Thursday, 29 April 2010

Mariga makes cameo appearance as Inter shield Barcelona from UEFA Champions League Final

For what was billed as the battle between the 'Special One' on the pitch (Lionel Messi) and the 'Special One' off the pitch & on the touchline ( Jose Mourinho), the latter endured to end the misery of losing at the semi-final stages (previously with Chelsea) and take I Nerazzurri into the Final of UEFA Champions League ( this year being played on May 22nd a Saturday due to the 2010 World Cup).
The Kenyan football fan had a unique opportunity to see one of their own playing at a UEFA Champs game and though it was a cameo appearance, it was enough to turn our patriotic selves into rapturous cheer...well forgive the Catalans and the beautiful game ( Arsenal - English club cited to play a similar game suffered at their hands - so fair game !)

Images courtesy of Inter Milan's website

Now isn't Mourinho just the hero for sneaking in and taking our classy midfielder and most likely turning him into a world-class act. We said so in a previous post here. The Nerazzurri gave Real Madrid players, Guti & Ronaldo something to smile about and save them the nightmare of seeing their arch-rivals play at their home pitch in the Final.
Read some real jewels from the post-match press conference by Jose Mourinho here.
Can't wait for the 22nd of May as we hope to see our own take on German Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and seemingly start as favourites to win the trophy.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Sports Stadia and Ministry of Sport among worst performers in Kenyan Government Performance Index

That Sports Stadia Management Board was ranked as one of the worst performing Government parastatals by the Government of Kenya performance index is not a wonder to many a sports fan or enthusiast. Download the report here.
Along with this is the fact that the line Ministry also performed poorly pulling at the 39th out of 43 Ministries (...what a waste!) which signed to the Public Service Performance Contracts. With the Ministry being charged with the sports department dithering in management of major sports associations and missing the opportunities among others;

a) Football - not sorting out the wrangles that couple the football bodies portending to run the game in the country. Right now FIFA's trying to extend some diplomacy by offering KFF and FKL an amicable way of running the game. If you ask me, if we keep waiting for the FIFA far and Ms. Minister you have the chance to redeem our game.
b) Athletics - that we are hosting the African Athletics Championships is bound to be giving a boost to the local athletes but alas I read a different script. With no prize money and the Athletics Kenya still dragging its feet in managing the event, we are most likely to get our elite athletes missing the event of one or the other reason. If the Government can raise the profile of the event as well as commit more funds to the association and also insist on a reflection of changing times and tact in Athletics Kenya, we might be able to fend off competition from our northern neighbours, Ethiopia as well as North Africans. You can read what success Jamaica has with its athletes in the sprints.
c) Sports Stadia Management - having a fully fledged parastatal since 2003, we thought things looked up for hosting major events in the country in the next few years. True we can't expect miracles within 5-6 years but then again, when a Government Ministry decides to cross swords with corporates for the petty reason of 'preserving our heritage', we shall have monuments of shame. How now do you decide to renovate your prized stadium when the world's coming to Africa, is beyond me
d) Sports Policy Document - we still don't have a sports policy document, detailing how we can make the best of sports in the country. From investing in infrastructure to tax holidays for investors in sports and setting curriculum for sports business and sports psychology are issues we can outline in such a document. Not that there is not one in place, with a bit of haste and consultations we can get to rival South Africans and other African countries who know what sport can do to a nation. From golf, rugby, athletics and football, the list is endless in where we can lead potential local and foreign investors. Do you know your Ministry's easily one of the highest in foreign exchange remittances thanks to our winning athletes and sports personalities?

Addressing some of these issues will ensure you improve your lot in next year's ranking. Ms. Minister do us THAT FAVOUR please !

Friday, 23 April 2010

Kenya Football Woes: Ain't bought that yet ....

Following what one FIFA official reportedly said as having resolved the KFF and FKL issue, I ain't bought on that cr**! As they await the case to be resolved before the Court of Arbitration on who should run Kenyan football next week, the feebled FKL officials led by Mohammed Hatimy and his side-kick Titus Kasuve have been sending olive branches to the KFF 'officials' led by Sam Nyamweya.

No Bullshit !

Now I don't know which devil to support but the situation needs to be resolved urgently. Here's why;

1. 2010 World Cup - Missed opportunities - from missing the qualification and the coaching debacle that occasioned this. They have also not acted in the best interests misinforming the Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs to undertake repairs to Kenya's premiere sports venue, Kasarani Sports Centre. How now do you do this when the world is coming to Africa?
2. FIFA Goal Project (Youth Development Programme) - Office upon office has been telling us how they will work with the youth programmes through the FIFA Goal project. Last year we missed the grant again ,thanks to the FKL officials
3. Kenya Premier League - this is our only hope for now but the vested interests in the boardrooms might spill into the field. The latest is the refereeing scandal which saw a nervy game between Tusker FC and Gor Mahia end in a draw with both sides having shown indiscipline to warrant severe punishment. That players and officials alike can walk into a game when and if they feel like is an abomination in any league worth its salt. KPL should be no exception!
Plus what SuperSport and other major corporates have invested can not go down the drain in such stupid fashion.

If the likes of Mariga and Oliech are making it through the European Leagues, it should be because of their own drive and lots of passion to the game. But if we can clean up our act soonest, I don't see why we should have a whole first 11 Kenyans playing for various leagues in Italy, France,Spain or even England ! Till then, FIFA please stop playing to the gallery!

Bamburi Super Series starts

For you rugby fan, the last many weekends have been quite eventful leading to the final of the Kenya Cup. As if that's not enough, the Rugby Super Series proudly sponsored by Bamburi Cement as title sponsors starts this weekend.
Action shall be in 3 East African cities with the 1st Match pitting the SDV Transami Cheetahs v/s Lions which shall also be screened live on SuperSport Live from 1400hrs local time.
The other games have;
Rhinos v/s Buffaloes - RFUEA Grounds, Nairobi
Twigas v/s Sharks - Friedkin RC, Arusha Tanzania
Rwenzori v/s Victoria - Kampala RUFC, Kampala Uganda

For more interesting insights on these games visit, for the live updates and coverage of the games. Surely hope this helps mould a worthy 15-a-side team to rival the 7-a-side team which is currently riding the populist wave.

Kenyan "Superstars" at the London Marathon

Thanks to the volcanic ash from the Icelandic islands, our Kenyan athletes have attracted added interest and given the London Marathon the intended PR they invested in. Yes they put their money where their mouths are, paying $230,000 to get the elite runners from Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

This year's title sponsors are Virgin Group of Companies through its Virgin Money brand. They even have a branded website for the London Marathon. The company's known for not shuddering among sports disciplines and is always on the look-out for major sports sponsorship opportunities. They will hold title naming rights till 2014.
Kenya holds a special place in this marathon dating back to the 1989 victory of the first Kenyan to win a World Athletics Champions gold medal in the marathon, Douglas Wakiihuri - remembered best for his white gloves thanks to the dreary weather conditions in the city. Kenya has also been winning the men's race since 2004 when Evans Rutto set the pace and opened doors for 3-time winner Martin Lel, 2006 winner Felix Limo and reigning champ Samuel Wanjiru, who remains the man to beat as reported on - find list of previous winners here.
The marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors which features; Boston,London,Berlin, Chicago & New York marathons. Come watch our Kenyan contingent in the race pitted to raise the temperatures around breezy London.Catch the marathon live on SuperSport 1 on Sunday between 0945-1400, Central African Time.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Brand Kenya : Thinking of Ideas? Open Your Eyes !

Over the last few months, Brand Kenya & Kenya Tourism Board has made some efforts in trying to promote the country as an ideal destination for tourists from Europe and other continents.

I've even seen a flash ad on the BBC Website as well as the Magical Kenya one which even appeared on CNN which some critiques have commented on.
While all this is well-intentioned and may serve a certain number of interested parties, I'd wish to refer them to a survey they did some few days ago saying Kenyan athletes are the best for our country's image ?
Well RIGHT THERE ! You have your answer !
Why can't those who seek to promote the country think of selling our country during the major races in the cities of Madrid, Paris, London and Boston? They can sponsor a section of the race or put a 25-30 sec ad during the race (most of which are covered live across major TV channels and other terrestrial networks). Even better they can have the respective ambassadorial and diplomatic offices seek some placement before or after the race to sell some of their agenda or brand the events - sports branding.
How ideal it would be since you are almost always assured that a Kenyan will win the race or be among the top 3. When our brothers placed 2nd-5th on this year's Paris Marathon, our own ambassador Elkanah Odembo was among the fans cheering and was emblazoned in Kenyan colours and had also handed out Kenyan flag-lets to Kenyans and fans along the way. It was a joy watching the cameras capture our few minutes of glory.
What more, what happens when our boys are playing in the IRB circuit across the world? Hey maybe they have not thought of it that way but you'll have more than enough to do and the savings from having to send all the entourages across the globe. Wishful thinking ???

Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot wins Boston but Kenyan athletes may suffer losses

Thanks to our sportsmen we breath a sigh of relief again as the media is peppered by verbal diarrhoea and the tempers start rising thanks to the intended referendum mid this year.
One Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot ran the race of his life to win the Boston Marathon in race record. We congratulate him on this mean achievement. His is a worthy victory and firmly puts Kenya once again on the map.
On another note though, concerns have been raised about Kenyan athletes missing out on major races coming up in Europe in the next few weekends. The London Marathon comes to mind as well as the soon-to-continue Grand Prix in Europe. The earnings from our athletes is something that has been overlooked for many years but one which plays into our remittances from abroad. As much as $100,000 could be lost in a single weekend's missed earnings and endorsements as well as appearance fees.

Visit the North Rift Valley and you'll know what I'm talking about. Various options are being explored with some athletes thinking of taking shorter flights to North Africa where they can take the road into Europe.
It seems the volcanic ash was finally going to hurt us too. Talk about 'globalisation'.

Quick Update:

London Marathon organisers make arrangements for Kenyan athletes to be airlifted. Guess we do matter after all !

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Kenya's only semblance of a Sports FM Station falters

Maybe it's me or has the media scene in Kenya been reduced to a duopoly? What's even more depressing is the fact that what was almost an exclusive sports FM radio station, Radio Jambo 97.5 has changed editorial policy. They say, it's in line with the 'market needs and advertisers interests'.
Although much of the editorial stuff was foreign-based with the most coming from the European football scene, I'd think the station would have done better if they decided to focus on more local sports news and live coverage.
Talking about live coverage, could the partnership with DStv, Radio Africa (Jambo FM's parent company) & KBC have informed the decision to reduce their content? Right now Jambo FM sounds like it's trying to replicate what other stations such as Q FM ( Nation's Swahili station), Milele FM and Radio Citizen are doing. Anyone trying to maintain standards or is it free-fall there? Their presenters needed a class or two on professional coverage and reporting.
For any future investors in media and especially sports-related in Kenya or indeed in Africa, please do your legwork and background checks REALLY well. It's sad that when the 2010 World Cup is setting foot in Africa, we are turning things for the worst. Or can SuperSport make it's way into radio? Maybe, just maybe someone is listening...
For a full list of Kenyan FM radio stations check here.