Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Kenya hosts unique sporting event

The Aga Khan Council of Kenya is currently hosting a cultural sporting event for the Ismailia community who's spiritual leader is His Highness Aga Khan. He is celebrating his Golden Jubilee-50 years as the community's spiritual leader.
This event is a one-of-its-kind and shows the length and respect to which Aga has and still commands for Kenya. Coming in such trying times, it's a boon to the fledging economy which can do with as much favourable publicity as possible.
Though the cultural value will supercede the competitive nature of the Games, the mere presence and interaction will be of good value to local sports enthusiasts who hope to provide future talent in the different sports disciplines.
The games will feature 14 disciplines including; football, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, badminton, squash, wrestling, golf and chess. The respective venues are spread around Nairobi with Kasarani taking the lion's share, Aga Khan Sports Centre, Oshwal School, Jaffreys Sports Club, Nairobi Simba Union, International School of Kenya and Windsor Golf Club.
For more details check;

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Drink Milk & Stay Athletic

That will be the theme this Saturday as New KCC holds an athletics meet at the Nyayo National Stadium. Having secured a sponsorship deal with Athletics Kenya last year,the meet will serve as promotional gig as well as preparation for the gruelling 3 months which includes national trials, Olympic Games and the lucrative Grand Prix season.
I salute the idea of having the company New KCC support athletics as our local athletes can attest that maybe their 'magic portion' lies in the genetic make-up of milk. I remember some Nike advert sometime in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it sought to know the secret behind the Kenyan athletes prowess in running especially long distance races. Part of the perception was that it was carried in the morsik that the athletes drink right from the time they make their first few steps. The jury's still out there.....
Thus said, come support local athletes and cheer them on as they run their hearts out on the Nyayo tartan track. Please beware it might get cold, and you don't want to feel the winds around your ear when out there ! Enjoy a glass of fresh milk or whatever tickles your fancy....some of us are lactose-intolerant you know !

Images courtesy of New KCC Limited

Safari Rally tatters on

Image courtesy of Motorsport Kenya
For what used to be one of the rallying world's favourite race, the Safari Rally ( KCB Safari Rally...pardon me for missing that), another year out of the World Rally Championship means another missed opportunity and less profile.
2002 marked the last year that the event was to be in the WRC circuit and the rallying chiefs threatened to throw the rally out which they eventually did. Come 2003 the rally was competing for reinstatement to the circuit and I remember having to vote over the Internet to have this done. Again an exercise in futility.
Among the issues the WRC personnel raised was the
- sponsorship which was inconsistent,

- lack of proper safety measures especially spectators,
- rising costs of shipping and transportation,
- media rights and coverage,
- unpredictable weather and climatic conditions ( well this one was a bit low)
among others.

True some of the issues raised were worth considering but I still feel the event CAN & SHOULD BE REINSTATED. Watching some of the events of the WRC circuit shows a serious miss of the African circles and also the rough-and-tumble which Safari Rally was famous for. Even the most experienced drivers can confess that this represented one of the best rallies to prove your mettle and the manufacturers to prove their vehicles too.
Having some Kenyans in the decision-making bodies of the FIA and WRC has not helped our cause either and as usual the Government went into slumber right after the hyped campaign in 2003. Can't the Minister for Sports and Youth along with the Tourism one work something out ?
That way, the WRC would ensure true world coverage of rallying events as well as retention of one of the oldest rallies (before it fell by the way side).

I read somewhere about the Pirelli Rally Star Promotion for the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Why do they always rank us with the Arabs ? It's like we can't exist on our own ! I lament !
The promotion's intent is to invest in growth of rallying worldwide and, in particular, help younger competitors reach World Championship level. The successful drivers from each year will then contest a series of six World Championship rallies the following season, driving identical Group N or Super 2000 cars supplied and serviced under an FIA contract with a specialist preparation company. The competitors must be under the age of 27 on 1st January in the year of the Regional Championship.
The programme will be structured through the four FIA Regional Championships, with one driver emerging from each of the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.

Noble idea, wrong and tedious approach ,methinks!

I believe the most effective way of raising and developing drivers is having more events from the WRC circuit in the specific countries- like the Safari Rally....tsk !
That way the local talent will be able to actually interact with the top cream of the sport and not wait in the wings like this competition portends.

* The Rally start tomorrow Friday, with the cars being flagged off at 3.00 p.m, before proceeding to the 1st in 3 spectator stages at the Uhuru Park at the heart of the City. The other spectator stages include the Elementaita Lodge (Saturday) in the Rift Valley; with the final one being at the East Africa Portland at Athi River just off Mombasa Road but much closer to the city.

* This year's rally will be the shortest ever covering just over 668km compared to the longest one held in 1971 (covering East Africa states)-6400km.This will be the 56th rally since it started as the Coronation Rally back in 1952-marking the coronation of then Princess Elizabeth into a Queen. So much for royalty,can't we have a semblance of what the rally used to be back then ?

* WRC and FIA officials will be attending the event again but let's not get excited yet. The last 5 years have meant nothing with these guys around. We want to see the event back at the WRC.

* Most of the rally cars will not be the works team i.e. the manufacturers' group A cars competing in other WRC events ( since it's not a WRC event anyway). Majority will be from Group N and classical rally cars. Watch out for Ian Duncan's Ford Mustang
( something like the one next)

* KCB will be the main sponsors with Triton ,iWay, KICC among others sponsors.

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Lewa Marathon 2008

Coming hot on the heels of another out-of-town event, the Lewa Marathon ( this year, they are branding it, Safaricom Lewa Marathon), will be run this weekend at the Lewa Downs Conservancy which is about 150 miles north of Nairobi,see
This event attracts a sizeable crowd of fitness enthusiasts as well as a who-is-who in the athletics world. There are also a number of participants out to network and get corporate contacts as most companies have made it a rule to send a number of middle to upper tier managers to the event. If you're also looking out for some politicos, am sure a couple will be around trying to raise money for this and that project which forms part of Lewa Conservancy CRS.
Having seen this as a worthy opportunity to give back to the community and a way of bringing the corporate world out to the wild, Michael Joseph is surely savouring the success of the event in only its 8th year. But coming at a time when the company's been in the spotlight for some bad promotional move and also the listing of the company on the NSE, am sure he will watch every word he's bound to say.
Take time if you have jogging around your estate and hopefully get a car-load of 2-3 friends (who don't mind being in the wild). Enjoy the weekend and the flavours of the wild.

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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Football, football, why follow me ?

The Kenyan football gam just won't stop featuring on this blog ! I still hold the view that we are far from celebrating any victory yet. Some say you may win the battle but you've not won the war !
Looking at the last few games played by the national team, one may think we have won the World Cup. Sorry to all you who have made it to the stadium ( please don't stone me the next time you see me there). It's just that when I look at all those hungry-greedy looking officials and non-entities pretending to know the game, I wipe a tear sympathising with all you Kenyans.
First we need to get right-thinking and more creative officials managing the game. Secondly, a blueprint detailing the plans for the game in the next 5 years needs be developed. Hey we have some really good guys who can develop the document(s).
Thirdly, involve the Government as a whole in the development of the relevant infrastructure and international links. While it might be well-meant for the Prime Minister to offer not just moral and financial support, a more procedural way needs be developed. You can't play populist moves and expect long term success!
Fourth, the local private sector needs to become more proactive in sport. Football has seen some interesting takes from such corporates as Barclays Kenya and Coca-Cola Kenya but they have not outlined medium to longer term plans for the game. Come 2010 and all these corporates will be falling over themselves trying to sponsor this or that football activity.
Finally, we need to start appreciating professional development of locals running the game. I have come across less than 10 professionally trained sport managers. Please add to my list if you think am bluffing.....

As for now, I'll hold my champagne bottle as I wait to see what will come of our boys at the return legs of their games against Guinea and Namibia. We also have to think about the 2nd phase which will have much tougher teams.

FYI: If you are feeling very patriotic, watch the recorded game against Zimbabwe today in your local national station KBC.

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Footballing Legend gets rude welcome home

It seems robbery gangs don't really have boundaries when it comes to their hideous activities. From Rio de Janeiro to Nairobi, back across the globe, if they want your lovely little gadgets and half-full pockets, they will get what they want.
According to media reports, Pele was on his way to his beachside house in Sau Paulo when a gang attacked him and his driver as they approached a tunnel along the way. The gang said to number about 10 on realising who their victim was decided to return some of the items to the driver but made away with a gold chain, watch and mobile phone belonging to Pele.
It is not fair to find humour in people's misfortune but that shows just how vulnerable all of us are in the face of these hoodlums. If this was an incident back here, I guess by now all sorts of conspiracy theories would be doing the rounds. We have become so simplistic in our thinking that we can't think clearly. A few weeks ago, some Ministers died in a plane crash and politicians were saying that this was not a normal accident (since when did accidents become normal ?)
Spare this thought, if they weren't politicians and non-prominent people, would the hue and cry be as loud as it has been ?
For more details check;

BarCamp 2008 : Nairobi comes alive

Image courtesy of Gichingiri Kuria.

Thanks to my lovely lady ( you know yourself !)and my contemporaries and role models(the likes of Bankelele, Mentalacrobatics, KenyanPundit,WhiteAfrican ,KenyanPoet, Skunkworks) to mention but a few who made look forward to this day.
Being a blogger and one who's looking out for different IT forums such as these, I couldn't even get enough sleep on Saturday.
The camp didn't disappoint and for all those who attended we can attest to a day well spent. Personally, it was a most interesting day to meet in person some of the faces behind the famous blogs. Meeting such gurus as Riyaz, Mbugua-Zunguka,Kahenya Kamunyu among other presenters made me appreciate the ICT developments happening oh so fast in Kenya. What was even more encouraging was the appreciation of these developments by the ICT Board -Kenya which was actively represented by Mr.Limo, Paul Kukubo and the PS Information Ministry Bitange Ndemo.
I felt so small as compared to some of these 'giants' but then again how else do I expect to grow ? All in all it was worth the time spent and can't wait for the next forum. We might be tempted to add a few more hours and days into the itinerary but maybe that's just my thoughts.

Day Sponsors:, Kenya ICT Board,Google,Strategic Lee, O', Yahoo, Wananchi Online.

Feel the Flu

The weather did finally get the better of me and what with people all around you having some sort of flu. It never feels good when you've made all these plans then you end up missing the events of the season.
Well, that's what happened to me after a very informative forum at the BarCamp check out this : on Saturday. I decided to attend a birthday party of a close friend of mine. Being the cold season, I took the risk and had some cold drinks even after hesitating for like 2 or so hours. By the stroke of midnight some of us were chanting ourselves hoarse like madmen.
Come Sunday and my bed looked so beautiful while the sight of hanging out at the Safari Sevens was a distant memory. Thanks to some home-made remedies from friends (what could we do without you ?), I managed to gather strength to get myself some Alvaro....hehehe ! As for Safari Sevens, guess so much for hard luck ! Check out commentaries and images in and

Friday, 20 June 2008

Mafans !

With the Internet coming of age in Kenya, we in the sporting fraternity are also experiencing some sort of renaissance. Sports in this country usually takes a back seat unless obviously the Harambee Stars are winning or our athletes are running in some major athlete meet. Other disciplines are usually by-the-ways unless Kenya wins or is making good progress.
Now some innovative thinking Kenyans have decided to come up with a forum to gather sports loving Kenyans and mobilise the numbers into attending major sporting events not just in the local scene but also those that feature Kenyans teams abroad. This is some way to go for those who appreciate sports and are not in it just for the drinking and joy-rides. I particularly like the name they have given the protocol :
It's a start and there is sprucing up to be done and can also get more local content than is currently having but I guess there is a will and a way. The photos have given it much mileage and with sports 'image is everything'!
I'll be subscribing and looking forward to some interesting times in our local stadia and sporting arenas. Come join the ride....MAFANS MKO WAPI !

Global sports market grows phenomenally

According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), spending relating to sporting events (with the most conspicuous ones being the Olympics and the World Cup) will grow revenues to KShs. 9.165 trillion ( approx. US$ 141 billion). This is will come mainly from growing broadcast rights deals ( TV, radio and related media), mobile and Internet spending to push this growth. Some of the regions expected to contribute to this include Europe especially given its allure of the football(soccer) growth both domestic and continental, Middle East- which has seen much investment by the oil-rich Arabs more than triple in the last 10 years alone.
Africa is also likely to be a shoo-in given the hosting of the World Cup in 2010 which ought to give it more credence in hosting major sporting events ( hoping no further political quagmires are encountered between now and then).
The US will continue to account for the largest portion of sports revenue, hitting $69.1 billion in 2012, compared with $46.9 billion in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Revenue in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Canada are expected to reach $19.4 billion, $3.9 billion and 1.3 billion, respectively.

Mr. Kimunya Sir, see what sports can bring to on the table ? Better start acting right man.

Safari Sevens Weekend

One of the more celebrated sporting events of the year in the country starts today at the RFUEA grounds on Ngong Road. For the uninitiated, this is one event you find the so-called middle class flocking the grounds to imbibe while cheering their favourite teams. It's also a weekend out for the ladies trying to flaunt their latest trends and also show off a bit of flesh ( woooooooo....even in this cold conditions !).
But for the majority who understand the game, this is time to see the local boys go head-to-head with some good talent in the rugby 7s world. After doing the IRB Sevens series the local team or teams if you separate the Senior team with the Shujaa one(juniors), our boys need to raise their level of the game and win the title which has eluded them for 3 years running. Some may say it's good if the local team doesn't win since international participants will get enticed to come back and defend their title. I'd think it's OK to win the trophy to retain the local following as well as prove their exposure and skill in the game.
Judging from the season the senior team had in the series, they should challenge for the Main Cup Finals and hopefully win it. But they have to watch the Fijians, Bristol University and the Emerging Boks from South Africa who last year. This should be a feast for the eyes and a great outing for those who still have a few cents in these trying times for our local economy.

Interesting Information:
- The Fiji team fills in the void left from the entertaining Samoans who featured last year and had promised to be back only to cancel sometime in April.

-Given the traffic chaos experienced in Nairobi lately, you might be advised to arrive early. Alternatively wear your favourite sports shoes and track-suits and be ready to walk.

- The event has attracted suprise performances from the likes of Lauryn Hill in the 90s and also Femi Kuti of the Bang Bang fame. Will there be another this year ? Hints ?

- This year's tournament has attracted over 11 sponsors with the main boys being Africa Online, Virgin Atlantic,Keringet as well as the Tusker Brand.

- The events is run under Tusker Sports- the sports management organisation set up by East Africa Breweries to manage and oversee the sports discipline which the Tusker brand sponsors.

For more info,check

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Athletics Kenya gets into trouble over training camp

Sometime ago I commented on this blog on the need for the Athletics Kenya to effectively control their athletes at the training camps set up for major championships. I was for the idea of having them set up shop for at least 2-3 months prior to the Games.
Now one IAAF official is taking the opposite view opining that Kenya has a reservoir of athletes from which to choose from. He added that individual athletes' 'talents should not be suppressed'.
OK, AK may have taken it too far by suggesting that they would expel coaches(both local and international) who will not release their athletes for Olympic training by Wednesday.This was to build team work as Isaiah Kiplangat implied. That's seriously off-colour and not possible. There are better ways of building team-work and I guess these guys should consult the Rugby Sevens team and partly the football team too.
But on the training bit for athletes, I concur with AK that they should report to the training camps early enough. I will rue the officials falling victim to coaches and agents wishing to make a quick buck from our countrymen.
I'm banking on Kenya producing one of the most sterling performances this Olympics. So please don't mess my Olympic holiday dreams !

NBA History !

Kevin Garnett- Boston Celtics big man- celebrates after winning Game 6 of their NBA Play-offs Finals over the L.A Lakers 131-92 ( 4-2 in best of seven series)

For once I was so indecisive on which team to support for the NBA Play-off Finals. On one side we had the Boston Celtics which boasted the best season record. Last season, the team won only 24 out of 82 games the worst records for the franchise and 2nd worst of the NBA. But during the off-season, they made some smart acquisitions in the form of Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Ray Allen from Seattle Supersonics to beef up one of the best all-round players in the NBA League, Paul Pierce ( he was voted NBA Play-off Finals Most Valuable Player).
On the other side we had the Lakers who saw their season see-saw but prove their mettle in the Play-offs and also one of the NBA's 'support-cast' in the form of Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol come to the aid of the League's currently most prominent player Kobe Bryant.
But when all is said and done, the best team truly won. Working around the 3 players, the Boston Celtics won their 17th NBA Play-offs title to give each of these players their first Championship ring -which any NBA great cherishes and fights to win. Go on guys have a ball and live to greatness !

Quick Facts:
1. Ray Allen made 7 of 9 3-point shots tying this record (others are: Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls (vs. Utah Jazz)-1997 and Kenny Smith, Houston Rockets (vs. Orlando Magic) 1995
2. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett all get the championship ring for the first time in their sterling careers.
3. Boston Celtics win the NBA Finals for the first time since 1986- during the legendary years of Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale among others.
4. Celtics have met Lakers 11 times in the NBA Finals and have won 9.
5. Their record in the season was 66-16 thus guaranteed home-court advantage.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Golf -Is it really a sport in Kenya ?

There are some games that the masses ( like you and I) regard as either elitist or just another past-time. Recently a friend from the 'outer circle', joined a local golf club with what most middle level employees and top management do in the country. I'll not belabor the point that maybe we are just adopting our former colonial masters ways.
I last visited an upcountry golf club in the mid-80s. Back then my joy was running around the green fields which I still love walking around (given the chance....hehehe)or once in awhile getting soaked up in sodas and snacks from the members' parties.
Maybe it's just me, but surely there are others ways we can network for business. True some of the contacts we get there are worth the while. But why should I start paying a fortune for some a**-kissing charade that I don't even believe ? You see guys with fancy looking attire on their over-sized bodies, while others try the Tiger Woods-look as well as keep affairs at the golf club they are paying membership for.
I mean, come on ! How many of those guys who pretend to play golf even go past the first fews hurdles and get through the handicaps to a fairly competitive and professional player ? By now a Kenyan should have won the Kenya Open Golf tournament which attracts quite a number of Tour players.
But as with most Kenyan trends you'll find people pretending to know the game and even becoming analysts and giving this and that advice. I guess for most of them it's just a way of being seen to hang out with the 'moneyed' or is it creme de la creme of Kenyan society ?
Meanwhile let me see what I can do to convince my pal to take me along with him & enjoy the walks. You never know I could also bump into a chairman and get coached into some CEO of sorts !

Government sees the Light ?

Smarting from one of the worst times in the country's history, the Kenyan Finance Minister had a serious balancing act on his hands. I'm sure he might have said some quiet prayer for the last 3 days and even faced Mount Kenya like our forefathers back in the day.
A couple of sweeteners were drawn from his bag of tricks but one that caught my eye was the allocation of KShs. 500 million (approx. US$ 7.7 million) to the Youth & Sports Ministry for development of youth programmes, a sports academy ,training and infrastructure for sports disciplines. The major part of the allocation is the funds though will be to the Youth Development Fund-whatever the technocrats in the Ministry mean by that.
In a country which has pedigree of some of the best athletes in the world, this comes as a boost yes but also a tad too little too. If I look at what sports can achieve in this country and the amount of investment put in, in the last few years, it's even a suprise that we are this far. The remittances too also justify a need to put some funds into the sector and please Mr. Minister, do let those technocrats hide papers from you !
Over to you Finance Minister !

( GUYS:Am I too late on this plea ?....just a thought !)

Power of Delusion

Over time, I have come to see that human beings are gullible creatures however much they claim to be the most intelligent creatures on earth. Kenyans rank among the top 5 list of the illusionists.
Why I say this ? Last weekend Kenyans thronged the Nyayo National Stadium almost bursting the seams of the ground. A football match matched Harambee Stars against the Guinea team which ranks among the top teams in Africa. Analysts had already concluded that this was going to be a walk-over for Guinea. But Dennis Oliech had other ideas.
OK, now I am not one to spoil the party for the Kenyans but those proclaiming that our boys are heroes and showed be treated as such are calling the bluff big time. I mean, even organising the game itself had more than one organiser making the tickets for some of the fans fake due to double registration.
Preparations for the game had also been hampered though the Kenya Premier League ( which is running the show instead of Kenya Football Federation....hehehe, trust Kenyans).
Illusions, illusions, illusions !
Tomorrow we host another top ranking team with a lethal striker in the name of Benjani Mwaruwari. But then again, I don't want to spoil the party. Go on and get entertained at the stadium. Be sure to carry your running shoes just in case the power of delusion fails you !

Update on Kenya Football:

I have told that being a pessimist and hating the Kenyan team but why should I be suprised ? Let them prove me wrong by winning this weekend's away game at Harare & at least that way I'll restore my hopes in them.
Along with that, while it may seem good for the Kenyan PM to offer the team the cash like he did last weekend, I think a proper way of rewards should be structured. This should focus on consistency and continuity and not the knee-jerk approach that our Kenyan football officials like. I'd also like to see the proposals of developing linkages with the South African footballing administration pursued further and more comprehensively. Let's prove ourselves to be more than lip-service.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Rugby out of steam ?

Our beloved brothers in the rugby 7s team had me disappointed again when they ended this year's Sevens circuit on a low key and were edged back to 7th position on the standings. While disappointment's been a close shadow this side of the Sahara, I thought they would do better and prove us wrong on that aspect.
Even after being hosted to a private party by Sir Richard Branson at an enviable location at the African Heritage overlooking the proper African savannah, these brothers lost the scheme of things. Or maybe, they were overfed and pampered with too much food for their taking....or maybe it was the swallows (you know some of our sportsmen have this dubious reputation of being good bedfellows with the bottles..)
Recourse though for redemption may come in the way of the Safari Sevens which starts in 2 weeks time. This can be a showcase of their brighter start to the circuit and what better way to reward the Kenyan fans than to win something at home soil.
Check for more rugby insights on the rugby scene in Kenya.

Victory, oh so elusive !

After being struck by Namibia in Windhoek, Kenya's Harambee Stars take to the pitch tomorrow playing more seasoned team Guinea in Nairobi. My pessimism tells me these guys will be creamed again as we continue in our rag-tag approach to the game. I understand the warring parties of KFF are planning their own arrangements on how to have the game held. They're busy preparing tickets and even giving advance tickets.
Beyond redemption, I pray we don't get stuffed too much. I'll also hope that our brothers will keep a cool head and not walk out of the stadium given the greed shown by the KFF officials -who up to now I can't say who runs what. As for the purported officials, may the wrath of our forefathers burn your sissy-a***s into obscurity !

Euro 2008:
As for those of us who love the silver screen & the beautiful game, the action starts tomorrow. While most European leagues finished early, the game is fast becoming too clogged with tournaments, making the players suffer fatigue and exhaustion.
Some European powerhouses will put forward great teams but that's just on paper. On the pitch, it will be a different story and thus said, I expect an upset or two along the way.
But all things being constant,the trend will be the same with the winner being a defensive boring team. Any bets on who this can be ?
Day 1 June 6th 2008:
Group A:
Switzerland vs Czech Republic in Basel :- 1800hrs GMT,
Portugal vs Turkey in Geneva :- 2024hrs

Can our athletes be serious ?

After smarting from some competition in the African Athletics Championships,Kenyan athletes are back to the European circles, chasing the monies in Grand Prix events. Our Athletics Kenya-AK officials had handed a strict guideline after the championships stating that they would ensure our athletes stayed in camp for at least 2-3months prior to the Olympic Games coming up in August.
But after coercing by some top athletes who ought to be concentrating on national trials and careful training, they let them loose to Europe where the Grand Prix circuit started 2 weeks ago. Now don't get me wrong on this one. I have nothing against running in these events, one has to pay their bills and fend for family.
But let not the allure of the money ruin our chances of ultimate and more prestigious Olympic glory. After running in these events, most of these will suffer burn-out during the Games while our tactics will be all too easy to read.
I would have supported the earlier appeal by AK to have them retained at the national camp in Eldoret. We need to focus on the bigger picture( sounds so cliche !)man ! Can't our fellow Kenyans see this ?