Wednesday, 28 July 2010

African Athletics starts in Nairobi

One of Africa's athletics powerhouses finally gets the chance to host this continental championship which features  teams from across the expansive lands from the North, West, South, Central and of course East Africa. There are the sprints specialists, Nigeria and Namibia while the middle and long distance challenges of Morocco, Ethiopia and Eritrea shall hope to upstage the Kenyans at their home grounds.
The next few days should be a beehive of activities at the fresh looking Nyayo National Stadium. Hoping the weather patterns permits, it should be a worthy outing for the Kenyan sports fans weaned more on team sports of football and rugby. It shall also bode well for Athletics Kenya to gain credence of hosting major meets in the country after a successful World Cross Country championship in 2007. For more updates follow us on Twitter here with #Nairobi2010 as the tag or blogs including SportinKenya.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sprite Slam Tour : Basketball in Kenya at Crossroads

After milking the best attention (and revenues of course), Coca-Cola Kenya shall once again engage in another of their brands this time taking a sport which is not enjoying the best of times - Basketball.
While its peers in football, rugby and athletics seem to be attracting monies and the cherry chips of the corporate world, basketball has become a pedestrian sport at its best. A visit to the games at the Nyayo Gymnasium (which has since been closed to pave way for African Athletics Championships happening July 28-August 1, why they need to close the gym you wonder !) ends up being a real 'labour of love'.

The flavour of the game seen in other leagues such as would compare with the Angolan or West African ones or semi-professional European or basketball premiere league of the NBA has since been lost. Even the annual 3-on-3 tournaments which used to attract sizeable crowds have since disappeared as the interested parties sought solace in other sports.
From our insider on the game, there are some developments in the works which  may curtail this but till then, Coca-Cola shall be holding forte with its 2nd consecutive tournament in the SpriteSlam tournament. The first round shall be at the Jomo Kenyatta Grounds in Kisumu 31st July-1st August with the final leg culminating in a basketball tournament at the Railways Grounds on Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi.
Let's hope there shall be synergies drawn by both Kenya Basketball Federation and its corporate sponsors this one being Sprite - Coca-Cola Kenya.  
(Image courtesy of Nation Media Group.

Basketball Briefs:

After creating a buzz with his free agency, Lebron James fell for Miami and its beautiful weather (maybe) deciding to play for the Heat in the NBA. While it seems like the best thing for the Miami franchise, I'm reminded of the fact that most of the greats from MJ, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and most of the legends defied their commercial interests to stick with one team(franchise) for the longest time. Not being a naysayer but I don't see King James earning any championship ring soon. See some insights on his move here.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Our Take-Out : 2010 World Cup in South Africa

(Image courtesy of
The party's over, vuvuzelas quiet and for the next few days all else football (or soccer)'s relegated to the transfer market ( though the Kenyan Premier League has resumed...). There were highs and lows, in & outs and whys & wherefores relating to the tournament. Off from some naysayers ( including our own team here at SportsKenya) and critics we managed to scheme out some of the 8 major stand-outs;

1)Big v/s Small : (Image courtesy of
 seasoned versus freshmen, top seeds v/s lower ranked nations, whichever way you look at it, there was not much of that once the tournament started. For experienced sides such as France and former champs Italy to be bundled out in the first round and for Uruguay to finish fourth ahead of other countries such as England, Portugal, Brazil,Argentina and Africa's own top seeds, this tournament proved too unpredictable for any bookmaker. But when push came to shove, the top two nations who had played some superior games Netherlands and Spain faced off in a not-so-entertaining Final.

2)FIFA's 'Profitability v/s Host Nation's own investment: This is a question that hosting nations need to start asking themselves. Who makes the biggest catch in terms of profitability and invested properties, naming rights and other revenue streams? While FIFA's reported to have made around US$ 3.2 billion in revenue, South Africa's economy is expected to expand by only 0.5% in GDP terms - that's counting all other factors constant. So there is something called legacy and the ensuing infrastructural costs? And someone has been asking if Zuma & Co would want to bid for Olympics? Well they just did!

(Image Courtesy of

3)Vuvuzela & Jabulani or is it Jobulani?: The noise-maker and the runaway ball were the main talking points in the pitch and around the stadiums. What other heritage could we have given the World Cup after our own African teams disappointed us massively? The more they criticized the fan-horn, the more sales it reported. Here's 10 of the best about it. As for the Adidas Jabulani ball, some of the very critics such as England's Fabio Capello had been given the chance to play the ball earlier but thanks to the hype from the media about their abilities they didn't give it a try.
Iker Casillas had started on it too but after keeping clean slates, I guess there were other excuses to give besides the ball to blame.

4)FIFA's 'Partners' v/s Ambush Marketers:
FIFA has been trying to make major corporate firms to give long term commitments to the sport through the rather complicated (but often over-valued) sponsorship arrangement. This has seen some major companies avoid this arrangement and instead engage in developing ads which are drawn towards 'sowing where FIFA says they have not reaped'. From the 'Oranje beauties, to Nike's Writing the Future and Pepsi-Cola's African rendezvous, top companies which have previously been associated with the game have looked for cheaper ways to create their own buzz around FIFA's tournaments. Back to the drawing boards Mr. Blatter?

5)'Real'Football versus Boring:
From a wide range of views, this was a rather technical game rather than attacking game. Given the statistics of having the 2nd lowest goal average since the World Cup begun at 2.3 goals per game, there is need for footballing nations to stop wasting our valuable viewership. For the Final, we had to wait for a miserable 116 minutes before spiking our rather low spirits, no wonder Americans rue this game for its lack of 'exciting' moments!

6)Social media: As we had noted earlier, social media was bound to play a huge part in this tournament and this shows the extent to which this will affect future sporting and landmark events. From Twitter, Facebook, Blogger (like yours truly who chose to watch this from the terrace), REAL TIME reportage and coverage just got better!

7) FIFA's History books redrafted :
A few footnotes for FIFA on its history books; South Africa's first round exit made it the first host nation to exit that early; new order in winning nations meant that Spain joins the rare privilege accorded to 9 other nations across the world. Europe pulled a fast one on South America making it 10 out of 19 (the rest obviously going to South American countries)

8) Africa's Future:
While most critics maybe quick to dismiss the effect the tournament had on the continent, it is fair to say that Africa shall be proud of South Africa for putting together this event. Measured we shall be in our praise since very few countries had any economic or commercial impact from the tournament. What was even worse was the fact that the party came in late for African teams with only Ghana making an effort to the quarters but again showing the inexperience that cripples most of the continent's teams. But learning, we sure did learn a thing or two from Africa's 'first-world' state.

As Brazil start blazing the world as they look to host the first of its major tournaments in the next 4 years, let's hope African countries soak in more lessons from this as they hope for the windfall sometime maybe from ....2030? We can ask Paul the Octopus, well over to you FIFA!