Monday, 16 May 2011

RIP Samuel Wanjiru, True Kenyan Hero

Waking to morning news, the media outlets bombarded us with the sad bit of Samuel Wanjiru's passing early this morning. We shall not belabour the circumstances surrounding his death. Having been in difficult circumstances starting this year, he was in the middle of some personal crisis which seems to have ended in this tragic way.

A brief window into his life show that he had become one of Kenyan's leading marathoners having secured the 2005 Most Promising Sportsman of the Year Award, having won and broken the world half-marathon record in Rotterdam. He went on to become the first Kenyan ever to win a marathon in Beijing Olympics and in the same year came 2nd in the London Marathon sending warning signals to his rivals.
His last major exploit though was the Chicago Marathon which he won in style having run neck to neck in the last few miles with Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kedebe. Other major awards included;
2008 Sportsman of the Year Award - Kenya
2008 AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award (sponsored by Asic)
2009 London & Chicago Marathon winner
2010 Chicago Marathon winner
His exploits had seen him secure major sponsorship from Japan and also enjoying attendance fees of upwards of US$ 50,000- 100,000 per race. SportsKenya had ranked him as one of the top earners in sports in the year 2010 in an earlier post. Little did we know this would be our last one of him being alive.

Concerns will be raised about the people surrounding him before his death and his continued
indulgences in life's pleasures. While many a sportsman usually have problems later on in their careers, his had started pressing too soon. It should be of note to future and aspiring sports personalities that while the world loves your exploits, find it deep within you to stay grounded lest the attention and allure of the earnings, lifestyle and all that comes with it start eating up your very essence of life.

Kenya has lost a young sportsman full of potential and we at SK send our sympathies to one and all. When the history books are done, it shall be noted that this young man left in the early stages of what had promised to be a talented marathoner of global status.

26th Nov 1986 - 16th May 2011 RIP Samuel Kamau Wanjiru

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

And1 Streetball Coming to Kenya...

Yes, you had it right. The basketball fraternity is to welcome one of the world's leading promoters of the game albeit the more exciting and dramatic side of the game. And1 - a sports apparel & shoe company for top basketballer players both in the NBA (e.g. Stephon Marbury) and lower rung versions has been a promoter of Streetball since 1998 and has conducted successful tours in other parts of the world.Image courtesy of and1

As part of a growing interest in taping into the African continent talent, the promoters have made a deliberate step into Africa and has already landed in South Africa and though initially not in the plans, Kenya and Rwanda shall be part of the tour 1st and 2nd week of June (Source:
Sources tell us Coca-Cola Kenya is hoping to ensure the trip is a success through its Sprite brand which has for long been associated with basketball. The event shall also be in conjunction with ALSA Basketball and sanctioned and endorsed by Kenya Basketball Federation.
1st week of June , people, mark your calendars!
Additional info can be found on

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sofapaka - Truly Batoto ba Mungu!

Finally Kenyan clubs can start smiling with Sofapaka getting into the next round of the CAF Confederations Cup. This next stage represents the play-off stage before proceeding to the Group stages which shall be again on home-&-away basis .
Image courtesy of

These teams are divided into 2.Winners of each group meet in a final deciding match and the winner of this proceed to meet the winner of the CAF Champions League in the CAF Super Cup. The beauty of this stage is that there is the promise of prize money as follows;
Winner of CAF Confed Cup : $ 625,000 for the club and $35,000 for the national association; Runner-up (Losing Finalist):$ 432,000 for club and $30,000 for national association;
2nd placed team in each group: $ 239,000 and $25,000 respectively;
3rd-placed team : $ 239,000 and $ 20,000;
4th-placed team: $150,000 and $15,000.

This is a welcome gesture to the teams and especially so for Sofapaka whose chairman Elly Kalekwa has been quite vocal and hoping to make good of the lucky run. We wish the team well and hope they keep their fortunes in the continental challenge together. It is also welcome relief for Francis Kimanzi who's Kenya Premier League losing streak had Sofapaka diehards starting to question his tactics.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

RIP Seve Ballestros

One of golfs legends passed on earlier today at his home in northern Spain. Though his career spanned European & American circuits, he is worth our mention since he became one of the youngest winners of the Kenya Open in 1978 at the age of only 20 years. He helped raise the profile of the tournament then having won the European Tour Order of Merit in the same decade.
Que descanse en paz , true golfing legend!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Bamburi Super Series - More Rugby Action for your May/June Weekend

Rugby in Kenya has continued to attract corporate support upon corporate support. This year it gets more interesting as there is a new office in place and so far so good. The first major event on their calendar is the Bamburi Super Series.

The event is modelled around the Super Series which features teams from the biggest rugby playing countries in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa with each of the countries currently contributing 5 composite teams.
This year's event has 8 franchises Buffaloes (sponsored by Mumias Sugar), Cheetahs (SDV Transami), Rhino (UAP), Lions, Bulls (Coastal), Sharks(Nguvu) with Rwenzori and Victoria from Uganda.
The first leg of the games happened last Saturday with the Cheetahs winning by the biggest margin against Rwenzori 49-0 and the Ugandans in Victoria edging Buffaloes 16-5 for the lowest score of the day. The second leg comes up this Saturday and round 3 on 14th May with the semis on 21st and finals 2 weeks later on 4th June 2011.
With the rearranged calendar of the rugby season, these are positive developments for the game especially the 15-a-side game which needs continuous build-up as Kenya hopes to replicate the fairy tale that the 7s team has had.

It is hoped that franchises can up their game and live up to some interesting games , though some critics have been quick to say there's little in terms of incentive for the players thus the games have become mere formalities. This is proper picking ground for Michael 'Tank' Otieno and his 15-a-side team for the national side. Technically though, those in charge need improve on the standard of the game to make the tournament make and keep the standards expected.

Do make a date with us as we make our weekend lively. You can follow live updates with @maikwambo @kenyarugbyunion @rugby360 OR @kenyanstar & yours truly @sportskenya!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

African Football Executive Summit - A First of its Kind !

African Football Executive Summit

This premiere event is scheduled to be held in Accra, Ghana from 26th-27th May 2011. The theme is '21st Century Marketing Strategies, Branding and Leadership for the Development of the Game on the African Continent'.
The organisers, Pinnacle Group (UK & Ghana) in association with the Chartered Institute of Marketing-Ghana are hoping to address good effective leadership and innovative marketing solutions to the African football game. These two can then be harnessed to become a catalyst for sustained development to achieve immense potential in a football and economic sense as has been achieved elsewhere in the world.
For more details check their link here. Wonder who will represent Kenya in this ground-breaking event...

Kenyan Football Elections - a Sneak Preview of Top Contenders

As we wait for the election date for Kenyan football elections, we have been looking at some of the prospective candidates and their chances at the top office. Gathering info from both online and offline sources, we have the following review;
Hussein Mohammed - courtesy of

He’s easily the most visible candidate for the top post and is also ‘well-greased’. Having cut his teeth through a sports business organisation Extreme Sports Limited, he is a darling of the media and is well-connected and networked both in the corporate and political world.

  • His involvement in the world of football is without doubt. The success of the Super 8 tournament has ensured he has a head-start in terms of hands-on experience of organising anything football
  • Corporate connections – securing sponsorship in Kenyan for sports’ is not the easiest of tasks. Being in a game riddled with corruption and under-cutting is also not easy, but he has made it possible though not with direct involvement of the footballing bodies of Football Kenya, KFF or KPL. He also has also regularly made valued contributions to the footballing causes and youth affairs.
  • Age – this is double-edged. While an advantage, endearing him to the youth, it might also be his Achilles heel –which the Independent Election Board statutes had almost knocked him out but was later rescinded. It might also be used by his antagonists to portray him as greenhorn at the top.
  • Smart Use of Media – he is the first candidate to start using social media; check his website here, engaging media outlets every so often and enjoying favourable coverage from the same. This ensures he can harness the same in case of his successful election. An elaborate launch to his campaign ensured the media has had more than enough fodder to feed on and seem to hang onto his every word.
  • Fresh pair of hands- it favours him that the footballing fraternity in Kenya hopes to see a pair of new hands.
  • Age – this keeps surfacing every now and then. He has kept answering back his critics and is trying to treat it as a non-issue.
  • Politics – his prior and perceived involvement in Kenya’s political world has had some murmurings saying he is not in the good books of the party sponsoring him to a local civil seat. This has not featured prominently yet but might serve as fodder for the rumour mills dimming his stellar streak.
  • Lack of Football heritage – some former players have been pushing for one of their own to run the top office and him not having made it to any club worth mentioning or representing the country at both club or national team level clearly makes this a drawback.
  • Over-promising – there was one Maina Kariuki in the early 2000s that made such a convincing pitch that it looked like we finally had an able hand to run the game. He was from the corporate world, and it was assumed he had the right credentials; does it sound familiar? His legacy is one of the worst offices to have run KFF in recent history.

Sam Shollei - image courtesy of
He was among the first to throw in the hat once the elections were announced. He was a former player having done duty with Kenya Breweries in the 1990s and also got capped for national duty. He currently holds forte at a local IT firm and is a fairly successful businessman.

  • Football history – his involvement in the game is surely helping his case. Many in the footballing world feel it is time a former player held the top office. Taking examples from the likes of Kalusha Bwalya and Michel Platini – current Presidents of Football of Zambia Association and UEFA both of whom were former players too, he hopes to emulate these for the Kenyan scene.
  • Corporate world involvement – His running the IT firm has helped him work his resume well. A typical Kenyan former football player (sorry to say!) is not the most admirable or well-versed of business managers. This is working to his advantage.
  • Local Football Club Associations – he has been working his ‘magic’ towards the football clubs who might influence some of the votes at the national elections.
  • Use of media- though a slightly later option, he is also using both online and offline visibility to run his campaign – check his campaign link here. He has not quite endeared himself to the media outlets but comes in 2nd in terms of coverage by print, TV and radio. He made a brief entry into online journalism writing for a local footballing site, check a sample piece here.
  • Age – he is not considered too young or too old and his age has not featured as an issue.
  • Fresh pair of hands – as Mohammed above, he is a new face in the game and analysts give him a safe bet.

  • Lack of Football Management Skills – he has not managed relating to football and this is a major disadvantage to his candidature.
  • Banking on Foregone Player Status – given that he is milking on this alone to help him run for office, his career some say was not the most sterling and at times was considered a peripheral player. What will happen once in office?
  • Corporate World & Football Politics – just like Mohammed, though a success story in the corporate world, the football politics represent a different ball game; one where dirtying of hands every so often is required.
  • Aloofness – some critics have had it that he is aloof to lower rung bodies and clubs where he is said to have little time for.

He has been in and out of the footballing world for the last 20 years. In terms of experience,he easily beats all the contenders but his terms have been dogged by claims of corruption and malpractices; from KFF, CECAFA and is currently said to masquerade with the Posta Rangers Club, recently promoted to the Kenya Premier League as their Chief Marketing Officer or something to that effect. He was ‘elected’ into office at KFF after declaring that Football Kenya Limited could not run Kenyan football as a registered company.
Sam Nyamweya - courtesy of

  • Experience – he has been in the game for over 20 years. From the Secretary General in the KFF team led by Maina Kariuki to the stint at CECAFA, he has held influential positions.

  • Corruption & malpractices – his tenures at the different positions he’s held have almost always led to some scandal of sorts. Loss of prize money while at the CECAFA office for the club championships; 3 bans for the country while at KFF as well as loss of gate revenues for clubs and national team; personal bankruptcy charges and questionable political dealings have been on his name for the longest time.
  • Lack of media goodwill- his prior engagements have meant that he has a questionable past which the media touches on every so often. He has also not bothered to endear himself to the online and social media world.
  • Lack of major achievements - Been there, not-done-it – his record do not strike any major achievements thus the need for a new face which he is clearly not.
  • Lack of vision – enough said.
  • Political circus – his entreaties to politics have seen him try a hand and miserably fail. Many analysts question how he has managed to survive given the high cost of political activities which usually cause many to bury their fortunes.

Currently heading Football Kenya, he has thrown in his hat hoping for a sympathy vote to continue with the beleaguered tenure. His has been a rough patch with mixed fortunes but teetering on the negative side more than the success.
Mohamed Hatimy - courtesy of

  • Kenya Premier League – it is under his tenure that the KPL secured a major sponsorship with SuperSport which was a landmark and is slowly changing the face of Kenyan football.
  • Highest Ranking – it was also in his tenure that the national team achieved its highest ever FIFA ranking at 68th place across the globe.Again a team effort but of course happening under him.
  • Status Quo – for those out to retain the status quo, this is the man for the job.
  • Corruption, malpractices & boardroom coups – just like his former ally Sam Nyamweya, his legacy has been plagued by corruption and court cases, keeping busy to effectively run office (in fact this had knocked him out of the running on the pending court case technicality).
  • Lack of Vision – just as Sam above, he has never quite communicated his vision for the local game, not while taking over through the back-door or even trying to give something in the guise of a vision.
  • Old v/s New – having been in office under a cloud of controversy, he is one of those who are disadvantaged to have served rather (…disgracefully too).
  • Not media savvy – having the yoke of controversy around your neck means the media is never going to be your best friend.  

He is strolls across the region slowly becoming a colossus of sorts in CECAFA. Working with struggling football associations, he has somehow managed to convince Government big-shots and companies in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan to fall into place to ensure the club and national championships are held annually.
Nicholas Musonye -

  • Proven Track Record – his posting at CECAFA has been a major success for the body with the club and national championships; securing sponsorships year-in year-out and often going out on a limb to lambast national officials not too keen to work their part but quick to put their hands in the cookie jar; his tenure is admirable.
  • Media savvy – having worked in the media previously, he is always calling on them to articulate matters football in the region. He also throws in his two cents on situations in individual countries’ football associations and governments but is careful enough not to rub them the wrong way. True media darling!
  • Well ‘networked’- having contacts in high office of some of the major corporate organizations in the region, he can muster sponsorships even when all else seem to have given up. This can serve him well in enticing more corporates into the game locally. He’s also well-connected at the continental level.
  • Timing – if he does declare candidature, his will be a late announcement and not having enough time to muster support from the delegates
  • Lack of Vision – back to the first point, with little timing, even the best of visions cannot be communicated that well.
  • One-man show- some critiques have often referred to Nicholas as a bit of a one-man show who is not too open to team participation. That might be a personality issue to some who feel the game is too big for one individual.

These are the main contenders and we have the favourites as Hussein Mohammed and
Sam Shollei and the rank outsider being Nicholas Musonye (in case he throws in his hat). The current scenario almost favours the incumbent for now and maybe that’s what they are hoping to play with. There is also the delegates bit which the candidates have to overcome.

We have also been toying with the idea of Hussein and Shollei deciding to be one or the other’s running mate and they would make a formidable team. Hatimy and Nyamweya have already made entreaties to each other and let’s see what happens before the day. For all with hope for the game in the country, a new office would be the best gift for us and the sport. But we have been this way all too often only for our hopes to be dashed. Independent Election Board, over to you! 

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Kenya Football - Independent Election Board...Some Semblance of Order Please!

Kenyan football is currently enjoying mixed fortunes at local and international outings. With the local Premier League slowly building , Kenya's club representatives Sofapaka hoping to move to next stage of club continental challenge and the national team finally securing a win at home; the time is ripe for a new team to ensure these success stories are sustained.
Own Goal ? - Image courtesy of thevillagesblog

The body entrusted with running the 'quagmire' that is Kenyan football elections the Independent Election Board (IEB), has been placing undue pressure on the footballing fraternity and Kenyans too. With clauses which had raised eyebrows ( the most contentious one being on age), the most recent drawback is lack of a date confirming the elections. This is even after release of KShs.24 million for the process to go on. 
Some argue that the IEB officials are hoping to hold the elections after FIFA's own scheduled for 1st of June at Zurich, Switzerland. This is pitting current chair Joseph Blatter against a rather feisty Mohammed bin Hammam.
Whatever outcome this has it will definitely going to influence the local game. If Blatter serves his last term, he would love to leave a worthy legacy especially in developing markets ( countries if it were). bin Hammam on the other side if elected is likely to galvanise an Asian, Eastern Europe, American and of course African vote which would ensure a second or third term.
As for the Kenyan case, the IEB should announce a date to give all interested ample time to prepare and work their campaigns for the betterment of the game. Up until then, we shall hold them to account for any failure or hitches that may arise from the prolonged process.