Obituary by Aasif Yusuf Karim
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 about 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.
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 the Kenya National team.
Marhum Sibtain Akber Kermalli first represented Kenya in 1983 in a Triangular Tournament between Kenya, Zimbabwe and East Africa. His final duty at the 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 the 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-80s.
Known as the “Man of Crisis” in Cricket, especially when the team was in trouble waters, Marhum Sibtain would salvage the situation many times and was great entertainment watching him on the field and inspiring many youngsters.
He also worked at Cricket Kenya in his efforts to develop sports at different levels. Sibtain comes from a sporting family. His late father – Akberali Kassamali was a great bowler, while his elder brother Mulla Mohamed Kassamali was a 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 the sport of cricket.
He will be remembered as one of the great sporting heroes of the community, especially in cricket.
Marhum Sibtain Akber Kassamali was a member of the Africa Federation Sports Council providing a 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.
Sibtain Kassamali was a Kenyan cricketer. He played in one first-class match for the Kenya cricket team in the 1986/87 season. Along with his first-class appearance, against a touring Pakistan side, Kassamali played in two editions of the ICC Trophy. Kassamali also worked as a selector for the Kenyan men’s and women’s national teams and helped set up a cricket academy in the country.
Marhum was a former coach of the national cricket team of Tanzania and was later appointed by the Kenyan cricket board to be the chief selector of the Kenyan teams at all levels (youth and senior teams) for international competitions. Kassamali, who coached Tanzania between the years 1992 and 2001, successfully bringing it to the level of qualifying for the World Cup at the African level, did a lot of cricket work in Mombasa Coast, Kenya, where he was from. Kassamali captained of Kenya with the record of playing the most number of matches and scoring more than 1,000 runs.
May Allah SWT repose the departed soul in the abundance of His mercy and rest her amongst the chosen ones – Ameen. We request our readers to remember marhum and all the Marhumeen with Sura-e-Fateha.