52-year-old Kheri of Mbale Heroes dies

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By Kamyuka Keneth

Mbale Heroes coach Hussein Kheri who also coached SC Villa, KCCA FC and Kenya’s Harambee Stars has died today (Wednesday) morning, the club has announced.

Kheri has been in hospital for the last seven days or so and missed the club’s final game for the FUFA Big League after he was admitted to intensive care.

Mbale under first-team manager Badru Din who took over on an interim basis, went on to draw the game against rivals Kataka FC which also meant that they were relegated to the third division.

“With deep sorrow, we announce the shocking and untimely news of the death of our head coach Hussein Kheri,” the club said in a statement.

“Kheri has been sick and admitted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital where he passed away last night. We shall miss you, coach Kheri,” the statement continued.

While the cause of death has not been revealed, reports indicate that Kheri has been suffering from a long history of high blood pressure and heart problems, which escalated days before his death.

After an insignificant playing career as an attacking midfielder, he began his coaching career in neighbouring Kenya with Mazziwa FC and Bandadir Kisumu All-Stars.

He went on to coach at Utari College, Kenya Breweries, Alkhatabari Oman, AFC Leopards, before ascending to lead Kenya’s Harambee Stars.

Born in Tororo district in the Eastern part of Uganda, but growing up in Kenya, Kheri attained a Diploma in football coaching from Real Madrid in Spain and also attained a FIFA High-Level coaching certificate.

In Uganda, he held jobs at Jinja Arsenal, Jinja Municipal, Victoria University, KCCA FC, SC Villa, VCC Football Club in Masindi, BUL Bidco FC and Paidha Black Angels.

Kheri was in April appointed as head coach of Mbale Heroes replacing Bobic Odowa, a position he has held until his final moment.A poll run by The Observer’s John Vianney Nsimbe in 2011 ranked Kheri among the top 10 foreign coaches to ever take charge of a club in the Uganda Premier League. A list that included names like Dragan Popadic, Milutin Micho Sredojevic and Jan Fray.

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