Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A Photo Gallery of the Just ended Stanchart Nairobi Marathon 08'

Click here to view some of photos of the Stanchart Nairobi Marathon event that was on Sunday 26th Oct, 08.
Apologies for the late posting.

Hell's about to break loose

With the upcoming elections for the Kenya Football Federation in December, we are likely to witness a nasty affair in the Kenyan football scene. Officials whom I can't really say runs what will be up against many upshots of officials wishing to join what is perceived as one of the 'gravy trains' of sports federations in the country.
With FIFA dedicating development funds and regular grants to the federation and the upcoming World Cup in 2010, you are sure to see pretenders and interested parties flock like a pack of wolves on some hefty catch.
Already barbs are being thrown with some former officials requesting for the intervention of CAF's President's direct intervention. That's a bit far-fetched but in the interest of the game might be the best option to ensure a semblance of order. The Sports Minister has also asked for an orderly affair but I'm not sure she wants to get invovled in the nasty affairs of the game. This has proven more than once to be the Achilles heel for many a sports minister in Kenya.
For the sake of a peaceful time these holidays,can the elections be held before the 5th of December ?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Stanchart Marathon '08

Rainy days are here which is always good in this side of the Sahara and the weather's throwing City dwellers into all sorts of crazy things that come with pouring rain.
For any marathon runner, these conditions will be a welcome relief, given most of them have been training in warm weather. This year's race ,the 6th edition of the marathon will come at a time when Kenya's performance in the marathon's at its peak with the first gold medal in the men's race in the Olympics-one Samuel Wanjiru and a 2nd silver for the women- Catherine 'The Great' Ndereba.
It's also taken some new route as the organisers try to sell sneak pics of the City though I'm sure not many motorists and church-goers will be amused by the disruption in traffic and movement.
For participants, it will be a chance to challenge oneself for the ultimate in road racing. This year's course should a challenging one with tricky drops and ascents as well as curves in most places. It's also good for a challenge given the harsh economic times we are facing. Come give yourself a break from it all but be sure to get a thorough massage after the race !
The charitable activities linked to the marathon have also enjoyed some coverage in the run-up to the marathon with the Seeing is Believing Initiative taking a front seat.
Do hope to catch some of the action as we enjoy the views of the streets of Nairobi !

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Takeovers :- Kenyan Style

Last week saw a first in Kenya where a football team was bought out by interested investors. This precedes a previous experience with semi-professional side Volcano United back in the 1980s. It should serve as an example given the brief history and modest achievements since the team was formed in 1992 as Kawangare SC. Check out more information for the new club here.

What was not clear was that the investors didn't put a penny on the table. This is unusual since I'm made to know such a deal ought to have some $$$ exchanging hands. Considering this was not just a community outfit complete with a ground of its own, I'm waiting for more details. Checking outfits in Europe especially the recent interest in English teams, this ought to give Kenyan football administrators food for thought. Someone should start working on those business proposals and financial plans. Can somebody out there hear me ?

WORLD CUP 2010 Updates:
Zimbabwe even with its political and economic upheavals, has managed to attract the interest of the organising team for the 2010 World Cup. This is much to the chagrin of more stable neighbours who would wish to reap from the visiting teams. Bulawayo has been selected as one of the cities to host the teams. Read here !

Disorganisation : Kenyan Sports Officials serving

We keep reading of this and I'm getting fed up with our Kenyan sports officials trying to make excuses. Last week's national football team drama was the last straw that broke the back.
How in high heaven do you leave the team to the mercies of your hosts, however good they might seem ? With all the animosity towards the team before and even after the match you expected red carpet treatment ? And given that we don't have a working embassy in the country, you are supposed to take extra precautions.There were even Government officials accompanying the team who kept giving conflicting accounts of why the team had to come in separate batches.
During the Olympics we witnessed a similar thing when the team arrived in Beijing in different batches but the officials didn't seem to know what was meant to go where. To make it worse we had over 30 officials travelling with the team almost outnumbering the athletes. What was their role and who was paying their allowances ? Earlier this month, Kenya's under-18 basketball team travelled to Tunisia with an under-strength team and expected to qualify for the Finals ....please !
Mid this year we saw the junior national hockey lads get suspended for refusing to take to the field after the officials couldn't guarantee payment of daily allowances as agreed.
Is it a Kenyan thing or is it a phenomenal common to sports officials elsewhere ? I'm sick and tired of this !

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

KBF Play-offs:- Another Pedestrian season

The coming weekends present the Kenyan basketball scene with what is supposed to be the highlights of the season, the KBF Play-offs where the top 4 teams from each of the leagues play for the ultimate spot and the prestige ( no money the last time I checked !)that comes with it.
As usual, I paid casual visit some weekends ago and I almost shed tears at the level of competition in these leagues. There are simply no crowd attractions. 2 months ago, HomeBoyz Productions together with Coca-Cola Co under the flagship brand Sprite tried bringing the game alive with the Streetball which went for 2 weekends then fizzled out ! Reasons unknown to us but one major reason is non-frills display of the Kenyan game.
When the new officials took office early this year, I thought we were redeemed but far from it. There is even concern that the gam may become just another fairy tale -the likes of Netball-who plays that game anyway ?
I'll make my place to the Play-off Finals but I'll be keen to see what the new year holds for this game.
What were the Kenyan official thinking sending an under-strength team to the Junior Women's Championships in Tunis ? For such an energy-sapping game you can't afford to have a bench made up of 5 players, unless you're the Dream Team of the 1990s !
Style up guys !

Kenyan Cricket fails to click

Boy ,did our boys have a bad run over the weekend. With the ICC Trophy just a throw away (had they qualified for the Final, they would be playing with Namibia), we seemed to have other priorities. For sometime now, the Kenyan game seems to have lost its flow and we are slowly headed back down the list of Non-Test status, given that 5 years ago, we had a strong case for playing regular games with Test playing nations.

Maybe the governing body for cricket had a point there.
With the local leagues playing non-competitive games and the in-fighting of Kenyan cricket officials, our boys have become the whipping boys losing to the Pakistan Academy not so long ago.
Why do we allow our sportsmen to bloom only to push them down the drain as fast as we let them rise ? The other day I met Maurice Odumbe and almost stopped in my tracks because the man has become a pale shadow of what he was. The suspension seems to have drained the best from him. Much can be said too of other local players who have resorted to reminiscing days gone by not too long ago.
We also seem to have run out of new ideas to get the best of players. Disappointment is lurking out heavily around the corner and with qualifiers for the World Cup not too far away, we better get our act together or we are reduced to 'have beens' !
This article here should explain some of the cause and ways out for Kenyan on !

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Athletics Kenya- Same old same old ....

As I had said in some earlier comments, I did not want AK to go the way of other sports federations' way but they did one better, they returned the same officials almost to a man !
Now that's not progress from where we're coming from.In as much as it can be said to a democratic affair, the whole system was flawed right from the start, and some of the contestants tried to wish this away and ended up licking sticky wounds !
Looking like FIFA's Sepp Blatter, AK still needs a better outfit to be able to propel the sport to the next level. What has suprised me is the silence from media houses about the election, sort of like they knew what would happen.
With the upcoming Africa Athletics Championships, various annual athletics meets and events as well as preparations for the next Commonwealth Games some serious scrutiny needs be put forward for these officials.
I pity some of the former athletes who were left with egg all over their face as they tried pulling a rare win. Ask one Issa Hayatou of CAF ( also representing Africa in FIFA) what elections can be, that way you won't have a repeat next time. As for athletics in Kenya, there's still light shining down on us.

World Athlete of the Year:
2 of Kenya's Olympic gold medallists have been nominated for this year's World Athlete of the Year. Pamela Jelimo's among the favourites in the ladies category though facing competition for Ethiopian Dirunesh Dibaba while Samuel Wanjiru's been nominated for men's award. I'll no doubt push forward Jelimo's case for now and pray she wins the award in her first year of competitive athletics.

Hockey: Season over but where's the Progress

Over the last few months, Sportskenya has been reviewing sports disciplines which are not in the mainstream in the Kenyan sports scene. Hockey has been one beneficiary of this initiative. Having attended a few games, I have gathered quite some insight into the game. Thus over the weekend as the curtains came down on this year's league,it was fair to give some inches on this forum of the sport.
Starting with our ladies who have been improving over the years, I can say we have what can be moulded into a continental if not world challenging team. What's more impressive is the upcoming teams from the colleges and universities. These have been giving some of the more established clubs some competition and also helped hone the skills of the players.
But as with most Kenyan sports technical expertise is lacking and last year's World Championships showed just that. With the game extending within the City and to some major towns in the Coast, there is need for the Kenyan Hockey Union officials to make available these technical experts.
The other reason is funds availability. Most corporates have been 'yoyoing' in their support for the game. Now you see them now you don't ! This is maybe due to non-accountability of some of the officials and also misplaced priorities of the corporate support-some sports like golf enjoy 'over-sponsorship' while other sports are screaming for funds despite good performances.

logo courtesy of Orange

As our ladies proceed to Nigeria for the continental championships, it was relief seeing their mother company come out in supporting them. Considering only a year ago, they had almost banished the team even after performing well. The company-Telkom Kenya * has been splashing marketing largesse around in the name of rebranding, what more could you ask for than such a commitment ?

* Was it me or did I see Orange logos during the Guinea vs Kenya match in Conakry on Sunday ? So the French revolution's taking over the continent ? Is this some new brand of 'colonialism' ? Just a thought !

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Campus Vybe-Sports News

As part of my initiative to support the growth of sports in Kenya, I have decided to include stories and posts from one of the ingenious institutional websites featuring various sections of Campus life in Kenya. Our mainstay though will be Sports. Enjoy !

CUEA shines at Strath Tourney
Campusvybe - Thursday, 09 October 2008

Friday, 3 October 2008

PostaPay Rugby Action

For an equivalent of English football's Community Shield only that it's a season ending time, the PostaPay Rugby Grand Slam will pit the winners of the Kenya Cup-Harlequins versus Enterprise Cup winners Nakuru RFC. The other ties will have Mwamba Cup champions (Quins II) and the winners of the Eric Shirley Shield (KCB).
This has been sponsored by PostaPay to the tune of KShs. 1 million, a tidy sum to close the season with. Winners take home KShs. 200,000.
I guess the good vibe of the Sevens team and partial success of the 15-a-side is paying finally. This is a good venture and only hope other sports can get such support. My fellow blogger though thinks otherwise....!

Word has it ......

....that Kenya's about to have its first Sports FM station. According to sources,one of Kenya's top media stations is exploring the idea of launching an exclusive sports radio channel for FM listeners. This comes amidst a flurry of music-oriented and ethnically inclined radio listenership stations.
This would be a first for Kenya though not the first in Africa....check this.
It could also herald a new chapter in the ever-expanding media forums in Kenya. I'll be throwing in my words here and there and you never know , might be the voice behind the mike !

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Kenyan Football

Kenyan football comes back to Supersport after hosting 2 of their presenters last week during the African Broadcast and Film Conference. Thomas Mlambo, soccer analyst Thomas Kwenaite and guest Daniel Amokachi the ex-Nigeria Super Eagles star were live on location for the 'Soccer Africa' show screened on SuperSport.
This comes against a backdrop of Kenya qualifying for the next round of the knock-outs for the World Cup 2010 with the remaining game at hand in Guinea-Conakry. This is almost sure to be a cracker since Guinea have to win to ensure qualification too. Kenya's record has been dismal for away games but this can be taken afresh.
As for the local game,this shot in the arm had better awaken our 'morally-wounded' officials. Even after hosting a successful game against Namibia and seeing increasing numbers attending the local games, both KPL and KFF official are yet to agree on terms of engagement. Kudos to the Government for taking charge of the national team since at least we can save face internationally. Clubwise, not rosy yet. All the same, go cheer any of these teams, SuperSport will be live on location;
Oct 4th :Thika United v Sony Sugar Nyayo 14:00
Oct 4th :KCB v Mathare United Nyayo 16:00
Oct 5th :Tusker v Agro-Chemicals Nyayo 14:00
Oct 5th :Mahakama v Chemelil Sugar Nyayo 16:00

Rally: Bits and pieces

Photo by Anwar Sidi

While I was taking my Idd break, I overheard some advert for the KCB S&L rally scheduled for the coming weekend. Listening to the routes for the rally, it dawned on me that the officials of KNRC have cut the former Safari Rally routes and modelled them into smaller, less tedious and more manageable rallies.
But while they go about massacring what is left of the famous rally, it might also remind them that we need it back on the WRC circuit and unless this happens fast, rallying in Kenya will be another artifact in the sports archives.
I read about one Surinder Thatthi causing hell of Formula One's Lewis Hamilton. OK, my Sikh brother, please put in a good word to for the Safari. Shekhar Mehta went into the grave with that one favour for Kenyan or is it East African rallying enthusiasts.

AK's Elections

As expected, the AK elections have started eliciting exchanges between the outgoing officials and the Government. Being one of the well-heeled associations in Kenya, this is bound to happen as the crows start crowding out each other.
The current crop of officials have tried keeping a tight lid on things but from observations and comments from current athletes, retired athletes and interested parties; they have not been up to the task.
While the performances of our athletes tend to mask their weaknesses,most of these officials do not even deserve to be in office in the first place. What they have enjoyed over the years has been political patronage which is ceding by the day and cartel-like structures right from the lower branches and leeway from IAAF top cream.
Branch elections are scheduled for this weekend while the national ones are to be held a week later. But the Sports Minister is seeking to postpone the same by at least 6 months.
The excuse of writing a new constitution and other shenanigans is not enough to warrant such a delay. Again we can't tell the sort of officials coming through from the lower rings though I'm told the current elections have attracted the largest number of retired athletes.
It would be sad to see this association go the way of most sports associations in Kenya. It's still a beacon of hope for now, let it remain as such.