Friday, 30 November 2007

120 Million Pounds for London City

Thanks to the power of sports marketing London made a handsome amount from hosting the start of the Tour de France last year. This is from a report carried by the Newslines by It continues below.
An estimated one million people turned out to watch the start of the Tour de France in London this year and London's economy benefited by more than £120 million.Spectators, teams and race organisers spent an estimated £88 million while media coverage generated a further £35 million, Transport for London (TfL) confirmed as fans flocked to watch the opening ceremony, time trial and stage one on the weekend of 6, 7 and 8 July. Organisers were paid £1.5 million to hold the start in London. Talks have begun to see it return before the 2012 Olympics.
Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "The Tour has generated well over £100 million in spending and publicity, which will in turn attract more visitors and encourage the organisers of future sporting events to choose London."
It makes you see what a small sacrifice from a City can do to help launch it into money-making business. Please City of Nairobi fathers can you visit such guys and see what you can do to raise your revenue sources ? I'll offer free advice to you Mr. Town Clerk.

7s Circuit starts in Dubai

The Rugby season starts it’s 2007-8 season with the rugby 7s circuit up at Dubai, the Dubai Sevens. Coming soon after the new sponsorship by Virgin Air for the Kenyan team, this will be a good place to see what shape this form of game takes in Kenya.
Having started in the early 1990s, this has proved to be quite attractive and enjoyable to most fans which has seen it grow in leaps and bounds to have its own circuit.
Our Kenyan team has also been improving albeit slowly over the years. This year given the wealth of experience and the financial motivation ,the boys ought to bring some trophy home. Even if it’s not with this tourney, I bet it’s not far off.
For those who can catch the Dubai 7s starting this Friday onto Sunday.

Kenyan Basketball Play-offs

For what has been a really fast year for me, I got surprised the other day when I showed up to the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium for the weekend games only to find the first leg of play off semi-finals.
Yes the KBF Play-offs. Being a small league with roughly 8-12 teams in the both the men’s and women’s leagues, this is usually the climax of the season.
The top 4 teams at the end of the regular season in the basketball leagues- Premier, Nairobi Basketball Association, Division One and the Women’s league battle it out for the best post-season team.
They play the semi-finals with the 1st taking on the 4th team and the 2nd taking on the 3rd team. Ours is a best of 3 series played one game per Saturday (of course if it goes to Game 3 it’s played on the Sunday following the 2nd Sat.)
The Final is also a best-of-3 having changed from a best-of -5 sampled in the 1990s. This year has seen the pretenders to the crown, Co-operative Bank pushed all the way by University of Nairobi-Terrorists to Game 3 but emerging winners in that last game. In the other semi-final Kenya Commercial Bank Lions played United States International University Tigers to a 2-0 win.
The Final proper starts this weekend at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium with the curtain raisers being the Division 1 finals pitting, newly promoted teams, Telkom men and Jomo Kenyatta University of Applied Technology and the women’s game having USIU Flames facing Kenya Ports Authority. Let’s meet there guys for some hoop-shooting, 3-point play and slum-dunking action!

It’s only in Kenya where last years holders both the senior men’s and women teams, Ulinzi and Telkom were disbanded with the start of a new league in 2007. How sad!

Thursday, 29 November 2007

WRC last round- Sensational Finish

As interesting as they come, the World Rallying Championship WRC last round in Wales is bound to be an exciting last round of the 2007 WRC Rallies circuit. Being the 75th year for the sport, it doesn't get any better when 2 of the year's top drivers square it out on the often muddy, wet, foggy and tricky Welsh highlands.

Marcus Gronholm having led for the better part of the standings saw his lead overran by the main threat and last year's overall winner one Sebastien Loeb. The points standings have Loeb with 110 points with Gronholm at 104. This rally has to be won by a clear mark for Gronholm to be able to overlap Loeb on the standings, but from the last rally's experience, anything goes ! Again this rally has been known to claim the top contenders on the 1st or 2nd day because too much pressure maybe building on the driver's mind.
All the same, catch this on your favourite satellite TV as well as the latest on the Classic East African Safari Rally, this weekend !

Kenya Rowing goes Techie

Thanks to some anonymous blogger, am pleased to inform you, Kenya Rowing & Canoeing Association has raised it's oar higher. They have a beautiful website that has some interesting information about rowaing and canoeing not only in Kenya but on the contintent. I'll not say much but check this link out for yourself.

Why can't we have this as a mandatory requirement for all sports associations ? It's serves us well to be able to shine the spotlight on you and wake you up from the slumber and once in awhile blow the whistle on those cookie pinching officials.

Football Farce

Oh how I wish this was the same for Kenyan football .......

While it's been praises, song and dance for the Kenyan football, I am yet to feel any delight for the Kenya Football Federation. Kshs. 360 million is some money to be proud of you say ? But let me ask;
What history does the team have for managing the game professionally ?
What measures do they have in place to see the growth of the sport in the next 2-3 years ? ( Don't give me that technical director b******)
Do they have a competent commercial and finance department to see the allocation of the funds availed and have continuous flow of funds on an annual basis ( it's time we got over the FIFA grants, we need to be weaned off mama's breast-feed)
What measures do the clubs have to match the game locally ( to the standards they had in the 1980s), regionally and even internationally ? I don't recall a local team going beyond the knock-out rounds in the contintental trophies since 1994 when Kenya Breweries were beaten in the Finals of the Africa Cup Winners Cup(Mandela Cup) by DC Motema Pembe -Congo.
Is SuperSports for real when they say they will screen the games on DSTv ?I'll be waiting to sink in my seat when met with the possibilities in any club/pub/spot. If the local stations can't screen a single game what makes it attractive to put our woeful game across the continent ?
Am told the Federation does not have an operating account ? I'm not sure whether the signing parties to the contract are the bona fide officials.
Wow, I'm getting seedy here but man, I can stand by my sentiments !
Now if you thought I was bluffing, check this out,
For the story as reported on Newslines ;
Pan-African pay-broadcaster SuperSport agreed a four-year deal to sponsor the Kenyan Premier League. The deal is reported to be worth $5.5 million. The KPL said most of the money will go directly to the clubs and a distribution agreement will be worked out. The pay-broadcaster will also invest in infrastructure and personnel, will manage a new KPL website and will design a new logo for the KPL.


It's not often that you find yourself part of the blame or the wrong side of the criticism. It's quite humbling though and enlightening to note that you can be questioned and taught to look yourself in the mirror. That's why I love this Age.
OK enough with philosophies, I have never covered some sports disciplines on this blog, my bad ! While I can't lay claim to being an all-encompassing sports blog, at least when and if I do cover some issues on sports in Kenya, they tend to mirror most if not all disciplines. Look at football, volleyball, rugby, swimming, cricket, the stories almost always carry the same note. But time has changed this and even the critique and incisive stories carried out by this and any other media has worked to some extent on the positive.
With your continued participation and more involvement, we look forward to a very successful sports year not just for Kenyan sporting disciplines but for Africa as well. I look to the day that Africa will have it's rightful place in sports. Football has shown this, with Africa being one of the largest beneficiaries from the expansion and commercialisation of the game. I can't even start with athletics. Rugby's another strong contender ( though it's largely one-sided). With this I keep reflecting and hoping for the Africa United Sports programme. Just a thought !

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Virgin Air -Got money in the bag !

After a flurry of firms in the last few months coming forward & throwing in some $$$, Virgin Air did just that for the a cash-starved Kenyan sport scene. Seeing the stakes are getting higher by the day, and hoping to capitalise on the global presence and appeal that the Rugby 7s game is enjoying, Virgin Air announced a KShs. 13.5 million sponsorship to the Kenyan team.
This will take care of the players' allowances and the air tickets. I bet they will even travel Virgin for a majority of the air trips. This is quite the thing I have been trying to rant and rave about ( too bad Kenya Airways has been dilly-dallying with other disciplines -but it's all good since they have made other favourable contributions).
This announcement came as the team prepares for the Dubai 7s scheduled for Nov 30- Dec 2. followed closely by South Africa on Dec 7-8. I'll give a big pat to KRFU Chair Mr Richard Omwela. This is the way to go ! Big hands too to Mr Richard Branson for taking note of our ailing sportsmen. They'll keep it real I know !

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Kenyan Football Scene- Jab or Jive?

After a chaotic season Premier League and equally disorganized end of the League games, the Kenyan football takes a break for a few months. This is despite the fact that most Leagues in other parts of the world are in their 1st halves. To make it more interesting is the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup scheduled for early December in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. This is the ONLY serious tournament Kenya will hope to play until after the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as a national team, having been bundled out of the qualifiers earlier this year.
The item that has seen some positive sentiment on the scene is the recruitment of the Technical Director for KFF- Mr. Patrick Naggi- currently the Tusker Sports CEO and also Kenya Premier League Limited chairman. Having beaten 7 other applicants to the job, he seems destined for what might be things to come for Kenyan football. But is it really?
Thinking critically and in hindsight, let me show my pessimism with the said job;
First, as seen in the Premier League played this season, the Kenya Football Federation officials have been changed more than 3 times this year. The current crop of officials came through some court action and some letter and announcement made through the media. How legit do we think they are?
Secondly looking at the top officials almost all have served the federation before with any sterling performances. 20 years on while the game has grown in leaps and bounds ours has been reduced to a battle between the young men, a pair of shoes and roughshod grass on poorly maintained stadiums (with a few exceptions from those run by the Stadia Management Board). Doesn’t it hurt to see Kenyan stream to the local mabati kiosk with satellite TV to watch a game from overseas and the guys can name the whole squad, reserves and event the 3rd team if need be?
Third, some of these officials as is the norm around here have used their places as platforms for politics. I can’t see why these ones will be any different. I can swear to have seen one of them I the many political rallies that have been going on in these times.
Fourth, what structures are in place from the officials for the Director to take over? My goodness, this is one big task which requires enormous amounts of resources and also time and patience. If history serves me well, my Kenyan brothers will not spare his limb one bit if it doesn’t happen sooner than they expect. Ask any of the national team coaches both current and former.
Lastly and though not intending to belittle his achievements, he may not quite fit the bill for the task. Comparing with the likes of the German tactician who helped mould the Kenyan team of the 1980s & 90s, he can’t hold much ground. Exposure especially international, youth development and also commercializing the sport (which I hope he’s learnt in the 2 firms he’s worked with; Exclamation Marketing and Tusker Sports) might be points to give the sport much impetus needed to restore order and the shine it deserves.
FIFA has announced that they will not offer any more grants to the national team for any preparations or participation in the tournaments as they may come. The said monies will instead be channeled towards development of youth structures and infrastructure for the game in Kenya. Have they been reading my post or something……?
A FIFA development official Mr. Ashford Mamelodi also announced the renovation of one of Nairobi City’s stadium (incidentally called City Stadium-can’t they be more indigenous and innovative?) to the tune of over KShs. 39 million. This will help in laying the first artificial turf on Kenyan football grounds ( sic)....damn it has taken us that long ( and am not sure whether to cheer or cry since it ain’t fixed yet !)

Barry Bonds brawls

In what seems to keep coming back bigger and ugly, one of sports supposedly icons seems to be headed for the bins. After warding off the wolves from the lamb, the journalists and US public seem to be going for the kill on this one.
After managing to keep off the media and fellow sports practitioners from his life, they seem to have found the one knife that might do the most damage. In the last week, the court (finally) seems to have credible evidence proving that Barry Bonds –US baseball player who broke the home runs record of America’s beloved kid one Babe Ruth- may actually have been using performance –enhancing drugs for the last few years. What with the ever increasing weight and outstanding performance, it just can’t be your normal well-rounded player. He must be getting that from some place ……..!
For fear of sounding racist does it have anything to do with the colour of his skin? Anyway coming so soon from the confessions of a star whose smile endeared her to the world and made the US public believe she was innocent only to turn around on this and betray their trust. She could afford some tears claiming forgiveness but you and I know once you take the rope, you can hang yourself or the public domain does what it does best.....
It doesn’t make it better that the game needs one leading light to make an example of what ought to be accorded drug cheats of which there have been a few in this sport but none this big.
I am not advocating for drug cheats here, but why does it take this long for the various sporting bodies to catch the culprits? In any case, they usually have collaborators who live off them and move on to another individual once their moneybag dries up.
Or give it a thought, why not go the wrestling way, legalize and use at your own risk!

Volleyball vestiges

After a woeful performance the Kenyan volleyball ladies come back to a quiet and disappointed reception. This is after winning ONLY 2 sets (even though it was loss in the game against Thailand) against an accumulated 33 sets (that is, 11 consecutive losses). I had said anything short of a miracle is what we were expecting from our ladies.

Some interesting bits for me though were the fact that the one player the officials had initially axed was to emerge the best Kenyan player and even getting the ‘Player of the Match’ award in the game between Kenya & Thailand. She had the best stats as a well-rounded individual.I guess she was trying to prove a point here.
I won’t dwell on what went wrong here but I wish to send barbs on to the Kenya Volleyball Federation officials on this one. They may try to put the blame on poor preparations, lack of resources and all that balderdash they keep using. But then again why are you in office if you can’t take care of some of these things? Kenya being in the World Cup for like the 5th time, surely this ain’t learning experience anymore. Make me shout myself hoarse for once and let me ogle at the ladies as they fly our colours in Japan (or wherever they decide to host future volleyball World Cups).
Are they taking notes? For starters, let me see the ladies in Beijing next year for the Olympics, and yes it’s not an easy trip !

East African Classic Safari Rally

Anytime I read about the Safari Rally, I have this tear hanging out my eye. There are 2 reasons
Reason No. 1:
About 17 years ago, when the Safari Rally was part of the World Rally Champion (WRC) circuit, I remember the cars were to use a route which was like 800m from our humble abode. To make more interesting those machines would fly past a stretch of like 1km at high speeds of +200km/h along this driveway and at night to boot. They were on their final leg as they headed back to KICC for the podium and pop of the champagne. Being a Sunday and the next day being a Monday (funny enough Easter Monday…the rally almost always used to coincide with the Easter weekend, lots of rains and mud, what a joy to watch them splash this around!), I was obliged to wake up at some ungodly hour of 3-4 a.m. to watch these ruts get their thing done on the road. I even set up the alarm in my excitement to shatter my sweet dreams and make them come true, alas! It never happened; I woke up the next day at the hour of 8 only to find the last of the cars had gone by at 6.30a.m. Much to the chagrin of the rally enthusiasts!
What made worse for me, that was the year one of my all-time rally drivers and Safari rally legend last won the rally, none other than the ‘Flying Swede’ Bjorn Waldegaard driving a Toyota Celica GT4 breaking the 2-year reign of the Italian Miki Biasion.
Reason No.2:
5 years ago, a friend of mine who later flew out of the country was around town and I was scrounging in their digs. This was at a time I had lost my job and was busy doing what guys call –“in-between-jobs “. This pal of mine lets call him Nerd also had a friend of his called Josh. They had managed to organize for a trip out of town and this was to be near Naivasha- a town about 50 km from Nairobi in the Rift Valley- where the 2002 Safari Rally was taking place. Right there the route was making the cars go through twice, once during the day & the second just before sunset. What a break it would have been from all the stress of the City. To make it even more interesting my pals had secured 2 rides and my oh my, was I jumping up & down my bed. There was a small rider though: Only “Couples” were being allowed on this trip. Bring along a partner and a small fee for the fuel, drinks and snacks to be taken on the trip. A night was also planned for at the said town.
That just blew my sails off and I had to settle for the unenviable task of house-keeping for the weekend. The only chance I had of watching the rally cars live in action was blown away. That year saw some of the most memorable images being broadcast across the globe but the most painful must have been one of Richard Burns getting stuck a few metres from the final check-point at Suswa and trying in vain (and tears) to get his Subaru Impreza WRC from a dust pan. He was thus time-barred and out of contention a stone's throw away from the final checkpoint for that Leg.
Why do I shed tears you ask?
- the former would have had me watch the cars at the most comfortable of places and in one of the most spectacular of ways,
- the latter was to be the last time that the Safari Rally was to feature as a WRC series rally.

Please don’t get reasons to shed your tears, get your boys (and girls who care) to the hotspots and watch the East African Classic Safari Rally! Catch all the splash and shine, classics and former classy drivers too as they relive the original rally frequently referred to as a test between man and machine!

Interesting Facts:
The Rally was originally set as the East African Coronation Rally in the 3 Eastern Africa countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the II. She’ll be around this part of Africa for the CHOGM-Commonwealth Heads Of Governments Meeting being held in Kampala, Uganda. I’m sure they can spare sometime to watch these oldies as they take a break from the talk-show that is the conference held.

It was renamed EA Safari Rally in 1960 before changing to Safari Rally in 1974 after being reduced to the Kenyan circuit ONLY. Up until 2002 the rally was part of the WRC circuit but is now on the lesser known African Rally (ARC) and this year was part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).
The Classic Rally version started in 2003 as a way of commemorating the original rally and also showcasing the prowess of man and machine under minimal service and power. This is more like the 1950s & 1960s.
For more details check out

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Kenya Rowing scores a major boost for sports in Kenya 2008

Sometime back I was visiting one of the distant places in parts of the Eastern province of Kenya on a training mission when I bumped into some dudes purporting to be training to representing Kenya in the rowing competition for the All-Africa Games ( held in Aug this year in Algiers see……). I let go a hiss thinking that this guy was pulling my leg but I decided to check them out.
This place was Masinga Dam, one of the Seven Fork Dams which forms the country’s largest power generating project started way back in the late 1970s. I walked down to the dam and true to his word , I came across 3 canoes ( or is kayaks ?), I wouldn’t know I ain’t rowing man yet. These guys were going through the motions and throwing their paddles as if they were on some mission to the end of the Seas. I took time to watch them & I had to feel a bit embarrassed for my earlier doubts.
To prove that the Rowing Club is even more serious, they will be hosting the 5th Africa Canoe-Kayak Championships at the same place from 24th-27th January 2008. This event is expected to attract at least 20 countries with the Northern Africa countries leading the charge and South Africa putting forth its paddle.
A major boost has been given by the Tourist Trust Fund (TTF) which is using sports tourism to promote Kenya as a destination of choice, not just for its usual hospitality and game but as a sporting nation both by being a powerhouse in athletics among other sporting disciplines and also as host. KShs. 14.8 million (approx. US $ 225000) has been given to the Kenya Water Sports Trust to develop key water bodies with Masinga being one of the targets. TTF has also approved a grant of KShs. 22 million ( approx.US$330000) to Tana River & Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) to develop a tented camp at the Masinga resort to provide additional high quality accommodation to the tourists. Having been there before they spruced up the place, I would say, it’s one of the under-utilised scenic places in the country. It’s a nice getaway from the city hassles and also one of the larger man-made attractions. It will be a deserving site for the games as intimated. It will also serve the national team well mixing the well-tested nations with their raw talent and hopefully help select the team to represent the country in Beijing later next year in the Olympic Games. Having hosted the Cross-Country championships earlier this year, the country will be in the limelight again next year for the right reasons. As noted by the MD of TTF,
“……the championship will provide a great opportunity to further market Kenya as an ideal destination for international sporting events”.
Surely no laughing matter!
(Acknowledgements: The Daily Nation Mwaniki Wahome’s story appearing on Nov 6th 2007, Kenya Rowing Club’s

GTV does another 1st

Money talks! Well GTV talks these sides of the Sahara! In what seems to be an aggressive drive to take the sports world in East & Central if not the greater Africa, GTV signed what is up to now the biggest sponsorship deal with any sporting body an estimated KShs. 402 million deal with CECAFA-the body that runs football in East & Central Africa. This contract’s details are as follows;
o 4-year deal for the coverage and exclusive rights for the screening of any event organized by CECAFA i.e. both the club championships and national teams challenge cup;
o Travel, accommodation and related costs for the hosts and playing nations (& clubs);
o Prize money at KShs. 2.04million (approx. US$30910) for the winners of the Senior Challenge Cup, 1.02 Million (approx. US$15455) for the runners-up and KShs.510000 for the third-placed team for the same.
This covers a period of 4 years starting this year. I’m sure some sports officials are already salivating with the hungry ones maybe planning an assault on the goodies. But GTV executives have made it very clear; this commitment is to enhance the growth and appreciation of the game in the region after suffering a serious lull in the last few years.
After the Ethiopian millionaire pulled the plug on the sponsorship which he had done for 3 years running and the non-committal nature of the Rwandese president Paul Kagame who had helped mould the championships in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As one Nicholas Musonye, the Secretary-General of CECAFA noted, this couldn’t have come at a better time. With the World Cup coming to Africa in 2010 (that’s if South Africa doesn’t jeopardize its chances), the region badly needs a tournament to play to be able to compete with other countries on the continent. The incentive though small goes a big way in helping bring together the teams most of which have had dismal pasts in the continental challenge.
I’ve always advocated for greater involvement from major corporates in the region. This is a wake up call again and again. With the countdown for SA 2010 on, I can assure you this ain’t the last we hear of them big boys throwing some few bucks towards the game. But who minds anyway?

Friday, 2 November 2007

Kenyan Women’s Volleyball agony

As if to make a replica of other sports associations, the Kenya Volleyball Federation are at it again. For those who love watching our lady spike their opposition, hold your horses just for awhile. The team is meant to represent Africa in the Women’s Volleyball World Cup in Japan starting this weekend. But as usual the drama has to start even before serving any ball;
First the team’s selection in Nairobi last week was left to the federation which chopped out the longest playing volleyball in Kenya currently Dorcas Nandasaba and dealing the team a panic attack only for them to reinstate her after appeals from Kenyans across the board. They did include her name in the squad and even book her on the flight, but whether she will play in Japan or not, is not yet confirmed since the list had already been sent before they rescinded their decision.
Some reason as to why she had axed was that she had incited the players to boycott playing due to non-payment of their allowances and a cash reward of KShs. 1million promised by the President after a successful Africa qualifying championship held in Nairobi in August. She may have been justified trying to rally the players since it’s their right and the officials have developed a penchant of having to wait till players boycott or strike to act on the most trivial and obvious obligations in the game.

Secondly, reports from Japan indicate the team had failed the quality test (this is undertaken to determine the team’s peripheral preparations such as team kit, team preparedness and also weigh-in among a couple of rigorous tests). They were asked to re-kit the team since the uniforms they had were sub-standard. I can’t believe this! An official from the Kenyan contingent even had the audacity to claim that why they had such a uniform was because the ladies have adopted to doing what football players do when a game is over, exchange shirts. That’s why they didn’t have their best kits. My goodness what nonsense!
I’m made to believe that the team is kitted by Nike as are most Kenyan national teams’ performing national duty in international assignments. Unless these guys got their kit from illegitimate sources, then there is no way they can have such an excuse. OK, I’ll admit some official could have sneaked some fake (probably from China or from such place) uniform and is now trying to save face.
Another issue that may even kill the team further is the fixtures. In the first 2 games, they face Cuba and Brazil. Given that they have never won any match (set even) in the World Cup in previous postings, then they’ll need a miracle to rise to the occasion.
With the slapdash preparations I’ll be holding a rosary for their redemption at every game. Not even friendlies with top teams in Africa could be organized….the usual story, lack of these funds and that logistic. As it is, the first 3 teams automatically qualify for the Olympic games to be held in Beijing, China next year.
The ladies are at their lowest ebb and any miracle here would serve the country well. Any consultants? (Wherefore art thou Kalonzo Musyoka-ye of the Park and crowd miracles?)

2014: FIFA World Cup goes to Brazil

As expected the 2014 will be held in Brazil. Being the only country for South Africa that bid for the games, well not without arm-twisting other minor countries which had shown interest in hosting the event from the sub-continent; it was only fair that it goes back to the country which has won it more times since the first World Cup in 1930.
FIFA had also insisted on having a rotation system where the event goes from one continent to another e.g. from Asia (2002) to Europe (2006) with Africa (2010) and Americas (2014). But given the resources especially financial and availability of playing grounds, infrastructure to support mammoth crowds and transport to & from the venues to filling the stadiums, media rights; they’ve had to scrap the rotation method. This as noted by the capitalist per excellence Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter, will deny the richest sports management organization its much-needed revenues and would put a ceiling on the earnings made from sale of rights to advertise during the World Cup depending on where it is held.
It’s worth noting that there are other issues which seem to plague the game including security (as evidenced by South Africa’s high crime rate which may cause it to forfeit its chance to host the 2010 event). Another issue is the host country’s performance, where if the country hosting the event exits too early there maybe problems filling the stadiums. But if the trend is to be watched, in the last 3 World Cups have seen the hosting countries reach semi-finals( 2002-South Korea,2006 Germany) if not the Finals and winning the World Cup ( 1998- France).
Brazil did successfully host the Pan American Games this year, but some issues need to address for it to be able to prove its worth in the World Cup. One of the hallowed grounds of Maracana Stadium (capable of hosting over 100000 fans at a sitting) needs to be renovated badly to restore its glory. The country also needs to develop proper road and transport infrastructure in smaller cities of Brazil. It has some of the most notorious roads with traffic jams and pollution plaguing it. Alternatives also need to sort.
It was amusing to hear a cheeky reporter as the head of Brazil bidding team Ricardo Texeira what he intends to do with the security issues and he promptly got his answer to the effect that ‘ while there are security concerns it is not to the level of US where school children are shooting each in learning institutions’. He also gave the example of the Pan American Games where no major security breach was reported.
My concern is not even Brazil but South Africa; with security spiraling (what with the recent killing of one of their music icons, Lucky Dube) and a mis-performing national side, will Africa’s main hope redeem itself?

Rugby Sevens Series is on

After having a well-deserved break from the rugby 7s, the series is back on the calendar with the 2007-8 season starting later this month. The Kenya team which performed fairly well after a few false starts in the first rounds has its work cut out. Having been seeded with top dogs Wales and Samoa in the coming tourney in Dubai, it can’t get any tougher for the boys.
Having made it to the semi-Finals in the Adelaide Sevens in the 2006-7 seasons, they should aim even higher with this season’s games. The preparations may not have been up to class but then the determination of the team maybe the saving grace. It may also be saved by the fact that the team has been playing as a unit for sometime now and most of the players are well exposed. The Kenyan rugby 7s circuit also started 2 months ago thus some players playing for the national 7s team are warmed-up and ready to go.
How I’d wish to read of a major upset like we saw in the World Cup in France last month, but then again I keep dreams alive.