The death of former journalist and columnist Tony Ngare is not only untimely, but also heartbreaking.
The ever-smiling football die-hard was among 159 people aboard the ill-fated Ethiopia Airlines aeroplane which crashed in Bishoftu near Addis Ababa on March 10 while enroute to Nairobi. Nobody survived.
Another football mind in the frame of Football Kenya Federation Lower Eastern Branch chairman Hussein Swaleh also perished in the accident. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.
Ngare will be missed by the thousands of football fans who religiously waited for his entertaining football articles on European football every Friday.
He has written about football since 2007, and so addicted was he to writing about football that he possibly never thought of putting down the pen despite recently taking up the role of Deputy Director of Communication and Information Programme at the Kenya National Commission to Unesco.
Known to many simply as ‘Banter', Ngare’s death has shaken many who would be looking forward to reading his articles every Friday.
"I don't know life without you. I was born to be your little sister. You protected and loved me all these years. What does tomorrow look like without you," Ngare's sister Nyambura wrote on social media.
“Rest well namesake. Friday Banter won't be the same again!" his close friend Tony Munge wrote.
I knew Ngare as a fellow member of a WhatsApp football fanatics group known as 'Mafans' where we religiously supported local and foreign teams in various competitions.
At times, members met to socialise and play football matches, and Ngare would always hand himself the role of a referee.
A die-hard fan of English Premier League team Arsenal, Ngare always seemed to be fair in his role up until one moment he apparently brandished a red card to a Manchester United supporter for foul play.
Taking his banter to the WhatsApp group, Ngare's last message on the platform was, as we had expected, a soft banter with Manchester United fans, claiming the Video Assistant Referee had played a significant role in the team's victory over Paris Saint-Germain in Uefa Champions League last 16 match.
He provoked reaction from those with divergent opinion, and the banter would continue.
We have lost a good friend in the ever smiling father of two. The sports fraternity has also lost a good journalist. The father of two will greatly be missed.
The writer is a sports producer at NMG.