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Veteran coach Tom Olaba seeks help after spine surgery went wrong

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 02:45 | By
Legendary Harambee Stars striker turned coach Tom Olaba at his home in Ngoroi, Kajiado where he is recuperating.
Legendary Harambee Stars striker turned coach Tom Olaba at his home in Ngoroi, Kajiado where he is recuperating. PHOTO/SportPicha

Former Harambee Stars head coach Tom Olaba has pleaded with Kenyans to come to his aid and help him regain his walking abilities after he underwent a spinal cord surgery that has since left him paralysed.

In a moving interview, Olaba, who served as Harambee Stars coach in 2006 for one year before former Tusker coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee took over, admitted to facing financial constraints to honour physiotherapy lessons as recommended by his doctors.

“I can’t do anything, I cannot move, my body is intact, my legs and hands are intact, I can’t do anything anymore, but the only thing I have is the feeling for the body, according to what my doctors told me, my spinal cord cracked, so they had to put a cage, to help support it,” the former U17 coach told People Sports.

“I think I got the problem through football, even when I told my doctors it was because of football I injured my spine, they could not agree, but to me, I think it is because of football, I loved football very much, I played football from a very tender age, and I got injured then, but those days, I could not feel the pain because I was still a young boy.”

The experienced tactician, who also served as an assistant coach for Harambee Stars under the late Reinhard Fabisch in 1997, is currently confined to using a wheelchair at his Nairobi home and confirmed a session for physiotherapy goes for Sh3,000 and he needs the session daily.

“For now, doctors come to attend to me in the house once a week, for physiotherapy (but the one per day visit is not enough), because it was recommended though, I do it three times a week, it is the best way to treat spine injury, if I can get further help, I will go back and see the doctor, who did the surgery and get to know what he can do more to help me get back to my fit,” explained Olaba.

Olaba, whose last stint in Tanzania was when he led Ruvu Shootings Stars to be promoted to the Premier League, coached FKF Premier League side AFC Leopards twice.

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