Friday, 28 October 2011

Kenya Football Federation - Officials from the Past to Present

We shall seek to understand the history of football management in Kenya. This sees a chronology of previous office holders and a brief history of the football game in Kenya. (Originally known as Kenya Football Association, it metamorphosised to Kenya Football Federation and is currently split between KFF and Football Kenya Limited  )

{Dislaimer: Some of the information may not be factual as some of the details are not provided and efforts were made to that effect without much success.}

The previous office holders are as follows:
1.Isaac Lugonzo 1963 :- One of the fathers of sport in Kenya who was instrumental in the setting up of clubs with Kenyan natives. He was elected into office as Kenya welcomed her independence but he would oscillate between this and the National Olympics Committee which was becoming more active and involving.

2. John Kasyoka 1964-70 :- Had a rather nondescript term in office but the emergence of top clubs like Gor Mahia and Nakuru FC would be some of the hallmarks of his reign.

3. Martin Shikuku 1970-72 :- Known more for his firebrand in politics, he managed the game for only two years, his term marked Kenya's entry into the continental scene playing at the Africa Cup of Nations in 1972.
His office was disbanded after claims of corruption were raised.

4. Bill Martins, Williams Ngaah & Dan Owino 1972 -1974 :- B. Martins managed a caretaker committee before passing the buck to William & Dan respectively.

5. Kenneth Matiba - 1974-80 :- Credited with bringing in some form of business acumen into football management then after helping manage Kenya Breweries into a force to reckon with on the local . Under his reign Kenya won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in 1975 along with 3 consecutive years 81-83. In his term, saw the rise of Kenyan clubs AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia and Kenya Breweries made an impact in continental club football. Youth development was also a hallmark of his term under German tactician Bernard Zgoll.

6.Clement Gachanja - 1981-84 :- He inherited a wealth of experience from Ken Matiba and didn't disappoint either. Kenyan clubs continued dominating the regional scene and challenge for continental honours. Under his team's term, Gor Mahia managed to win the Africa Cup Winners Cup in 1987. The same year Kenya's Harambee Stars settled for silver in the All-Africa Games held in Nairobi, managed by Reinherdt Fabisch as well as qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations for the 2nd time.

7. Joab Omino 1984-1991; 1993-1996:- Under his term, the 'beautiful game' in Kenya started stuttering and encountering management problems. He's known for the infamous term, "...coaches come in their dozens" after sacking arguably then Kenya's most successful tactician R.Fabisch for criticising their style of handling the national team. The government of the day also started interfering with the game and disbanded Omino's team indefinitely.
His second stint though was modestly successful after winning the bid to host Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 only for the Government to rescind on the claim of 'lack of funds'.  Dismal performances from Kenyan clubs except for Kenya Breweries (now renamed Tusker FC) who came close in 1994 losing to DRC's Motemo Pembe. Kenya also managed to have among its first professional footballers in the likes of Peter Dawo (who came from Gor Mahia to sign for Egypt's Arab Contractors & Al Seeb in Oman); Mike Okoth ( Boshar in Oman then KV Oostende and Racing Genk in Belgium).

8. Adams Matthew Karauri 1991-92:- With Kenya qualifying in 1990 and 1992 consecutively, the Government put into place a caretaker committee headed by Mr. Karauri but that was all to write home about. The national team performed dismally in both occasions never getting past the first round (scoring only one goal courtesy of a Mickey Weche penalty in 1992 and soaking in 8 goals in total). The technical bench of the national team changed hands over 3 times in that period.

9. Peter Kenneth 1996-2000:- Taking the reigns in what would be one of the toughest times in Kenyan football after CAF banned the national team for 2 years for Kenya's failure to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996, he managed to avoid controversy that had riddled the game. This though was built on quicksand as would eventually manifest itself in Kenya's non-qualification. Here the clubs would decline both at the local and regional level with nothing much to show for honours

9. Maina Kariuki 2001-2004:- He had one of the most promising campaigns of a present-day official but his term in office marked the genesis of the current problems in the local game both at national or international level. Consolation though is qualification to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations. This exposed Kenya's talent to European scouts and the likes of Dennis Oliech secured signatures in Europe.
The Kenya Premier League was registered as private company under his tenure.

(Normalisation Committee under Kipchoge Keino between June - December 2004)

10. Alfred Sambu 2004- 2007:- He came in after football enthusiasts settled on his candidature in a view of having experienced hands in football management managing the national office. But right from the word go, his team was plagued by court cases, disagreements and boardroom wars. They were unceremoniously bundled out of office as the country braced for the controversial political elections.
The country was also banned indefinitely due to these battles but often these orders were rescinded.

11. Mohammed Hatimy 2007-2011:- Initially attempted throwing Sambu out of office but didn't manage. He was suspended for 3 months in 2005 by FIFA operatives only to go back into their good books rather fast. After orchestrating a boardroom coup, this man and his minions have run the game with duress at every corner. From the splitting KFF and opening up shop at FKL ( Football Kenya Limited), to running under FIFA's wings, this period has seen the country totter along rudderless.
Their only consolation is the blossoming Kenya Premier League which has seen the fans slowly stream back into the national stadiums and local clubs enjoy followership and lucrative corporate sponsorship. But let this not blind them as their success at all.
Most recently the country was bundled out of 2012 AFCON qualifiers and also had two of its best stadiums banned for non-compliance on security and crowd management issues.

Shall we find redemption after tomorrow's elections? Pray Kenyan Football that we will!

SOURCES: Foul Play - The Crisis of Football Management in Kenya, Kenya Football Federation, Wikipedia and KenyaPage, KenyaFootball

Kenya Football Elections - Are We Finally There Yet ?

This weekend the main highlight for any discerning Kenyan sports fan is the long-awaited Kenya Football elections. The last few weeks has seen a flurry of activities from all charged with giving Kenyan football a new face or is it phase in the journey to glory?
Any hope for Kenyan Football?- Image 
Candidates have made last-minute efforts to appeal to clubs and branch delegates who will make their votes count in this decisive process. Of course not smooth-sailing and controversy seems to follow the process every step of the way. There are many contenders but from many pundits the main ones are of course blue-eyed 'boy' Hussein Mohammed and never-say-die Sam Nyamweya. The latter brings in youth, corporate networks and largesse along with some general consensus of a new hand in managing the game. Nyamweya on the other hand has been in and out of football management after coming in with Maina Kariuki back in the 1990s. His reins have been tainted by corruption charges which miraculously disappear as soon as they happen.
Well, it is not this space for us to weigh the backgrounds of these and other contenders for the top office and overall management of the game in Kenya. However, we believe IT IS TIME those charged with making the game rise to where it ought to be GIVE KENYA WHAT WE DESERVE!
Of course, FIFA's hand and other vested interests in the corporate world will be hanging over tomorrow's proceedings and it shall not be entirely surprising if we don't get a final word on this. Pessimists, maybe...more like realists! And miracles do happen you know...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Kenya Women's Volleyball...can this be the turning point?

After bowing out of the World Volleyball Club championships, the Kenyan club Kenya Prisons proved why women's volleyball in the country needs a new page. The team led by David Lung'aho who doubled up as national team coach until last week's appointment of Paul Bitok, lost all its matches in the tourney.
The women's game has been at its best on the regional and continental circles but on the global stage we are the whipping bags of other teams. It would not be fair to say that the game has stalled but what seems to ail the ladies on international duty?
First, we have to put it to the technical expertise available. With the national team technical bench coming from local clubs, it is almost certain that most have not much exposure on the game's smaller more scientific procedures. A few years back Kenya Volleyball Federation has sought to invest in the Japanese expertise but we haven't had much headway with that.

Secondly the local league cannot be said to be truly competitive to make for suitable hunting grounds for clubs in Europe and Asia. A few players have left but come back even before the season closes seeing the tough training regime exercised in those leagues.

Thirdly, investment in the game by the Kenya Volleyball Federation. Just like most of the sports organisations in Kenya, very little amount of monies have been set aside for grounds and training centres for the game's growth. It is embarrassing that even for continental championships held in August, the KVF had to request private institutions to host the games ( true the Kasarani gymnasium is under repair but is that the only venue worth writing home about...?)

In November Kenya returns to the international scene with another slot at the World Cup to be held in Japan. For now, the remedial measures would be to ensure the ladies remain in camp as long as possible and receive rigorous training under their technical charges.

Going forward though, KVF needs to impress upon the Kenyan Government and well-heeled corporate firms of its worth. They can borrow a leaf from Kenya Rugby Union which has seen many a corporate put some amount into the local game. As we start the new system of governance through counties in the country, it will be interesting which ones pick up investment in sports facilities such as is with volleyball courts among others.
For international expertise, KVF can forward requests to FIVB who can aid in seeking and upon secondment, recommend the necessary personnel for this. This of course would also need some funds since most technical expertise is not cheap.

That way we shall be turning a new page in the game of volleyball that has been among the consistent ones in performance by our ladies.

In Other News:
The women's team at the CAVB Continental Cup - Zonal phase held Lome, Togo secured a place in next year's Continental Cup to be held in June 2012. Kudos to you for learning your ropes fast and taking the game to your opponents. Ours is to pray your efforts will be rewarded and shining Kenya's light across the world. 2016 you ought to be on the sunny beaches of Brazil !

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Beyond 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, what next for Kenyan football?

Unless you were truly optimistic, Kenya's non-qualification to the 2012 Africa of Nations did not come as a suprise. Even after last minute efforts by local football enthusiasts and political leaders offering  this and that package, Harambee Stars couldn't push themselves to the final dash. So what next ?
Harambee Stars badge - from

1. Football Elections - after the Kenyan electoral body IIEC came into agreement with Interim Election Board to conduct nationwide elections, this is the best shot to formally put Kenyan football structures back on the rails. Though it will be a heart-wrenching, tough act but as they say, 'no pain, no gain'. Let's hope for fairly free and transparent process and no court actions by those who won't make it after the ballot is done.

2. Fully dedicated technical team - in the last 2-3 years, there have been so many changes on the technical bench though the last one year has been more stable. But that stability has been fickle too since the head coach Zedekiah Otieno has been shuttling between club and national assignments. A last minute decision to include former international Musa Otieno seemed to help put some stability there. With a competent Management Board, the handlers SHOULD NOW recruit a substantive and full-time tactician. It is not a very demanding job as one Jose Mourinho would say but the role of constantly reviewing individual players and cobbling together a team every other month.

3. Sponsorship - There is a Management Board mandated to 'sell the national team and seek corporate support' among other things. Looking at the financial affairs of the national team, it is a disgrace by the current football administrators. From shirt sponsorship, to kit sponsors; training clinics, sale of media rights, international friendlies, there are areas of expanding revenue streams that NEED WORKING ON. Hoping a new and able team comes into office end of October, these are important things to note. Which brand kits our national team? No idea? I guessed so...

4. Stadium Management - though there is a Stadia Management Board, it would be important to have one of the national team's own sitting in this Board. Why do you ask? Because as you would know we have very few venues that can host a national or international fixture worth noting. Even worse is the fact that our best bets at Kasarani and Nyayo stadiums are both under FIFA's ban for hosting games because of security and logistical issues. Sort this out soonest or else we shall be playing 'home games' in our neighbours' stadia (at OUR COST of course!)

5.League versus National fixtures - in the last 2 weeks we heard the national coach loudly vent his displeasure of why crucial Kenya Premier League games ought to be too close to an international game. It would be fair for both parties to synchronise their calendars to avoid such scenarios. Next year will be an more demanding one with the change of Africa Cup of Nations from even years to odd years( 2013) and 2014 World Cup qualifiers. We have CECAFA Cup coming up in Uganda by the end of November, let's hope there's no clash occasioned.

With these issues addressed, we shall be confident of putting our support fully for the national team as it represents our cause in the football and indeed in the sporting world. It is about time we got back our game...

Friday, 7 October 2011

Zuku making in-roads in Kenyan Rugby: Title Sponsors for Impala Floodlights 2011

Yesterday's unveiling of official sponsor Zuku , continues the local (or it is regional yet?)multi-media's company (Wananchi Group) in-roads in local sport. Starting with a suprise package last year of sponsoring the Kenya v/s Zimbabwe Victoria Cup tie and even securing screening rights, the media company has sought to change the sporting scene and is slowly making its mark especially in rugby. (...coincidentally in both cases, the sponsorship has been for the magical figure of KSh. 2 million each...)
ZUKU - logo courtesy of

Rugby purists have not been entirely amused by these entreaties made to the Kenya Rugby Union since an earlier arrangement with SuperSport was seeing the Kenyan game getting more coverage and the sports media powerhouse was in the process of making substantial investment in the local game and production only for this to be dropped. Up until the writing of this post, it is not known who will screen Kenya's premiere rugby event the Safari Sevens though title sponsors Safaricom have already confirmed their willingness to continue supporting the event.
Kenya Rugby officials need be informed that while it is good to have companies coming on board with the much-needed financial support, it is also fair to review and where possible NOT ANTAGONISE existing corporate sponsors. Our sources tell us there has been some tension among top officials due to this gung-ho way of conducting rugby business. It will be fair to evaluate existing support and negotiate for better terms with these firms rather than going behind their backs to find new partners.
This was part of the reason the move of the Safari 7s to Nyayo stadium has not augured well with the staunchest of supporters in rugby and by extension traditional rugby powerhouses (without naming any for now).

All the same, we applaud Wananchi Group through ZUKU for making their case with the 30th edition of the Impala Floodlights. We shall be watching your move as you engage in local sport and pray that your worthy support can continue to other sporting disciplines as well. You can also explore developing cutting-edge programming in sports for your local audience and clientele which is still deficient of any comprehensive sports magazines.

See y'all at the Impala Grounds for the next 4 weekends!

Kenya v/s Uganda ...Who has the last laugh?

If you are from the two neighbouring countries, by now you have heard and seen the hype around this game and in the next 24hours, we shall know who has the bragging rights. From planned bus-rides to Kampala to students studying the many higher learning institutions in the Uganda, this tie must be one of the biggest ever between the two countries in recent history.

There is much at stake for both countries and especially so for Kenya which had lorded over the other East African countries and qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations 5 times compared with Uganda's 5 appearances (their performance has been better though finishing 2nd in 1978 behind Ghana) ; Tanzania and Rwanda have each qualified once previously.
But this Africa Cup of Nations qualifier carries not just the sporting side but some heavy political connotations given the diplomatic brush the two countries have had recently due to the Lake Victoria islands of Migingo and Ugingo as well as the bombings on July 2010 in Kampala ( after Al-Shabaab militia were said to have launched their attacks from Kenya and the ensuing renditions of Kenyan suspects). It has also been Uganda's Pres. Yoweri Museveni toying with various Kenyan potential Presidential candidates as each tries to outdo the other in matters regional.
Back to the game though, recent history is clearly in favour of Uganda. They are the highest ranked country on the FIFA rankings at 76 compared to Kenya's 133. The last 5 games between the two teams have seen Uganda win 4 and draw 1. And of course there is the 12th man advantage with the Ugandans sensing a return to continental glory since 1978 ( which was their best showing ever at 2nd place).

In our VERY HUMBLE OPINION, we would love to be patriotic and root for our team BUT in a way this is pushing our luck a bit too far. We have had such a mixed bag of performances in these qualifiers and this last game would have been avoided if Kenyan football authorities had made their arrangements once the games started. We have a fair share of professionals plying their trade in European leagues but that has never deterred other teams showing us how its done when it comes to wearing national colours (ask Guinea Bissau).
We have also national bodies running football at the mercies of some unscrupulous and incompetent national officials. With the national elections finally announced, we wait to see what comes of this long-awaited process.

And while we have been running all over like headless hens, our neighbours have sorted their national leagues and made much progress. What Kenyans saw in the first game against Uganda left many in shock at the level of co-ordination, passion and support from the highest offices in their land that the team had and continues to enjoy. Our Kenyan politicians have tried replicating this but albeit a bit late in the process. It would be good for Kenya's Harambee Stars to miss the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations BUT start in earnest preparing for the 2013 one in South Africa as well as World Cup qualifiers in Brazil. It would also serve the new office (if elections come through on October 29th) to start a fresh slate to ensure there is a better strategy for the game in the country.

Qualifying for the 2012 AFCON would give us a false impression that all is good on our game and soon we're back to business as usual. Let's sort our domestic issues once and for all and seek a fresh page to write our footnotes in the game in the next one year. All the same, for those who make it to Kampala, enjoy the roast chicken, bananas and waragi from the 'Pearl of Africa' and AVOID any passions beyond the game's. For you back in Kenya, the time is 1700hours on your national broadcaster KBC ( no confirmation yet from SuperSport)

Prediction: Uganda 3- Kenya 1

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Take Your Pick - Octoberfest for Sports...

This month marks some major sporting events in the country and what promises to be a busy last quarter of the year 2011 for Kenyan sports fans.These involves both local and international engagements for our sporting individuals and teams as well;

First off is the much-hyped Kenya v/s Uganda game for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for 2012. This though is being played in Kampala but being close home, the number of fans both from within Uganda and those travelling to Kampala's Namboole (fondly named Nelson Mandela) Stadium shall be teeming with one too many Kenyans.
Still in Football, the Kenya Premier League continues with the first 5 teams having a 6-point difference between them thus making it still an open contest. 2nd-placed Ulinzi FC got some reprieve after its earlier docked points are now theirs to lose after KPL Disciplinary Committee decided to have the 2 games played. From the fixtures though, the final standings will take shape this month.
Impala Floodies - Lights, Rugby Action !

For you the Rugby fan, you have the 30th edition of Impala Floodlights coming to you early thanks to the re-adjusted Kenya Rugby Union calendar. Starting on the 8th October, the games run every Saturday till 29th October when the final take place. Most of the rugby sides are likely to play their younger squads though as the games progress the prize money may change the playing units slightly. Reigning champs of the Impala Floodies Strathmore will be hoping to repeat their exploits earlier this year to beat more fancied sides.

In volleyball we have Kenya's own Kenya Prisons team representing the country in the FIVB Club World Championships taking place in Doha, Qatar from October 8th -14th. These championships make a comeback after a long break since 1994. We shall be hoping our girls can make an impact and be among the top 3 teams of the 6 in the tournament.

Chicago Marathon logo - courtesy of
In Athletics, the Chicago Marathon starts us off on 9th October. With last year's winner  the late Samuel Wanjiru not in the field, we shall be hoping another Kenyan takes the lead as they have taken the world this year by storm. This race is part of the World's Marathon Majors of which the late Samuel Wanjiru was ranked first in 2010.  3 local road races are planned in the Rift Valley; Kebirigo, Eldoret and Kipkelion. There is also the Standard Chartered sponsored Nairobi Marathon which is slowly becoming a nurturing course for future marathoners for the country. It also part of a series of other Standard Chartered marathons, dubbed 'The Greatest Race on Earth' featuring Singapore, Mumbai and Hong Kong as host cities.

Cricket fans, don't be so gloomy, we have the East Africa Premier League T20 featuring teams from the 3 East Africa countries. The boon for these games are the agreement by SuperSport to screen them live.
In basketball, the final games of the Kenya Premier League come to an end this month with the play-offs expected to start on or before the last weekend of October. This year, the League has gotten a boon from the  #FridayNightBasketball games organised in partnership with CodeRed DJs, General Motors and media partners 1FM. Here's a review of some past Friday games...
Dunk-over-Bike by Mandela - image courtesy of

Make time for any of these sporting events taking place and enjoy supporting your favourite teams and individuals as we seek to develop and grow local sport.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

2011 World Athlete of the Year Award - IAAF nominates 3 Kenyans

IAAF announced the nominees for the 2011 World Athlete of the Year Awards both men and women. Kenya got its 3 names with last year's winner David Rudisha and Patrick Makau nominated for the men's award while Vivian Cheruiyot was nominated for the ladies version.
Image courtesy of

Going by the exploits on the track (and field where applicable), Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot is heads and shoulders above most of the nominees, sample this;
Vivian Cheruiyot in Daegu 2011 -
In 2010, she won the African championships in 5000m held in Nairobi and also won the gold in the Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi in October. She competed in the Diamond League being part of the winnings that same season. She crowned the year by winning the 5km race in Bolzano, Italy known as the BOClassic  popularly known as the Corsa Internazionale di San Silvestro.
Come 2011, she started her year by leading Kenya's senior women's cross-country team to collecting individual and team titles. The big one though was the World Championships held in Daegu where she opted to do both the 5000m and 10,000m easily collecting gold in both events; a first from any Kenyan both male or female.
Our other two nominees for finalists would be Valeria Adams -shot-putter and Sally Pearson -100m women's hurdler.
As for the men, our bet is on Usain Bolt taking the male category. After missing out the better part of last year through injury, he was the best bet for double gold in 100 & 200m but a disqualification meant he ended up with the 200m but came back to anchor the Jamaican 4x100m men to end the World Championships on a high ( while breaking the world-record at it!).
The other 2 nominees would be fellow Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake and David Rudisha.
According to; an e-mail poll is ongoing to close on 23rd October, after which 3 finalists in both male and female categories will be selected and announced by the IAAF. The winners will be announced from these during the 2011 World Athletics Gala on 12th November.