Friday, 29 June 2007

All Africa Games 2007: Updates

We all like it when there's something positive happening to our sportspeople. I find it interesting when major corporates fall over each trying to fight to sponsor this or that. At the end of the day though our sportsmen and women have to be paid their worth for bringing repute to this nation.
Three companies have already committed in cash or kind to help the All-African Games team to Algiers later next month. They include Sameer Africa which has donated balls worth KShs.30000 to the basketball team (& added KShs.1.5 million for Yana Women's Basketball team, KenChic which has contributed its products to help feed the team as they prepare and also Farmer's Choice which has ensured the sportsmen/women have their meaty breakfast (with sausages,bacon and other such products).
Word of caution though ! Well it maybe good contributing to the team while they prepare, let's ensure that we have annual and regular camps for our sports personalities where they can train as a team,meet and exchange ideas while they also work out modalities of rewarding accomplishments and ensuring future good performances.
Much appreciation though to all those supporting the team !

FIFA does have heart

I had reported sometime back about the proposed ban on FIFA sanctioned games at high altitude in parts of South America. This had caused even Heads of States of Bolivia,Colombia,Venezuela among others to come out opposing it.
FIFA Pres. Sepp Blatter acknowledged their pleas and is due to re-consider this. He hopes to raise the controversial altitude limit from 2500m to 3000m.
Interestingly one of its most vocal opposers Pres.Evo Morales convinced FIFA to allow games to be played at La Paz which is Bolivia's capital city 3600 metres a.s.l-(above sea level). He even had to visit FIFA offices in Zurich this week to be able to get audience with FIFA top officials.
I admire this guy's drive to rally opposition against this. As I said before let the game be played whether on the moon or underwater. Those restrictions will only interfere with what is the people's no.1 game choice.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Polo in Kenya : 100 years

One of the sports that enjoys a distinguished class and is played by an exclusive class marks its 100th year in Kenya. This is a game that is played on ponys and you and I know that these don't come by on a shilling or two. This is the game of POLO.
Polo is a team sport consisting of 4 players riding on a horse or pony or mount if you like.The 4 players have different objectives with the 1st player being more like a striker, with 2nd one being an offensive player too though he/she can break the opposing team's plays and the 3rd player is the pivot player hitting long balls and is the playmaker. The 4th player is the defensive shield and more like the goal tender.
The main objective is usually to score against the opposing team. The score is done by driving a white plastic ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet.
Goals are only valid if the scoring rider is mounted. Play is divided into seven-minute periods, called chukkers, with the game lasting 4-6 chukkers.
The game has its origins in parts of Asia near China and is currently spread and widley played in Asia,Arab world, South and Central America. The spread acroos Europe was enhanced by the wars and the ruling class of Kings, Sultans,Caliphs of Persia and parts of the Middle East played this alongside great warriors and riders.Countries such as Argentina, Mexico,Kuwait,Saudi Arabia have a host of clubs and tournaments attracting sizeable crowds.Africa also has its share with at least 43 clubs from the continent.

The game was introduced by the British in the early 1900s at Makuyu, near Thika,and is still popular in Nairobi with the elite of Nairobi and the surrounding environs, though a number of players own ranches in the Rift Valley and parts of the Central Province. The Nairobi Polo Club is located off Ngong Road, and has regular matches, often hosting international competitions with a number coming from Britain, Europe,India and parts of South America.The Club was opened in 1907 with its base being at the car park of the present day Grand Regency Hotel.
The Nairobi Polo Club has organised a tournament to mark its centenary in June . The tournament, expected to bring together teams from all polo clubs in the country, started last weekend, with the main highlight set for this weekend from today Thursday to Sunday at the Nairobi Polo Club. Most of you may have heard or seen a son of the former head of State in Kenya (who is also a sitting Member of Parliament).
East Africa Breweries (EABL) which has never disappointed in sports sponsorship over the years will be using this to target and reward its client base in a market which they largely enjoy a monopoly. White Cap, one of EABL’s oldest beer brands, has been the flagship sponsor of polo to the tune of Sh5 million over the past three years and they look forward to having the relationship in the future.
This will surely be a highlight for White Cap takers having to be associated with the " Sport of Kings ".Well for those who love horses and would hope to mingle with some of the creme de la creme of Kenyan high society pay a visit to Jamhuri Park today onto Sunday (though the weather may not be very kind given that the Sun is gone North!)
Points to Note:
- The game has players being rated in handicaps ranging between -2 to 10. This is based on the net worth of the team with such factors as the team play,horsemanship,hitting skills,anticipation and overall understanding of the game and its rules.
- Fans are usually notified that play of the game may extend beyond the field of play more often than not. Hence one should be alert to avoid being spunked with the polo ball or colliding with the ponies.
- Popular plays include; Near Backside shot,Near Side Backswing,Offside Forward Swing,The Throw In.

For more details read the Daily Nation 28th June or log on to (sports news) OR check for more on Polo.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Wimbledon starts

One of the Grand Slam events in tennis is underway in the All England Club at Wimbledon.(Other Grand Slams are prestigious US Open, French Open and Australian Open. Coming from Paris, in the men's events the challenge will be to beat either Rafael Nadal-the clay court specialist or Roger Federer -grass court great and current no.1 in rankings. I maybe a bit sceptic but I don't see a repeat of the Final that was in the Roland Garros-Paris. One of the two top seeds will be upset at the quarters or semis.
As for the ladies, Amelie Mauresmo the reigning champ, Maria Sharapova- a former champ , Jelena Jankovic the 3rd seed and rank outsider Serena Williams will make it interesting in the ladies' court.
As usual there will be the over-hyped Britons and disappointment when they fail to perform, strange happenings at the courts- like the nude guys who keep running onto Centre court on a dare, but hope not the scary threats of a deranged fan trying to snatch a racket or something from the players.
Yes, there will be the ooohs and aaahs from the crowds as the players wow them with the back-hand, slices and powerful serves some reaching at least 200mph. There is also the royalty who come to mingle with the 'commoners'-ouch ! Loads of strawberries and juice to be taken for the fans.
More interesting facts:
Attendance figures two years ago totaled 467,191, including a whopping 42,228 on Thursday of the second week. In 2001, a record 490,081 people attended Wimbledon. Last year, 447,126 people entered the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon.
Total prize money was increased by 8.7%, with both the men and women receiving the same amounts.
Roger Federer moved up in class last year, as he became just the seventh player in history to win the coveted Wimbledon championship four straight years. After winning the first two sets, 6-0, 7-6, against second-seeded Rafael Nadal, Federer lost the third set in a tiebreak, but rebounded to win in four, outlasting the Spaniard 6-3 in the final set. (Source: The Sports Network)

Check out the top 10 rankings & money leaders as they go into the Wimbledon Open;
1 Federer,Roger/SUI 7290
2 Nadal,Rafael/ESP 5225
3 Roddick,Andy/USA 3055
4 Davydenko,Nikolay/RUS 3040
5 Djokovic,Novak/SRB 3010
6 Gonzalez,Fernando/CHI 2780
7 Robredo,Tommy/ESP 2200
8 Murray,Andy/GBR 2085
9 Blake,James/USA 2075
10 Haas,Tommy/GER 1960

1. Nadal, Rafael $3,328,082
2. Federer, Roger 2,644,270
3. Djokovic, Novak 1,544,680
4. Gonzalez, Fernando 906,019
5. Davydenko, Nikolay 863,526
6. Ljubicic, Ivan 709,720
7. Roddick, Andy 708,986
8. Youzhny, Mikhail 682,119
9. Canas, Guillermo 652,590
10. Haas, Tommy 595,155
For more updates check out

Kenya's team to All-Africa Games gets revving

With the 9th All-Africa Games scheduled to start in Algiers, Algeria in the next one month, the preparations are well underway to ensure that the team gets all the support it needs.
It's been interesting to visit a couple of teams and see the preparations and I can say there is a departure from the past where the respective disciplines would have their camps late into the programme and have lack of quorum for the same. Back then, there would be bickering and disgruntled sportsmen and women lamenting about non-payment of this or that allowance.
This year, most disciplines have had ample time to prepare and the coaches have been committed to the cause and offered technical advice. The Government has also ensured that most of the teams in residential camps have most of what they need to train and prepare for the Games.
In this respect, I have witnessed a few of the camps such as baskeball(women),handball, rowing ( did you know we had that in Kenya ?) and athletics. If the athletes gave their all and stuck to a common goal, I believe we can improve on the medal haul from the last Games.
Yesterday the Ministry of Gender Services & Sports led by the Minister himself, stated that this time there is a reward system in place for medallists from the Games. Gold medallist will get KShs.300000 (approx US$4400),silver KShs.(US$2900)and bronze KShs.100000(US$1470). This is commendable since in the past the Government has only committed fund to such initiatives after the Games are over. In addition to this, commendation will be given to athletes who are outstanding in their performance. This may include the Head's of State Commendation(HSC), recognition at the local levels of the respective athletes' places of origin.
The Government has also funded the team with KShs.130 million (US$1.9 million) towards preparations for the Games. This is in addition to support from various private companies such as Farmers' Choice which has supplied the teams with sausages and meat products, Dasani(Coca-Cola Kenya) which has supplied mineral and drinking water among others. This is surely positive and a trend that ought to be maintained.
Along with preparations, the team will undergo drug tests to avoid embarrassing moments like the debacle at the Athens Olympic Games when one of Kenya's boxer's had to be sent home for failing a drug test. The team will also have a nutritionist to advice on the best diet to have before and during the Games.
I would say it is a step in the right direction but that should not mean it's enough. More corporate organisations need support individual disciplines during the preparations and also offer incentives for good performers. There should also be systems in place to ensure that athletes have a strict training and feeding regime making it possible to take fit athletes to the Games.
Training camps for the various disciplines should also be more professionally run and maintained annually to churn out sports men and women. Academies and clubs are mre like it here.
The performance of the team in the All-Africa Games should set the pace for what to expect in next year's Beijing Olympic Games. As such all the attention to detail and winning should be put and emphasised if Kenya is to remain a powerhouse in sports now and in the coming future.

Monday, 25 June 2007

So long, fare thee well....Henri !

Thierry Henri comes of age at Arsenal
For the football fanatics especially English Premier League, well the weekend was a depressing one with the news of one of the most iconic players to grace the League in recent times.
He who was the highest scorer with 226 goals for the club that plays with flair and floss,he who was the club's talisman and inspiration in times of trouble, he who led the team to its first UEFA Champions League Final and even managed to lead his country to a second World Cup Final in less than 10 years.
Yes as I type this allow me to introduce Thierry Henri-latest addition to Barcelona from Arsenal for a fee of 16.1 million British Pounds.
Well some of you might say that you never saw this coming but I could smell this right from last year after the Final of the Champions League where Arsenal lost to none other than Barca-the team which he now joins.
After the Final, he was signed a 4-year deal with Arsenal and asked why, he replied to the something of the effect that he had considered the move but given the resolve and the commitment that the team showed during the campaign and the Final itself. What balderdash ! But if you looked carefully just before the Cup presentation, there was a snap of Henri and Wenger and that image spoke volumes.
After a disappointing summer, Henri looked forward to challenging for the Premiership as well as Champions League having been close enough in the previous campaign. But the slow start and loss of points in the first few matches cost the team the title. Even with decisive wins over Man U and draws with Chelsea, it was not enough to see Arsenal to the top position. The European campaign was even worse with the team being dumped in the knock-out round by PSV Eindhoven. Henri played his last game of the campaign in the 1-0 loss to PSV. This was to be the last game he ever played for Arsenal.Though it may sound defeatist, it was time that Thierry left the team.
Throughout the season, he looked out of focus and was even losing balls that he didn't do in earlier times. He would walk the field like he's above reproach and even wore the captain's arm-band which I think Gilberto Silva rightly deserves.
OK, away from Henri, looking at Arsenal, the team seemed to perform better with Henri not starting. But at other times they just couldn't raise the game to the level that they play at. The passing game yes! Nifty touches, no doubt ! But goals , nada !

This in the end hurt the team badly. The strike force of Adebayor, Baptista,Walcott,Van Persie(got injured mid-way into the season) and Aliadere just couldn't find the net. To make matters worse, the midfield marshals of Rosicky, Fabregas and Silva also seemed to be on a goal drought for the second half of the Premier season.
The drama worsened with the close of the season. David Dein, the influential Vice-chairman quit abruptly after disagreeing with the board about the intended take-over by US billionaire Stan Kroenke.

Gotta go !It was nice playing here.Funny enough Henri stated one of the reasons of him quitting the Gunners was because of the departure of the vice-chair. Now that's something, brother.
So what portends for Arsenal's future;
1. The departure of Thierry Henri has left the strike force blossoming and it can only get better. With the return of Van Persie and the liberation of Adebayor, as well as maturing of Walcott,the goals should start coming.
2.The midfield supremo, Francesco Fabregas will hold the key to Arsenal's success. This kid played his heart out in the last campaign and if he doesn't get distracted he will be the best mid-fielder for Arsenal since Vieira.
3. With more money at the purse, Arsene Wenger may need to consider beefing up the mid-field and also adding one more striker with a wealth of experience. Rumour has it, Anelka or Eto'o.
4.With Henri gone, Gilberto Silva should cement his place as captain of the team. I would propose Fabregas as 2nd option, with Toure and Gallas being 3rd options.
5.Knowing Arsene Wenger,I don't think he would have let go of such an important player, there will be a surprise or two signing for the team. I can't speculate but keep it here for developments.And for all you soothsayers, Wenger is NOT leaving Arsenal this season.
6.The team is young and talented and showed much promise last season, it's time the team made the promise real and take the English League and even the Champions League title which has eluded them for so long.
7. If and when the Board agrees to meet Stan Kroenke,they will have to concede to a return of David Dein maybe in a more influential and powerful role. That way, they might secure more funds and resources, secure a fan base and income source in the US of A, and who knows Arsene Wenger's long-term commitment and signature
The time is now !

Henri acknowledges cheers from 30000-odd fans of Barcelona.Well as for Thierry Henri, thank you for the moments and memories while they lasted. Let's hope to see more in the Spanish League but know that Arsenal will always be your first home.
Au revoir !

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Launch of New SatellitePay TV in Kenya-GTV

Image courtesy of GTV
GTV, a British-based company, yesterday announced its launch of new Pay TV channel in Kenya on June 29th. It joins South Africa rival, Multi Choice, in providing digital satellite television with the focus first on Sub-Saharan Africa-Kenya Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Congo among others.
The station will hope to use next season’s English Barlay's Premier League as its point of entry into the Kenyan market. It will offer competitive pricing and product packages to rival the lone ranger MultiChoice which has gradually sought to retain its market by lowering its pay TV charges and giving various packages to help reach a wider market.
This is a positive move given that the market for pay TV in Kenya and the region is still huge since only around 1% of the population is served by this. This is also made possible by the growth of these fledging economies after a lull of sorts in the 1990s and early 2000s.
GTV president Julian Mcintyre, the man behind GTV, said the arrival of his company in the local market will increase the household access to live sports entertainment.GTV will premier its services in 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and will have their office base in Nairobi.GTV will launch on June 29 in time for the Premier League season, which will be broadcast on G-Sport channel among the 16 channels on offer that will have locally produced commentary and broad channel bouquet of other entertainment. To get connected, one will initially need a GTV decoder and satellite dish at a price of Sh16,000 (Sh15,000 introductory). A monthly subscription will be Sh1,750 for G-base with viewers getting G-Prime, BBC World, Sky News, Al-Jazeera, MTV base, Kiss, Nickelodeon, E Entertainment, God Channel, and two additional channels to be added soon. G-prime will offer a full bouquet at Sh2,700 that will include all the above together with G-sports 1, G-sports 2 and Fox Sports Africa.
For more info, log on to (sports news)Or their website

Lewa Marathon

Image courtesy of Lewa Conservancy's website

This weekend sees the return of the Lewa Marathon at the Lewa Conservancy, about 250-300kms from Nairobi in Northern Kenya. The date for the event is the 23rd of June with events ranging from Marathon and Half-Marathon (both men and women), Corporate Team's Race, Community Team Race (usually for Members of Parliament and local officials willing to commit funds to a worthy cause in their communities) and the Kids' Race. It has a scenic environment against a back-drop of the Savannah and wild animals at the conservancy.
This event has truly come of age since its inception in 2000. Attracting athletes from across the globe, it is ranked as one of the toughest marathons run at over 5500 feet above sea level. The main sponsors Safaricom continue their support as they have for the last 7 years. The Lewa Conservancy has raised over Kshs.70000000 (approx US$ 1 million) towards conservation and community projects around Isiolo, Laikipia ,Samburu and Meru.
Well for the City dwellers, put on your running shoes, hitch a ride on your 4x4s and let's run wild at the Lewa !

Some hope for the wretched Kenyan football....

At times I fail to wonder what it takes for some people to wake up and finally get things done the way they ought to be. Why are our Kenyan football officials not waking up or is it sitting down and listening to one another ?
Two major corporate organisations in Kenya have announced their involvement in Kenyan football albeit at the Secondary Schools level. These include Barclays and Coca-Cola.
Barclays Bank unveiled a Sh30 million (approx.US$450000) sponsorship package for the Kenya Secondary Schools soccer championships for the next 5 years while Coca-Cola-Kenya announced a Sh10 million(approx.US$150000) sponsorship for a schools tournament across the country -Copa Coca-Cola. The former will involve over 60000 students countrywide.
In both cases, the top management wondered why the Kenyan Football Federation has used such tournaments to harness talent to be churned out for the Kenyan clubs and national teams. This is a most important place to search for future stars(quite literally Stars-Harambee !)
I am grateful that major corporate organisations in Kenya have realised this and are willing to commit funds to development of youth in the country. What would be needed now is to identify viable projects to work with especially those with a sports background. It would also be important to have management courses lined up for those willing to take the challenge of overseeing the talent developed and honed towards positive development.
As I remember a chat with a top manager in one of the sporting firms in Kenya, 5 years from now, those not making a commitment to sports in the form of public relations (advertising or endorsements) or community social responsibility, they will be committing suicide !
KFF..... you still around ?

No Loot from the Gravy Train ?

As the European Leagues came to a close with the end of the season games at the Spanish League, most football players are now engaged in various assignments either for their national teams, transfers, or charity while the 'lucky ones' enjoy thier summer holiday (need I add honeymoons too....Gary Neville,John Terry & Steven Gerrard can attest to that).
Well let's stick with matters charity. I noticed a few weeks ago the Chelsea team manager and a few players visited Ghana to inspect projects run by the charity Right To Play. Michal Essien is one of the organisation's ambassadors.They conducted clinics in Tamale and Accra-Ghana. This was part of a 6-year deal signed between the organisation,Right to Play and Chelsea.

Vieira visiting a training centre in Senegal

Patrick Vieira also visited Diambars football academy set up in his place of birth, Senegal. The academy houses 90 Senegalese youngsters from the ages of 13 to 18 years where they are given a chance to develop their skills with the hope of playing in top leagues in Europe.
Closer home, Rio Ferdinand recently visited Uganda for 3 days on invitation from Pro-Line Academy which seeks to raise funds to build a permanent academy for youthful and aspiring football players in Uganda. They will also establish a link with West Ham United(which Ferdinand played for before joining Leeds United and now in Man United). The club has also donated equipment and kits worth 30000 British pounds (around Kshs.3.8 million)as well as a 5-year deal with Nike for supply of Nike products.
Which makes me wonder....are we still alive in football matters in Africa ? Me thinks not ! It couldn't get worse, we were recently bundled out by a relatively new team for the Africa Cup of Nations. Thus the only consolation maybe the non-spectacular CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup. Well, let me first take a bow to Musa Otieno for trying to make a glimmer of light at some seriously dark Kenyan football tunnels.
Where is KFF in all this ? No loot here !

Monday, 18 June 2007

Weekend Wrap

Yeah, yeah, yeah ! It's back to another drugde of a day...Monday ! For most of us this is the worst day of the week and also the longest. Well, for those who were winning over the weekend, the dream is over.Wake up !

Real's Reyes,Guti and Carlos celebrate their equalizer against Mallorca
In the last major European League matches,Real Madrid won the Spanish League by beating Real Mallorca 3-1 in the last games of the 2006-7 season. Barcelona had seemed to wrap the title with a 5-1 drubbing of Gymanstic. This saw David Beckham depart the team with his first and only League title with the team.
In African Cup of Nations qualifiers, Angola qualified for the 2008 Cup to be held in Ghana by beating Swaziland 3-0, while Cameroon held to beat Rwanda 2-1. Sudan also overcame their 32-year wait by beating Seychelles 2-0.
Angel Cabrera (Argentina)beat Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods to win the US Open by a single shot. Prior to this,Cabrera had claimed six top-10 finishes in majors but none above the 4th position. Now the European Tour member is only the second Argentine to win one of golf's big prizes, emulating Roberto de Vicenzo's 1967 Open triumph at Hoylake.
In the local Kenyan scene, Co-operative Bank of Kenya beat Kenyatta University Pirates 69-62. This maintained the team's unbeaten run within the season. Other games saw Mennonites 99- Crusaders 36,Nairobi Pentecostal Church 67 -African Nazarene University 63, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology 85 Blazers 58.

Hamilton pops the champagne for his own in US GP.Lewis Hamilton proved that latest week's victory in Canada was not a fluke by claiming his second 1st place. He beat his team-mate Felipe Messa to claim this victory for the US Grand Prix. The young lad is proving that he will be the person to beat for the overall title for the Grand Prix.
Other news:
The English Premier League fixtures for the 2007-8 season are out. Check out (Barclays Premier League fixtures 2007-8).

Friday, 15 June 2007

Spurs too spiky for the Cavaliers

First-timers vs veterans...yes ! Prentenders vs frequent owners...yes ! Mismatch...most probably !
That's the painful but true reflection of how the NBA Play-off Finals were. In one of the lop-sided Finals in recent history, San Antonio Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 with the fourth game played in Ohio, Cleveland last night.

Tony Parker turned on his spark and poured 24 points for the Spurs to pick the Most Valuable Player-Playoffs for year 2006-7.

Manu Ginobili came alive too as he topped Spurs scoring board with 27 points. The remaining Twin Tower, Tim Duncan(the other was David Robinson) had a 12 point and 15 rebounds game.
The so-called "King" has to wait a little longer for him to wear the crown after being held to 24 points, though he can take consolation for the birth of his second son the night before.
25-year old Parker picked his first MVP award snatching a quick one from Tim Duncan. He was seen celebrating with his more famous fiancee, Eva Longoria.

Interesting Facts:
A few of the Spurs - Brent Barry ,Jacque Vaughn and Michael Finley- won their first.
Robert Horry got another one,his 7th , the most by a non-Boston Celtics player.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Lead by Example

Last month FIFA decided to prohibit international tournaments and World Cup qualifying matches anywhere above 2,500m (8,200ft). This has a huge effect on the South Americans moreso, Bolivia, Peru,Venezuela and others that have the Andes mountains and high altitudes where they play the game.
The Bolivian president, Juan Evo Morales has taken to the field to try and prove FIFA wrong and state his claim that the game ought not to be banned from the zones mentioned. He has taken to playing exhibition matches and also given his support for the ban to be lifted.
I am impressed by what the charismatic leader has taken to. Though it might not get the decision lifted soon, the display and support rendered to the campaign gives the players and regional federation hope and galvanises their resolve to play the world's most popular game. Sepp B might have to look up into this decision and maybe re-consider the ban.
It is said that playing at high altitudes makes players not adapted to those areas tire very quickly as the air turns out to be thin, and low oxygen levels. I would be willing to support such claims but then everyone will start coming up with excuses such as the region is too wet. The others will claim that it's too hot and others still too cold.
Well let the game be played as it was and has been !
In the meantime enjoy these Evo snaps playing at high mountains.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The Weekend that was

With the weather being unpredictable as usual,there has been some surprises over the weekend. But I can say for some, it has been a long time coming and yes, they finally came to happen.
Local scene had Harambee Stars tackle Rwanda in a friendly and won 2-0. This is a good omen for the team which jets out today for the African Cup of Nations qualifier tie with Eritrea on June 16th.
On the international scene, the Spanish League had the race for the title go down to the wire with both top teams tied for points , though Real Madrid leads Barcelona with more home wins. In an interesting play of the weekend, Lionel Messi scored his 'hand of god' goal helping Barca to a 2-2 draw against Espanyol. Sevilla also had a 0-0 draw to almost surely blow their chances away too.
This kid is becoming too addicted to his idol's antics that he's trying to replicate each and every move that this guy had. Remember the 1986 World Cup goal a month ago ? But will they win the title ? Better still will he remain inspirational enough to lead his country to a World Cup victory? Only time can tell....

Tusker Safari Sevens -touted as Kenya's premiere sporting event did excite crowds at the RFUEA grounds on the outskirts of Nairobi. Last year's winners Emerging Springboks won the Main Trophy after beating Zimbabwe 27-19 in a repeat of last year's Final. Kenya were beaten in the semi-finals by Zimbabwe 12-5 in a low score game. This showed that Kenya still has some way to go to be able to secure a permanent place in the top IRB Sevens series teams.

But I would also like to think that the intended strike by the players before the tournament on Friday may have contributed to some extent, with players playing a demoralised game. I found it hard to believe that they were not paid bonuses entitled to them way back from 2005. For that I throw a barb onto the KRFU officials. What happens every time a sport starts to grow and there is some money trickling in here in Kenya ? Do we just hate our sportspeople that much to exploit them and not appreciate them ?
It is also on the same breadth that I would like to add that even with the Safari Sevens growing in terms of participants and crowds, the organisational and media development has not been correspondent. This has led to serious questions being raised on the side of the organisers. Some positive news though is that the tourney has been included in an elite three-leg sevens continental series with Tangiers Sevens of Morocco and Castle Sevens of Zambia. This was announced by Confederation of Africa Rugby president, Abdelaziz Bougja.

Rafael Nadal continued his clay court dominance with a 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over world number 1, Roger Federer. This ended the latter's hope of winning all the four Grand Slam titles ( US, Wimbledon, Australia and French Opens.
. Photo courtesy of BBC.
Nadal though became the first man since Bjorn Borg-Sweden to win the French Open three times in a row. This continues the rivalry between the two players who have dominated the game in the last three years with each winning on his speciality grounds ( Nadal with the clay and Federer with the grass. The next major is the US Open coming up in July.

In the NBA Play-offs, San Antonio Spurs won Game 2 of the best of seven series with a 103-92 victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
courtesy of NBA
For the second time in the series, Lebron James was locked out of the game and made to play more carefully after running into foul trouble in the first quarter. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 30 points, Ginobili 25 with Tim Duncan contributing 23. The three showed the Play-offs prowess to hold off the Cavs as they head for Game 3 today at Cleveland. This ought to be decisive if Cavaliers are to avoid a sweep in what some might consider a mismatch.

courtesy of BBC
After having to wait for six races of the Grand Prix series, Lewis Hamilton finally wore the winner's crown for the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday beating Nick Heidfeld & Alexander Wurz to second and third positions. Team-mate Fernando Alonso could only afford a dismal 7th position while Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella were disqualified for leaving their pit-stops while the lights were red. The race was also interrupted 4 times by the safety vehicle. This extends his lead at the top by 8 points and increases his chances of becoming the first F1 driver to win the overall crown only in his first season. I told you guys ! Better watch this kid, he's full of fire and desire ! Keep waiting and you may never know what hit ya !

Friday, 8 June 2007

NBA Play-offs Finals

Do it do it it ! One of the more consistent teams in the play-offs and one that is getting to the Finals for the first time in its 37 years franchise history. Yes San Antonio Spurs vs Cleveland Cavaliers !
Finals Match-up :
Cleveland Cavaliers:

As indicated this is their first Final in their 37 years as part of the NBA. They have exceeded expectations especially beating regular play-off finalists Detroit Pistons ( yes OK Mr.Macaca you won the bet....!).But this is not surprising especially since they signed Lebron James in the 2003 season. He was picked as the 1st pick , first round draft and heralded as good enough to become an NBA great. He has shown this consistency and if he wins his first NBA Championship ring, it will be a landmark for the franchise.Incedentally he wears #23 (need I say who else wore this number...?) hence his being referred to as 'heir apparent' !
Last year they blew a 3-2 lead to lose to Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference. Well they had their revenge and as underdogs have performed exceptionally well. Other inspirations include rookie Drew Gooden ,Lithuanian Zydrunas Ilgauskas. They also have Larry Brown, one of the best NBA coaches known to turn non-championship teams into winning outfits. He also assisted Greg Popovich in the 1990s.
San Antonio Spurs:

This is labelled as one of the more boring sides of the NBA for their non-flashy players. But that's just it, they dominate and win. They are aiming for their 4th championship ring since 1999. Without a doubt, they have the pedigree;
Tony Parker- Frenchman said to be one of the fastest guards on the ball in the NBA. He has led the team in scoring and easing off the burden the big men which Spurs were used to relying on.
Tim Duncan - best exemplifies the team's attitude. He'll make a big move in the paint, dunk and go back to the D without as much as a smile or roar. He's dominant in the paint and is nicknamed 'The Big Fundamental'. He'll be looking for his 4th championship ring and also 3rd NBA Play-off MVP.
Manu Ginobili-one of the best shooting guards in the League and also good on the transition. He has his guard up too defensively and has become a valuable player for the team off the bench.
Robert Horry-if there are veterans in the Game it's Horry. He will be looking for his 7th championship ring having won his first 2 with Houston Rockets (1994,1995),3 with L.A Lakers during their '3-peat'(2000,2001,2002) and San Antonio Spurs(2005).
Others include Fabricio Oberto, Bruce Bowen who will be involved in more than one way in the realisation of Spurs success.

Interesting Facts:
1. NBA's total attendance for the 2006-7 season both regular and play-off season has hit 23,362,721 with an average of 20,016 fans per game for the post-season attendance.
2.There are 128 TV broadcasters with increased international interest. The Play-offs will be shown in over 205 countries and territories and done in 46 languages.
3.The NBA Play-off Finals proper will have 8 foreign players;
(for San Antonio)
- Tony Parker (France)
- Manu Ginobili ( Argentina)
- Fabricio Oberto (Argentina)
- Francisco Elson (Netherlands)
(for Cleveland)
- Beno Udrih (Slovenia)
- Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Lithuania)
- Anderson Varejao (Brazil)
- Sasha Pavlovic (Montenegro)
4. For only the second time of the NBA history, 3-D imaging will be used to try and get as much interaction with game as possible for the fans. It was first used during the NBA All-Star game in February 2007.

Game 1:
San Antonio Spurs(SAS) 85- Cleveland Cavaliers(CC) 76
(For SAS)
Tony Parker 27 points, 7 assists,
Tim Duncan 24 points, 13 rebounds & 5 blocks
Manu Ginobili 16 points (3 3-point shots)
(For CC)
Lebron James 14 points

Thursday, 7 June 2007

New Pay TV Channel, now what have we got here ?

After enjoying a largely monopolistic market in Africa, MultiChoice's DSTv- which includes among others SuperSport finally have some competition that they ought to start thinking about. Let’s just it’s been a smooth number of years ( it’s that short, seems like we’ve had satellite TV for the longest time ever!)
GTV – a company developed and supported by Gateway Broadcast Services has secured a 3-year deal to broadcast the UK Barclays Premier League and Italian Serie A. This will be carried on its sports channel 'G Sports' (...seems they be pun intending already!)This was after the company did a survey on the preferences of potential consumers, and found these to be the appealing and sought after.
It will hope to launch in June 30th 2007 in Kenya.
The station will offer 16-channel service including;
- dedicated football channel showing 8 UK premiership games per week,
- 6 Italian Serie A games every weekend,
-Top games influencing the top of the table, relegation and European competitions qualification.
- African soccer both localised and international
There will also be locally produced commentary and broad channel bouquet as part of the offering.The targeted group is people with incomes in the KShs.65000 (p.m.) and the package will cost around KShs.1400($20) entry price. The company will initially based in East Africa before expanding to the rest of Sub-Saharan countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.It will in future hope to appeal to the French and Portuguese speaking countries.
GTV in addition will have another channel 'G Prime' for entertainment and movies. According to Mr. Julian McIntyre-the founder and president,
the African market has been artificially constrained by monopoly pricing and non-relevant content.
Last year the company issued high-yielding bonds worth $100 million to refinance debt and raise funds for expansion. It also hopes to offer pay TV on cell phones hopefully within the next 5 years.
This will be in a market that is forecasted to be worth $3 billion by 2015 with the basic TV market growing at 10% per annum. In Africa where we have the least Pay TV penetration rate at less than 1 % , Kenya has around 23000 households out of an estimated population of 2.2 million households.

Logo courtesy of
Multichoice which is owned by Naspers has some food for thought over the June-August break to think of a more competitive package to be able to counter the company that is GTV. Already a family package offering 25 channels at a monthly price of KShs. 1350 (US$ 19).It also has around 1.34 million subscribers in 50 countries hence it's already leading the market.
It will be interesting to see what offering the 2 companies will engage in for the coming months. There will be price reductions and offers running left, right and centre as they seek to outdo each other. This will eventually (I hope) mean more affordable Pay TV with relevant content. Can’t wait for the 2007-2008 English Premier League season !
Credits to; (article by Carole Kimutai of SOKONI),,and

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Tusker Safari Sevens 2007

First quick note, the tournament which starts on Friday, has been hit by the withdrawal of the high profile Fijian Nationals Sevens team.The Fijian Rugby Union informed Kenya Rugby Football Union on Saturday on its decision to withdraw from the Tusker-sponsored tournament.The Fijian Union said their withdrawal was due to injuries and fatigue sustained over the IRB tournaments in London and Edinburgh.

Other participants though who have confirmed include, Tunisia and Morocco who both have extensive IRB Series experience and Tunisia reached the Plate final in George. There is also Zimbabwe who played in Dubai and George, as well as Shujaa in Tangiers. Others are Mpumalanga Puma who have been Sevens champions in South Africa and the English cousins Bristol and London Irish who have an array of talent.
The tournament kicks off on Friday with the schools and ladies tournament at RFUEA while the veterans' tournament is scheduled to take place at Jamhuri Park under the stewardship of Nondies Rugby. The international tournament starts on Saturday morning at 10.30am with the finale expected on Sunday which draws the largest crowds.
Link to more details:

Monday, 4 June 2007

Tusker Sports-Way to Go EABL !

Tusker Sports – championing the transformation of sports in Kenya.

This is a big one but not suprising. For awhile now, I have been watching various companies as they address the shareholders and citizens alike and give their announcements and good performance. EABL has never disappointed and for that a big heee-hooo and a clap !
We've all seen their promotions and adverts and some are truly unforgettable. But for me and the sporting fraternity, their best news ever was the 2006 announcement of the launch of Tusker Sports.
Tusker Sports
This was launched on 14th November 2006 with a flagship brand Tusker Lager, designed to champion professionalism in the management of sports.
Tusker Sports will in the long run seek to nurture and grow sporting talent from the bottom up. Starting from the Ksh. 330 million 3-year sponsorship agenda announced by Tusker Lager in 2004, Tusker Sports is the umbrella banner under which all Tusker Sponsorships will run. These are: The Tusker Kenya Open, The Tusker Race Day, The Tusker Safari Sevens, The Elgon Cup, The Tusker Cross Country Circuit, Tusker Football Club Ltd. It will include the underlying mini sponsorships within the bigger picture.

EABL Marketing Director Patricia Ithau was quoted saying that Tusker will seek to consolidate all its sports sponsorships and ensuring in order to ensure consistency and continuity in all their sponsored events.
It is in this regard that Tusker Lager has developed eligibility criteria for those wishing to be recipients of Tusker Sports sponsorships that is pegged on professionalism, internal cohesion and accountability by the respective federations. Through this eligibility criteria, the Tusker Sports initiative has recorded a trickle down effect to the grass roots. We are glad that in all our sponsorship agenda’s, our monies have registered a 100 percent reach to the intended people with impressive results and positive vibe generating from it
added Patricia.

For Tusker Lager, this trickle down effect forms a core part of EABL’s Corporate Social Responsibility agenda. Ken Kariuki, Director Corporate Affairs says that through Tusker Sports,
we are indeed glad give back to the community in various ways; not only are we nurturing talent, but we are also building capacity for our event managers, sustaining an industry and making use of our various sporting facilities. Tusker Sports sponsored events are also a great social outing, a place to rekindle friendships, celebrate Kenyan patriotism and experience truly world class events

Tusker Sports, has eyes on the prize, and hopes that as a brand they will be able to bring bigger and better events to Kenya, showcase the very best of Kenyan sportsmen to the Kenyan public and most importantly ensure that sports no longer remains as a past time but indeed grows to realize the full potential of this very promising industry.
check out (brands/sponsorship)

Enough said !

Kenya's Greatest Sports Teams of our times !

I'm looking out to keep this positive vibe going. As I had gone down sometime back,noting that we have neglected and relegated our athletes to the doldrums, I came across an interesting spot that highlights some of Kenya's greatest sport teams of our times.
I know some of these might not ring a bell especially to those who are not sporty buffs. But am sure you'll identify one or two of those on the list;
a)1972:- 4x400m men's relay team (won gold medal in the final 4x400m race).
b)1987/88:-Kenya boxing team "Hit Squad"(won overall team title All-Africa Games & a couple of gold at then-prestigious King's Cup Thailand.
c)Mid-80s:-Kenya hockey team (won All-Africa Games gold and represented Africa in Olympic Games in 1988.)
d)1987:-Kenya's football team 'Harambee Stars' ( won silver medal All-Africa Games and qualified for Africa Cup of Nations in 1988& 1992.)
e)Early 1980s:-Kenya's football club AFC Leopards dominated the regional tourneys and won the club championship at least 4 times.
f)1987-89:- Another football club, Gor Mahia won the Africa Cup Winners'Cup(renamed Mandela Cup) in 87 -first Eastern African club to do so.
g)1990s-2000s:-Kenya's volleyball women's team (has won the African title more than 3 times and represented Africa at the last 2 Olympic Games)
h)1990s-2000s:-Kenya's cricket team-one of the best non-Test playing teams and a regular at the Cricket World Cup, has caused upsets in the tourney becoming one of the teams to watch.
i)Mean Machine:- Kenya's rugby 15-aside team mainly composed of University of Nairobi students,one of the best squads assembled in the late 80s and early 90s.

I have also added a few of my own......(see whether we can have some more for the list)

j)1995: Kenya Breweries-finalist in the Mandela Cup -lost to DC Motema Pembe in the final.
k)Athletics: World Cross-Country team(s)
l)2000s: Rugby Sevens team
m)2000s: Kenya Pipeline women's volleyball team.

On a positive note, I have been notified that Henry Rono has been appointed as part of the coaching management for a top athletics team of some university in the USA. I am also made to understand that he is preparing for some seniors Mile race and hoping to break the record. This will be confirmed though.

What a Weekend !

Well well well ! If your weekend was like mine, I guess then you'll have not recovered from the schedule that was. The intensity in the weekend action in almost all the activities that were. And there was suprises and upsets galore, take a shot here.....
There were Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers where Kenya was among the teams playing. A draw against Swaziland gives Kenya a slim chance of qualifying as one of the 3 best losers (second-placed teams) in the groups. The next game features Eritrea with the last game having Kenya against Angola, who lead the group with 10 points. In an upset of sorts, Nigeria were pipped 1-2 by Uganda but still lead their group with 2 games in hand.
In international friendlies, England held Brazil to a 1-1 draw at the first international game held at Wembley stadium.
Image courtesy of IRB Sevens website
Kenya caused excitement at the IRB Sevens ,Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens,when they upset Australia 17-10 and later beat Portugal 22-7 in the third match of the series. However they were bundled out of the Main Cup by losing by a try to Samoa 14-12. They then lost 31-7 to Fiji in the Plate Final. Thus Kenya got 4 points to increase their tally to 22 points & finish just outside the top-10 bracket.
This will give the Kenyan team the much-needed impetus to play their hearts out in the upcoming Safari Sevens tourney in Kenya on June 8-10.
Image courtesy of Getty Images

Against all form books (well even my own expectations !) Cleveland Cavaliers recovered from a 2-0 deficit to take the Eastern Conference title against Detroit Pistons (Game 6 : 98-82). The heir apparent, Lebron James made a sweetsong for Cleveland who the last time they came closest was in 1992 when they lost to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. He led the team in rebounds and assists but got much help from rookie Daniel Gibson who has been pivotal in their attack of the championship. They are only the third team in NBA history to come from a 0-2 deficit to win the play-offs finals ( othes being 1971 Baltimore Bullets and 1993 Chicago Bulls).
They play San Antonio Spurs in game 1 on Thursday.
In the test of the 4x4 machines on Kenyan real rugged terrain in the Rhino Charge held at Baringo on June 2nd, Ian Duncan emerged the winner.Mahesh Bahtti, the 2007 Rob’s Magic Quattro Charge winner took second overall,1999 winner Alan McKittrick in a Land Cruiser was third. The winner is usually the team that covers the least ground to reach all the checkpoints.
Photo courtesy of EA Standard
Ian Duncan driving his Toyota KTM Cruiser,visited all the 13 checkpoints in the shortest distance of 58.167km within the cut off time of 10 hoursThere are several prizes up for grabs for the winners. But more important than winning is the taking part in the event and helping raise funds for the Rhino Ark foundation that is building an electric fence around the Aberdare Conservancy.A total of 68 chargers participated in this year’s event that raised Sh68 million.
WRC Acropolis Rally-Greece
Image courtesy of BBC

In the Greek Acropolis Rally, Marcus Gronholm held on to the lead to beat Sebastien Loeb and win the Rally. He now leads the championship standings by 9 points as they head to the Rally of Finland which Gronholm has won consistently over recent years. Here's how they finished on Sunday;
1.Marcus Gronholm (Fin) Ford 3hr 49min 22.6sec
2.Sebastien Loeb (Fra) Citroen at 38.6sec
3.Petter Solberg (Nor) Subaru at 1min 34.1sec
4.Mikko Hirvonen (Fin) Ford at 2:41.3
5.Henning Solberg (Nor) Ford at 4:52.7
6.Chris Atkinson (Aus) Subaru at 6:31.7
7.Jan Kopecky (Cze) Skoda at 8:15.8
8.Manfred Stohl (Aut) Citroen at 8:56.2
9.Guy Wilks (GB) Ford at 9:53.2
10.Matthew Wilson (GB) Ford at 10:39.6

Athletics action had the Prisons Provincial Games held at Nairobi where top athletes representing the Prisons department were having their day at Nyayo National Stadium. Catherine Ndereba,Edith Masai are but a few of the athletes involved in the meet.
In the French Open, Serena Williams kept the US hopes alive by beating D.Safina and set up a meet with Justine Henin-Hardenne. Maria Sharapova saved two match points before beating Patty Schnyder a quarter-final game yesterday.
In the men's court, Roger Federer made history again by equalling John McEnroe's record streak of 11 consecutive straight-sets win in Grand Slams. Though not at his utmost best, it was enough to beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the French Open fourth round. In what might be a main match today Rafael Nadal faces Lleyton Hewitt in round 4 of the Open.
Image courtesy of BBC

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