Thursday, 24 September 2009

Another pioneering move-

My Kenyan brothers are busy taking this ICT explosion wholeheartedly. Another online portal for sports and entertainment is currently at Word has it that the brains behind this have been doing the magazine Time Out which has the same focus -looking at both local and regional news in sports and entertainment.
What fascinated me,is the fact that they even have an online magazine by the same name. Mind-blowing for real. Another plus for the online community. For more details check it out , and be 're-defined'!

Basketball: New Format for Play-offs

The Kenya Basketball Federation has decided to introduce a new format for the play-offs starting this season. The play-offs usually played in November as the season closes, will entertain 8 teams from a previous 4. This may be good to make it more competitive but I still stick to my guns saying we need more than piecemeal changes to make our players world-class acts.
Look at some of Africa's strong teams in Basketball, such as Nigeria, Angola, Congo et al; these guys have a competitive league which ensure they can churn out talent to play college basketball and club too in America and Europe respectively. The other day in the Press we read about the first Tanzanian in the NBA, one Hasheem Thabeet.He made it through getting scholarship playing at the University of Connecticut after being spotted in a local basketball tournament-in Kenya if I must say...
I can't repeat what I have time and again said in this blog, we have administrators managing the game right now (and they are not doing a very good job at it, if reports from some of the clubs is anything to go by) but rather a mix of admin people and individuals with commercial expertise.
We have for long trained young men and women from South Sudan and the region too but we have not made any impact yet at national and international level. Please act on this KBF and let not those peeves you have been having not relegate our game into the bins but instead take it to the next level.

Hockey Officials get the boot

Finally some of the Kenyan sports bodies are waking up to the reality that unless they clean their act, no one will baby them into being a professional outfit. Kenya Hockey Union suspended its Secretary and two coaches as they hoped to make good on a promise of cleaning up the game.
Perhaps its too early what impact this is bound to have since other officials have not quite shown the adeptness of running the game which was a main feature of our Kenyan Asian brothers who excelled in many an international events.
Maybe they are hoping to attract sponsorship from corporates as they host the African Club Championships coming up in December after initial hosts, Uganda pulled out. Well, let's just hope they have what it takes to get this discipline going...we are watching you !

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

New Cricket Coach Expected in- Any Hope for Kenyan Cricket?

After having one of the lowest ebbs in Kenyan cricket in recent times, Cricket Kenya has a new coach coming into the country this week.
Logo courtesy of Cricket Kenya

Eldine Baptiste from the West Indies has a plateful to start with. He needs to inspire our boys back into the form of the mid and late 1990s to early 2000s.He might be able to awe us with his exploits having played alongside one of cricket's greats, Viv Richards.
He might get aided by the fact that Kenya's talismanic cricketer, one Maurice Odumbe is back in the crease and might be eligible to play in next year's Cricket World Cup. We surely hope he will be more handy than Andy Kirsten who didn't get us going. Maybe Cricket Kenya knows a thing or two about his non-performance thus the need to renew his contract.

Beach Volleyball in Kenya

Finally there seems to be somebody reading this blog (hehehe). Mombasa hosted a 2-day tournament for the the International Beach Volleyball Championships. The Kenyan government had even sponsored it to some Ksh. 1.07 million but they sent a junior official to officiate.
Ironically 2 countries without beaches -Rwanda and Uganda were in the finals in the men's division and Uganda was again represented in the women's finals. Though more regional than international, the tournament can raise interest and even become a major event in the Kenyan sports calendar. Our pedigree in volleyball is without doubt and we can offer some of the best beaches around.
These two can serve us well to encourage sports tourism as some means of adding extra packages to our tourism packages. I don't see why we can conquer the rest of Africa in the sport too?

Check this previous post for additional reading...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

2009 StanChart Nairobi Marathon - Another Run in the City

Banner courtesy of Standard Chartered Kenya

It's that time of the year again. We get ready to rule the roads in the City ( at least for a few hours!). This year's StanChart is right back at you ! The route promises another expedition into the City for those coming into Nairobi for the first time. The residents will also enjoy a favourable route unlike what they have doing in the last few years.
That can't be said to mean that it will be easy but a change is good as a rest. A change too is seen in the fact that late registration will attract a 500/= penalty ( as Kenyans have had a penchant for last minute registration...). The start and end The theme remains as has been Seeing is Believing- meant to raise funds for eye surgery operations in Kenya. Get practicing and we'll meet on the road !
Here's a preview of last year's events.

Boxing: Hit Squad - More Misses than Hits

The week is proving to be depressing for us sports people. Another disappointing outing in our national team representing the country in the World Amateur Boxing Championships. The team had 10 boxers representing us in all the weight categories except the Super-heavyweight category.
Getting it clear is the fact that we didn't have national trials where the team is supposed to be picked from. Since the Amateur Boxing Association of Kenya was formed, I think this is the first time they did such an amateurish move, going for an international event.FIRST WRONG !
Secondly, the team ought to have attended the continental championships in July but I guess these guys were in some 'boot camp' busy training for the World Championships. They may have had ( they thought) what it takes to challenge major boxing kings such as Cuba and Russia to both individual and team titles. SECOND WRONG!
Well 2 wrongs don't make a RIGHT and we were bundled out in humiliation in the first round.
Where do we fish our sports officials from? When did we decide to hand-pick teams for representing us? How well-equipped were they before leaving the country? Do we even have the necessary technical expertise to have a local national circuit for boxers, or are we still tied to the archaic ways of pugilism from the 1980s?
Back in the day, the Kenyan team was one of the major powerhouses in the ring and this culminated in the first African boxing gold in one Robert Wangila Napunyi-in the Welterweight Division. Well, I guess we reached the zenith and decided to slumber which we have never woken up from.

Oh how I miss the Hit Squad of them days: the Dick Murungas, Philip Waruinges,Patrick 'Mont' Wawerus, Steve Mwemas, Mohamed 'Bodi' Orungis and the Napunyis of their time.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Death of Kenyan ref :- Disgrace to sports !

On Saturday, one Dan Etolle-a football referee who was died from stab wounds by football fans he was officiating in Thika-was buried. This was TOTAL DISGRACE to sport not just football but the whole of the sporting world.
It is true that some officials make really dubious calls in games while others bring disrepute into sport but these are the minority. For Dan, his was not even such a call, just some excitable fans who thought they were doing their team a favor. What hurts me even more is slow (or no reaction) by the Football Kenya ( or KFF, which ever lays claim to managing the Kenyan game!)to the offense.
Just as they took their sweet time reacting to acts of hooliganism from one of Kenyan's oldest and most followed clubs, this time they ought to have acted with speed. They didn't even send a representative to pay final respects to the official. What tragedy ! Maybe the gods were punishing us yesterday for not respecting ourselves !

2010 World Cup Qualifiers: Kenya's headed Down but not to SA

As the major football powers are finally drawing closer to qualifying for the World Cup, for Kenya even the simplest of tasks is proving otherwise. We have been rewarding teams with our mediocre performances and still hoping that the gods will save our blushes and maybe, just maybe help us carry the day ( one day) to another major championship.
Playing Mozambique, the local Press was busy singing praises how we have a professional (sic) outfit and have players who matter to take us to the Africa Cup of Nations and maybe just sneak in a World Cup in the same mix.
In my humble opinion, our chances of qualification to any of these tournaments ended the day some intrusive football official(s) felt that one Francis Kimanzi was shown the door. Though not all that in terms of technical capabilities and international exposure, he had managed to cobble together a team comprised mostly of local and promising talents which had recovered and shown great potential.
For some reason,these officials along with Government operatives led by the PM felt it was 'imperative' to get foreign expertise and what better than to consult his European chums in Germany who brought us a gentleman who's living like a prince along with his family as we keep wandering further from our goal(s) of qualification.
Our striking force has been pathetic at most scoring only 3 times in 4 games. We keep hoping the partnership of Oliech and Oboya will do something upfront but to no avail. The backline is also archaic looking at one Musa Otieno who blundered in yesterday's game even as he tries to live one last dream of playing in a major tournament.
I would go on and on critiquing the team but that's for the mainstream media which has been hoodwinked and co-opted into thinking we will make it to the aforementioned tournaments.
I would rather be more realistic like my Bongo brothers who are aiming for Brazil 2014 and are working in earnest starting with their local league. Have we gotten ours in order here, before thinking continental or global ?

World Record? Methinks there are better things we could be doing

Over the weekend, we were treated to one of the oldest ( and lamest) athletics record being broken. OK for me, there was not much to celebrate given the fact that if our Kenyan athletes had kept their selfish interests (and those of their agents) at bay, we would have added another gold at the 1500m race.
That we could afford to cobble up a team and even contribute athletes to other teams to help us break the 4x1500m record is really despicable. What happened to the more lucrative and recognisable 4x400m? We ruled this discipline in the 70s winning the 1972 gold ahead of the Britons, and repeated these performances in the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch-New Zealand and Edmonton-Canada in 1974 and 1978 respectively. The heritage lasted long enough into the 80s and 90s, where we won gold in the 1990 Commonwealth Games Auckland, New Zealand and bronze in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
After these we have concentrated on middle and long distance races which are no longer our stronghold anymore as evidenced by the Ethiopian, Eritrean and once in a while Chinese demolition.
As for those who celebrated with the 1500m brothers in Brussels, mine was a case of mourning days gone by !