Friday, 14 December 2007

BBC African Footballer of the Year

With the World Cup coming to Africa in 2010 , that's if we don't pull another TIA move-This Is Africa-we've seen the spotlight shift and shine rather brightly on what they call the Dark Continent. Enough firms have started investing in football with everything from media rights, advertising, grounds preparation already on top gear in readiness for the Big One.
This too has increased the African footballers desire to play a better game. But whether this has a bearing to what will happen in 2010, I can't put a finger to it. In Europe's top leagues, the African players can be counted to be on top of their game. They lead the scorers sheet in at least 2 leagues. And some sterling performances are in place.
BBC in recognition of these efforts have decided to award the best performances.For this year 2007, there are 5 nominees who have been put forward;
1. Emmanuel Adebayor- Togo (playing for Arsenal, England currently tied top scorer)
2. Samuel Eto'o- Cameroon ( playing for Barcelona, Spain currently back from injury)
3. Michael Essien- Ghana (playing for Chelsea,England holding forte in the midfield)
4. Fredric Kanoute- Mali (playing for Sevilla, Spain ,top scorer in the League)
5. Didier Drogba-Ivory Coast( playing for Chelsea,England top scorer 2006-7 season)
The winner will be announced at a special ceremony in Accra, Ghana on February 1, after the completion of the group stages of the African Cup of Nations.
According to the BBC's website, here's some things to consider in each player's case:

1.Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor picked up where Thierry Henry left off for English Premier League side Arsenal with seven goals for the Gunners in the first three months of the season.

2.Despite hardly playing in 2007, Samuel Eto'o has been chosen as the face of the 2010 World Cup and has taken a leading role in the fight against racism in football. He's also been consistent in front of goal despite his frequent injuries in the last 2 seasons. He's not been as active though for Cameroon, they who were bundled out of the World Cup qualifiers by Ivory Coast.

3. Michael Essien was rewarded for his performances with a new five-year contract at Chelsea, and Ghana coach Claude Le Roy has declared Essien's talent to be "from another planet".
He's reputed to have very strong lungs covering the grounds with much gusto. Some coaches says he covers more ground on the pitch than some lawn mowers. He's also reputed to have a powerful left shoot. He's also got a good physical presence which helps the team defensively. This was evident in the last matches of last season where some defenders were injured.

4. Fredric Kanoute, the Malian who's been quite consistent for the Sevilla squad, aiding it to 2 UEFA Cups and a vital 2nd round qualification to the UEFA Champions League in its first try. He's also been instrumental for the national side and helping them qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

5. Didier Drogba-the man most people love to hate- he who led Chelsea to the 2nd place position behind Man United in the English Premier League and a Carling Cup too for 2006-7 season. He who wears a bad hairstyle and loves tormenting defenses with his quick flash moves and headers. He's also a tad bit quick to land on his knees when challenged physically.

Acknowledgments: BBC,

Another Volleyball legend passes on

In this time and age, we so often forget our heros and heroines and Kenya is not exception. The glory days of our volleyball ladies team didn't start in the 2000s as some of the more ardent fans are worn to think. There were talented ladies who bore the brunt and sacrificed a lot by taking the burden of being the forerunners of a game hitherto dominated by their male counterparts. We do remember Lucy 'Fataki' Kamweru, the late Violet Baraza who passed on early this year. Another of this pioneers lay to rest 10 days ago in the US.
She was Doris Wefwafwa. She helped the team in the 1990s taking them as team-captain to the Harare All-Africa Games-1998,having impressed earlier in Cairo in 1991, and also playing a major role in continetal championships for both the national team and club (she played for Kenya Pipeline).
As one of the blogger on would say,
Luwefe Doris Wefwafwa ! RIP omkhana wefwe , simanyire tawe

Big 4 face up this weekend

For all you English football fans, this is one weekend you've been waiting for. It gets better for most since all the 4 teams are where they ought to be albeit not in the order which one may want his/her team placed.
1st placed Arsenal vs 3rd Chelsea:

Going by the week-by-week games, this will be a hard nut to crack for the Gunners. Coming from a loss(against Middlesborough), draw(with Newcastle) and narrow win(over Aston Villa) in the last Premiership games, they ought to work even harder for them to stay at the top. Things are made easier by the fact that their chief protagonist Cesc Fabregas might be sitting out on this one. The other midfielder, Aleksander Hleb is also a doubt for the game. The consolation though is the front line is fully loaded with the pacy Van Persie back from injury and the on-&-off Adebayor hoping to add to his tally of 9 goals (leading scorer-jointly with Cristiano Ronaldo- as of this weekend's games).Playing at home too might be a boon since they haven't lost a Premiership game there this season.
Chelsea on the other hand have been on the trot since last losing their rather flamboyant coach Mourinho and their only loss so far in September (to Man United). They have grown stronger and have shown stability and more class than they had last season. From a lowly 9th place to 3rd is not easy going into the December fixtures which I believe make or break any serious title contenders. They also have no serious injury problems except for their talisman Drogba (who's always tormented the back-line on the big games). The other worry too is the suspension of one Michael Essien who scored a cracker of a goal last season in the fixture of its kind. They have won against Derby, Sunderland and West Ham.
3 players maybe facing their former colleagues in the form of William Gallas & Lassana Diarra (formerly Chelsea) and Ashley Cole (formerly Arsenal).
Final Score:
A win ( 2-1) - tricky though I can't say which team.

2nd placed Man United vs 4th Liverpool:

This is one that might see a few cards flying. Being two sides which would hope to make their title race realistic, it might be a more tense game and thus the close contest.
First up, Manchester United: Coach Alex Ferguson said not so long ago that this is the best side he has coached and almost agree with him on that. Having the trio of Rooney at the front, Ronaldo backing it up from the midfield and Owen Hargreaves playing defensive and provider when necessary, you have a good run. To make it worse, there are threats in Tevez, Nani, Anderson and the evergreen Ryan Giggs. They have enjoyed a good run with the only blip being a draw to Arsenal and a loss to Bolton in November. They have been on some rampage of sorts winning by 3-4 goals per game ever since.
In Cristiano Ronaldo they have the highest scorer in the Premiership (jointly with Adebayor).
Liverpulitans never walk they so often tell us . They have had a bumpy ride along the way but they keep coming back at you. As one of my friends keep saying this 'rotation' policy of one Rafa Benitez seems to work when all the chips are down. We saw them do it in Europe twice ( and even qualifying the knock-out stages of this year's Champs League was not a foregone conclusion). The team has some comfort of not having serious injury threats though Xabi Alonso would have been a good bet for the long shots to goals Liverpool. They also have the brutish play that seems to destabilise 'pretty-played football' by the other teams. They would use this to good effect. They lost their unbeaten streak a week ago to Reading but that ought not to be a factor here. Steve Gerrard and Peter Crouch ought to lift them on this but you can't wait for this all the time.
Final Score:
Another 2-1 game but again it would go either side.
When all's said and done, this weekend's fixtures will pretty much determine who stays where in the top 4. But am almost sure the positions will change come Monday morning.
News Flash:
English Football Association agrees to appoint Fabio Capello- 61 year old former Real Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan. He has won major trophies with these clubs including the more recent Primera Liga ( Spanish League with Real). He is bound to agree to a 6.5 million pounds per year for a period to be decided. This ought to be clear by the close of business today Friday the 14th of December.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Pretty Boy Floyd proves who's the best

Coming in late in my entries, I still had to share my few words with you. It's been awhile since I watched a live boxing match. Thanks to satellite TV and also my good friend who could afford to accommodate me for the night ( FYI the match started at 7.15 a.m. and not at 5.00a.m. as they had advertised on this side of the world).
My friends and I had been busy checking out the accolades of the two boxers and some had even admitted Floyd Mayweather would be getting his first defeat.They were going for a 12-round fight with a points decision going Ricky Hatton's way.
I begged to differ given the ferociousness of both fighters. Though they had never met, I had this gut feeling it would be a knock-out probably by the 8th-10th round. Well, let's just say it look about that same time to entertain us.
Touted "Undefeated" by the promoters Golden Boy Promotions headed by Oscar de la Hoya-he who was sorted by Floyd M in May this year & Mayweather Promotions, this fight needed exactly that hype to get us waking up at some ungodly hours.

Going into the fight, Floyd had 38 wins ( 25 KOs; 0 losses & 0 draws) with Ricky Hatton 43 wins ( 32 KOs; 0 losses and 0 draws). One boxer had to give in. True to form, in the first 2 rounds Hatton showed why he's called the Hitman with quick hits that made Mayweather wobble in the 1st round. He kept pushing him to the ropes,but I guess Mayweather had read Mohamed Ali's biography from some place.
He kept using the ropes until the 5th round tiring the Hitman and stopping him on his punches as he tried to finish the fight. Come the 7th and the English fans who had been rude to boo the national anthem were almost silent as Mayweather landed some decisive jabs. If it were to end then, the points were weighing heavily against the Englishman.
On round 8, Mayweather almost finished the fight with 3 punches repeatedly on Hatton but he luckily spiralled out of this one. But on the 10th round out of the blue, Mayweather showed his flair by throwing his dreaded left hook and landed it right. Hatton went sprawling to the corner & hit the guard which might have had its added effect.
After the countdown, Hatton tried to come back but Mayweather knew he had the fight and finished the job, with a combination of punches. The referee jumped to Hatton's rescue and I bet I saw a towel thrown in from Ricky Hatton's corner right about that same time. You'd have cut through the middle of the silence from the English fans.
I found it honourable that Floyd rushed to Hatton's corner to console him and was even gracious and praising his opponent in the post-match comments. However Hatton was just missing his words and said that he was beaten right, but not from the best of them.
But as Floyd said, he has won the fight having won through 5 different weight categories and needs nothing else to prove his worth.
• Super Featherweight title;1998-2001
• WBC Lightweight title;2001- 2003
• WBC Super Lightweight title; Won in 2005,
• Won IBF and vacant IBO Welterweight titles 2006
• Retained IBO and won IBA and WBC Welterweight titles 2006
• Won WBC Super Welterweight title, which waslater vacated-2007
• Retained WBC Welterweight title-2007

To crown it he said that, he won't let boxing retire him but rather he will retire from boxing.
Interesting Facts:
> A single ticket for the fight was worth at least US$2500 ( approx Kshs. 160000)
> The boxer is currently referred to as the world's best pound-for-pound boxer having gone through the different weight categories.
> Floyd Mayweather's earnings for the fight were approx. US$ 15 million ( much less than the US$ 32 million earned during his fight with Oscar de la Hoya).
> His father, Floyd Mayweather, Sr., was a former welterweight contender (when not in jail) One of his uncles, Jeff Mayweather, is a former IBO super featherweight champion,while another still was a former two-division world champion Roger Mayweather, is Mayweather, Jr.'s current trainer.
Useless Fact
With Ricky Hatton being beaten, Liverpool and Arsenal 2 of the ONLY English Premiership sides not to be beaten lost with 1-3 to Reading and 1-2 to Middlesborough respectively.

SOYA attracts sizeable nominations

The 5th edition of the Sports personality Of the Year Awards have attracted at least 500 nominations for the different awards. This edition sees a new category referred to as the Community Hero. The lion's share of the nominations goes to athletics as usual with rugby,volleyball and swimming have some entries here and there. The categories for the awards are as follows;
Sportsman of the Year,
Sportswoman of the Year,
Sports team of the Year-men
Sports team of the Year-women
Most promising sports person-man
Most promising sports person-woman
Special category
Sports Federation/Association.
The event is organised by FineTouch Communications a firm closely associated and founded by Paul Tergat-Kenya's athletics legend. It's sponsored by among others, Safaricom, Nakumatt Supermarkets, CFC Bank, Paul Tergat Foundation to name but a few.
For more details, check

EABL add more spice to Sports sponsorship

Coming through as one of the major contributors in sport, East Africa Breweries Limited-EABL added more incentive to the sports fraternity. Major beneficiaries of this move were Rugby Safari Sevens which secured KSh.28 million, and Cricket Kenya which got KSh.7 million. Tusker FC the 2007 Kenya Football Premier League winners and next year's country representatives to the contintental challenge got KSh.15 million with players receiving a TV set each for their exploits. Not on the list though was any sponsorship for the football national team which seems not attract any monies.
The total bounty for the EABL sponsorship totals KSh.390 million up from KSh.330 million put through 3 years ago. This has seen EABL through various flagship products such Tusker, Tusker Malt Lager, White Cup, Malta Guinness make sports a reality to disciplines such as athletics,volleyball, polo and traditional ones such as rugby,football and golf .
What can be done to some of the fringe disciplines as basketball,rowing,martial arts which have lots of potential and are seriously begging for funds ? Do we have to wait for them to perform for us to see the potential or can we be part of the build-up to that success ?
All in all,way to go EABL !