Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Dennis Mwanja's Back !

One of Kenya's celebrated rugby heroes is back in the game. Dennis Mwanja ( he should carry the nickname 'The Menace' better than the other Dennis Oliech !) was selected by the Kenya Rugby Union to be part of the team as they continue with the IRB Series in Adelaide, Australia and Hong Kong.
Recovering from an injury which threatened his career and also one which took too long, it is kudos for the KCB club and the others who aided in his comeback. Special mentions he made to Edward Rombo - one of the pioneers of professional rugby in Kenya. Let's see what edge he provides to the team as they look to move beyond the current ranking of 6th position in the IRB Circuit 2010 Series. For more on this, check out www.rugbykenya.blogspot.com !
You can also watch a video of Kenyan team warming up and working the crowd into a frenzy. They are one of the biggest crowds' favourites in the Series!

Telkom Kenya to sponsor City club

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Telkom Kenya has decided to get into the local football scene foray and sponsor a city club. Speculation states the club in question is City Stars and the amount though not confirmed will range between KShs. 10-15 million - given other sponsors have been pledging similar amounts.
Another plus for the local football scene and another challenge for local clubs to better manage their teams to engage in constructive discussions with corporate firms. Who's next ?

Monday, 8 March 2010

Another Sponsorship Deal in the Works ...

Word has it that a Kenyan football club - City Stars is about to secure sponsorship of some few millions from a local telco company. The world of football is surely getting interest in this side of the world. Hope this goodwill's going to uplift the game's standards and move the clubs to better positions locally and regionally. More details as they unfold.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Sports Clubs - Institutional clubs, Community-driven or Tribal Affairs?

In the last few months, I have been feeding off comments and conversations about the need for sports clubs and more specifically football clubs to embrace ‘tribal’ outfits (for lack of a better word).
My dilemma though is that are we trying to re-live past days or create rivalries? Again what informs the decision is it the competitive nature or just some misinformed session? There is also the reasoning around the need for communities (read tribes) to rally behind their own.

Tanzanian football club Simba Union

Given the small matter of the 2007/8 election debacle I would trend on this one carefully. There is the perception that football thrives from certain parts of the country. True, but really wholly scientific.
In my humble opinion the clubs should be developed by the communities around them. What do I mean? For instance, we have areas such as Kawangware, Kangemi, Huruma, Spring Valley, Madaraka, Kileleshwa, and many more. The residents around these areas can develop football clubs right from the under 9 , under 13, under 15 and so on.
Structures such as we have with the Ligi Ndogo and what the Super Eight Tournament is trying to do should help. Then these can conglomerate around a common channel by having mini-tournaments and the winning team(s) be awarded.
Using Nationwide League and KPL these should then go up the ranks to eventually play at the top League. Of course some of these things are happening but not with the focus and the direction they ought to take.
Youth centres and clubs should be developed using the CDF funds and Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports which were intended for football in the 2008/9 Budget estimates. The long-abandoned FIFA Goal Project’s funds can also be secured and grants offered to the clubs displaying the best management skills.
Eventually these should be monitored on a regular basis and the wealth of talent brought to a common pool for the national teams which then train and meet on a regular basis.
Of course the clubs can also prepare business plans in consultation with the experts and the corporate world which is slowly starting to appreciate the potential of sports marketing. This can be done on an annual or semi-annual basis. This way clubs would be forced to prepare financial reports and potential suitors to conduct due diligence before making any commitment to the sporting outfits.
This can be replicated in other sporting disciplines such as rugby, basketball, and handball and as maybe pursued.
A line of contention is of course the institutional clubs from corporate firms which feel they can sponsor individuals from their companies to play in a team. This is usually tricky given the fluid nature of company management in most corporate firms and parastatals alike.

We also know what happens when the management changes hands and one top manager doesn’t find sense in sponsoring sports. Others would use the oft-made statement of rationalising, scaling down or whatever jargon tickles your fancy.
As the sporting season heats up in the local scene, let’s see what unfolds as the year trudges on. There are definitely interesting times ahead, but let’s be rational more than emotive which is not easy in sports!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Kenyan Football :- Back to the Doldrums

Earlier this year, I had done a post on Kenyan football and it's perceived comeback on the continental scene. But all this has been undone by the weekend fixtures which effectively means our local teams can only wait for the CECAFA Club tournament to make any meaningful contribution to the football scene beyond our borders.
This is tragic given the amount of investment that has been streaming in thanks to the good work by SuperSport ( and no , they are not paying us to blow the horn for them). KPL- which manages the Kenyan Premier league has given its fair share too but not without its shortcomings.
The real culprit though especially for one of the clubs, AFC Leopards has been its management team.
- How do you employ a person only to pressure him when they have managed only one game?
- What measures did you have in place to challenge the continental onslaught since you had over 3 months to prepare for this?
- How do you entrust a management team which has no wherewithal to finance the team even if they have to dip into their pockets? (I'm made to understand the team got its air tickets to Ethiopia on Friday evening from a prominent politician who's leveraging himself using the team)
- There is a whole season to play for. Do you have the funds and the structures to be able to ensure the team plays for top honours?
- Do we have a technical training institute for football tacticians or do we wait for retired footballers to come into the scene and claim to know a thing or two about football?
- Youth academies, how many local clubs have these in place ?

If we dare answer some of these questions, we can spare the blushes next year to at least see one of our teams feature in the African Champions League. As for now, it's back to the local stadiums and the usual English and other European leagues on TV. Sad if I must say!