The first quarter of 2016 is already up, funny how time flies when we’re having fun…but is Kenyan sport really have that much fun? January – March there have been a number of positives to cheer up our common good as a nation (though David Ndii doesn’t quite believe in this….). The same period has also seen a number of disappointing results, pronouncements or lack thereof. Let’s get this started;
- FKF Elections – a new Board of management is running Kenya’s biggest sport, football. After a number of false starts, it was the youthful Nick Mwendwa who won the day. His base, christened #TeamChange also scooped a number of strategic positions including the Vice President – giving Kenya her first female top football official.
- Kenya 7s – 2016 started well for the 7s team. In March, victories against strong nations like New Zealand and Argentina at the Las Vegas 7s showing intent into the team’s aspirations of finishing in the top 6 of the IRB 7s log. One of the highlights was one Collins Injera clocking his 220th try and now chasing the top try scorer’s position being the only top 3 7s players with a shot at it.
|Kenya's Oscar Ouma against New Zealand's Bonny Williams - courtesy of FoxSports.com|
- Kenya’s athletic prowess – world half-marathoners (both men and women ) and continental cross-country champions is what we are! The two teams scored big victories both at individual and team levels colleting top honours and firmly setting the pace as the world prepares for an Olympic year. Hongera wanariadha wetu!
- Motoring whiz – Tejas Hirani – if you don’t know that name, then you don’t know the young genius of a motorsport driver in the country who’s making it big on the icy and speedy trails in Europe. And as he says on his link this is “a champion in the making”…enough said!
- Sponsorships – the betting companies have been placing
their money where mouths are by signing sponsorship deals with the Kenya
Premier League, top teams in the KPL including AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia among
others. Other corporates have restored some of their sponsorships including
Kenya Airways, Safaricom who put investments in the rugby sport. Golfing
enthusiasts got their annual swings thanks to a raft of sponsorship deals –
including Barclays Bank, MultiChoice, TransCentury among others.
Flying Tejas - Kenya's motor-rallying Tejas Hirani - courtesy of www.tejashirani.com
- Anti-Doping Bill – if ever there was a time our MPs were needed to legislate on a Bill before its signed into law, it’s now. But what do our ‘honourable men and women decide? Blow whistles while others were busy cheering on the Presidency before going on recess. Now Kenya stares at missing major athletics events including the 2016 Rio Games…
- Football politics – it didn’t take long for the game to be back in mucky waters – from the national coach appointment, to the circus that was the national team selection and ultimately 2 defeats for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. It has also been an unsteady start to the Kenya Premier League as teams seek to secure sponsorships, with officials busy scheming how to keep the monies deeper and for long than pay deserving players and coaches. I mean why did Gor Mahia insist on reducing former manager’s pay before he decided to jump ship?
- AFCON 2017 Qualifications - Kenya’s (placed 103 on FIFA world ranking loss to Guinea Bissau – over 40 places at 147 below Kenya and we couldn’t muster a single goal. The second game inNairobi ended in a loss of 0-1 though the match was disrupted for 30 min as Kenyan players disagreed with referee’s decision to award a goal. In the meantime, the team and the venue Nyayo National Stadium faces severe penalties and likely suspension for the indiscipline.
- Kenya’s Volleyball queens loss to Egypt in Rio Games direct qualifications - the team looked destined to book a direct ticket to Rio in August but the Kenya Volleyball Federation officials and team management had other ideas. First the change in personnel bringing in less experienced players was bound to backfire. Secondly the team's preparations were haphazard and the technical aspects not well covered. The only reprieve is that there is one more round of qualifiers to be played next month in San Juan, Puerto Rico.