Friday, 30 March 2012

Road to Olympics - 1972 Munich Games - A Bow before the Lull...

Munich '72
After enjoying a great showing at the Mexico Games 4 years earlier, the expectations from Olympic Games fans were high. But before we get to the actual Games, a brief reminiscence of the year 1972. The world was generally polarised by various political, economic and religious issues.
With the major powers slowly advancing with their Cold War, others busy engaging East Asia tigers which were quickly industrialising. Africa too was now taking a place in the world map as many independent states started encountering upheavals, dictatorships and overthrows. S.Americans too had similar challenges coupled with climatic changes. The Middle East would be thrust into the spotlight for both good and bad reasons relating to the oil crisis, monopolising of the same, terrorism and relentless battles within.
Munich Olympic Stadium -

Back to matters sport, Germany had recovered from the World Wars challenges and now becoming a major industrial power thanks to its ingenious enterprising and technical manpower. The city of Munich hosted one of the most memorable Games, both tragic and heroic in equal measure. Here's a look at a few of the highlights;

Interesting Facts:

  • Mark Spitz " 7-star hero" - this was because of his phenomenal performance in the pool tallying a total of 7 gold medals, along with 7 swimming world records. He had done 2 gold in Mexico and thus this was always coming from this human phenomenon. He's one of the most famous and recognizable Olympians ever.
    7-Star Hero - Mark Spitz
  • USSR 'beats' USA  - In one of the most controversial moments of the Olympic Games, the former Soviet Union 'beat' US of A in the basketball final game. After leading 50-49, some flawed timing and calls were made & the Soviets quickly made a basket, before the final horn. The USA team refused to recognise the result and consequently avoided the medal award ceremony for their silver. It has never been awarded to this day.
  • 2 more bans-for-life - As if to spite their fellow Americans, two athletes of African origin were banned for life after taking the awards ceremony 'too casually'...twirling with their medals and not facing the flag as their national anthem was played. Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett are the culprits!
  • Munich massacre - one of the most infamous incidences to ever occur during the Olympics took place at the Olympic Village where Palestine guerillas attacked the Israeli camp and took hostage of some of their athletes. Eventually 11 Israeli hostages were killed while the Palestinian attackers lost all but 3 of their own. 
  • Future Olympians Kenya's Catherine Ndereba, the late Richard Chelimo and Mozambique's Maria Mutola were born this year.
  • This would also mark the last Olympics before Kenya took an 8 years hiatus from the Games thanks to the Cold War freeze and boycotts to the Montreal Games in 1976 and the Moscow Games in 1980. This also affected the future performances in the sporting disciplines. 
Philip Waruinge -

Key Figures &  Results:
  •  7113 participants took part representing a rise by 28% of total participation;
  • 121 countries were represented 
  • 193 competitions were held in 23 sporting disciplines
  • Kenya took part in 4 disciplines same as 1968 - Athletics, Boxing, Hockey & Shooting
  • Kenya won 2 Gold - Kip Keino (3000m steeplechase) & 4 x 400m men's relay; 3 Silver - Philip Waruinge (Featherweight), Ben Jipcho (3000m steeplechase) and Kip Keino 1500m and finally 4 Bronze medals; Julius Sang 400m flat, Mike Boit 800m and Richard 'Dick' Murunga in boxing's welterweight.
  • The Gold in 3000m Men's Steeplechase would mark the start of a winning tradition for Kenya in all Olympic Games it participated in going forward. This would be replicated in major athletic meets such as the World Athletics championships and All-Africa Games among others
  • It would also be the last time Kenya took part in the next 8 years; boycotting Montreal in 1976 and Moscow in 1980 - thanks to the political tensions  and the Cold War increasingly maligning developing countries versus their more developed counterparts.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Kenya Golf Open - Barclays gets you Teeing off

Kenya's ultimate golfing experience comes to you around this time of the year. Aptly named Kenya Open, the country's most prestigious golfing tournament tees off this Thursday at the Muthaiga Golf Club.

This golf forklore which has eluded many a Kenyan golfer will be sponsored by Barclays Bank Kenya hence the moniker 'Barclays Kenya Open', which committed title sponsorship till 2015. This year's tournament will be 3rd tourney ,as part of the 2012 European Challenge Tour and the ONLY African tournament featured too.
The total prize money is (approx)KSh. 20,900,000 ( €190,000) . The tournament has gone on to produce famous golfers  such as;
The European Challenge Tour website  lists 5 players to watch this weekend including
  • England's Chris Lloyd and Nick Dougherty;
  • South Africans' Michiel Bothma & Tyrone Ferreira; and
  • Danish Andres Harto
For those who love taking those long walks on the greens, and hoping the skies will be as clear as have been in the last couple of months, find your way to one of Kenya's famous golf clubs, Muthaiga Golf Club starting Thursday to Sunday. They say, many a managers are golfing people so you maybe just in luck to strike a deal or two. For more info, log on to the Kenya Golf Union website here

In Related News:
Tiger Woods returned to the podium winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational marking his first win since September 2009 and going up the ranks to 6 position on the PGA Tour. This is ahead of the Masters scheduled for next month. Is the Tiger back or is it just a blimp on the radar?

Friday, 23 March 2012

True "B'ball Awards" CodeRED Basketball style !!!

The 'unofficial' basketball promoters in the country - CodeRED Basketball- managed by entertainment group Code Red DJs will tomorrow award outstanding Kenyan basketball talent in an event to be held at the Louis Leakey auditorium, Nairobi, Kenya National Museum starting at 1800hours.

Filling in the vacuum left by Kenya Basketball Federation which has been dithering in many ways in handling the basketball game in Kenya, CodeRED Basketball which has been behind the Friday Night Basketball action will host what would be the creme-de-la-creme. Naming them, 'The B'ball Awards' and as they have christened them 'let the stars shine'; the awards will seek to recognise the talent in the game in country for the 2011 season.
It's a good initiative only that we wish it was KBF which had secured their services and competitively engaged a professional vetting body which would in turn ask the public to vote in. This would have been a more representative move which would sell the game to the public, in essence promoting basketball further.

Can the Federation come up with something more wholesome and engaging the entire basketball fraternity? Can they engage more widely with corporates who would be willing to support their cause? Can this be the learning curve for the game to be able to change its face now and in coming days?
Pity that others see opportunities while the top brass' still in slumber...serious contenders and basketball officials, the ball is squarely in your court!

Quick Update:
A quick update of winners on the day;
  1. Best Player - Male - Tobias Odhiambo - KenCom Lions
  2. Best Player - Female - Hilda Luvandwa -  USIU Flames
  3. Best Team - Male - Co-op(erative) Bank
  4. Best Team - Female- Eagle Wings
  5. Best Coach - Male - Carey 'T9' Odhiambo - Co-op Bank 
  6. Best Coach - Female - Thomas 'Smarts' Olumbo - Eagle Wings

For more info on the list of winners, check this link here.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Football Derby exposes Kenyan football soft underbelly

Many had gone to the game expecting it to live to the hype but what transpired on Sunday is the sad reality of what the Kenyan football game should address and hopefully learn from going forward.
Before going all ham on this post, we seek your indulgence on an article carried by the Daily Nation last week on Wednesday 14th March about how 'financially-troubled clubs being dropped from KPL'. The article sought to give direction on what would happen to clubs which have not had proper finances being demoted to lower rung leagues from the Kenya Premier League.
Dropping the Ball? 
It sought to give a clear signal to clubs which have not been able to meet their financial obligations such as paying their players, having concrete contracts for the players as well as functioning secretariat would face such consequences.
The same article estimated each club's requirement for a season at between KSh.12-15 million. Of this amount, each club is estimated to earn about KSh. 4.4 million from SuperSport who are funding KPL's activities thus far.
For the last two seasons, we have seen many a club come into the top league but struggle through the season to meet their financial obligations. This season already Rangers FC has been sending red alerts to potential financiers to come to their aid.  They have even contemplated changing their base to create veritable home support in a bid to attract fans to their games.
This is just one of the concerns that KPL needs to address. One of the ways it can aid in this is by securing an overall title sponsor for the Premier League similar to what other leagues in more 'developed football economies'. This would ensure some more subsidies for the clubs from the KPL in terms of bonuses and assured revenue.

Secondly, the KPL needs come up with a blueprint which would ensure that by the time a club is in the Nationwide League, it is already approaching potential sponsors with the promise of support if they do indeed qualify for the top flight.

Thirdly, with new devolved system of governance, it will be imperative for urban centres in the different counties to come up with social amenities such as stadia, community grounds and related infrastructure. If they can manage to convince a few of the towns which have basic stadia to spruce them up in time and relocate them to these towns, that would build home support for the teams and in longevity ensure wider spread of the game.

Fourth as we saw on Sunday, only a few of the top clubs can muster huge crowds. If the level of competition is enhanced and less emphasis is laid on these top teams, the other teams will also start enjoying sizeable crowds during their games. See what has happened to Sofapaka, Ulinzi FC to name but a few?

Fifth, the security levels at most the games not just the big derby matches but also those in smaller towns leave a lot to be desired. Many a times the Kenya Police are contracted to suppress any crowd trouble but this needs reinforcement from private security personnel.

Sixth, heavy penalties should be incurred by the hosting team in case a game has crowd trouble, no amenities or poor surfaces for the play-grounds. Even the Nyayo National stadium which has been hosting majority of the games! It was downgraded by FIFA due to fan trouble and lack of proper sitting arrangements. It is a no-brainer on this one!

Seventh, both KPL and FKF need to engage professional hands in the management of the game locally. Too many quacks are masquerading as sports administrators but we have seen a rather sorry state of the game at times.  The fact that players can go for months without pay while their managers/team owners 'roll in 4x4 vehicles' leaves a lot to be desired. Same applies to player agents and any other personnel relating to club/game logistics. FIFA is always willing to help and are regularly offering workshops and seminars to help with capacity building.

Eighth, since 1995, Kenya has not had club representation at continental level beyond the 1st or 2nd round qualifiers. This is not by accident, its because we have not invested in the game and when we do, it such knee-jerk situations that it fails to make any impact. Lack of proper structures at the top has meant management-by-crisis which has seen us where we are.

Ninth, social media's with us! But have we used those channels appropriately? As noted by another blogger here. That fans and club enthusiasts can use these channels to hurl abuses at each other is such a sad state of affairs which won't help bring back the many fans who are yearning to watch live matches.

So going forward, it is bad that the game on Sunday ended the way it did. But if FKF and KPL can pick lessons from this, it can be a new phase for the game going. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

African Cross Country championships - Kenya to top again?

Thanks to the IAAF's plan to switch the World Cross-country championships to biennial events the African athletics circuit will have its 3rd African Cross-Country championships. Confederation of African Athletics is all the more thankful for hosting one more event on its calendar.

Kenya - a previous host and major powerhouse in these forms of races will once again seek to battle it out with leading African challengers in the form of Ethiopia, and more recently Algeria, Eritrea and Morocco.
Last year the Kenyan teams in all races for men and women, both junior and senior saw the teams literally sweep all medals on offer. From individual titles of Gold, Silver and Bronze to team honours; even after sending what was 2nd-best since last year was a World Cross-Country championships year. The exception though was the failure of Ethiopia sending any of its athletes as the tightly-managed sport by the country's powers sought to shield their athletes from over-exposure.

This left IAAF President Lamine Diack complaining that the event has been turned into an East African affair - thanks to Kenya's dominance - turning away athletes from West Africa ( only Nigeria was represented from the West African countries. Mr. Diack himself is Senegalese so he might be having a point right there! )

36 countries have confirmed participation exceeding last year's lowly figure of 16. This will indeed ensure there is enough competition for top honours, men and women both at senior and junior levels. Some countries might want to use the meet as a warm-up to national selection for their teams to participate in the London Olympic Games later this year.

Will Kenya repeat her sterling performance? Will the rest of the African states come forth and push our athletes to the limit? Can Mr. Diack's myth be broken?
March 18th at Cape Town- South Africa will tell it all! All the best to our Kenyan representatives, make Kenya proud once again!

AFC Leopards v/s Gor Mahia - KPL's Main Highlight this weekend

Kenya's Premier League's started in earnest and this weekend the biggest derby in the country's history unfolds on Sunday at 1500hours.
AFC Leopards v/s Gor Mahia in a past game - image courtesy of

This season though, AFC Leopards are currently the fastest kids off the blocks, having won 4 out of their first 5 matches. They had some signings in the off-season which have seen them scalping every team in their wake.
Allan Wanga's been their starry-eyed player for the moment for AFC. He's scored  in all except one match including a delightful free-kick against Ulinzi FC in February which saw him voted by sports journalist as the Kandanda Player of the Month ( taking home trophy & 10,000 to boot). He has ably taken off the load of scoring which had been left to Mike Barasa for the better part of last season. Along with other new signings, the team seems to be gelling faster than the rest. The good tidings for Jan 'Wephukulu' Koops also seem to be pouring onto the team's fortunes as they did for the latter part of last season. Modest financial backing from sponsors as well as favourable ticket sales from match-days have seen the financials fortunes of the club stabilise in the short-term.
Gor Mahia on the other hand have not been able to secure good results which has resulted in the sacking of its entire technical bench. The team's currently placed 14th, two places from the bottom of the table standings. With the team being bundled out of continental championship and the 'colossal' expectations of its huge fan-base, the players will have pride to fight for in this fixture. Their off-season signings have taken long to cobble up a formidable team but if they have the patience, they will be rewarded in good time.
Last season's similar fixture saw Gor Mahia beat AFC by 3-1 only for the latter to reverse the results by 3-0 margin. As always the stakes are high for both teams { who's fans affectionately call each other shemeji - (cousins) thanks to the political alignments and geographical proximity of majority of the fans }.

For you the discerning Kenyan football fan, this is surely not to be missed and if in the unlikely event you can't make it to the Nyayo National Stadium, catch the action on SuperSport 9 East Africa !

Check out this blog which aggregates news about AFC Leopards team activities and games, pre-match and post-match analysis. As for Gor Mahia, this link might help too!

Road to Olympics : 1968 Mexico Games - Kenya sees Gold !

After participating in 3 consecutive Olympic Games, the country was slowly yearning for better achievements and for this the country's sports personalities were well rewarded. Mexico City - Mexico was also a first of many sorts and it earned a mixed bag of fortunes.

Mexico 1968 - image from
Let's look at the facts and figures from the Games;

Figures & Results:
'Speed-Cop' Kipchoge Keino - image from Rich Clarkson
  • 5556 participants from 112 countries was a marked improvement from the Tokyo Games '64;
  • 172 events were held in 20 sports disciplines;
  • Kenya participated in 4 sports disciplines - Athletics, Boxing, Hockey and Shooting;
  • Kenya was placed 14th overall, a major improvement on the 1964 Games where she placed  35th.
  • Kenya won 3 Gold namely; Kipchoge Keino-1,500m (M), Naftali Temu-10,000m and Amos Biwott-3000m steeplechase (which was to become Kenya's mainstay for any major events she participated in) ; 4 Silver; Wilson Kiprugut-800m, Kipchoge Keino-5,000m , Ben Kogo-3,000m steeplechase and the 4x400m men's team ( Daniel Rudisha, Charles Asati,Naftali Bon and Munyoro Nyamau); 2 Bronze; Naftali Temu-5,000m and Philip Waruinge -Featherweight boxing;
  • Philip Waruinge was awarded the Val Barker Trophy for the Most Outstanding boxer 'pound-for-pound', despite winning the bronze in Featherweight. He remains the only African boxer to have won the trophy to date. 
  • Kenya's Hockey team finished 8th overall, a drop from the 6th position from Tokyo Games;
  • One John Harun (Mwau) was ranked 76th in Shooting's Mixed Small -Bore Rifle, Prone 50m. (He's currently an MP in Kenya's Parliament having had an illustrious career in the Kenya Police, Interpol as well as the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission).
Interesting Facts:

  • As quoted in an online forum, this was the first Olympic Games to have 'first large-scale incursion of politics directly in the Olympic venues'.
  • Mexico was the first developing country to host the Olympics. It was also at its 'highest altitude' ever at 2,240m (7,350 ft) a.s.l.(above sea level).
  • Tommie Smith and John Carlos - US 200m (gold & bronze winners respectively)sprinters raised their fists clothed in black gloves during the medal awards ceremony- as a symbol of protest against human rights violation to the Black populace in United States. They also asked Australia's Peter Norman to wear a badge in solidarity with them. This cost them a life ban from any future Olympic Games or IOC-related events which was a bit too harsh if you ask me...
  • Also joining in political protest was one Vera Caslavska - from former state Czechoslovakia ( now Czech & Slovak Republics after fall of communism in Eastern Europe) - her silent protest during medal awards was against Soviet invasion of the state.
  • As noted before, Mexico City has the highest altitude ever for an Olympic event at 2,240m a.s.l - some in athletics were worried about its effects on the athletes including Kenya's own 'speed cop' Kip Keino but this turned out to a blessing in disguise with record-breaking performances from some of the other events.
  • Bob Beamon (US) leapt 8.90m in the men's long jump to what would be one of athletics' most enduring world records. It still is the Olympic record.
  • Sequence of Fosbury Flop - image from
  • Dick Fosbury (US) won the high jump with the unconventional Fosbury Flop. This would eventually be adopted by most if not all high jumpers.
  • One Jacques Rogge (current IOC President) represented Belgium for the first in 3 Olympic Games appearances in yachting. 
  • John S. Akhwari(Tanzania) finished the men's marathon with a dislocated knee and this became a lasting symbol of the Olympic Games spirit - quipped here saying "my country did not send me 10,000 miles just to start the race, they sent me to finish the race. He is currently an Olympic Goodwill ambassador.
  • Tlateloclo massacre - this happened 10 days to the opening of the Games and almost derailed the event. 44 people were killed as students and civilians rioted against 'repressive actions and blatant violation of university autonomy' by the Mexican government. A blown-up kite was flighted during the Games with the black shadow representing a 'silent protest' by the students.
  • Drug-testing debuted to check on performance-enhancing drugs which was becoming a thorn in the flesh for amateur sports.
All in all, the Games marked an improved performance from Kenya and many African countries as most continued enjoying their newly-found independence from their colonial masters.
The Games had now become a major political platform for many States which knew that with the world glued to the television and other media channels, it was the perfect place to send out whatever message - be it silent, symbolic or otherwise.
Commercialisation of sports was also at its formative stages and going into the 1970s, this would form the basis of future sports business for most if not all sporting disciplines and events.

International Olympics Committee
National Olympic Committee-Kenya
Britannica Encyclopedia

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Bake Blog Awards 2012

For you in the blogosphere in Kenya, you now have added motivation to keep your blog active. Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) announces The BAKE Blog Awards 2012 seeking " to reward exceptional bloggers and to promote content creation in Kenya" . It will also hope to reward bloggers who have posted 'consistently, have great and useful content and are creative and innovative'.

Submissions were opened from 15th March (today) in 14 categories and close on 29th March. Public voting for the blogs will be opened from 10th April. There will be an Award Gala Dinner on 28th April at a venue to be announced.

For those who don't know what BAKE is , it was formed last year to promote development of local content through the various topics/categories in ranging from the following 14 ; technology, business, photography, creative writing, food, agriculture, politics, general, corporate and sports(where you can vote for yours truly...). There are also regular meet-ups for BAKE members to meet fellow bloggers face-to-face every other month.

This is a welcome effort after the  KenyaUnlimited-sponsored Kenya's Bloggers Webring die a slow death. It sought to award pioneering Kenyan bloggers who were quite few back in the day. Now's the numbers have grown and still growing by the day, with some becoming fully-fledged websites and others major social media sites.

For more details on the BAKE Blog Awards , check this link,!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Pamela Jelimo & Hellen Obiri - We Salute you ladies!

As most sporting action had been turned to other sporting events, this weekend the World Athletics Indoor championships made sure that Kenyan sporting prowess was once again promoting the country's richness on the world stage.
Having had a past poor record in the event, most Kenyan journos had also not put much interest into the going-ons and this blogger too had overlooked what would be a memorable Sunday for the country. Since Kenya's first gold in 1989 in Budapest, thanks to one Paul Ereng ( who also won the 1991 gold medal in the 800m), our showing has been rather dismal with a few silver sprinkled among the other 4 gold the country has won in this indoor sports event.
From left, Kenyan starlets - Pamela Jelimo & Helen Obiri - image courtesy of

Thus our hopes had been somewhat tempered not just by the country's poor showing but also by the fact that the athletes representing the country in the various races have not been having an easy time in their outdoor events. This was best exemplified by Pamela Jelimo who had dropped from competition in the past two seasons due to injury and also low self-esteem after storming onto the scene in 2008 and winning everything on offer that year.
But as they say, in sport you're only as good as your last event, two ladies in Pamela Jelimo and Hellen Obiri had their scripts to write and lead the country's slaught for places on the podium. Where their male counter-parts faltered, they picked themselves up and ensured a place for Kenya in the 2012 championships.
Big KUDOS for your wins!
So Athletics Kenya, can we manage a bigger squad for more honours for the indoor event? With the droves of young talent, our representation should be as all-rounded as it can be. A causory look at some of those events meant we would have been placed 2nd overall for though in 2014, Sopot, Poland...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Road to Olympics : 1964 Tokyo Games - Kenya's Coming of Age...

A year after becoming an independent state and also the same year it would be declared a Republic ( free from the British monarchy as it were), the country's fortunes in sport seemed to be coming of age.

But before we get to Kenya's involvement, let's look at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Japan landed Asia's first Olympic Games. Around this time too the Cold War would get to some of its lowest points and this would affect the way the Games were held and both politicians and sports people would use the Games as perfect platforms to push their agendas.
Wilson Kiprugut (left) -

  • 5137 Athletes took part ; a drop due to a ban of countries such as South Africa, Indonesia and North Korea;
  • 21 sports and 163 events took place;
  • Kenya took part in 5 events - Athletics, Boxing, Hockey, Sailing and Shooting;
  • 1 Medal - Bronze by Wilson Kiprugut - Men's 800m - Kenya's only medal at the Games, future medallists though in Kipchoge Keino, Naftali Temu and Philip Waruinge had their fair share of exposure in Japan;
  • Kenya's men's field hockey team was placed 6th among the world's 
 Interesting Facts:
  • Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia won his 2nd Olympic gold medal in the marathon being the first and so far only man to achieve the feat.
  • Joe Frazier - a future profession heavyweight champion would win gold at Tokyo following in the steps of another boxing great Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay).
  • Women's Heptathlon is among the new events of the Games. 
  • Computers were used for the first time for keeping results. 
  • Improved time-keeping and scoring technologies were used cementing Japan's reconstruction and future tech-power.
  • For athletics it was also the last time the Games were run on cinder track and also fibre-glass for pole vaulters. 
These Games would begin Kenya's rich legacy in athletics for all the games it would participate it. 
Sources: Wikipedia

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Kenya Basketball Federation Elections - Let the will of the People prevail

One of Kenya's lacklustre sports bodies the Kenya Basketball Federation is scheduled to have its elections sometime later this month. Coming from a forgettable tenure will be the current chair one Mr. Paul Otula who doubles up as a principal of a leading national school.
Along with other officials Vice-Chair Henry Shihemi another school administrator, Vitalis Gode and Joseph Amoko, this group of officials have seen a steady decline in the sport since coming into office 4 years ago.
While many of the sports bodies collect this and that accolade at the annual gala awards organised across the country, the Federation has not been able to put forward a show to win any accolade or have a similar award system for its very best.

Poor Show
While some may say that there have been slight improvements thanks to the Friday Night Basketball games, much remains to be seen on how it has improved the players' and indeed the game's lot.
The concept of weekend night games is itself a noble one though KBF has not acted upon it and owned it fully resulting in more entertainment than basketball core values being upheld.
Away from this, the Kenya Premier League which is the highest level of play of the game has not seen any competitiveness and the play-offs have continued to attract the same old teams for the longest time. Also heavy on the toll is the lack of quality sides promoted from lower rungs of the Nairobi Basketball Association ( aptly known as NBA).
Basketball has also not been able to attract any major sponsor be it for the overall league or for some of the tournaments held across the country. While the efforts of its Marketing wing ( which coincidentally works on an ad hoc basis and is not fully empowered by the Federation). In fact one of the largest failings of the current team in office is the lack of commercial foretaste for the game's development.
A lot of attention is played to the high school and universities leagues which are more or less sustained by extra-curricular funds paid by the students attending those institutions, so no plus for revenue for KBF. A lot of talent is wasted here and this could be moved to the clubs and teams playing at the provincial and national leagues.
Affiliations to international bodies such as AIBA, FIBA have not been taken advantage of and this has seen little or no investment in the local game.
Last year's participation of the ladies team at the All-Africa Games was riddled with controversy after some players being dropped and others not being paid their allowances most of which had been released by the GoK. Parliamentary Committee on Sports is currently questioning the Maputo All-Africa Games Kenyan top brass officials on this and other controversies. 

With the upcoming elections, delegates will need to consider potential officials with the following;
  • Commercialisation - for the longest time, we have sung this song about sports not being an amateur thing anymore and the need to commercialise it. Be it through single-sourced sponsors or partnerships with leading corporates, any sport CANNOT and WILL NOT survive without added revenues. Coca-Cola Kenya has made entreaties through the Spriteball tournaments, work something out that will deliver a win-win for both brands.
  • Media appreciation - we have seen what the media can do to such sports disciplines as football, rugby and cricket locally. Though not fully exploited, there is marked difference and the games are all the better for it. Cultivate a healthy relationship with the media and you shall live to see the fruits. We have seen the Nigerian Basketball Federation games screened on DSTv, why can't we have the same from Kenya next?
  • Full-time officials - no offense to the current officials but if they were full time officials running the sport, there would be more attention paid to it. The comforts of the other jobs make it impossible to deliver on your mandate.
  • Revamp the League - while there seems to be a semblance of a National League, the reality is far from it. If you look carefully, 80% of the teams are originally from Nairobi, with 1-2 from Mombasa and one maybe from Kisumu. With the country having 47 counties in the new disposition, change the lower rung leagues to have teams from at least half of these counties which would then qualify for the national league.
  • Better Use of Affiliation - it saddens to hear that one of African Basketball officials is a Kenyan yet we have not enjoyed much from the continental front. While it may not be his mandate to favour where he comes from, Kenyan officials can at least make an effort and challenge them to engage with the sport here.  Same goes for FIBA.
Another concern is the use of delegates' method. This is one of Kenya's and indeed many a sports bodies weakness in electing top officials. We all know of how the delegates are put up in some nice location and 'gifts' exchanged before the D-day when they go to rubber-stump the 'chosen ones'. We hope this is not the case and that the will of the people who love and dedicate their efforts to the growth of the game.

{Disclaimer: While we may have named the top officials in this post, our task is not to abuse or seek to tarnish their person in any way. The critique is purely on their mandate for the game of basketball in Kenya}

Monday, 5 March 2012

Gor Mahia sacks entire technical team

After a dismal start to the 2012 Kenya Premier League season as well as poor show in the continental challenge, Gor Mahia executive board has sacked the entire technical team led by Cameroon-born Anaba Awono.
Taking over (on an interim basis) will be former Kenyan international Bobby Ogolla who has coached a couple of Kenyan sides including World Hope FC, assistant coach - Sofapaka and also Kenyan national team.
Gor Mahia whose fan-base is one of the largest in the country may have contributed to the speedy sacking as the top officials seek to rescue a season which already gone awry in 3 games played thus far. They also lost the season's curtain-raiser to Tusker in the SuperSport DSTv Cup.
Of urgency now will be to see if they can salvage a win against Mozambique's Ferraviaro in the CAF Cup qualifiers needing a 4-goal outright win. There's also the Super 8 Cup matches coming up later this week with their first game pitting them against arch-rivals AFC Leopards who're on a winning streak thus far.
A word to might go to the fans who's expectations are way up there and who's conduct has been called to question every so often once they lose a match. Shall they rise from the ashes like the Phoenix ? Only time will tell!

Sepp Blatter & FIFA retinue to visit Kenya ( East Africa) soon

With Federation of Kenya Football having conducted a relatively smooth election to merge Football Kenya with Kenya Football Federation, FIFA powers that-be had to acknowledge the legitimacy of the new office holders. The new chair, mercurial Sam Nyamweya  managed to hold audience with FIFA President Sepp Blatter in November 2011 a few days after the elections and the latter promised to make good the new office's endorsement by paying a visit to the region with Kenya being part of the circuit visit.
FIFA Pres. Sepp Blatter - image courtesy of

Work on another of the sites for the FIFA Goal Projects is said to start soon in the lakeside town of Kisumu. So while FIFA prepares another whistle-stop trip around Eastern Africa, we thought of a few things they ought to consider as they throw in some sun-bathing lotion, safari/khaki trousers and designer sun-glasses;
1. FIFA Goal Project in Kenya - though this has been touted as one of the biggest FIFA projects to get football from lower levels and under-priviledged areas, in Kenya we are well below expectations. Initial work at the Kasarani Sports Centre stalled and though there is commitment from the Government to continue with the project, FKF officials have not put any structures in place to ensure the same doesn't happen in future.

2. Non-partisanship  - in the past, FIFA honchos have been seen to take sides when any sort of crisis plagues the local game. This has seen the local football scene deteriorate considerably over the past 15 or so years. It doesn't help that your organisation broods no interference or nonsense from national Governments but that doesn't mean that the game should be sacrificed for a few ego bruises.

3. Women's Football - while the Kenyan male counter-part has had a warm-cold representation at international circles, the women's game seems to be spurred by some form of inspiration and is fast taking root among Kenyan urban poor. Does your office have any developmental agenda for their game? They just might be what Kenyan football needs to spur it to international fame.
Image courtesy of
4. Transparency - many analysts have talked and commented about the secrecy that shrouds your books and other financial statements - the jury's still out there on how transparent the overall body is run. This should not be the case for national federations. We've seen too many shady merchants running the game and getting away with it. Don't fault them, they only take orders from above ...

5. Africa's agenda - beyond the voting rights that African states have enjoyed, and yes we (South Africa) did host a World Cup. What's your agenda for African football going forward? Your on-and-off tiffs with CAF top-dog Issa Hayatou have been well documented. Well ours is to hoping that in your last few years of the final term, the game of football can be of great pride to the African citizenry in the near future. Continental sports media house SuperSport has taken the initiative to develop local leagues across many African states, maybe you can take a cue from them. The resources that your organisation enjoys are enourmous and a little bite on the cherry won't hurt will it?

Thus said, we hope that your visit will be worth the while and as we say in Swahili... Karibu Sana!   

Friday, 2 March 2012

Motor-Rallying in Kenya - Motorsport gets Kenyans revving

Motor-rallying in Kenya has been a sport which has had mixed fortunes in the last couple of years. After the bundling out of the Safari Rally from the World Rally Championship circuit from 2003, the country's rallying enthusiasts ( including ourselves) were in denial. It slowly dawned on the sport that there needs to be a review of sorts, the downward spiral is being arrested.
Roar your Engines...image courtesy of

The national sports bodies for the sport MotorSport Kenya has had much of their work cut out and has managed to liaise with major corporates to ensure the sport remains relevant to the Kenyan rally fan. Indeed much kudos to the federation in the last two years which have seen Rallies taking place beyond the traditional towns and regions. Through the Kenya National Rallying Championship, this year already non-traditional rallies have seen the national circuit visit centres such as Nyeri and the forthcoming Nakuru rally. This is largely in part to KCB's sponsorship, this year alone standing at KSh. 36 million.
While these efforts are admirable, what remains to be seen as progress in the sport is the reinstatement of the Safari Rally onto the WRC calendar of events. The Rally has been part of the Africa Rally Championship as well as Intercontinental Rally Challenge , the latter from time to time ( its erstwhile Classic version, has been held bi-annual bringing former rally drivers  and enthusiasts back to 'Africa's Rallying home').
A number of conditions have been set out by the FIA which runs the sport internationally. These include;
1. No Night -rallying/Shorter Rally routes - One of the biggest challenges for rallying in Kenya and indeed Africa is the terrain which makes it almost impossible to rally during the day only. It has been tried by having shorter rallies on graded roads with speedy sections in between. Due to this also, Service Centres need be aplenty to help rallying and crew members to work on their cars efficiently.
2. Graded v/s Rough roads - Again the African terrain comes into play this time being the actual infrastructure which makes rallying a joy to watch. Though major works are being carried out on Kenyan roads, there are still many more which make it difficult for WRC teams to bring their expensive machinery here.
3. Tax Rebates - rallying in any country is big money. WRC is even bigger money. With this comes crew, equipment, fuel among many other support services. When the WRC teams left in 2002, part of their concerns were how expensive the Rally had become. Government and relevant authorities need look into this to see how best to entice WRC rally teams back.
4. Title Sponsor - while KCB has continually sponsored the Rally for the last many years, it would be fair to say that the amounts payable can be raised to other world rally levels. Other Kenyan and regional corporations should also look for ways to propping up the main sponsor to ensure success of the event @AccessKenya  @iWayAfrica are but some of the corporates hanging on - the Tobacco ban in sports and advertising did the sport a great disservice
5. Fans & Security - many a times we have seen trouble spots on roads in Kenya even without rallying. The rally machines are not any easier when put on the road. This is a national problem that rallying enthusiasts have to learn and get adopted into sooner rather than than later.

These are but just a few of the conditions that can be addressed to restore this great Rally. But we should not beat ourselves too hard, other popular Rallies have also been knocked out including the Corsica Rally, Cote d'Ivoire, Turkey and other rallies.

In Other News:
While checking on some information about the FIA Board, Surinder Thatthi is listed as a Tanzanian citizen. Could this be the reason the Safari Rally will always find it hard to make it back to the WRC rounds? Just asking...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

And1 Live Street Basketball 2012 coming back to Kenya...

For what was a most successful tour in Africa last year, And1 Live Tour featuring some Street Basketball makes a comeback for a bigger and more intensive run across the continent. The Tour has been used by And1 merchandising company to promote the game of basketball for which this brand is heavily associated with.

Let's do the Shuffle - And1 Live Tour 2011 - Image by Jeff Amani
Under the theme ' No Borders, No Boundaries, All Ball' this year's Tour starts in the city of Raleigh , North Carolina on 8th March making its first African stop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 15th April. Kenya has the priviledge of hosting it in 2 cities, Nairobi and Mombasa on 25th and 26th of April respectively.
As we said last year, this form of game provides Kenya Basketball Federation a perfect pitch and curtain-raiser for enhancing basketball's growth within the urban folk in major Kenyan towns. Last year most of the top officials gave the Tour a miss, wonder what happens this year. Well, basketball fans didn't disappoint and they came one and all to cheer this entertaining form of the game.
 We shall track the updates and post them as they come.