Thursday, 27 May 2010

Kenyan Football Famous Derby that was

For your local football fan, yesterday was another historic day in recent times for the game. This was in the famous derby between AFC Leopards & Gor Mahia. The streams of fans walking to the stadium at Nyayo in Nairobi West was quite a buzz. We decided to go the typical fan way and avoid the trappings of the media box and go down to the Russian stands.

Here's our take and learnings for KPL;

a) Ticketing - the queues were a bit too long and chaotic at some point prompting the breaking of one of the gates (Gate 3 or 4 if I'm not wrong). This could have been avoided if the match ticketing firm had distributed the tickets at outlets such as supermarkets and other retail outlets. Though still in its infancy, try printing more season tickets, that way some of the ardent fans would have been sorted and entered early enough. And what was this about VIP Stand only for the place to be packed beyond its seams. Have a clear allotment of the tickets per sitting area and demarcate them as such.

b) Branding - the branding of both team fans' is still wanting with only t-shirts available. The more enthusiastic Gor fans had a little more with vuvuzelas and some other own paraphenalia did its rounds during the game. No wonder they seemed more organised and louder (guess that proved too much for the players on the pitch, thus losing their focus...)

c) Security - for the umpteenth time, the security lapses at the stadium were horrendous to say the least. From the queueing where some kept jumping the queue until other fans objected, to the pitch where at some point some AFC fans started throwing objects into the field. From where we were, by the 80th minute, there were fans in another world thanks to some 'illegal smokes'. Could have sworn to have gotten a 'kick' too from all that smoke. Surely you don't want to know what would have happened if there was some ruckus or fracas post-match exit.

d)Entertainment (or lack thereof) - maybe it's because it was a week-day match, but that void needs to be filled urgently. Pre-match, mid-match and post-match entertainment was non- existent making the breaks a long bore. If you want to add value to your program, include some interesting skits like this

e)Transport - OK maybe most fans can't afford but can someone think of getting buses or vans to move the masses to and from a game?

f) Fan-clubs - None of the clubs had their fan-clubs actively selling merchandise on the day. How else do you wish to connect with your fans when you've nothing for them to look out for? Same would apply for season and other tickets.

g) Prizes and giveaways- you've to entice us to keep coming to the games by giving certain ticket prizes or give-aways.

h) Stadium Management - it might not be the clubs' fault but the stadium needs to be restricted to matches and sports events ONLY. If someone wants to hire it for something else, please let them make the necessary arrangements for the pitch not to be damaged. The army march-past for these 'idlers from the Barracks' can be done elsewhere like the Uhuru Park which is rightly made for them. Sports Stadia Management Board still smarting from the poor performance slumber....???

i)Autographs - Maybe it's a foreign culture but why didn't anyone think of capitalising on the appearance of MacDonald Mariga and fellow professional footballer, Dennis Oliech? Coca-Cola took full advantage earlier and appointed Mariga Copa Coca-Cola Goodwill Ambassador. Some of us may never get that close to these guys from the look of things while they are at the peak of their careers!....(chuckle, chuckle....) 

j) Game Quality - Though Gor Mahia showed a slightly superior game and had superior ball possession, there is still room for improvement on the technical and simple ball techniques. Some of the quality was lacking and they need to do better if we are to keep coming for these games. Oh and AFC turned the tables by scoring a late winner to secure the 3-points.

From this, why can't Kenya Premier League also think of having games on a Friday evening and maybe let some of us go for a game before over-indulging as the weekend starts? The ticket sales from the Wednesday game give credence to this. We can't wait for the return leg of these two teams and other interesting fixtures if the Kenyan game is to sustain itself. Kazi kwako Mr. Elly Kalekwa!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Kenyan Football - Midweek Fixtures excite Nairobi crowds

Seeing as it is, the European and major leagues across the world may have come to an end or mid-season break but not yet for our Kenyan game. The Kenya Premier League games have become quite the talk of town and this the case with the mid-week fixtures.

Today sees one of the what is traditionally Kenya's  biggest games with traditional arch-rivals AFC Leopards pitted against Gor Mahia fondly referred to by its fans as 'K'Ogelo'! The publicity these games have created is bound to give this game added flavour. What is more interesting is the fact that none of the teams is in the top 3 but Gor's two places down at 5th place and the point difference is one point with 'Ingwe' placed 10th in the standings.
You can be sure we shall be in the stadium bringing you the behind-the-scenes action and whatever else might be of interest to our readers. The game starts at 7p.m under the floodlights ( but with a bad pitch given the rains and army marching in readiness for June 1st national day, why can't they keep their boots at Uhuru Park for Pete's sake???)
You can read a history of this Kenyan football rivalry from here or this

Monday, 24 May 2010

World Cup 2010 Ads: Nike 'Writes the Future'

This is one of my favourite ads of the World Cup 2010 tournament so far. This particular one has some interesting snap-shots of the African tournament and features among others, Kenya's own sportscaster, Torome Tirike ( albeit in very cameo role) and also a famous crowd cheer we have been renowned for especially in the rugby circles. You can here it as Drogba's about to score, anyway let me not spoil your fun...enjoy it.

Mariga's Inter Milan Score Treble but....

Over the weekend for most Kenyans it was the perfect curtain-raiser for the upcoming 2010 World Cup. Kenya's own Macdonald Mariga didn't play in the Final but that was not a hindrance as by virtue of his team being in the final, we rooted for the team to make history under one Jose Mourinho.
History indeed was made and Inter became among the elite European teams of winning the treble ( the League Championship, League Cup and Champions League) - other teams being Ajax Amsterdam, Celtic , among others and most recently Barcelona last season.
While we congratulate Mourinho for winning these titles, there is the small thing of his unconfirmed move to Real Madrid. As he was quoted saying that any manager worth his salt must have coached in the 3 most competitive leagues, and that Real's always a boon; we cannot guarantee Mariga's fate in playing for regular games for Inter let alone his being part of next season's team.

Hoping Mourinho's continues with his tradition of moving along with some of the players who help him mould a team, Mariga might be excess of his requirements given the La Liga's team penchant for spending excessively to attract the best talent. Again seeing as some of the game's scouts might be tempted to indulge in the transfer market after the World Cup hoping to get some raw talent  from there ( though most post-World Cup signings prove to be highly over-rated, we all know of the Davor Sukers, Denilsons and others of this game).
There is also the bait that Manchester City might be seeking what they missed out in the mid-season's signings in January. 
All in all, we pray our home-boy gets the chance to prove his own on the pitch whichever team he plays for, we shall be seeing our boys conquer Europe in the 2010/2011 Champions League.

Dennis Oliech's the other Kenya expected to play in next season's Champions' League after Auxerre finished third and thus is to play in the League proper. We sure hope to see more Kenyans moving into the lucrative fields after getting transfers from the local league as we improve on our game here. Who's most likely to join Mariga and Oliech? Keep it here as we keep you posted on the off-season, summer signings.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Nairobi BarCamp is Back !

After giving it a miss in 2009, the Nairobi BarCamp's back this year. This time around, the venue of the event's what is easily becoming the hot-bed of mobile-based, IT and other solutions developers 'joint'- the aptly named, iHub.
The registration is ongoing and do make it hasty since there's the upper limit of 500 which is quickly being taken up. No scroungers and idlers please! For those who's World Cup may have started, it will only be the second day into the sporting extravaganza and you never know what interesting solutions and applications might be on show to make yours a memorable day.
See you there !
Register for it,

Monday, 17 May 2010

Volleyball : Kenyan Queens do it again

This year's Women’s African club championship held in Mauritius saw our three teams qualify for the semi-finals, with Kenya Prisons winning the title, 3-1 sets against Kenya Pipeline. This is something of a perennial thing for Kenyan women clubs and this has made them contribute to national and continental success.
The only tragedy is that we have not been able to translate this to the international scene with our team losing mercilessly in the World Championships and Olympics respectively. Methinks the new Kenya Volleyball Federation has its work cut out. With the Commonwealth Games, Olympics and world championships coming up in the next 2 years, better start working now. I do hope you've resolved your little tiff with the Sports Stadia Management Board to avail to you the Kasarani Gym (which the Federation ought to pay for though the Government can throw in a subsidy or two).

UEFA Champions League 2010/2011 : Double Treat for Kenyan fans

Thanks to the exploits of their respective teams Inter Milan (Italy) and Auxerre (France), Kenyan football fans shall be treated and enjoy more UEFA Champions League 2010/2011 than has ever been. Seeing our very own is bound to change quite a number of dynamics especially TV rights  and viewership.
This year the only local TV station screening the matches was K24 (which a little birdie tells me partners with KBC, but is trying to cut its own niche). In 2008/9 NTV, Nation Media Group's Kenyan TV station had that priviledge but has left it audience asking what happened to its sports offering.
To our two brothers, it is kudos and wish Mariga's Inter all the best against German's champions Bayern Munich on Saturday 22nd May. It would be a nice crowning moment for all football fans across the country this season, before we start the 2010 World Cup in June.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Rhino Charge charges through in the last week of May

Playing into what is a busy 2nd quarter of the calendar year and forthcoming sporty weekends, the Rhino Charge takes place from the 29th -31st of May. Given that 1st of June is usually a public holiday in Kenya, it will serve as the ideal getaway for a weekend of bush action for you and your friends mixing it with charity as they seek to raise funds for the Rhino Ark - which helped fence off the Aberdare National Park to protect wildlife and the Aberdare range forest, from human encroachment.
The 4x4 showcase for many a rough road enthusiast and has lately become many corporate firms favourite way of hanging out with peers and networking. The fund-raising for each of the teams also makes it a nice run-up to the event.

UPDATE: Rhino Charge Venue Confirmed
Organisers confirm this year's Rhino Charge is at Corner Baridi past Kiserian on your way to Ole Polos - a favourite hang-out for Nairobians especially on weekends. This's even almost a long weekend given we have a public holiday on Tuesday June 1st. { well that's if you can convince your boss not to make it to work on Monday...:-)}

Book your way there with various providers of camp services and be ready for a wild weekend! Check out more details here,

2030 FIFA World Cup - Kenya 's Time ?

All protocols observed,gentlemen and the single lady representing FIFA, we the Government of Kenya wish to submit our bid for the 2030 World Cup. As Africa's second time, we believe we have the right to showcase our ability and to ensure we successfully host this once-in-a-lifetime (...twice now for Africa) tournament.
Distinguished guests, having satisfied various indicators from economic,financial and related factors; we wish to present the following 7 points as our support case.
Super-duper Highways

It must not escape your attention that we have a few years left and we have already accomplished over 95% of the Vision 2030 as set forth by our beloved 3rd Pres of the Republic. Thus are the major strides we have made;

A) Vision 2030 - this economic plan developed by a think-tank back in the later 2000s, has become one of the leading economic blueprints across Africa and indeed across the world. Countries which have recently followed our path have moved from Third World countries to Emerging Economies. As mentioned earlier, we are well ahead of schedule having consistently achieved over 10% growth rate in our GDP (check with IMF, World Bank and the most recent Inter-Continental Financial Magnates- ICFM figures). Indeed it shall be a culmination of this landmark plan & a celebration of what human effort can do with the right focus and vision from a people.

B)State-of-the-art Infrastructure : - looking at our investment on roads and related infrastructure, and with the kind help of our Chinese brothers; we have developed what maybe considered one of Africa's brand spanking roads.

We have also gotten our stadiums built to specifications that would make the Maracana Stadium look like a speck.With sophisticated arenas like the one we have along our coastline, we shall show the world what you never saw (or if you did, make your experience in Africa a premier class one). This has been the efforts of our very own Sports Stadium Management Board which is currently being consulted by the Japanese and German engineers on how they achieved this in the most astounding of engineering feats.

C) Governance :- Noting we have celebrated 20 years since we ushered in a new constitutional disposition, we have become a model nation for many a country across the continent. We have seen smooth transition of successive governments which has seen each compliment the other and continue in the 'nyayo' building blocks for our economic prosperity and serve as an 'island of peace & haven for investors'.

D) Strategic location :- Smack in the middle of the globe, we have the Equator ( 0"- latitude) running across the nation. This makes ours some of the most pleasant you could get anywhere in the world. It is the reason we have had some of the best hotels and game reserves as nature interacts with our modern infrastructure. Where else can you get wild game in its natural habitat and cities-within-cities? As you may well know we have Africa's only peak on right at the Equator with plenty of snow for those visiting from the Scandinavian countries and Eastern European regions. Plenty are the ski resorts that our visitors from these regions can enjoy.

E)Cosmopolitan centres - from Kisumu - Lakeside city,to what some call the 'Birmingham of Kenya' or 'Pineapple City' - Thika as well as the lash green area in Marsabit and our golden sandy beaches of Mombasa and Malindi, we have more than enough cities to host this colossal tournament. We have great grounds as mentioned above, electric over-head and undergrounds rails, 24-hour economic centres and more than we can mention, do come to Kenya and experience it yourself!

F)ICT - having successfully outdone the original Silicon Valley, we have managed to bring the ICT sector and currently host it in our model city of Athi (not a corruption of the word 'Earthy'). Many of the start-ups from the Silicon Valley moved their operational bases to this location along with others which have developed thanks to our innovative populace. If you do remember, as far back as the early 2000s we pioneered the mobile money transfer, the open source system for cloud-sourcing crisis information, the iHub thus attracted by our pedigree,we have most of the major companies listed not just on the German DAX, New York Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, Tokyo Stock Exchange and our own Nairobi Stock Exchange - the largest stock exchange in Africa in terms of capitalisation and listed companies.

G)Kenya Football scene - thanks again to your able leadership at FIFA we managed to streamline the football scene in the country back in 2010. We developed a homegrown league in the Kenya Premier League and in 7 years was attracting talent from across the globe with some the biggest names then playing in Europe ( from England's Theo Walcott, Spain's Xavi and Argentina's Lionel Messi) being among the first to play for our teams. We currently contributed over 25% of all players playing in the forthcoming 2026 World Cup and this is likely to go up on confirmation of our bid. Our able partners in this have been SuperSport which has built an out-of-this-world broadcasting centre in readiness of the 2030 World Cup.

Our esteemed hosts,we seek your indulgence and consider these as our main highlights and hope to influence your thinking as you vote for the host of the 2030 World Cup. Indeed...This is Africa, Our Africa !

Thursday, 6 May 2010

2010 Africa Athletics Championships : AK, PLEASE GET SERIOUS !

Kenyan athletics has for the longest time remained one of the most successful sports discipline in the country and with this comes the added bonus of prosperity and expectations. Being managed by one of the richest (if not the richest) sports body in the country, it is thus a joke to find it hard to get things rolling for the continental championships to be hosted in Nairobi July 28th - August 1st 2010.
The team headed by the current chair who's served for the longest time ever can do better than it currently is.
According to media reports, our own prominent athlete Paul Tergat has asked the Local Organising Committee led by its CEO David Okeyo - who also doubles up as the AK's Secretary General - to redouble their efforts for putting up a worthy show in the next 2 months.
That they usually reprimand organisers of local athlete meets and roadshows is sure the standard they can set for themselves. The goodwill enjoyed from most corporate organisations, the Government and the Sports Stadia Management Board (that which has been dithering though in renovating Nyayo Stadium - venue of the championships)is enough to put something respectable in place.
They also have the experience of hosting the annual cross-country events and national trials which are good testing grounds. AK also successfully hosted the 2007 World Cross-Country Championships.
That said, they can always seek the Paul Tergats and Martin Keinos of this world who have over the years shown proficiency in managing athletics brands and events. The annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards -SOYA's such a case.
Get working people and DON'T let us down!
You can follow African Athletics here.