Monday, 30 March 2009

SportFive in Kenya

Logo courtesy of SportFive

On Saturday, some observant fans would have noticed that the Coca-Cola Stadium was heavily branded with some interesting boards almost like what we see in other fixtures in developed nations. A good thing.
We also heard the TV rights had been acquired by KBC ( and they better get some better equipment...what is this business of images like we're in the 1980s?). Look no further , SportFive is in town !
According to media reports, the SportFive Africa division-one Damien Delvaque -who are the official marketing company for CAF ( African Football Confederation), were the people behind the 'magic'. They have the rights for all CAF competitions, including the Africa Cup of Nations, Africa Champions League and women & youth tournaments.
I have been singing ( to the birds it seems ) but at least now it makes sense albeit to a foreign company. That's why they could afford to have their way and force the Pepsi-Cola and Nasuba adverts on us even when 3/4 of the nation doesn't even remember of any of Pepsi's products or used Nasuba for money transfer...
Let's hope they manage to convince some local companies or continental companies with a local franchise to place their adverts next time. That way we'll cheer on our team as we enjoy their products or services...good job though, we can learn immensely and with the Junior Rugby tournament in April we should know what to do with our playing grounds...
Out of curiousity, who negotiated the deal on behalf of FKL? These guys may ransom our national team without our did we get into a deal with Adidas for national kits which 'disappeared' even before being worn?

Post-Analysis: Kenya vs Tunisia

Didn't I say so ? Didn't I tell you we would not survive the Carthage Eagles? Our enthusiasm at times gets over us and we expect miracles...well none came this time !
You can't hobble together a team in less than a month and break it right in the middle and expect it to perform. You don't start engaging in petty exchanges with the predecessor for some obvious reasons and still say you have a national team.
Well now we know what we have and what to expect. It's the Nigerian Eagles we'll be facing come June. I'll still not expect anything miraculous with the fixture and we should start working towards saving face depending on the goals we can soak in.
OK, there are some things Mr. Hey did manage to instill and I'd commend. The Kenyan Press has been notorious for trying to extract stories where there are none and basically have no sense of order and decorum. They were shown why it's called residential training. We also had an official announcement for the first 11 televised on the station with the rights ( which is also another plus).
Going forward, we must win ALL our home games if we expect to even come close to qualifying for the Cup of Nations. Given we're facing the Nigerians next should be a good thing since the 2 biggest hurdles will be behind us( can we draw in Lagos? sic)
We can invite 2 or visit a West African nation such as the Ghanaians or Cameroonians and play at least 2 friendlies in such conditions if we're to expect any form of preparations for the team.
We can also ask the Government and FKL (which seems to have won the day) to work with the local teams to ensure the clubs release the players in good time and don't pull such moves as what Mathare United did.
We also need to get a Press or PR person for the team. Patrick Naggi seems to be handling a bit too much and at times can rub off guys. There are enough guys who can muster some decent lines for that purpose...ask me I can give you a few names

Additional Info:
There was some serious branding of the field early in the day. Pepsi-Cola,though a low key player in the Kenyan market decided to throw a spanner in the works by putting up its the Coca-Cola Stadium which looks hideous in the red colours they are painting...
Security was not at its best and were it not for some Government busy bodies, we could have had a rampage after the game. I managed to catch the fans walk 3kms back to town and some caused a ruckus along the busy Uhuru Highway.
The seats used should be thrown in some disposal bags. Why can't we just fix semi-permanent seats? Sports Stadia Management Board's Sam Mwai are you listening ?

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Safari Rally: No more European Safarians ?

This is a serious cold shoulder if ever there was one. Since reducing the Safari Rally into an African affair ( usually enjoys Africa Rallying Championship-ARC endorsement), this time emerging and regular visiting teams from European rallying teams have given it a wide berth.
Though the Intercontinental Rally Challenge(IRC) has put the rally as one its rounds, no major teams has confirmed participation, 1 week into the rally. The IRC acts a launch pad for aspiring rally drivers for the World Rally Championship the ultimate for rally drivers. It may also be said to be a test for rallies wishing to be included in the WRC circuit which crosses over different countries, across different continents testing man and machine.
For me the ultimate test still remains the Safari Rally and no matter what excuses the officials may use. It's a sad affair of things and some may say TIA !
I'll make time to reminisce of the days of yonder when the likes of Bjorn Waldegaard , Massimo 'Miki' Biasion, Carlos Sainz, Richard Burns, Lars Erick Torph, Shekhar Mehta, John Ngunjiri, Peter Shiyukah and Hannu Mikkola graced our race roads.
I'll make time for the spectator stage at Uhuru Park which has become a favourite for many a rally fan and may venture to the dusty roads of the Rift Valley later in the weekend.
KCB keep the fire alive. We won't lose the fight for the Rally back where it belongs....

Athletics: X-country's supposed to come home

For the longest time we have sung about the cross-country and how we have honed Kenyan athletics champions. From John Ngugi and the late Moses Kipkemboi to marathoner Paul Tergat along with ladies such as Susan Sirma and Tecla Loroupe, the cross-country has served a good breeding ground for our athletes.
The elusive one though has been the individual titles more so the senior men's title in the last 15 years. Kenenisa Bekele , Kenya's nemesis is not part of the team in the championships at Amman,Jordan but his younger brother Tariku Bekele moves up the rungs as he hopes to continue the Ethiopian reign whose only interruption was the Eritrean Tadesse in the low hot temperatures of Mombasa which almost killed senior Bekele.
We'll be praying for more than the team titles and the lads have nothing to hold them as the Government and corporate world has sufficiently put in place the incentives for the winners ( kudos KCB for the appreciation! )
I'll hold out for the races from my humble portable radio as I listen to satellite radio to keep me posted on the going ons in Amman. More fun for a busy weekend !

Rugby 7s fever's back

After raising our expectations to fever pitch levels, the Kenya Rugby 7s team's back in Hong Kong to do what they do best. This is against a backdrop of a successful outing in Dubai well-documented elsewhere.
The team has the expectations of the nation as well as the continent as they stop playing more than a supporting role in the scheme of things at the IRB Sevens Circuit. But we can't for one minute think that other teams are not watching.
Some big teams must have taken tapes of the team's games at the Dubai World Cup and must have had re-runs as part of their training regimes to counter their moves. I do hope the same bodes for Ayimba & Co. This round has been one of the successful outings and a scalping of the top teams as well as challenge for the main Cup is worth fighting for.
We'll be watching though some of us might be torn between the local football team's qualifying, but thanks for the pay TV technology...make us proud !

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

$$$$ keeps coming...

Now who said we are in a recession? I'm throwing this to you....KSh. 10 million to sponsor Kenyan Golf (ouch !...that's + KSh.12 million booty!)....add another Ksh. 4 million for a shirt sponsorship into the mix !
Kenyan corporates have finally realised they can throw in a few shillings into sport. That's commendable and SportsKenya takes a bow to all those putting in a good 2 cents worth their while.
I do hope they can also make good the longer term commitments in some of these endeavours. I was looking at some sports news from back in the day 1999 when Kenyan rugby 7s was emerging into a mainstream sport. Added to the fact that it's a thrill to watch, it was only time before we rose to the occasion. 2009 and the boys come back from the Rugby Sevens World Cup having proved any doubting Thomases of their worth.
Mirror that to the other disciplines ( of course you must have the right officials managing, multitudes of fans, and an exciting possibility for TV). the meantime....we're watching the stingy types....wherefore art thou Kenyan corporates ?
Kenya Airways invests KSh. 12 million to the East African Classic Safari Rally. Oh I love the way Kenya companies are outdoing each other to sponsor sports events ! It can better can't it ? I'm counting.....

Football : Can we really play in the World Cup?

Harambee Stars Allan Wanga goes for the ball- Image courtesy of Getty Images

Over the last few weeks has seen a flurry of activities as Kenya prepares for its onslaught proper for the 2010 World Cup. What with the PM himself playing a leading role; fund-raising efforts underway-with a website and sms solution to boot;an expatriate for a coach and all the hullabaloo that's expected to accompany this.
But the skeptic in me is still not convinced about the preparations ( we could even afford to lose the uniform 4 days before the actual tie...truly Kenyan !) and could be up for some beatings.
First up, we host Tunisia coming Saturday at the Coca-Cola National Stadium ( they are repainting it some really screaming colours....will cover that soon!). So far the tickets are out and all you patriotic brothers can get a feel of the live action.
Me, I'll be still scouring at the legal implications against Football Kenya and the missing link between our local game and the international outings.
I'll not humour myself thinking that we can beat the Carthage Eagles from Tunisia...

....while you were away

...I've had my share of musings and interesting insights from my audience here. They have been meaningful times and teary times too. We'll be having sporting moments back on track. There have been many we can look back at and more are happening now as we look forward to a pretty interesting year.