Friday, 24 August 2012

Mararal Camel Derby - Good but it Can be Better

One of the unique events that Kenya has hosted over the years is back on our calendars again. The Mararal Camel Derby going through the sunny and sandy parts of Northern Kenya from 24th- 26th of August.With discovery of oil deposits and the division of the country into counties, the Northern part of Kenya has suddenly been thrown into the spotlight both locally and internationally.

Mararal Camel Derby - image from
The Camel Derby has always attracted many riders from across the world from as far as Australia and countries in the Middle East  to South Africa, Mexico and China which have camels too. There is also the locals looking out for a fun event and also a way of interacting with the visitors. It has also attracted Kenya's Tourism Board which also gave a sponsorship cheque - a good step forward.
It is a great way of improving Kenya's sports offering and sports tourism is still one area that has not been fully exploited. Concerned authorities need to engage more with sports federations and sports stakeholders in exploring such events which are a major milestone in the country's sporting calendar. It will also be interesting to see how the new look county governors will seek to invest or re-invest in making the Derby and such other events benefit the locals and reach out to attract more visitors.
For that weekend outing out of town and not your usual event, pack your bags and buckle up for the ride on the desert ship. More details on Mararal Camel Derby here and here

Athletics Kenya distances itself from Olympic Report

After London Olympics' fiasco ( not entirely suprising from our quarters), Athletics Kenya President Mr. Isaiah Kiplagat sought to lay out the blame on other issues. Again no suprises there. Once the report is out, we shall analyse it and give our honest opinion(s) - hope they count for something.
But back to Mr Isaiah Kiplagat, as he answered questions from journalists fresh from London ( where he attended the Games as an IAAF Board member and guest). He said that the Government has been making these reports from Olympic Games since 1976 and none has been acted upon. He also said that Kenyan sports should look into other disciplines to seek medals from in future Games.
Well, Mr. President, we won't talk on behalf of the Government for not working on the reports since some of the officials involved in the fiasco are part of the blame. We had a similar situation in the All-Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique and nothing was acted upon. It was only going to be a repeat at a larger scale.
Other sporting disciplines bringing Kenya gold, first accept the blame for a dismal show in athletics which you head. Secondly explain to us the whole joke at the Prefontaine trials which AK heavily endorsed and Kenya didn't manage gold in any of the long races. Third, you might want to suggest a departure date since it's about time you called it a day for the athletics top job.

Enjoy your weekend though!

Kenya Premier League becomes Tusker Premier League, Really???

After a couple of months of haggling and boardroom meetings, Kenya's Premier League found a suitor in the name of Tusker - EABL's flagship beer brand. Analysts may look at it and say that it's a major boost to the professional football game in Kenya, but as usual we have the skeptics who think otherwise.
First, the KSh. 170 million deal signed is for a 3-year period meaning a little under KSh. 60 million per year - a fairly modest figure for a 16 club league ( approx KSh. 3.75 million per club if its shared equally among them).

Secondly, this is the second time EABL is making an offer for the title sponsors for the Kenyan top football league. In 2001 they withdrew after football wrangles and mismanagement from football officials running the now defunct KFF were the order of the day. It is 2012 and this has not changed drastically after only recently the Vice Chair Sammy Shollei was suspended for making public claims of corruption and poor managerial decisions. We shall also remember the cancelled deal between Safaricom and FKF ( in the Sakata Ball junior tournament).
Though KPL is not entirely run by FKF, FKF still calls the shots on matters football in Kenya. They have been trying to get their noses in ( like they did with the whole fiasco of accreditation for media houses and journalists for the 2012 season). They may not been in on the servings yet but they're not far from it too. Once Nyamweya and his minions are able to wrestle the league from SuperSport-led Jack Oguda, we can be sure it won't be business as usual more like business unusual...

Third, EABL has been managing a club that is in the KPL , Tusker FC - reigning champions of the league. The club recently sacked its manager Sammy 'Pumzo' Omollo  and has been having a bad patch after being eliminated at the CECAFA Club Championships held in Dar in July and August this year. This relationship of the club and its 'sponsors' need be outlined clearly to avoid any conflict of interest.

Fourth, the EABL is also sponsoring the national team Harambee Stars with the sponsors hoping for a World Cup qualification - a bit far-fetched if you ask us. This is because with the expected hire of a foreign coach, the wage bill of the management team will go throw the roof at the expense of the team's meagre resources. For the longest time, whenever the players go for national duty, they're never paid in time - be it their allowances or refunds for air tickets. What will change with this sponsorship?

Fifth, EABL is a beer company and they have been challenging the legality of the oft-quoted Mututho Laws - which prescribe against the consumption of beer during the day/working hours and at certain public locations. The same goes for under-age drinking. We all know that the Kenyan football fans are a fragile lot especially in the derbies which don't always end up well. Put alcohol in the mix, and can't imagine what would happen next.
How shall EABL hope to overcome these challenges? Maybe through its soft drink brand ( which would have been quite a coup by the way, Alvaro Premier League especially for share-of-throat that they have been trying to fight with soft drinks). This is something FKF and KPL ought to have considered when approaching potential suitors.

Talking of suitors, it has been said in the grapevine that there were other companies which were also approached but when they raised the issues of management and proper financial outlays, these were not easily availed. It would also have been interesting to see a separate sponsor from the national team to the national league.

But being still at times teething era, the Kenyan football scene has lots to learn from other African leagues and more advanced ones across the world. In Ghana for example, Globacom International ( mobile company) sponsors the Ghanaian League for approx. KSh.180 million per year! Points to ponder right there!

{Guest Post by Football Pundit Ansell M}

Thursday, 9 August 2012

David Rudisha shines for #TeamKenya with New World Record na Viatu vinang’ara na KIWI!!!

One of Kenya’s biggest athletics hopefuls finally took to the track at exactly 2200hours and what a spectacle it was. Leading from the front, David Rudisha proved why he’s the reigning world champion and the world record holder to boot.
He managed to beat a host of athletes from other countries including Abubakar Kaki – from Sudan and local athletes Timothy Kitum to take gold in a world record time of 1 min 40:91secs. This is truly one of the most outstanding performances by any of the athletics Olympians not just from Kenya but for Africa too.
David Rudisha proves once again why Kenya is still one of the leading lights in matters athletics and what it means to be a champion. Keeping it neat and tight at the front and always looking to be in charge of the race. Of course this is in keeping all major titles from African to World and now Olympic titles, strapped in the boots.
Talking of boots, we know how David Rudisha has managed to stay in tip-top condition and become not just a winning athlete but also a role model to his fellow countrymen. When it comes to staying crisp and sharp, we saw what he can do during the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Awards held in Monaco in 2010...(as well the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year) If the cameras had zoomed in closer and further down his lithe self, they would have captured his smart designer shoes of course shining courtesy of Kiwi.  
Over the years, Kiwi shoe products have become synonymous with the way one stands out.
David Rudisha - Image courtesy of

It is often said that most ladies will pick out a man from the way his shoes look like. What better way for a man to get his shine on by picking on any of the Kiwi brands.  
With a wide range of polish solutions from the evergreen shoe polish, shoe wax which is meant to enhance the look of your valued shoes and leather products. Whether it’s your weekend boots, or the handy leather lap-top bag and belts as well as other leather accessories, Kiwi products are sure to make them last longer and look sharper. And even for your running and fitness sneakers and rubbers, there is Kiwi cream to make sure you look good when practicing those hamstrings and stretching the muscles.
Going back to the Olympics, we have seen many stars coming out to win their country medals. This is not only a personal victory for each athlete; it is also victory for their countries too. These victories serve as a major inspiration to the upcoming and young athletes. We have all seen how meticulous those in the disciplined forces take to shining their shoes. It reflects a lot not just the person’s personality but how good their character and potent they may possess in serving their nations. David Rudisha is one such person representing the Kenya Police.
Rudisha and his ilk will surely inspire the next group of athletes to compete in future Olympic competitions. This will be with their way of showing not just the young ones but also the rest of us what it takes to be a champion. Their track exploits go beyond the races into their way of life. Serving as role models in every other sphere is truly the making of a champion.
And for champions there is always the need to have trusted brands grooming your every road to success. Kiwi is the way to shine and David Rudisha shines for #TeamKenya!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympics 2012 - Kenya busy missing Gold, what gives?

This weekend marked the start of the athletics programme in the ongoing London 2012 Olympic Games. From initial forecasts and given Kenya's pedigree in the middle and long distance, it was finally a chance for Kenyans to cheer on #TeamKenya.
But things went awry from that first day when Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba took her Gold in the 10,000m for the 3rd consecutive Olympics after winning in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 ( remember she missed the World Athletics championships in Daegu at the World Athletics c'ships in 2011). Two of the Kenyan athletes did land the Silver and Bronze medals.
Second day and things went from bad to worse when the form book was suddenly changed with Great Britain's Mo Farah won the 10,000m followed by US's Galen Rupp while Ethiopia's emerging talent in Bekele's younger brother, Tariku was placed third.
Sunday and while we expected double gold, it was only a single one courtesy of Ezekiel Kemboi in the 3000m steeplechase ( and Bronze too from Mutai). The women marathon trio could only manage a Silver after running a tactical race but still wearing out before the final 5km.

What has been happening in London has been disappointing but not too shocking for those with a keener eye for matters athletics.
The team selection was first questioned especially for the 5,000m and 10,000m -men and women- when Athletics Kenya decided to take the trials for these races to Prefontaine - Oregon (USA). While our athltes were busy shuttling flights abroad, foreign athletes including Team GB's Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and US' Galen Rupp were pitching camp in the Rift Valley high altitude training facilities in Iten.

Next was the controversy in the marathon teams selection. It was decided that the selection would be done after the London marathon which coincidentally ought to have been the ideal case of knowing the route. But alas the closeness of the race seemed to have cost Kenya the title due to fatigue, burn-out or a combination of other factors. The men's team had to leave out one of the earlier selected athletes {The men's marathon is the last event of the Games and though #TeamKenya fans would love to see Kenyan athletes come through...the jury's still out there}

Then just a few weeks to the Games, Ezekiel Kemboi was moving between the courts and the cop stations to answer to alleged charges of rape. Though he did manage to get off to go to London, there is that small matter that he will have to answer to once back to Kenya. Though AK & NOC-K officials may not want to admit it, this must have been of concern within the camp. Kemboi is one of the biggest attractions on the Kenyan track, thanks to his antics on winning any of his major races. The accusations and media glare was almost reminiscent of what cost Kenya a world-class marathoner in the late Samuel Wanjiru.

Going into the 4th and 5th days in the athletics programme where Kenya's only medal hopes, the performance in Beijing 2008 now seems like a bar too high to achieve. Or shall the Rudishas, Jelimos, Kiprops, Cheruiyots do otherwise? Pray you do!

Since Kenya seems to have struck the endorsement deal with Nike, wonder why none of our athletes seem to feature in their campaigns for London 2012 or preceding the Games. We have seen others like Visa International, P&G to name but a few. Maybe it's time that deal is revisited. And anyway, we're never told how much its worth. A little disclosure from NOC-K and AK maybe?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Olympics 2012 - No Fairy Tale yet...

Day 6 and Kenya's expected fairy tale is yet to be written. No surprises there so far. Well if our preparations and support given to the team is anything to go by, Kenyans should keep their medal expectations modest. A wise man once said, man cannot live on water alone...we paraphrase that to say...Kenyans cannot live on hope alone.
While it is good to be maintain positive vibes, it is also logical not to expect miracles when you have poor planning and execution. That our only representatives in Boxing, Benson Gicharu Njangiru and lady weightlifter Mercy Obiero were eliminated in the first round of their respective disciplines is no surprise.
The fingers point directly at the Amateur Boxing Association which runs Boxing in Kenya. They have been squabbling for the longest time costing the game its famed fortunes of the 1970s and 1980s. The officials have no semblance of major boxing fights locally both amateur and professional. The training facilities bequeathed to the Kenyan boxer were pathetic to say the least. Luckily London organizers did manage to give the boxer a trial at the Bristol camp.
Kenya Weightlifting Federation, well the sport has never been a major attraction save for the efforts of its chair one Pius Ochieng who represented the country both at Olympics (1984 & 1988) and Commonwealth level. It is funny that there are gyms in all major towns, but instead of engaging in professional level training and sport, most of the participants do it as a recreational thing ( others its for the good looks to attract members of the opposite sex...). Mercy's participation was courtesy of a wildcard by the International Weightlifting Federation after our other lifters got eliminated in the qualifying rounds for Africa. We admire the bravery that both Benson Gicharu and Mercy Obiero exhibited in their participation.

The one thing that's common in all this is the lack of preparedness by the respective sports bodies. Squabbles, mismanagement and poor planning is the name of the game. That the Sports Ministry has no been able to rein in on the bodies is not anything new. The National Olympic Committee -Kenya is left with no recourse than to take half-baked athletes to Games for them to be humiliated in the name of representing the country.
It's time we looked hard into what ails our sports federations and address those concerns. Anything else Kenya will remain a nondescript performer in major competitions across the world.

In Other News:
Our athletics coach of the Kenya Athletics team one Mr. Julius Kirwa made a very ambitious forecast of 12 Gold medals. It's good to prepare your charges mentally and get them to perform to their optimal, but it will remain that, a target, a dream. If Kenya does indeed win 12 Gold medals, we shall streak and run naked in Nairobi aka Flashmob-style when the team arrives back!