when I was clearly on the wrong. Rest easy me bredda, that birthday playlist you were preparing yesterday before the attack, me ago buss it loud. You are my friend for life,” one of his very close friends, journalist Jeff Kinyanjui tweeted.

 Late on Wednesday afternoon, LG confirmed the demise of Oduor.

“Following the tragic attack at the 14 Riverside office park, it is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of James Radido – lovingly known as Odu Cobra amongst his family, friends and colleagues at LG.  On behalf of the LG family, we extend our deepest condolences to his loved ones and all who knew him.

“Over the last four years, James has had valuable impact among his colleagues at LG. Outside work, his great passion for Kenyan football saw him start the “Wadau TV”- an online show for football fans.

“During this difficult time, we extend all our support to his family as we mourn the loss of not just an incredible employee, but a truly inspiring and genuine human being. LG is in contact with his immediate family and we will offer our support during this difficult time,” LG Electronics East Africa Managing Director, said.

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