MARHUM SIBTAIN AKBER KASSAMALI
Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’un – We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.
Marhum Sibtain Akber Kassamali was born in Tanga, Tanzania on 24th March 1963. His parents and family moved to Mombasa in 1971.
Marhum Sibtain was passionate for all sports but his love was for cricket.
He studied at Alibhai Panju Primary School and then did his secondary education at Burhani High School in Mombasa, Kenya.
He represented at the school level with distinction and there was clear evidence of a quality cricketer in the making.
He scored his first century at senior level in 1980 at the age of 17 against Sikh Union (now Simba Union Club) when representing Jaffery Sports Club of Mombasa.
Sibtain bhai then moved to Nairobi and was a stronghold for Swamibapa, a leading cricket club in Nairobi that produced several players who went on to represent Kenya National team.
Marhum Sibtain first represented Kenya in 1983 on a Triangular Tournament between Kenya, Zimbabwe and East Africa. His final duty at Kenya National level was in 1994 when the ICC Associate Trophy was held in Kenya. Kenya reached the finals losing to UAE in the finals. Kenya however qualified for the 1996 cricket World Cup.
Marhum in the mid-nineties migrated to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania playing local cricket and assisting in developing and promoting cricket among the youngsters in Tanzania.
At community level, he played for Nairobi Jaffery when the club played in Division 1 in 1986 where all the community players got together to make a formidable team in the country under the leadership and Chairman of the club – Br. Ashakhussein Rashid.
He is fondly remembered for several of his innings and grace scoring runs with ease, but the one thing that stands out was his single handed victory against Mombasa Jaffery in the 1985 AFED Sports Festival in Mombasa.
He also had an opportunity to play professional cricket in Scotland in the Mid 80’s.
Known as “Man of Crisis” in Cricket, especially when the team was in the trouble waters, Marhum Sibtain would salvage the situation many a times and was a great entertainment watching him on the field and inspiring many youngsters.
He also worked at Cricket Kenya in his efforts to develop the sports at different levels. He comes from a sporting family. His Marhum father – Akberali Kassamali was a great bowler, his elder brother Mulla Mohamed Kassamali was cricket coach at the primary school, played and Captain Jaffery Sports Club Mombasa.
Marhum passed on 27th October 2018 in Mombasa after a short illness at the age of 55, he leaves behind a family and children including several cricket fans who admired his love and passion for sports of cricket.
He will be remembered as one of the great sporting heroes of the community, especially in cricket.
Marhum Sibtain bhai was a member of the Africa Federation Sports Council providing pivotal role in promoting sports and was a good advisor to the Council, we shall miss his guidance, inspiration and the charisma he demonstrated on and off the field.
As we commemorate Marhum’s 40th this weekend of 8th December 2018, we send our heartfelt condolence to his family and friends.
Let us pray for his maghferat and remember him with a Sura-e Fatiha. May Allah (SWT) grant him heavenly abode and place his soul amongst His chosen ones – Ameen.
Article contributed by: Alhaj Aasif Karim of Nairobi, Kenya – A Cricket legend and a close friend of Marhum Sibtain Akber Kassamali.