Saturday, 31 January 2009

Africa Champions League: Kenya starts with a loss

With the news this week being bad for Kenyan sport, we pile that up with 1 more story. Mathare United started with a 2-0 loss to Zesco- Zambia in the Zambian town of Ndola. The usual story will come by and the club comes back with an uphill task of scoring at least 3 goals to sail through into the next round.
Tomorrow Gor Mahia takes the pitch to take on Rwanda's APR. They take comfort on having veteran coach James Sianga and a fanatical following rivaling more established clubs in Europe and South America. We do hope a return to continental club football will not end in the 1st round.

Nakumatt fire takes out football aficionado

This article doesn’t feel right but we have to pay tribute to a local football manager who started out with the budding club and last year’s Kenya Premier League winners- Mathare United. Peter Serry associated with the club was among casualties in the fire that gutted down Nairobi’s busiest and 24hr supermarket-Nakumatt Downtown.
We may lay blame on the concerned parties for not responding with the urgency and technical expertise that's needed, but that's not for me here.
May his soul lay in eternal peace and as Mathare United play in the opening game of the African Champions League against Zambia’s Zesco, they can win the game as a tribute to a Kenyan comrade.

GTV goes bust!

In these financial woes, nothing seems to be spared. From your morning ratios being cut to bare essentials to your favourite sports catch ups. Gateway Broadcasting Services, the holding company for GTV has closed shop and hence no more cable TV for all you sports enthusiasts.
This comes too close to their committing to cover more local content and ensuring coverage of the regional tournaments including CECAFA.
This is a loss to all you pub owners and home owners too who have paid subscription to the company starting 2009 and the periods preceding.
My quick assessment tells me that the company may have secured most of its finance through debt and thus with the financial crunch hitting all, they couldn’t take it anymore. Let’s see what unfolds as we live in historic times!

The statement from the company's here.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Gebreselassie in Town

Gebreselassie finishes ahead of Tergat on his days on the tracks

One man Kenyan athletes love to hate is in town. Coming courtesy of G4S Group-local security and courier service company, he is in town to conduct running clinics for 3 days.
And he didn't even wait for a night with Kenyan media asking him about his record set for the marathon which he broke last year adding to the already heated rivalry between Tergat and himself. He's always said theirs is a friendly one but I'm sure younger athletes like Samuel Wanjiru, Robert Cheruiyot are listening.
It will be an interesting time to interact with the athlete and hear his point of view and also learn a few of his entrepreneurial skills which he has put into good use to help him secure a life after racing.
But from the look of things, retirement is not anywhere close. More details here.

Sports FM radio station in Kenya

This blog had reported this last year and it seems the FM stations have finally paid heed to the call . Jambo FM which has been an offshoot of Radio Africa-home to Kiss FM and Classic 105.2 FM - is going into fully fledged sports after doing trial sessions.
Famous names such as Bramwell Mwololo and Jacob Mulee both former footballers ( and coach for the latter) are among the few already working at the station.
Among its offerings will be live commentaries of football(soccer) games from the Kenya Premier League, English Premier League, La Liga, Champions League and even Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup.
The other offerings will include sports like rugby,swimming,motorsport and other major sports events.
What I'm wondering will they do what they have been copying from a local radio station where the broadcasters watch the game on cable TV and start running commentaries and adding voice-overs to seem like they are covering the games live. While the local enthusiasts maybe enjoying the commentaries ( I fall for it once in awhile),there are things called 'TV rights', 'plagiarism' which they ought to take care of.
Otherwise a noble idea worth its time.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sports and Sponsorships

As I write this, EABL has committed Kshs. 12 million for the Kenya Open Golf tournament to be held in April at the Muthaiga Golf club. Earlier this month, Safaricom committed another Kshs. 8 million to the Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Postal Corporation, Brand Kenya and DSTv added another Kshs. 0.5 million each towards sponsoring the event.
KCB continued its 5 year contract with KMSF with a bounty of Kshs. 30 million. Kenya Data Networks (KDN) will commit some Kshs. 6 million towards the local golfing scene for the events organised by Kenya Golf Union in the different clubs.
This is a positive step from Kenyan corporate companies which would have turned the other way claiming they are cost-cutting on their expenditure. I’m on the look-out for more companies which will join the queue and stand to be counted.
OK, Triton’s scandal didn’t do justice to the sponsoring companies sinking with over Kshs. 5 worth of sponsorship commitments. Internationally companies have been bailing out of sports sponsorship at an alarming rate. AIG, Vodafone, Nortel Networks are but a few of the main ones. Image courtesy of Brands of the World
What has perturbed me though is the low participation locally by companies in sports sponsorship and development of sports. Concern maybe expressed through the association officials who run the offices a backyard pawn shop. Government bureaucracy and nonchalance in some of the associations too leaves a lot to be desired.
But I believe its time companies realized there are better ways of communicating value to their targeted audience and sport is one universal way of doing this. It’s is for marketers to find ways of communicating this to different audiences. Traditional methods such as advertising are slowly becoming redundant and ambiguous. Let’s see how this unfolds in the coming months.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Motorsport in Kenya gets thumbs-up from KCB

Fresh from having bad publicity from the scandal involving one of its sponsors, Kenya Motorsport Federation got a shot in the arm with its main sponsor committing another Kshs. 90 million over the next 3 years. That goes a long way in encouraging local rally drivers who may have started having second thoughts about the sport.
Rally enthusiasts will be treated to another round of rallies and the main one of course being the Safari Rally which is included in the International Rally Championship as it hopes to make its way back to the World Rallying Championship. KMSF ought to attract some bigger fish and give a good account of itself as they organise these circuits. A few foreign competitors ought to give our local drivers a challenge and ensure the sport attracts foreign media.
As for KCB, thanks for going against the grain and remaining true to the sport. Asanteni sana !
Azar Anwar is crowned as the top driver for the season ended 2008. Find this here.

Football developments

Over the weekend, local football clubs treated us to the servings we expect for the coming season. Gor Mahia & Mathare United played to a local version of the Community Shield and the latter were outclassed even with the services of last season’s best tactician F. Kimanzi. AFC on the other hand had a trip to the Coast and their loss to a lowly team is cause for concern-though they may take consolation in the fact that they still have a month or so to strengthen their squad.
Thika United on the other hand has been taking the pains of setting up proper training facilities with grounds, a gym and accompanying equipment. Through their sponsors Brookside Milk, the team is also recruiting to enhance its title chances Sofapaka is also in the mix as are other clubs. The encouraging thing is that most of the clubs have secured at least 1 sponsor for either their shirts or players (becoming employees of sponsoring company). With another Kshs. 1 million (approx. 13000 US$) from the SuperSport –sponsored Kenya Premier League, clubs should be able to start the league on fair grounds. Its now up to them to ensure they fill their respective grounds with fans and play quality football to make us even abandon English, Spanish, Italian and other foreign leagues- ambitious maybe but possible.
DSTv (SuperSport) has also been recruiting local journalists to be able to cover the local games and have even committed a new outside broadcasting truck to cover the games beyond the Nairobi environs. Various stadia outside Nairobi have been earmarked for KPL games which will be screened live on SuperSport 3 starting March 2009.
Looking forward to March…KPL starts

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Sports Personalities of the Year Awards- Gala Night

The biggest sports event (outside the fields and tracks) was the gala night hosted by the FineTouch Communications -sports marketing organization -Paul Tergat's brainchild which has managed the event since inception.
The event attracted the biggest gathering of sports personalities from across the spectrum. From the rich and famous (sportsmen in Kenya do easily fall into that category) to the retired and flourishing. Kipchoge Keino, John Velzian, Francis Kimanzi, Bob Munro, Injera brothers, Jacob Mulee, William Sigei, Martin Keino, Elenah Shiveka, Richard Omwela, David Makali, German ambassador,Samuel Poghisio are but some of the names on the roll who I managed to mingle with.
MCs for the night were Robert Soi-sports editor KTN and Torome Tirike-sports editor Citizen. I thought there was some imbalance since both were men though the former was in the night's dress code-tie and black suit while Torome was in dressed as a Maasai moran. A lady would have made more sense and balanced out the equation-Everlyn Watta-Nation Media Group or even Citizen's Jasmine Martin maybe.
- the turnout by most sports associations/federations, officials and personalities was impressive. Its the only forum they meet outside their respective competitive disciplines.
- media stations were also well -represented and with KBC covering the event live ( for once there were no hitches from their broadcast-though I'm made to understand they had contracted a media practitioner to provide clips which were used intermittently in the event). They may have hogged most the roles like MCs and judges but that's fair enough for now.
- Sponsors came in a bigger way than last year (even as most companies keep making excuses about the economic state). Safaricom, KBC, Brand Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Services, Nokia Siemens, Multi-Choice, Postal Corporation of Kenya, Nairobi Bottlers (Coca-Cola) and Sarova Hotels were the toast of town on the night. Gina Din Communications (they always get the big jobs...huh ?) were the PR managers for the day.
- Sarakasi dancers had an interesting dance representing the different disciplines and they gave a good intro to the event. Their performance using ‘Chariots of Fire’ –theme song for 1984 Olympic Games –Los Angeles was a great theme for the night.
- Time-keeping. I have attended Kenyan events and this one was quite on point with the day's roster. Everything ran like clockwork. Even with the catering, this distracts most people, impressive! I made 2 trips to the desert table-I digress.
-security was tight and no losses were reported or ugly incidences as happens at some sporting events in the country.
-Govt representatives- led by the VP the GoK has come to acknowledge the need to support sports and sports men. Figures indicate a kitty of KShs.100m has so far been presented as prize money by the Government. Money well spent methinks

- A media friend was almost missing out on the event after missing out on the invitations list. Thanks to a staffer from FineTouch Communications who ironed out the issue.
- some of the music played for the night was not authentic (reflective of Kenyan musical prowess). There was a sense of repetition especially while doing the presentations. The bands can work on that.
- cameramen- they almost held some athletes ransom demanding shots at awkward positions. The frequent guidance from Robert Soi made sure they didn't interfere with the day's proceedings.
- Samuel Wanjiru’s gaffe when he couldn’t remember the ex-VP’s name. The athlete though was proud of the efforts made in recognizing Kenyan sportsmen and asked for more patriotism- let’s not wait for Obama who made his way up.
-Kenyan football officials- Harambee Stars was presented with the Team of the Year- 1st Runner-Up. None of the feuding factions could legitimately collect the trophy prompting Soi to ask Francis Kimanzi to collect with the crowd applauding him for the achievements. (I’d spotted Mr. Nyamweya-KFF but he was a tad bit late).

-nothing out of this world happened, crowning a great night for the sporting fraternity in Kenya.
1. Sports Personality of the Year –Male- Samuel Wanjiru-athletics
2. Sports Personality of the Year- Female- Pamela Jelimo- athletics
3. Sports Team of the Year- Female- Prisons volleyball team
4. Sports Team of the Year -Male- Rugby Sevens team
5. Sports Federation/Association of the Year- Kenya Rugby Football Union
6. Coach of the Year- Julius Kirwa
7. Most Promising Sports person- female- Achieng Ajulu- swimming
8. Most Promising Sports person- male- Josphat Bett-athletics
9. Special Category:
Most outstanding sports person-male- Henry K. Kirwa- athletics(paralympian)
Most outstanding sports person-female- Mary Namuwinja-athletics(paralympian)
10. Community Hero- Juma Abdalla Kent-basketball
11. Hall of Famer:- Jonathan Niva- football

Friday, 23 January 2009

Sportskenya goes live at the Sports Personality of theYear Awards

This annual landmark sports event is about to go down and Sportskenya will be covering this event live. As we speak, security has been tightened around the venue, thanks to the presence of Government officials (the VP will be gracing the event on the President's behalf.
Each year it been growing in leaps and bounds. One letdown though is the absence of the invited guest, one Maria Mutola from Mozambique. We'll give your snippets of the event as we go on.....

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Athletics Kenya : A little bit of this, a little bit of that

One of the busiest sports associations in Kenya is having a really interesting tunr of events as the year gets older. With the national cross-country meets on, the association decided to axe a number of agents (story here). What caught my eye is that all the agents were foreigners most operating from Europe. Maybe it's something we have never thought but why is it after 40 years of dominating the track, we can't afford to groom local athletes into agents? Furthermore can't Athletics Kenya develop training programmes for such agents for local athletes? This would reduce the incidence of unscrupulous agents out to make a living from our athletes. Famous athlete Henry Rono lost much of his fortune from dealing with such agents. Last year a local athlete lost his life in Brazil and the family was pleading for his body to be interred.
While they deal with the issue of agents, AK officials will also be seeking Government support to ensure they host the 2010 Africa Athletics championship. One thing that puzzles me when issues like these arise, where we Government officials when the bid was being made? And if they were there can't they make a commitment of so much and be obliged to sign up a document for such an undertaking?
The world over, major championships always have the backing of the central Government since this is one of the ways of marketing the country without much strain. This also commits them to infrastructural development which would otherwise be under-utilised.- Remember the boon for Mombasa for hosting the 2007 World Cross-Country championships?
Keeping it real, Athletics Kenya now have to source for a new sponsor for their Grand Prix event which brew controversy last year after EABL through its flagship brand Tusker withdrew. It emerged that Keino Sports Marketing bungled the prize money meant to be paid out to the winners. I'll be hope they can get a more relevant brand which would closely associate with athletics. New KCC and Brookside are 2 companies I can quickly throw in there.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Skating in Kenya

This year, Sportskenya has decided to move from writing stories on the usual culprits of major sports and add a little on the offering of Kenyan sport. Skating sees us off this week.

Walking into town on a Sunday afternoon sometime last year, I was almost knocked down by these kids racing on the skates down the empty streets of Nairobi’s CBD. I was wondering which company was having a roadshow on a Sunday or which backyard had moved its rivalry into town. A little into town, I found a whole section of the CBD roads closed for these winds-on-wheels.

The Skating Club has started an ambitious plan to make Kenyan youth appreciate skating not just as past-time but a sport where one can make a living. I have seen kids on skates more than once doing various product launches and creating a buzz at other locations with their roller-skating skills.
It's not a very easy sport in the sense that most roads in Kenya are without clear markings and again Kenyan (Nairobi mostly) motorists are not accommodating to such tomfoolery. Most of these kids blockade their local estate roads and do their runs to the chagrin of the neighbourhood watch. The authorities may also say there are no rules or regulations recognizing these users on the roads. (I’m made to understand skating is illegal in some US States, remember Lupe Fiasco’s song?). The skates are also out of reach for most kids and the rate of wear and tear may put off even those interested in sport from not-so-well up societies.

Thus with this in mind organizers have requested city authorities to allow them usage of city roads on Sundays when they are less busy to enjoy their game and show different skills as well as socialize. It would be a great opportunity for energy drinks and other products to have their placements and promos done on such days. They can also consult these I’ll be keeping my foot on the ground as I seek more information on this.

For inspiration, I take them back to Lupe Fiasco on Kick Push…….

Kenya Football Fallacies & Fantasies

It’s only in Kenya where once you do a great job, you get booted by your bosses. It’s only in Kenya where you find rewards for being mediocre. It’s only in Kenya where the more corrupt you are, the more glorified you become.
Over the weekend, while we enjoyed rare showers being a shiny season; the rains beat us from one of the bodies claiming to run football allegedly sacking the national football coach for ‘hard-headedness and insubordination’. It’s alleged that he refused to take the team for 2 friendlies in Yemen and Spain last year before the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup-even after it was claimed he had requested for the same. There were other accusations which I won’t dwell on here.
My point(s) of concern is;
1) With the team still fresh from its first outing this year, we need a sense of stability and continuity to be able to hold for the upcoming tie against Tunisia in March.
2) Who in reality is running Kenyan football? This question needs to be answered by the Kenyan government officials as CAF and FIFA will never gives us a clear picture of this. They have more serious things to do and one of Africa’s fledging countries can’t hold them ransom with its shenanigans.
3) While the Government maybe under pressure from FIFA, they can turn the heat on and take over the management of the national team. That way they can save us some blushes from the FKL and KFF clowns.
4) I can almost certainly say we have squandered and lost enough opportunities to put our act together in sport especially football. With all the goodwill from sponsors such as MultiChoice, and a local league attracting fair representation, we have taken 3 steps forward but 5 back.
5) Can we disband football and just forget it the game for the next few years in Kenya? We can continue our viewership of European and South American leagues with ease.
As for the football officials purportedly running Kenyan football, barbs galore for your 2009 season !

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Off-season Preparations

With most leagues enjoying a break, the preparations are underway for most of sports associations and federations.
Rugby –locally will see one of the off-season tournaments the Bamburi Series next month which serves as a good curtain raiser and gauge for the various players wishing to make a mark in their respective teams. On the other hand the 7s team is well into its 3rd circuit which takes them into Wellington next month.
Basketball- most of the teams will be looking to recruit personnel for their teams. A consolation is that no team has dissolved yet, though this may happen given the decrepit conditions the game is showing in the last years. As if to add insult to injury, a number of fresh talents are being poached by American high schools and colleges. This can’t bode well since few of these ever make a contribution to the local game. After the flight, kwaheri is what we say!
KBF has not made any clear intentions of new changes in the League with the officials who were elected early last year still struggling to support the Federation in the measliest of ways.

Hockey- this is another sport having a see-saw of sorts. With elections held last yea, we can hope that the new office gives the league some stimulus. Indications are that the various tournaments ahead of the official season like the Vaisakhi tourney will making a comeback. We do hope no drama will be seen like the boycott and eventual suspension of the junior team to the continental challenge.
Football- the clubs have engaged various professionals and ‘quacks’ alike to prepare for the Kenya Premier League which starts in March. A couple have hired new coaches like the now renamed City Stars (formerly World Hope). The rivalry which existed between perennial opponents such as Leopards and Gor Mahia will be revived after promotion of the former.
Motor-rallying- the Kenya motorsport starts with concerns over sponsorships after the KCB package (worth KShs.130 million ended in 2008) and the collapse of Triton Petroleum which more or less provided fuel to most rallying teams. For an already struggling sport, this is bound to hurt more if no immediate sponsors come on board.
The Safari Rally is included in the International Rallying Championship. Kenya MotorSport Club had better be working overtime to secure the necessary support both financial and logistical.
Swimming- With the success enjoyed by our swimmers last year, swimming has quickly caught on in the country moreso in the City. Over the last few days, thanks to the favourable weather, swimming pools have been brimming with young Kenyans trying to emulate their local hero-Jason Dunford. If this can be sustained and the young talent offered specialized training the kind the Dunford brothers enjoy, we can be sure to produce continental if not world beaters. This is easily becoming one of the emerging sport in Kenya.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

CECAFA- Missed opportunities

Yesterday marked the final game of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup and if not surprising, Uganda managed to win the title pipping Kenya 1-0. Though most teams had sent their weaker sides, the competition was supposed to be a good opportunity for Kenya and other teams preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations/World Cup qualifiers to test their charges.

While Kenyans take consolation finishing second, the FIFA rankings reckoned otherwise- Kenya’s currently placed 84th and its neighbour Uganda at 68th- another opportunity to capitalize on placing our country in a steady position (You know we can’t send our players to some professional leagues if we are below 70th position- like the English Leagues?)
With the invitation of a guest team the competition was supposed to have a competitive edge to it and at least give value for money for sponsors and pay Tv channel GTV which signed a contract to air the games. This didn’t quit live to the billing though the bigger teams seemed to struggle earlier in the tourney. The wider African audience may have been amused by the level of competition exhibited.
Watching the games from the comfort of our seats was not shared by our players who kept complaining of the pathetic conditions of the pitches- especially what looked like a grazing field in Jinja. Can CECAFA attract serious funding with such grounds?
Why live up to such mediocrity?
What was worrying too was the timing of the tournament, which meant there were few fans getting into the gates of the stadia. Missed opportunity for revenues!
With the next tournament to be held in Kenya, there should a lot going for it. My belief is that Kenya will still be in the running to qualify for the Cup of Nations. As for the World Cup, I would like to share my optimism but with no proper management and tactical plans are in place to guarantee this. Tunisia which is also in the same Group had sent its personnel to analyse our game. Do we bother to do such assessment on our opposition?
Let’s hope Kenya will redeem the image of the tournament.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Top Sports Personalities in Kenya -2008

As we look forward to the coming year which will serve as breeding grounds and hard work for all sporting disciplines (since there are not as many major sports events), I have looked at those who made a major impact in the sports scene in 2008;
They are as follows;

1. Pamela Jelimo- Athletics 800m- from obscurity to golden moments- she literally scorched the tracks last year. Starting with the Kenyan championships(cum trials), she went on to register a gold medal in the African Athletics Meet in Ethiopia, won gold in Beijing Olympics and crowned the season by taking the Golden Jackpot by winning 6-out-6 races in the Golden League Athletics Grand Prix. She was accorded State honours having audience the powers-that-be. She’s easily the most talked about sports personality for the year 2008.

2.Francis Kimanzi- Coach/Team Manager (Mathare United & Kenyan football national team)– juggling two demanding jobs is not mean achievement. But he did just that and managed to win the Kenyan Premier last year and also managed to guide Kenya into the 2nd round of 2010 World Cup / Cup of Nations qualifiers. Under him, Kenya is currently ranked 65th in the FIFA world rankings –the highest ever and best for the East & Central African teams. All this at the tender age of 30 years.

3.Jason Dunford- Swimming- he started the year by being crowned SOYA for 2007 after a sterling performance in the All-Africa Games. He put Kenya in the Olympic record books temporarily holding the record for the 100m butterfly stroke for a few minutes. He managed a 5th place finish in the Finals won by swimming phenomenon Michael Phelps. He crowned the year by winning 3 gold medals & 2 silvers in African championships held in South Africa in November.

4.Collins Injera-Rugby- The national 7s team has become any sports enthusiasts’ talking point for the last 2 years. They won the Team of the Year award –SOYA 2007. One emerging player from the season was Collins Injera who had the big teams the likes of England, Fiji shaking in their boots last season. He has been a decisive factor in Kenya’s 7s game and is likely to be a player to watch this season.

5.Samuel Wanjiru- Athletics Marathon- he was the 3rd best marathoner going into the Olympics and his place was confirmed after finishing 2nd to Martin Lel in the London Marathon, as well as a nagging injury to Robert ‘Mwafrika’ Cheruiyot who had been tipped as the favourite. But come the last event of the Beijing Olympics Games, we woke up to watch a lean man tear the rest of the pack apart and win Kenya her first Olympic marathon gold.

6.Francis Ouma- Football-seeing as it is, the Kenyan Premier League last season got off into a good start. With DSTv/SuperSport screening select Kenyan games, our footballer had something to show to the rest of the world. Ochieng found the net 15 times most for his team leading them to a 1st place finish. He has found a place in the national team and is currently leading Kenya’s onslaught in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda.

7.Humphrey Khayange- rugby 7s- he captained the team to the IRB Sevens Series and one of the most influential players in the team. He managed to guide the team to a season high 6th place in the Series before they lost steam and slipped to finish within the top 10 positions. They won the Tusker Safari Sevens in July, giving local fans something to smile at. He is still captain and was instrumental in the team’s season 2nd round of the Series outstanding performance at the Dubai Sevens in December. We’ll how he guides the team for the rest of the season.

8.Ben Ayimba –coach rugby 7s team- he was one of the best players of his days and led Kenya’s 7s team to many an upset. He took up the managerial role of team in 2007 and has since seen the team grow to be one of the best emerging teams in the IRB 7s Series. He takes responsibility for any poor performances a thing that has endeared him to both fans and players. He is also one of the youngest coaches in the Series at 31 years. He is bound to continue this streak in the year.

9.Wilfred Bungei- Athletics 800m- he has been a major feature in Kenya’s international performances and is easily one of the most recognizable athletes on the track. He was a perennial underachiever failing to make the final sprint count and missing on medals. He led Kenya’s contingent as the captain of the Kenya team to the Olympics. Last year he proved us wrong and won his race earning Kenya one of the 5 gold medals in the Beijing Olympics. His trademark eye-glasses he says are not a fashion statement but simply to save his eyes from the gashing winds in the races.

10.Julius Kirwa- he took the unenviable job of head coach athletics at a time when Kenya’s international performances were taking a beating from bitter rivals such as Ethiopia, Eritrea and the North Africans. He almost lost it when Kenya didn’t win any individual race at the World Cross Country championships in ……earlier in 2008. But he managed to recover and come back with a bang helping Kenya secure 5 gold medals at the Olympics courtesy of the athletics team.

11.Nancy Lagat- 1500m –she was the surprise gold medalist for Kenya at the Olympics. She had kept her trend of winning, nondescriptly and she repeated that feat at the 1500m race earning Kenya’s women their 2nd ever gold medal at Olympics Games. Her demeanour hides her ambition to excel and she surely had us fooled!


Richard Omwela -Kenya Rugby Football Union- sustained support and professionalism into rugby
Mutwiri Mutuota- CNN/MultiChoice African Journalism of the Year Award nominee and winner in Sports Award section
Hellen Sambili-Minister for Youth and Sports- ensuring sustained Government support to Kenyan sports - interactive site with interesting sports news and arguments
EABL, KCB, KCC, Safaricom, Standard Chartered Kenya,Coca-Cola -the top companies supporting sports in Kenya for the season (Virgin Atlantic also deserves a mention albeit a hurried one).

Please add any which I may have forgotten ! on the heels, Gor Mahia football club's relaunching

Hot on the heels of yesterday's relaunch of AFC , one of Kenya's most successful club is going the same way and hoping to attract membership as well as sponsorship for its local and continental championships.
Gor Mahia-a club with some of the most die-hard fans- will be hosting its members, fans, well-wishers to a dinner at the Charter Hall club later this evening. Its club chairman and prominent Nairobi lawyer Ambrose Rachier is asking all who can make it to show up and support this budding club.The official guests include PM Raila Odinga -who marked his 64th birthday yesterday and Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi(who was the official guest at yesterday's function)
I'm so looking forward to the upcoming Kenyan Premier League....which you can watch on DSTv's Supersport 3 starting March 2009 !

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Kenyan Club set for Relaunch

After languishing in the lower rungs and having promoted to the Kenyan Premier League (though not without controversy), AFC Leopards are hosting its local football fans and football enthusiasts alike to a relaunch dinner. This is taking place today 7th January at Charter Hall , Nairobi from 5.30 p.m.
This comes at a time when there has been increased interest in Kenyan football not just from the local scene but the region and continent too. As earlier indicated in other articles, I believe the success of our national team will be nurtured by enhancing our local teams first. Thus they can act as feeder clubs to more professional leagues in the continent and world alike.
AFC represents such an opportunity and the effort must be applauded. I have had an opportunity to meet some of the people working behind the scenes and if the plans are anything to go by, we should see a real change in Kenyan football.
Tickets are at KShs. 1500 per plate and Kshs.10000 for VIP Seats. The deadline may have passed (yesterday) but I'm sure they wouldn't mind an additional sum to their kitty. Contact Person: Richard Ekhalie Marketing & Corporate Affairs Director

The relaunch dinner was fairly well attended and an interesting combination had the KFF and Football Kenya Limited both represented. There was also a fair share of politicians from Western Province where the club enjoys a huge fan base. It managed to raise at least KShs. 700,000 (approx. US$ 9000). An aggresive drive for seasonal and gate tickets should also raise some income for the club. A fair start if I must say

Keep it here for updates on development of our local clubs.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Football: Kenyan team gets it rough

Image courtesy of The Standard

For fear of being called pessimistic, I am not surprised by our national team struggling at the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Jinja and Kampala. As much as we would love to say we are currently the best ranked team in the region (at 65th place) the going has been rough against the teams considered to be the toughest outside of the hosts, Uganda (ranked 71st on the FIFA rankings).
Zambia(72nd) and Sudan (93rd) are clearly not teams to be underestimated given their pedigree and also prior experiences in the region.
The Kenyan team didn't quite get prepared for the tournament and I pity one Francis Kimanzi who had to wait for the Kenyan officials who can't agree on who's to run what to appoint him. There was also the Christmas break which didn't do much justice. As if not enough, the officials took their 'domez' across the border and some had to sent away by CECAFA Secretary-Kenyan Nick Musonye- if I was to be queried both FKL's and KFF officials' ought not to have been allowed there.
With the remaining fixtures looking relatively easy, Kenya might just make it into the semi-finals and may just scratch a result into the final. It will be interesting to see how Kimanzi manages and inspires his charges for the first time in a tournament setting.
The Kenyan officials-whoever is running the Harambee Stars ship- might look into inviting a few of the countries after the tournament and also use this as a good build-up for the coming Africa Cup of Nations/World Cup qualifiers.
It seems the Ugandans are not such football fans after all. The low numbers experienced in the stadiums is not good for future football events to be hosted in the country. The timing also may have played a part since most people may have decided to leave for their homes for the festivities. Explains why they should host it between the 1st and 2nd weeks of December.
I guess the English Premiership has gained a foothold like it has for most African nations. Can we at least support our national teams if we are not really inspired by the club sides yet ?

Formula 1 :Fernando Alonso's plane in accident at Kenyan Coastal town

With the Formula 1 team Renault boss Flavio Briatore having made Malindi his favourite place for Christmas and New Year festivities, there was bound to be some guests in tow due to the privacy and seclusion they enjoy in their lavish villas in the town of Malindi.
One Fernando Alonso had joined Mr. Briatore probably to strategise for the coming season and see how to comprehensively win the Formula 1 title. A plane mishap in the tourist town of Malindi's tiny airstrip almost denied them that pleasure.
This ought to encourage the authorities to undertake the necessary expansion on this town's airstrip and also look into possibilities of ensuring the facilities available are up to standards. We can't afford to lose such visitors who have been more than benevolent to the Kenyan tourism scene.