English Premier League football clubs posted record revenues, but still a collective pre-tax loss of £110m (€131m/$141m) in the 2015-16 season, according to the latest figures from accountancy firm Deloitte.
Prokhorov set to sell significant stake in Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has revealed that he is looking to sell a 49-per-cent stake in the NBA basketball team.
LFP to introduce video refereeing for Ligue 1 play-off games
The French Football League (LFP) has announced that video refereeing technology will be utilised for the first time in senior domestic competition for this season's play-off games to determine promotion and relegation between Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.
World Series of Fighting rebrands as Professional Fighters League
The World Series of Fighting (WSOF) mixed martial arts promotion has been rebranded as the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and will begin staging events under its new guise from January 2018.
European Tour expands night golf concept with Hero backing
Indian motorcycle manufacturer Hero MotorCorp has extended its backing of the European Tour's night golf concept by a further three years, with the venture to feature at two new locations in 2017.
SeatGeek sets out primary ticketing ambitions with TopTix acquisition
Mobile-focused ticket platform SeatGeek has made a major move into the primary ticketing marketplace by acquiring Israeli ticketing software company TopTix for $56m (€52.5m).
Esports to receive medal status at Asian Games
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has entered into a strategic partnership with the Alisports division of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba that will lead to esports featuring as a medal competition at the 2022 edition of its showpiece multi-sport event, the Asian Games.
Creative Artists Agency and CMC team up to form CAA China
Sports and entertainment giant Creative Artists Agency has joined forces with CMC Capital Partners, a leading Chinese investor in the sports and entertainment sectors, in a move that will lead to the formation of CAA China.
Berlusconi finalises AC Milan sale
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's holding company, Fininvest, on Thursday completed the sale of its 99.93-per-cent stake in Serie A football club AC Milan to Luxembourg-based Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux.
Victoria to bid for 2030 Commonwealth Games
The Australian state of Victoria has today (Thursday) launched a bid to stage the 2030 edition of the Commonwealth Games multi-sport event.
Supreme Court opens Paes probe
An investigation has been opened by Brazil's Supreme Court into Eduardo Paes, the former Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, into allegations of financial impropriety in relation to contracts associated with last year's Olympic Games.
Government backing secures Ryder Cup for Rome
Rome's staging of the 2022 Ryder Cup has been secured after the Italian government signed off on a financial guarantee for the golf showpiece, along with Cortina d'Ampezzo's hosting of the 2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships.
Pay Tv Giant, SuperSport, on Thursday announced the cancellation of a multi-million shilling deal with the Kenyan Premier League Limited that had given then exclusive broadcast rights of the Kenyan top tier football league. Here are other top Sports Business News from around the world ...
GlideSlope becomes CSM's latest North American acquisition
CSM Sport & Entertainment, a division of marketing services group Chime Communications, has made its latest move in the North American market by acquiring management advisory firm GlideSlope.
Australia, South Africa weigh up options as Sanzaar cuts Super Rugby franchises
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and South African Rugby are considering their options after Sanzaar confirmed that the Super Rugby club competition will be cut from 18 to 15 franchises for its 2018 season.
SportAccord returns to GAISF moniker as reforms approved
SportAccord, the umbrella group of more than 90 Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations, has today (Friday) approved constitutional changes that will see it return to its former designation and introduce a new means of electing its president.
Malaysia to make early exit from Formula One
Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit (SIC) will host its final Formula One race this year after an agreement was reached to end its contract early.
South American nations to co-host inaugural Fiba AmeriCup
The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has announced that Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay will host the new AmeriCup national team tournament, which debuts later this year.
City Football Group marches into South America with double deal
City Football Group (CFG), the parent company of English Premier League football club Manchester City, has confirmed that it has acquired Uruguayan Segunda Division outfit Club Atletico Torque, while it has also announced a partnership with Venezuelan Primera Division team Atletico Venezuela.
Ceferin says Uefa won't bow to blackmail as reforms approved
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has pledged that European football's governing body will not bow to "blackmail" from stakeholders over its plans for the sport on the continent, as a major reform package was on Wednesday rubber-stamped.
Amazon lands Thursday Night Football rights
E-commerce and media company Amazon has acquired live streaming rights to the NFL American football league's Thursday Night Football franchise, according to multiple reports.
NFL engages IMG to enhance brand presence in Europe and Asia
The NFL American football league has signed a multi-year deal with the IMG agency as its exclusive licensing representative across select markets in Europe and Asia.
NHL closes door on Pyeongchang 2018 participation
North American ice hockey league the NHL has confirmed it will not participate in the 2018 winter Olympic Games, stating no "meaningful dialogue" has materialised to convince it of the benefits of disrupting its season so its stars can compete in Pyeongchang.
Bilbao, Newcastle to host European rugby showpieces
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has announced that the Spanish city of Bilbao will host its showpiece Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and Continental Shield finals in 2018, while Newcastle in England will stage the events in 2019.
McIlroy heads into Masters with Nike extension
Golf's world No.2, Rory McIlroy, has agreed a long-term extension to his partnership with US sportswear giant Nike.
Some years back when I was active in the Private Sector mobilization under KEPSA I remember us holding many high level meetings with the then Ministry of Youth and Sports. One of the issues we discussed endlessly was about establishing a sports lottery to fund sports initiatives in Kenya. When the likes of Sport Pesa and Pambazuka National Lottery came up I thought the government had finally realised this goal. I was later to learn that these were initiatives by private sector and nothing to do with the government. The private sector had achieved what the government had discussed for ages and made a success out of it.
According to Business Daily: "Eight of the 25 licensed betting companies had paid a total of Sh4.7 billion in the financial years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 respectively." The recently proposed 50% tax on the revenues of these firms is retrogressive and will kill a nascent industry with a great promise. These firms are already heavy on CSR. Sportpesa for example has invested over KShs 800 Million in supporting various sports in the country. Why come with these punitive measures? While betting and gaming have negative impact on society, extremist tax policies are not the best approach.
Government can as well take the billions it is currently collecting from the sector and use them to promote sports and educate consumers on the risks of gaming. Parliament must not allow this proposal to pass. If the government so wishes it can invest in its own sports lottery instead of using this backdoor mode. Furthermore, such dramatic and disastrous policy moves will discourage investment in this country with adverse impact on employment and economic growth.
Who will invest in a country where government can just wake up and decide that 50% of your revenues belong to it? This is almost criminalizing the industry.
The Sports industry has a very huge capacity of creating employment for millions of our youths wallowing in lack and poverty. The government should look at the bigger picture and not be obsessed with how much they can collect from the industry. Imagine the lotteries sponsoring football leagues in all 47 counties for example. This will be good for talent development and for growth of the sport. Kenya will be producing many international players and giving hope to the youth.
THE 50% TAX ON BETTING IS PUNITIVE AND RETROGRESSIVE. IT SHOULD BE RESCINDED IMMEDIATELY.
Opinion by: ~ Ephraim Njenga
Kenyanstar.co.ke has been nominated alongside five other blogs under the best sports blog category for this year's Bloggers Association of Kenya Awards (BAKEAwards). Kenyanstar and 107 other websites were nominated in different categories of the awards out of over 10,000 entries for this years' awards event.
Newly-elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Ahmad has given his backing to a mooted Moroccan bid for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, stating the country is a "stronghold" of the world game. This among others makes our headlines for sports business news over the past one week.
Goodell dismisses late Oakland attempt to retain Raiders
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has rejected a last-ditch attempt by Oakland to prevent the Raiders American football franchise from moving to Las Vegas.
CAF president throws his weight behind Moroccan bid for 2026 World Cup
Newly-elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Ahmad has given his backing to a mooted Moroccan bid for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, stating the country is a "stronghold" of the world game.
Matchroom unites basketball and netball for new all-star events
Sports promotional company Matchroom Sport has joined forces with England Netball and the British Basketball League (BBL) to launch new all-star events that will be held over one weekend at The O2 arena in London.
Oakland Raiders given green light for Vegas move
The Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas has been approved by NFL American football franchise owners.
Western Force hits out at reports of Super Rugby demise
Super Rugby franchise Western Force on Monday hit out at multiple reports suggesting it will be the Australian team cut as a result of a reduction in size of the southern hemisphere rugby union tournament.
Fifa completes internal investigation into corruption allegations
Fifa, football's global governing body, has completed a 22-month investigation into suspected bribery and corruption within the game.
Fifa proposes new playoff tournament, slot allocation revealed
Fifa has outlined plans for a new six-team playoff tournament to be held as a qualification event ahead of the 2026 World Cup, as football's global governing body detailed the proposed slot allocation for the expanded version of its showcase national team competition.
ITF unveils Transition Tour as part of major reform of entry level tennis
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Thursday unveiled a major restructuring of the sport at its entry level that will lead to the creation of a new global Transition Tour in 2019.
EPFL brokers data deal for European leagues
The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) has teamed up with data providers Perform Group, Sportradar and Genius Sports for a new agreement that will encompass eight leagues across the continent.
RLIF to launch Nines World Cup
The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has announced plans to introduce a nine-a-side World Cup tournament in 2019, while Sydney will host the Emerging Nations World Championship.
African pay-television broadcaster Kwesé TV has acquired exclusive rights to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, an event more commonly known as March Madness.
Here is a host of other selected sports business news that came through this week;
US set to be 'focus' of F1 expansion plans
Sean Bratches, Formula One's managing director of commercial operations, has confirmed that the operators of the motor-racing world championship are set to focus on the US as a key expansion market.
Toronto to consider Commonwealth Games bid
The Toronto City Council will look into the possibility of bidding to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games following a notice of motion by Councillor James Pasternak.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is looking for a replacement host after the South African city of Durban was forced to withdraw its bid earlier this month due to financial difficulties and a lack of progress since it was awarded hosting rights in September 2015.
Eurosport Sweden lands Allsvenskan rights
International sports broadcaster Eurosport has acquired rights in Sweden to the Allsvenskan, the top tier of club football in the country.
British Superbike Championship teams up with Vauxhall, BMW
British automotive manufacturer Vauxhall Motors has been named as the official commercial vehicle of the 2017 British Superbike Championship (BSB), while the German car-maker BMW is set to provide the official course, safety and medical car fleet for the next three years.
Sport1 strikes deal for Virtuellen Bundesliga rights
German sports broadcaster Sport1 has acquired rights to the Virtuellen Bundesliga (VBL), the official esports competition of the German Football League (DFL).
Everton agrees deal for stadium site
English Premier League football club Everton has agreed heads of terms to acquire a site at Bramley Moore Dock, where it intends to build a new state-of-the-art stadium.
TV3 nets England football rights
Irish commercial broadcaster TV3 has acquired rights for England’s national team football qualifiers ahead of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
ASO takes Tour de France to China with new events
Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has formalised its plans to take the Tour de France brand into China by unveiling two events that are set to take place following this year's edition of the cycling showpiece.
Dakar Rally to return to Peru
Peru will host the opening stage of next year’s edition of the Dakar Rally endurance motorsport event, it has been announced. The country’s capital, Lima, will kick off the 2018 Dakar Rally before the event travels through the Andes towards Bolivia. Competitors will then approach the Bolivian capital of La Paz for a rest day before the event concludes in Córdoba, Argentina.
The event, which will comprise 14 stages in total, will run from January 6-20.
Title sponsor signs up for IAAF World Relays
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company has been named as the title sponsor of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ upcoming World Relays event in the Caribbean country.
Fox Sports picks up rights to inaugural Big3
The Fox Sports division of US network Fox has acquired rights for Big3, a new three-on-three, half-court basketball league that will launch on June 25.
Uefa president raises prospect of luxury tax to curb club spending
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has said European football's governing body is again looking at the prospect of introducing a 'luxury tax' system in the game as it seeks further means to restrict the financial dominance of the continent's top clubs.
Ireland plays down Brexit fears for Rugby World Cup bid
The chairman of Ireland’s bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup has insisted that Britain’s impending exit from the European Union will not have a detrimental impact on the country’s efforts to stage the national team tournament.
DFL to launch Bundesliga International sales and marketing unit
The German Football League (DFL), organising body of the top two divisions of the domestic game, has revealed plans to replace its existing DFL Sports Enterprises entity with a new body entitled Bundesliga International.
Seiko partners with World Para Athletics Championships
Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko has agreed a deal to sponsor this year’s World Para Athletics Championships, which will take place in London.
Formula E chief hails rise in manufacturer partners
Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Formula E, has said the electric car-racing series has far surpassed its expectations by securing nine manufacturers for the 2018-19 season, having initially set a target of three competing companies by its fifth campaign.
Glasgow awarded European Short Course Swimming Championships
The Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN), the governing body of aquatics in Europe, has awarded the Scottish city of Glasgow hosting rights for the 2019 European Short Course Swimming Championships.
Tokyo 2020 golf venue reverses female membership stance
Kasumigaseki Country Club, the venue due to host golf events during the 2020 summer Olympic Games in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, has announced that it has voted to admit women members after being urged to do so last month by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
BWF assigns key hosting rights, revamps event structure
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has awarded hosting rights for its 2018 and 2019 World Championships to Nanjing and Basel, respectively, while it has also unveiled a major overhaul to its event structure.
Matatu culture is part of living in Nairobi City and the transport means used by all. Soccer fans use their own cars, buses and matatus for traveling to away matches.
Fifa claims first with formation of human rights panel
Fifa on Friday established an independent advisory body dedicated to the subject of human rights, a move that world football's governing body claims is a first for sports federations.
Facebook expands Univision Deportes ties with MLS streaming deal
Social media platform Facebook has struck its latest significant sports rights deal through an agreement with Major League Soccer and US pay-television broadcaster Univision Deportes.
Dodgers co-owner leads investment round in DraftKings
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator DraftKings has raised over $100m (€94.1m) in a new Series E1 investment round led by Eldridge Industries, whose chairman and chief executive, Todd Boehly, partly owns Major League Baseball franchise the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although DraftKings did not disclose the amount generated in the recent round, the approximate figure was published by Bloomberg, citing people close to the deal.
Berlin to stage Formula E double-header after Brussels event cancelled
The Formula E electric car-racing series will hold a double-header event in Berlin in June after Brussels was forced to forgo its hosting rights to an ePrix in July. The Belgian capital had been due to stage its first-ever Formula E event on July 1 but the lack of a suitable venue has led to the cancellation of the race.
Trump will make concessions to travel ban, claims LA 2024 chief
Los Angeles 2024 bid chiefs have said US President Donald Trump will make changes to his travel ban should the city win the right to stage the summer Olympics, and have added that their sole focus is on the 2024 Games amid speculation the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could seek to award hosting rights to two events in September.
HSBC expands portfolio with Rugby Canada deal
Banking group HSBC has secured a partnership with Rugby Canada, the national governing body for rugby union.
French prosecutors widen IAAF World Championships probe
French prosecutors who are investigating allegations of wrongdoing in relation to the award of the 2021 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships to Eugene in the US are also looking into the award of other hosting rights, a source close to the probe has told the Reuters news agency.
Rugby Europe steps up campaign for Six Nations reform
The Rugby Europe governing body has stepped up its campaign for a revamp of the Six Nations by submitting a formal request to open up the tournament to other countries. Rugby Europe has said it will submit the proposal to the 6 Nations Limited company amid a concerted campaign for teams such as Georgia and Romania to be granted an expansion slot.
Serie A clubs present new stadium plans
Fiorentina has unveiled plans for a new 40,000-capacity stadium, while fellow Italian Serie A football club Cagliari has announced that work on its new ground will begin within a month. Work on Fiorentina’s new facility is expected to begin in 2019 and the club hopes to move in by 2021.
Kia extends LPGA partnership
Korean automotive manufacturer Kia has renewed its partnership with the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
Caf hits out as Lagardère Sports dispute rumbles on
The Confederation of African Football has further criticised Egyptian authorities in a dispute surrounding its contract with the Lagardère Sports agency, stating recent developments set a “deeply worrying precedent” for the African sports business industry as a whole.
World Karate Federation launches online streaming platform
The World Karate Federation has launched a new online streaming platform that will allow fans to watch live coverage of leading events.
CGF seeking new destination for 2022 Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is seeking a new host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games after hosting rights to the multi-sport event were removed from Durban on Monday.
Super Rugby set to cut two franchises
Super Rugby, the top club rugby union competition in the southern hemisphere, is set to be reduced from 18 teams to 16 teams next season.
King sells majority stake in expanding World TeamTennis
Tennis legend Billie Jean King has opted to sell her majority stake in World TeamTennis (WTT) to franchise owners Mark Ein and Fred Luddy, who plan to expand the mixed gender team league.
ICC chairman quits ahead of key reform meeting
Shashank Manohar on Wednesday made the surprise move of announcing his resignation as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), amid ongoing efforts to instigate reform in the global game.
IOC upbeat on Pyeongchang 2018 progress, engages Publicis for promotional brief
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has promised a "unique experience" at the 2018 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, while French advertising and public relations company Publicis has landed a global promotional contract for next year's event in Pyeongchang.
Erzurum lining up 2026 Olympics bid, Milan targets 2028 Games
The Turkish city of Erzurum is preparing a bid for the 2026 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, while Milan is said to be considering returning Italy to the bidding table for the summer Games for its 2028 edition.
World Rugby hails new global calendar agreement
World Rugby has reached an agreement over a new global rugby union calendar, with Bill Beaumont, chairman of the sport's global governing body, stating the deal will deliver "certainty and sustainability".
IOC to assess double Olympic Games selection, launches major gender equality project
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has formed a working group to assess changes to the candidature process for the Olympic Games that could see both Los Angeles and Paris achieve success in September, while it has also unveiled details of a major gender equality project for the global sporting movement.
Asian Tour to return to China following 'game changing' CGA link-up
Golf's Asian Tour will travel to China for the first time in nine years after agreeing a strategic partnership with the China Golf Association (CGA).
He is from one of Kenya’s greatest football families. His massive talent has catapulted him to the top of the country’s goalkeeper charts. The Lillestrom netminder continues to scale greater heights and he says, he just got started.
His name is common music to Kenyan ears, thanks to his unmatched talent and skill. He takes honours for being one of the nation’s most disciplined footballers, both on and off the pitch. While he continues to rise, he has not escaped controversy. On several occasions, he has been criticized for declining to play for his country. The last time he was in goal for Kenya, Harambee Stars conceded a late controversial goal, that led to chaos at the Nyayo National stadium.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union officials are currently cooling their heels at a prison somewhere, most probably Industrial Area Remand Prison. They agree that they disobeyed court orders because their cause is just and that man was not made for the law but the law was made for man. But the law is an ass (foolish); they have to go to jail. I used to wonder if it is ‘an ass’ or ‘an arse’ until I came to my own conclusion for the sake of it. To the rich it is the animal ass (donkey) to the poor it is the behind (body part).
Back to football. Sofapaka FC and Muhoroni Youth have been relegated for failing to comply with CAF regulations for licensing clubs. Sofapaka have won the league once and FKF Cup on several occasions. Muhoroni Youth won the Top 8 Knock Out Cup last season. We are not talking about light weight football clubs but two community clubs worth their name in the top flight league. But the law is the law, an ass. The two clubs are meant to play in the NSL this season.
It has always been said that institutional clubs are not good for Kenyan football. This is because the sponsoring institution’s core business is not football so the clubs tend to be the first casualty when costs have to be cut. Then because football is just another non-essential department, the club will never develop and bypass the institution because it will be a monster they cannot tame. This makes clubs like Sofapaka and Muhoroni important for the growth of football in Kenya.
The small remedy is that two community clubs in Kariobangi Sharks and Zoo Kericho have been promoted to the top flight. That is a good development, but what is the guarantee they will not end up like Sofapaka and Muhoroni Youth. EllyKalekwa the Sofapaka President insists that he showed he has enough money in his account to run the club. Adagala the Muhoroni Chairman claimed that Muhoroni Sugar Company has assured him of tenders which will enable him to run the club through the season. The truth is the two clubs have struggled to pay players in the last two seasons.
Everyone who has run a business will tell you that once in a while, things get thick. The case of Sofapaka and Muhoroni is not unique. It does not mean that they are the worst run club this side of the Sahara. Football does not pay in this country, it runs on individual passion and some clean money from FIFA, Supersport and corporates that turns dirty before it trickles down. For Kalekwa and Prezda to run the two clubs this far is good example of sacrifice, despite the pain caused to players and coaches.
Should we let the two clubs to go down to NSL where they will not get the KES. 8 million they get annually from KPL/Supersport. This is the only lifeline the clubs have so we can rest assured that they will close up as soon as this season ends. FKF should talk to partners, including FIFA to extend some grants or loans so that the clubs can work out a formula to be sustainable. The law does not think, but it was made for our good. If the law inhibits our growth, then it beats logic to execute it as it is.
A few people at KCB and Vihiga County might gain by the relegation of the two clubs but Kenyan football will lose. Kalekwa and Adagala have come too far to be crushed by a piece of law I believe all clubs in Kenya scored below average. As we wait for the ruling by the John Ohaga led Sports Tribunal, either way it goes, let us count the cost of the outcome. Let football win.
It has taken me time to finally sit down and write this article a week since AFCON 2017 closed in Gabon and players are settling back with their clubs. There was something missing in this year’s African premier soccer show. I am yet to put a finger on it because like it happens in many periodic shows, the problem began long before it manifests.
Let me start from our next door neighbours. Uganda went to Gabon after a 39 year absence from AFCON; they showed up, saw but did not conquer. They gave a good account of themselves though reports coming out of Uganda are that players saw the qualification as an end in itself. Their dream was for better allowances and appearance fee. Immediately the squad was cut down and names forwarded to CAF, The Monitor reported that the players were taking no prisoners from FUFA and the government.
On the other side, eventual winners Cameroon won the title despite their run in with their federation over allowances. It is the coach who recorded their displeasure with the lack of respect shown by the officials but still insisted that his players will give their best. The coach had assembled a second rate squad after seven top players turned down call ups to the national team. They came from behind to beat seven time winners Egypt 2-1 in the finals.
There was nothing outstanding about this year’s AFCON. Even as the MVP Christian Basogog from Cameroon stood out, there was something missing about his play. He terrorized defenders but may be the reason he won the gong was because he played more matches than most of the players. Fabrice Ondoa was outstanding in Cameroon goal just as 44 year old Essam El Haddarydefied age to get Egypt to the final, but still- something was missing. The golden boot went to DRC’s Junior Kabananga who scored three, yes three goals.
DRC players spiced up the show with their goal celebration dance fimbu(whip). Oh yes, this is Africa and we love to dance. Fimbu might be the best thing to happen to AFCON since Roger Milla’s corner flag dance in the 1990 tournament. Africa is about courage, heroism and space to enjoy and have fun. Even Ghana players who are known to flower the show looked like they couldn’t wait for the show to come to a close.
The problem might be the straight jacket box that European football puts our players in. It curtails their creativity and expression. Only four out of sixteen coaches were African and none of them got their teams to the semi-finals. As I write this, my finger is pointing to lack Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations. This is the reason one week after the show; there is nothing out of the ordinary to talk about.
Meanwhile the Public Relations office at the CAF office in Cairo is sleeping on the job in regards to publicizing the tournament before it kicks off. I still can decide if I should sprinkle sugar, salt or pepper on this story.
There is good and best, and the difference between the two lies in simple personal decisions and lifestyle choices. Let us look at sex, food and alcohol in relation to sports people and life in general.
I admire Paul Tergat for the same reason I have respect for John Baraza of Sofapaka and Julius Owino awilo Mwaha formerly of Rangers FC. In Africa I will take Maria Mutola, Haile Gabre Sellasie and Kanu Nwankwo. Across the Atlantic I give it to Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs and the athletics duo of Marlen Ottey and Paula Radcliff.
The sportsmen mentioned above ruled (some still do to date) for a long time than their peers. Many athletes- every sports person is an athlete- came in after them, shone and faded out then disappeared from the limelight leaving them at the top of their game.
The other end of the stick has many examples locally and internationally. I don’t have to dwell so much on it, I know you already have examples of sportsmen akin to one-hit-wonders in the world of music.
Success and failure in sports has been subject to scientific research for a long time now. I will not go into the details of genetic, nurture, nutrition and other parameters that have formed the basis for the inference of many sports outcome.
Talent is God given, but not every person with sporting talent pursues it, even those who pursue it not all succeed in it. If we apply the law of natural selection – another word for the law of the jungle then survival in sports will be a matter of fitness. The best of the pool go to the highest level, while the weaklings fall off when the going gets tough.
The assumption that the vigour and grind of sports will produce its best by separating the wheat from the chuff is only half true. In a world of options and varying social environments, and the fact that competitive sports is only for the youthful season of life, success has more than talent in it .
Then again, not everyone with talent makes it in sports and not everyone who makes it to the highest level is exceptionally gifted as well. The social environment and lifestyle choices have direct effect on how and for how long a player performs.
We are what we eat
Food is a basic need to everybody but to athletes, it is more than basic. Peak performance requires the body to burn calories just like a car burns fuel. The calories required are obtained from good food.
This is not about quantity but quality- what you can get from a kilogram of maize meal may be gotten from half that amount of spaghetti.
What we eat is subject to the culture we live in while the quantity is determined by metabolic rate. Sportspeople must be willing to eat ‘out of the box’ sometimes. It is prudent to consult a nutrition expert for advice so as to get maximum returns from our culinary engagements.
Looking at KPL players’ physical size, one is left to wonder if our clubs or national team can stand up to West Africans. Endurance and performance are directly proportional to the quality and quantity of food an athlete eats, hence the seriousness it deserves.
Quality is not subject to price, I believe someone can eat well on minimum cash. Fruits and vegetables and starch are basic and affordable. The problem is the human appetite will lean towards unhealthy foods which happen to be expensive as well.
Sex has become so common that if you apply the laws of demand and supply, then it has lost its value. Success in the sports arena leads to celebrity status which definitely attracts the opposite sex and possibly lots of casual sex opportunities. Physical exercise also leads to high testosterone levels in the blood which also makes sportspeople to have a high sex drive.
Sex is good but like everything else in life, it requires moderation and control. Former Italy football captain Fabio Canavaro once said that sex gives him the energy to perform on the pitch. To others it could be the opposite but they will not admit it.
Sex experts will tell you the stress relieving effects of good sex- note the action word good. The problem is too much of it is not good, especially with many partners.
As much as good sex has its benefits, the resources and time involved in seeking and executing (for the singles) it may affect the time required and energy levels for practice sessions. If sex is a stress reliever, casual and unprotected sex has risks that make it counterproductive.
It is prudent that a player looks at the advantage of delayed gratification in relation to sex. It is good if an athlete understands himself well so as to have a good balance especially the married ones. Sex has brought down kings and many sportsmen as well.
The s-tipple chase
Trust Kenyans to coin creative words- I had never heard of s-tipple chase before the 2012 London Olympics. We are known the world over as the seven laps-jump over barrier- and water champions. Our alcohol consumption is also higher compared to many developing countries. The s-tipple chase description is definitely a home truth.
Alcohol needs moderation, if you can’t control it the only option is to quit. A friend once told me that running with gumboots is not prohibited in the Olympics. Which means you can go to the sprint blocks in gumboots, run and finish the race- but at what cost?
So it is with alcohol, as much as it is not prohibited, it comes with unnecessary baggage. Smoking and chewing miraa (khat) just complicates the equation. The effects of khat, a mild stimulant, may not be evident immediately but the compounded effects are negative; loss of sleep and appetite are bad for an athlete.
Conventional wisdom has taught me that discipline in life is what separates good from best. In social matters go for moderation, to talent add skills. Talent in itself is not a guarantee of success; lifestyle must be planned around talent to harness it. Our athletes must exercise discipline, wisdom and moderation if they are to play and win for long.
The dust that Michael “Engineer” Olunga’s move has raised after word leaked that he has left his Swedish base for a Chinese club is more of a distraction from important issues. No one is furnishing the public with important details yet all we hear of is support and condemnation of the 22 year old and his agent.
Olunga’s move is not an isolated case. Football is a poor man’s game and so money will always be a big factor. At the top level you can count the number of players from middle class families. In a country like Brazil, only Kaka is known to come from a middle class family. The attitude around football somehow repels children of privilege. Their parents will take them to weekend kick around but the passion dies off eventually then rugby, cricket and lawn tennis takes over.
So, Olunga like many players has been enjoying kicking the ball praying for a financial breakthrough. So the approximately Ksh. 400 million signing fees is a very good place to begin with. I also hope the Chinese will pay him a good salary. After that Olunga can work hard on the pitch hoping to catch the eyes of bigger clubs in Europe.
The problem with Africans is worshipping the European leagues. Looking at the Chinese league against Norway, Swedish and Belgian leagues where most Kenyan players have plied their trade, one can deduce many things. But first is a caveat; put on middle class lenses. One area to train your lenses is the recent Sevens Rugby Kenya team strike. If it was football, another set of players would have been happy to replace their striking colleagues not knowing that better pay has a trickle-down effect. Football officials know this and they exploit it well.
These fringe European leagues do not pay well enough relative to living standards in their country. A player can afford a good life but top level football has timeline of about a decade bar injuries. Take off about five years spent on the grassless pitches of Kenya and a player has to maximize returns as fast as he can. The safety valve is always the possibility of a move to the bigger leagues. So far, Victor Wanyama is the only player to break through this barrier leaving many Kenyan players to retire and settle in the Scandinavian countries. Even the magnificent Arnold Origi has not been able to leave Norway. Denis Oliech went to France via Qatar. So what is the guarantee that Olunga will move even to second level leagues like Portugal and Netherlands?
The big money in Chinese football makes up for the lower standards of football. Again the presence of players the caliber of former Chelsea players in Obi Mikel, Oscar and Ramireswith coaches like Andre vila Boas among others in China is good for Olunga. It is still as fringe as the third and fourth rate European Leagues but with better pay. What Olunga’s agent should do is to market the lad in the third tier European Leagues like Scotland, Turkey and Ukraine aggressively. He can ride the dragon for now but his handlers must make sure he is not swallowed.
As we say in the streets; the ball bounces. It is not static.
The recent SportPesa Premier League Awards revealed the long held belief that it will take defenders another leg and head to win a major award beyond Defender of the Year. Gor Mahia prodigy Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma and Western Stima midfielder Kenneth Muguna were competing in two categories. New Player of the Year(Rookie of the Year) and Player of the Year (MVP) while Muguna was also nominated for Midfielder of the Year which he bagged, Ouma failed to capture Defender of the Year which went to old wine, Jokins Atudo of Posta Rangers.
I grew up as a Gor Mahia fan and it is Gor Mahia’s loss to APR FC of Rwanda in 2010 that made me stop the foreign football and EPL ‘madness’. I remember the pullout from Daily Nation with all the Class of 1987 players who won Nelson Mandela Cup was pinned up on the wall of my room for many months. Abbas Khamis Magongo, the man from Mwanza is my best Gor Mahia player ever. That is not what I want to talk about. I want to jump into the forthcoming Gor Mahia elections.
The biggest sponsorship deal in sports in Kenya was signed today. Kenya Rugby Union will receive a total of 607 million shillings over the next five years from betting company Sportpesa Limited. KRU Chairman Richard Omwela is reported by RagaHouse Media to have said the deal has been long and coming.
Football is the world’s most popular sport with a following that is second to none. It’s following cuts across every social and economic divide. It has the power to enforce a ceasefire in a civil war. The warring factions in Ivory Coast’s civil war would stop fighting when their national team was playing at home. That’s the immense power of what the Brazilians’ baptized the beautiful game, because it was too good a game for them.
We all know at least one of the many black spots in our roads. My most scary black spot is the Nithi River Bridge on the Nairobi Meru road. These are spots where drivers are advised to be very cautious, because a small misstep and chances of survival are slim. This is what happens to Harambee Stars in group stage qualifiers for African Cup of Nations and the World Cup.
He is the Kenyan version of Portuguese super agent Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes. He is many things to many people, and recently added another feather to his cap by venturing into player and coaches representation. Starting off as a journalist, he grew through the ranks to become a Television producer, took the big risk and ventured into football administration, before jumping ship to start what has been a largely successful venture of talent management.
At the age of 17, he had helped set up a vibrant Sports Club whose key objective was to keep idle youth busy by bringing them together and create opportunities for them. He is tough and probably one of the most misunderstood sports administrators in Kenya. Andrew Mudibo, the Kenya Table Tennis President also heads 13 other countries across Africa in the sport he picked instead of his first love, football.
We had a candid talk with Mudibo who has since announced his interest to vie for National Olympic Committee of Kenya Secretary General post in the coming poll in May.
KenyanStar: Thank you so much Mr. Mudibo for sparing your time for this interview. Just to start us of, who is Andrew Mudibo in Kenyan sport arena?
Mudibo: In sports Andrew Mudibo has been, let me say an all-rounder. All-rounder because I started off as a player. I used to play football in the late 80s. I played with the likes of Dennis Oyiela and Achieng Achieng. Those were very key players for AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia and even Harambee Stars and at that time I was a force to reckon with in the team we were playing with. I learnt a lot from them. We were good team mates at Undungu football club. It was during that time that I was also a good Table Tennis Player. It is then that I started St. Teresa Table Tennis Club at St. Teresa Catholic Church in Eastleigh.
I started St. Teresa when I was 17 years old. What we did was that, in view of crime related issues that were there in terms of social vices, I decided to come up with activities that would bring the youth together, to give them hope and open the door for them to get jobs and maybe create a good future for themselves.
Kenyanstar: What exactly made you drop football for racket games considering that in Kenya and Eastland specially is known for their love for football.
Mudibo: For me to drop football...There were a lot of things involved. One was that, you'd get injuries and coming from Eastland, people didn't know how to treat those injuries. In those days, football was being used in a way, to eradicate societal problems. But later on I discovered that maybe football wasn't my sport. That Table Tennis was my sport. And as you grow, you might need to decide what you want. You try different kinds of activities and my heart settled for Table Tennis. But it doesn't mean that I have left football out of my heart. The other day when Hussein Mohammed was doing his campaign for football (presidency), I was deeply involved in his candidature and at that time he became popular. And before that, through Media Plus, I was handling Harambee Stars through sponsorship. So issues of football and sports in general have largely been in my blood throughout. And leaving football doesn't mean that I have left it out completely. No! I am still involved in it in some way or the other. For example, I mentor people like Francis Kimanzi whom I grew up with. He's learnt a lot from me. A part from that, we are also the pioneers of Mathare Youth Sports Association. So it is a whole lot of experience that I have been able to come through.
Kenyanstar: What's your take on the future of Table Tennis in Kenya?
Mudibo: Right now I would say the future is very bright. If the structures that we started putting in place continue, then in the next three to four years, Table Tennis will be able to stand out among the leading sports, not only in Kenya but in Africa. Right now we've just put in part of the structures that are supposed to be there and everybody, even internationally are taking note of what is happening Kenya. What we are trying to brush off is making sure that... people still believe that everything is done through a president of a federation. It has to be a team work. And team work means you must work with existing structures. That is what we've been fighting for because each one has got its own structure and those structures must stand alone. In the late 50s or early 60s, when the Railways was coming to Kenya, Table Tennis was one of the leading sports in this this region. The Goan and White people were playing Table Tennis. You'd have Posta and Telekom playing. Now, as we moved on, the structures were not put in place. For us, those structures must be there and that's one of the key areas we are working on. When you are developing a sport, many people look at the winning bit but for us it is not about winning. It is about the structures that will support what is happening that is important. If you don't have those structures then you have a problem. The sport will not grow.
Kenyanstar: Besides being the boss of Table Tennis in the country, you are also the President of Africa Zone V region. That is 14 countries under your watch. How do you juggle your time and what are you doing improve the standard of the sport in this region?
Mudibo: Right now, Zone v is called Eastern region. The Africa Union changed how Africa is divided. Previously we had Egypt in our region but now they are out. It's true I've got a total of 14 countries in my region. What is important is that you cannot carry everything on your shoulders. For you to be able to succeed, you need to delegate. You need to delegate different aspects of it. And you need to trust people who are around you. The people you relate with in various capacities. Those are people you need to trust and work with. And you need to give them that opportunity because if you end up that you want to do everything alone, then chances are you are going to fail because you've not built a team that can work.
Kenyanstar : Talking about building a team, what is your take on Kenyan Sports in terms of administration and governance?
Mudibo: We can divide Kenyan sports into two: We can look at the playing bit and administration. I have absolutely no problem with the playing bit because that's an area that can be corrected. But the major area where all the focus need to go to is the administration. Based on the structures and governance surrounding each federation and offices is that we've been operating in a more "jua kali" casual way which has got no set formula. For example, like my case, I was a sports person. Then I came into leadership, but I have not undergone any formal training in terms of being able to be an administrator. Those are the areas that need to be addressed. When, for example, you look at the National Olympic Committee, whatever we are seeing is just part of the problem that is there. It is not just about Rio Games. The issues are quite wide range.
You cannot tell me that right now we've got Oliech (Dennis), we've got Wanyama (Victor) and his brother, Mariga (McDonald) but we can't get more payers coming in to that rank. Again it doesn't mean that money can only be found outside Kenya. Money can be found here, in sports. If the betting firms are making billions from Kenyans in betting then that's something we need to re look in terms of how we are operating as officials. And whatever is happening at Nock, is a generational change that has come and that change has to happen. For me it is time for a new generation in sports leadership.
Whatever that was there at Nock before are traditional ways of how things were operating whereby if something is wrong you'd sit down and pat your colleague on the back and say, ”you know we are sportsmen. We don't do one-two-three. Let's put this thing under the rug." But the world has changed. Nowadays it's an issue touching on good governance. It's an issue touching on transparency. It's an issue touching on how you develop players to be the best because right now, sports is an industry.
Kenyanstar: Still on good governance, do you think the big Brothers like Rugby, Athletics and even football which until recently were rocked with some internal wrangle - have anything to be emulated by their younger brothers in terms of leadership? Also the age factor has been used severally by those seeking leadership positions to kick out the incumbent simply because they are ‘old’ but we don't look at the track record or even the integrity of the youthful leader who want to come in?
Mudibo: That's why I said there is a problem. For example, how do you lead? If people do not trust those around them, then those fights will always continue. And I think that one thing people do not understand is that, we need to look at how to make them to feel comfortable so that they feel that they are still loved and wanted in the society. It is not just a matter of kicking them out and ignoring them. It's a matter of making them to be comfortable and be part of what is there. You cannot throw out the old generation simply because we are saying the young ones have to come in. We must be able to get that institutional history coming in by working with the old people to be able to improve each and every step that is there. Along the way, they learnt what was wrong and it is now for us to be able to learn from them. How do you correct and reinforce the shortfall that was there. At the end of the day, it must be a team effort between the old and the young.
Kenyanstar: You are viewed by some as this tough guy. Street man if I may say. Some say you are rude. Some say you have a big network and that you are connected to the high and mighty. Does your connection have an influence in your character?
Mudibo: I will leave it to the people who are judging me. There are some who say I am a Saint. There are some who look up to me, like my son. He would look up to me like a good father. But it depends on how people relate with you. When you say some say I am a hard headed person and all that, it depends in what area. It is very easy to paint somebody in a negative way but let's look at the work that is being done. Is the work being done in the right way or not? Are the actions that have been taken right or wrong? Are you able to fault me on the work that has been done or not? If you can be able to get a fault me in any of the above areas, then I think those faults need to be addressed. We all know that all of us are human. If Jesus was abused and the President can be abused, who said that I cannot be abused? Even you, Elvince, at your place of work, not everybody will love you and that is part of life. That is something by the time you realise that that's it, then you'll be able to do a lot with your life. That's why I am saying, we need to get out of those small excuses and look at the bigger picture. Let's address issues about Kenyan sports. All of us can never be the same and how I handle the pressure is not the same way how you'll handle it.
And when you talk about knowing the high and mighty, those high and mighty are our leaders. If you do the right thing, God opens the doors for you. For me, I am a saved Christian and I believe in God. Most of the fights or challenges that are there, God is the one who guides me on how I approach issues and have them resolved. If I was somebody you cannot work with, somebody who is rude and all that, I don't think I would have made it to the position where I am today, in leadership and even business. I would not be here today.
Kenyanstar: Recently during the National Olympic Committee of Kenya extraordinary meeting, we saw quite an embarrassing scenes. A scuffle between you and Paralympic boss Agnes Oluoch who accused you of ‘micromanaging’ the ongoing Nock elections process. What exactly happened behind the camera lenses? And are you eying any seat at Nock?
Mudibo: The only thing I can say about Agnes is that her attack on me was personal. The attack happened outside the meeting itself. The meeting had ended and in that regard that it is a personal matter. It is like if I leave this interview and walk out to the streets and am attacked, it doesn't become a sports issue. That remains a personal matter which has got nothing to do with sports. I reported the matter to the Police and I believe she is supposed to appear in court and take a plea. I'll leave it at that because this is a matter before a court of law and I wouldn't want to comment on an issue in court.
For now, the first bridge that we need to cross is on the side of the Constitution. If the Constitution is adopted the way it is, then definitely Yes, I will be vying for a seat and I will reveal which position I'll be going for at the right time.
Kenyanstar: Thank you so much for your time and all the best.
Mudibo : You are welcome.
Mudibo has since announced that he will be vying for NOCK's Secretary General Post. The interview was conducted the Clarion Hotel.
He is soft spoken. A man of few words but with an overflowing pot of humor. Japheth Munala, the Kenya Pipeline head coach is a man on a mission; to transform the Kenya Volleyball scene. His humility and dedication to his work has seen him record great success with both his club, Kenya Pipeline with whom he has lifted three consecutive league titles. He also assisted the national women's team, christened Malkia Strikers to their first international title when Kenya wrote history thousands of kilometers away by lifting the FIVB World Grand Prix in Australia in 2015. Munala also uses his free time to give back to the society. He shares his skills with grassroots coaches and upcoming volleyball players in High Schools. His effort has since been rewarded when he guided three different Schools to both the national and regional School stages.
K.S: Thank you coach for your time. Just walk us through your first contact with Volleyball.
Munala: I started playing volleyball while in School. Musingu Boys High School. I feared going for cross country and i would hide among volleyball players. The captain saw my height and convinced me to stop running and concentrate on volleyball. I excelled so fast and before the end of that year i was in the starting lineup. While in form four, i took the team to the nationals. That's how I begun playing volleyball.
K.S: So how was the transition after high school?
Munala: That was in Form Four. I went back for Form Five and Six in the same School. While playing for the School, I joined a club, MOW of Kakamega. I played for both the school team and Club and when I cleared form Six, I moved to MOW on full basis and stayed with them for three months. I then switched to Kenya Ports Tele Communication (KPTC) in 1988. That was a branch volleyball club of KPTC. After one year in Kakamega, I was transfered to the headquarters in Nairobi where the senior team was based. I remember they were the national champions for very many years. They saw me play in Kakamega then transfered me to the bigger club, Posta men where I played until I retired.
K.S: What was your most memorable moment as a player and what are some of the achievement you can point out during your time at Posta?
Munala: The most memorable day was when I played for Posta for the first time. We had good players in the team then and It wasn't easy for anyone especially a new and upcoming player to get a slot in the starting line up. When I got the starting role, I never looked back. I held that position (left attacker), up until I retired from the team in 2007. Unfortunately I never played for the national team. I was called several times but I never made it to the final squad. We won the national title with Posta severally. We were the national champions for more than 10 years in a row. We also won KICOSO games and we finished third at the Africa Club championships, the first time a Kenyan team finished in the medal bracket at the continental stage. Only Kenya Prisons (men) has done better than that when they finished second in 2013.
K.S: You must have had some bad luck there with the national team. Sorry about that. So then how did you transit from the court to the bench?
Munala: While still playing, I went for a coaching course in 1997. I was still very active as a player but i needed to have the certificate with me. So i went for Level 1- coaching course and got the necessary papers. I continued playing until 2005 when I started doubling up as a coach-player, still with Telecom. I actually started as a player-trainer then coach-player. After I got retired from Posta, I took coaching as a career in 2008. I started with the Telkom in division two and took them to division one. I later left Telkom for Kenya Commercial Bank as assistant coach to Paul Bitok. When he (Bitok) left for Rwanda, I took over the team as the head coach. We won the league that year with KCB, finished second in Africa (Club Championship). In 2011, Pipeline saw me and that's where I am to-date.
K.S: What are some of the challenges facing the growth of women's volleyball in Kenya?
Munala: When we joined volleyball, i would say there was shortage of players but some of us took up the challenge as coaches to go back to Schools and nurture players. Currently, there are a lot of players coming through from Schools. The only major challenge is the few number of clubs which is not enough to absorb the growing number of talent coming out of High School. For a very long time Schools have played the role of feeder to various clubs in this country. What I can say is that there is no shortage of players now but we have a shortage of the number of clubs, especially for women.
My wish and appeal is to corporate bodies, the private firms to come in to Volleyball. We should have more institutional clubs which should be able to employ these players so that we can have transition from Schools to club volleyball. Otherwise the four clubs in the women's top division are not enough to take in the big number of players coming from School. I would challenge corporate institutions to form clubs that will absorb all these talents being wasted.
K.S: Talking about Schools, we've seen you working very closely with quite a number of institutions. Why so and do you do it for monetary gain?
Munala: Not at all. Money is not the driving factor. I started with Malava Girls when they had absolutely no impact in School volleyball. There were only two schools then - Lugulu Girls and Mukumu. Those two schools were very good in Volleyball. So Malava came nowhere near them. I started with Form Ones and by the time they got to Form Two, they were the champions in Western Province. Until the time I left, they were the champions East Africa.
Then I went to Kwanthanze Secondary in Machakos County. In my first year with Kwanthanze, they finished fifth. The second year they came third and the third year they finished in position one, both at Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) and East Africa School games. After Kwanthanze I went to Soweto Secondary. Soweto is a very small School from Kibera slums. Not known in Volleyball but after one year stay with them, Soweto became the Nairobi and Metropolitan regional champions. Then they finished second in both the national and East Africa. So those are the achievement I can point out at school level. I can say that the majority of young players in Kenya Volleyball today, about 70 percent have passed through my hands as a coach of schools. I've seen them grow. In fact, majority of them are now coming up to the national team ranks. This is an initiative that every coach in Kenya volleyball should take up. That way, we may not lack volleyball players in future.
K.S: Coach thanks so much for doing a lot to bring up young layers. Kenya has dominated continental volleyball for the last two decades. Unfortunately, that is not the same case when we cross over to the international stage. As the national team coach, what would you say is the biggest difference between Kenyan Volleyball and the rest of the world.
Munala: The biggest challenge I would say is lack of basic skills from our players. That has been the biggest undoing whenever we play outside the continent. But if all coaches would go back to the grassroots to start teaching these basics straight away from School, I think we'll go far at the international stage. But I am thankful that we've made some progress in the last few years and made impact at the international level.
K.S: We've seen your success with both the national team, at Club and even School level, as a coach. Besides your achievement with Schools, you have won the national title three times in a row with Kenya Pipeline and several accolades with Malkia Strikers. Unfortunately, during your time as a player you were not this successful. How did you turn it around, to be this successful on the bench?
Munala: As a coach you have to be very committed. You have to instill discipline in players, whether it's at School or club level then push it. Becoming the national coach has given me a lot of experience. I've traveled the world, I have seen how other players are playing and how other coaches are conducting themselves and I have learnt a lot in terms of drills to give to the players.
What worries me is the lack of support Sports receives from the government. For example, our main undoing at the international stage is the poor reception. About 99 percent of our league matches are played outside. This shouldn't be the case. The way you receive the ball in the gym is totally different from the way you receive the ball in a windy environment outside. Outside there, volleyball is played in the gym. In Kenya we only have one standard gym for volleyball which is shared by every body, including politicians. I thought the county government would help us by constructing more Gyms. If only the county government would construct at least 20 gymnasium for indoor sports, then we would be far. I don't know what happened along the way and we are still waiting for somebody to come to our rescue (laughter)
K.S: What is your obsession with young players?
Munala: The way to go is to give young players a chance. For continuity of the sport, you have to at least have that generation, the old and young. Every coach should strike to have at least two or three young players in his or her team at any given time. If you rely solely on old players you may find yourself in a very awkward situation. Old players will 'cheat' you that they are on form but when they step on the field, they tire very fast.
K.S: What are some of the challenges you face as a coach specifically as someone who works with female players?
Munala: Very difficult. Coaching women is very difficult. You have to understand each and everyone of them. You have to understand their mood especially when they are on their menses. But the most important bit is, as a coach you should never date a player. The moment you do that they will stop listening to you and that's the last thing you want as a coach. There is also the issue of pregnancy coming in when you least expect it. Your best player leaves for maternity and you have to devise ways of filling the gap. These are the issues we battle with as women's team coaches. For example my employer will not understand why i lost a match because of the absence of one or two players. But the truth is, the team can be completely weakened due to unavailability of that one player. Its never easy coaching women.
K.S: Back to your achievements if you don't mind. We've seen you dominate the local volleyball scene for the last three years with Kenya Pipeline, something that usually guarantees you an automatic ticket to the Africa Club championship. This title has eluded you for the last five years. Currently you are preparing for that very event. Is this the right time for Pipeline to win their first continental title in over a decade?
Munala: If there is any stressful moment for a coach, it is during club championship and national playoff. It gives me sleepless nights. Long nights because you don't know in which pool you are going to land. Whether it is going to be friendly to you or not. Club Championships are a headache to any coach. It has eluded me several times since 2011 and now we are goin to 2017. I hope God will give it to me this time round. I've done my best, we've tried everything and I hope we are going to do well in Tunisia.
K.S: Finally, as a coach, what do you consider when signing a player, height or skills? And is Volleyball all about height?
Munala: What I can say is that height is an added advantage in Volleyball. But again, you can be tall but lack the jump. Volleyball is nothing but to have a powerful jump. If you have a powerful jump then height is an advantage, even better for a player. You should have a moderate height or above medium. But if you are tall and have the jump, then that's the ideal player every coach will be looking to have in his team.
K.S: Thanks so much coach for your time.
The interview was conducted at the Kasarani indoor Arena during Kenya Pipeline training ahead of the 2017 Africa club championship.
Fredrick Otieno is a skating hero, a national hero, he rehabilitates street children through skating . Currently the National Coach for the Speed Skating National team, Fred says this is a position he got courtesy of his programs with the skating club he founded; The Nairobi Sprint Skating Club. A student at the Kampala University taking a degree course in Community development, Fred is our Kenyanstar of the week and he opened up to Kenyanstar on the challenges facing skating as a sport and how he uses it to rehabilitate street children..
She draws both admiration and hate in equal measure. Some would call her the Margaret Thatcher of Kenyan football - a fearless leader who takes on anything and anyone. From a stern critic of the previous administration, she now is at the helm of the club she holds dear to heart.
Like most of the previous Kenyan Stars interviewed on this column have correctly noted, poor infrastructure and insufficient youth programs stand in the way of sports excellence in Kenya. In all if not most sports, we compete against countries who introduce their sports people to the game at a very early stage. That is why this week, Our Kenyan Star of the week, Nicholas Macharia, who runs a football academy under the banner of Ambassadors Football Club and supported by the International Christian Church at Nairobi's Imara Daima estate.
As Ken Odero asks on his blog, Was Mathew Ottamax’s career a case of bloated ego, unfulfilled potential or was he just misunderstood? The story of Mathew Ottomax is about a man who played for the 2 biggest clubs in Kenya, won a league title with each of them, played for the national team and left at his peak.' Mathews Owino ‘Ottamax’, who is currently a goalkeeper trainer, is our Kenyanstar of the week.
KS: Mathews to start us off, to which club do you swear your allegiance between the two Kenyan giants Gor-Mahia and AFC leopards?
Well first of all it is important to state that I'm currently a goalkeeper trainer at Nakumatt FC even though we are yet to formalize this engagement. That having been said, Nakumatt played Leopards in a friendly match the other day and it was evident from the reception i got that the leopards still have a lot of love for me. This feeling is mutual because tribal factors aside, even my friends at Gor-Mahia know i have always had AFC at heart so yes, AFC Leopards it is.
KS: How easy or difficult was it to make the switch from Gor-Mahia to AFC leopards?
I wouldn't say it was a difficult decision because at the time there were wrangles at Gor-Mahia and when Leopards came knocking even my core support agreed that for the sake of my career I'd be much better off at The Den.
KS: Tell us how your story began, and how you rose to these heights?
How i started was more accidental. I had been sent to the shops by my mum so on my way back i found two teams just about to start playing football. One of the teams didn't have a goalkeeper so they asked me to hold brief for them in goal. I was going to decline but they went ahead to take my 'slippers' and use them as makeshift goal posts. So then it seemed reasonable to me that being the temporary goalkeeper would also be an opportunity for me to guard my slippers so no one would steal them. That was the beginning.
KS: So you became a goalkeeper for this team...
I enjoyed the match that day and hence forth I would make a point to go play in the goal whenever there was one of those matches in the neighborhood. I thought it was a good break from spending most of my time in the house. I joined MYSA in its early years of foundation and I developed well through the ranks. I even had a chance to represent Kenya at the Under 14 level but missed as the match would be played when we were travelling with MYSA to our first Norway Cup.
KS: When was your big break?
KS: How did it happen?
I was in high school, in form one and i had trouble paying my school fees so i was sent home. I opted to pass time by joining the Re-Union training Camp. At that time Peter Kenneth was the Chairman. He came to me and asked why i wasn't in school and i explained. He asked me who pays my school fees and i told him it was my mum. He then took up my school fees from then till when i finished schooling. In return i would play for Re-Union.
KS: Did playing opportunities come at Re-Union?
It looked like i would have to wait for a long time. The first choice goalkeeper for Re-Union then was the legendary Mohamud Abbas who also doubled as the team manager. His number two in goal was one Charles Bushira. But there was this one time senior players went on strike due to unpaid allowances so the team officials had to quickly assemble a team that would honor the weekend matches. Like many of the players for that weekend, i was picked up in school on Thursday and told i would be playing over the weekend. Those days we played two matches every weekend. I soaked in six goals in my first two matches for Re-Union that weekend. We played Bata Bullets on Saturday and lost 3-2, on Sunday we played AFC Leopards and lost 3-0. But from then on we stabilized and that is how i started playing regular football.
KS: Mathews, you were in the AFC Leopards team that last won the league in 1998. What do you think Leopards need to do to bring back their glory days?
I think they need to cut down on politics or probably get one strong leader. Our days we had one Peter Onalo who ran the club with an iron fist. Over the past few seasons including 2016, AFC leopards have been assembling some of the best squads in the league but the politics at the club does not give them a chance to compete on the pitch.
KS: What is the difference between your days and now?
Of course there was a bit of stability, but the biggest difference is the money factor. During our days there wasn't a lot of money.
KS: Let us talk about Kenya vs Djibouti...
I saw this coming...
KS: Kenya won the tie 9-1 on aggregate. But that one goal, did you intentionally allow it to go in?
No, it was just a combination of genuine mistake and bad luck. We dominated Djibouti and as a way of keeping me in the game the defenders kept playing back passes to me. The goal moment was bad luck and a miss kick because my shoe got a bit held by the tall grass at the stadium.
KS: Who is that one striker that always gave you sleepless nights during your playing days?
Allow me to name several please. There is Nick Yakhama, The late Steve Okumu and Elkana Swaka
KS: Which do you consider your most memorable match?
When we played Nigeria Under-23. Most Kenyans didn't watch that match. It ended in a goalless draw and i was named man of the match. I think I was the first and among very few Kenyan goalkeepers who have gone to Nigeria and Kept a clean sheet.
KS: What do you make of the current status of football in Kenya?
It is in shambles. * See we don't even know when the league will kick off. I think football administrators have no consideration of players who are a key component of the game.
KS: Compared to your playing days do you think we are making progress?
Yes! There is progress. We have seen some of our top players play for top European clubs and this is something that will open doors for other Kenyans. We also saw the other day KPL players get some exposure in a match against Hull City FC courtesy of Sportpesa and yes there is increasing inflow of corporates sponsoring football in various categories. All this i think is progress.
KS: Tell us about your time at Gor-Mahia as Goalkeeper trainer.
Basically i joined Gor-Mahia technical bench at around the same time Frank Nuttal was hired. I understand, or was made to believe that the club was going through some financial difficulties at this time and there was a lot of pressure on us to deliver, and we did deliver including winning the league in 2015 unbeaten. Coincidentally, that same year I went the entire season with no pay. Once in a while i would be given small amounts of money and requested to be understanding since the club had no money. Lastly it is important to say that i didn't leave Gor-Mahia, I was forced out. I was told the coach had said he didn't want to work with me.
KS: How could you work with no pay? Was it just you or all other members of the technical bench?
Mostly me and the assistant coach. I think our services were abused and not appreciated but personally for me i do this for the love of the game and for the players I train.
KS: Because of careful management of their image rights sports people earn from product endorsements during and long after their playing time. How have you faired in this regard?
I got endorsements with Guinness beer in my playing days and I’m glad to say this has been picking up in the industry for instance we have the case of Oliech and Betways.
KS: Who do you think are the top three Kenyan goalkeepers currently?
Arnold Origi, Boniface Oluoch and Patrick Matasi in that order. I particularly think Origi has been very disciplined and hard working.
KS: Some people say you are arrogant with a bloated ego. Do you feel the same way about yourself?
My character is that I'm always myself and I'm not a Yes man. It lands me in trouble a lot of times but i don't shy away from airing my views.
KS: Your social media outbursts, aren't they doing some harm to your image?
Probably yes but i do not intend to stop. It is who I am. If i feel pinched i need to find a way to say I have been pinched and with technology, social media is one of those avenues.
KS: There have been accusations that you have a drinking problem...
The accusations have been that i go to training drunk which i can tell you today it's not possible. I respect my job and sometimes i leave the house at 5am to arrive at the training ground on time especially the days we start off at 8. Those are rumors maliciously spread by my detractors. I'm an adult and yes i indulge but responsibly, mostly after the training sessions.
KS: What was your Relationship with coach Ze Maria?
Largely we had a good relationship save for a few instances which is normal. Ze-maria is a very good coach and i respect him but he is the one with a bad ego compared to what they say i have. In my opinion he does not respect Kenyans football wise.
KS: Tell us about the 2010 derby match that you tried to stop...
What happened at that match was very unfortunate. I wasn't trying to stop it in bad faith, I was just trying to get some attention from everyone to what really mattered; people's lives. That was the first floodlight derby match if I'm not wrong and it had rained the entire afternoon. People had over indulged. I had come with my family and i pre-warned them the scenes weren't so good. The match had just started when i gained entry into the stadium via the VIP area but i could see fans struggling at the first terrace gate, others being stumbled on. It looked really bad. I tried to bring it to the attention of the police officers but they didn't seem bothered. I requested the Gor-Mahia bus driver to ferry some of those fans to hospital but he said he would need permission from his employers. I approached Carol Radul but i saw she was on set so there was little i could do. In that moment Gor-Mahia had been awarded a free kick so i decided i would go have the referee stop the match until the victims of the stampede had been taken care of. I was already on the pitch but before the referee could spot me the stewards were all over me with blows. It was a sad day.
KS: Why don't we have more Kenyan goalkeepers going to play professional say in Europe?
I think we do not believe in ourselves then we find an excuse in form of the perception that European clubs do not sign African goalkeepers but look at Idrissa Kameni (from Cameroon) and tell me if that is true.
KS: Did you ever get a chance to play in Europe yourself?
Yes i had an invitation to play in Sweden but had a hitch in my Visa application process so it did not materialize.
KS: Why did you leave the Harambee Stars technical bench?
What i saw at Harambee Stars was very disheartening. It wasn't good for football. Football is much more than what I saw in the national team. Mental preparedness and facilities are very key if we are to be competitive in our football.
KS: What is your parting shot to your fans and readers of Kenyanstar?
I just want to thank them for staying true to the game and always supporting the players and teams in general.
* - The Interview was conducted a few days before the release of KPL 2017 season fixtures. The fixtures are now out and we know the first matches will be played on the 11th of March.
Born in Western Kenya, 60 year old Richard Omwela studied at Kakamega High School before pursuing a law degree at the University of Nairobi. While at the University he did not make the grade to play Rugby due to the School back ground. Omwela headed the Kenya Rugby Union for close to 8 years between 2003 and 2011, a period within which Kenyan Rugby grew to unprecedented heights. For his contribution to the game, Richard Omwela is our Kenyanstar of the week ...
KS: Who is Richard Omwela?
I'm a 60 years old Kenyan, born in Western Kenya. I schooled at Kakamega High School and proceeded to study law at the University of Nairobi. I'm a lawyer by profession and for the last 37 years i have been practicing corporate law. I'm a partner at Hamilton Harrison and Mathews previously the Managing partner. I'm also the current Chairman of the Kenya Rugby Union.
KS: What is your story with Rugby?
I followed Rugby from my University days and was at the University of Nairobi when the University team Mean machine was formed. I came from a football background in High school, back in those days Kakamega High School was primarily a football giant and not so much ruby. When i got to the University of Nairobi I had to be content with watching from the side lines as there were better, more established players from Rugby playing schools such as Nairobi and Lenana so i did not make the grade. In terms of managing the sport, i joined Impala club as a member of the club when i finished my university studies but between 1991 and 1995 I served as the chairman of the club. That is how i joined Rugby administration because Impala was then as it still is a Rugby playing club among other sports. It is from this that i got into Rugby initially as a director in charge of Fund raising because of my corporate background. I moved on to become secretary of the union them moved on to become chairman of the Union. It was always felt that because of my corporate background i would help fund raise for the union.
KS: And how did the fund raising go? Did your leadership help?
Pretty well i would say, initially our targets were very low, just about Ksh 10 million to run the sport every year as compared to now where we are looking at annual budgets of close to Ksh 500 Million. And yes i believe my leadership helped especially in corporate governance, introducing structures and generating an interest in the game. Back in the day we would call for an AGM and only a handful of people would show up and we would divide the available roles but now we have actual competitive elections. I have always looked at how much i can give to the game in terms of my expertise and time resources as opposed to how much i can get from it and I believe my contribution to the sport has been immense especially by putting in place structures that would outlive us when we leave management of the sport to others.
KS: That is interesting Mr. Omwela considering in the last election you campaigned on the platform of 'Coming back to clean the mess that had been created'. Are the structures not strong enough?
The structures we have been continually putting in place are the reason our Rugby got a chance for another two years of good leadership and are the reason why there will always be a chance to make amends when things go wrong. The unfortunate thing, and it applies to the country at large, is that while we have very many able Kenyans, most of them shy away from positions of leadership. Some of those who offer themselves for leadership could be coming in for other reasons other than leadership Good leaders also need to take the initiative and step other than live in their glorious days. I believe we have a lot of credible people able to offer leadership post Omwela or post anyone else.
KS: What would you say is the current state of Rugby in Kenya?
Rugby has grown in leaps and bounds. You will find that in all counties in Kenya, Rugby is being played not just at club level but all the way from school level to Universities and colleges. So, the game has grown rapidly. The issue we have now is how to manage it because as the game expands we need competent officials, referees, coaches and even equipment and medical support. In those aspects we are lacking. Rugby is also playing a part in improving the Kenyan society values because of the discipline of the game. For instance we have an Under 10 program we run at the union in partnership with Shamas foundation. This program collects youth from Kibera and Kawangware and parents have observed that the youth who join this program have shown improved grades and personalities. This is mainly because of the discipline demanded of a rugby player and in the case of the youngsters also just being around successful individuals who play or manage rugby inspires them to do better in other spheres beyond the game.
KS: How would you say we rate against elite Rugby playing Nations like South Africa, England, Fiji and the likes?
We are far much behind the elite Rugby playing nations and we need to do much more to come close to them. These are countries playing fully professional rugby back in their local leagues while we depend on players who have different day jobs are in Colleges or have just left College.
KS: How long Mr. Omwela before we go fully professional?
There are deliberate efforts to fully professionalize our league. Clubs like Kabras, Impala, and Homeboyz are already moving towards that direction but a key set-back which the industry has been grappling with is the lack or insufficient corporate participation because a professional league is very expensive.
KS: One would imagine that with rapid growth of the game corporate organizations will be literary struggling to be associated with it. What seems to be holding them back?
There are two important factors we as administrators need to work on before we get full commitment from sponsors;
The first one is accountability and issues to do with corporate governance. Sponsors not only want to know how every single shilling they gave you was used, they also want to ascertain the monies they give are directed for the correct purpose and for the growth of the game. So the way you run the game has a bearing on if sponsors will come on board and our efforts over the years has won the confidence of people like KQ, Safaricom, EABL, Bamburi and most recently Sports Pesa.
The second is each sponsor wants a return on Investment so if they are putting money into the game what value worth of their money will they get back in terms of visibility and or publicity. Our league for instance is played over just seven months every year. This could have a bearing on when or if sponsors come on board because it is probably a short time for them to get value out the sponsorship But going forward we want to have a structured league where the main league can be supplemented by two other competitions so that whichever sponsor comes on board gets value across the year. So as we continue to professionalize our game these are some of the issues we have to look at.
KS: Has KRU and the various clubs under it complied with the Sports Act?
Not 100%, it is still work in progress but the intention is that by 2018 all the clubs plus the union will have complied fully. The union will be having an AGM in the coming month [March] and one of the agenda items will be to review our progress so far in complying with the Act. Some clubs have complied in some of the aspects like changing their constitution to have a 4 year circle for leadership instead of a one year circle...
KS: Why is that particular one Important? Having a four year term instead of a one year term?
It is important because it allows the organization in question more time to concentrate on the sport which is the most important thing. If you keep it at one year then for a half of the year the people in office are thinking about re-election and the sport suffers....
KS: Does the four year term then completely fixes this?
Not entirely because you still lose considerable amount of time with people politicking. At rugby we are looking at a possibility of a succession plan where you have the Chairman and probably 1st and 2nd Vice Chairmen with a clear structure of who will be chairman after the incumbent and so the union leadership definite and known even for the next several years. This will allow more time to be invested into the sport itself.
KS: Will you be defending your position in the upcoming elections?
Yes! I will vie again to serve one last term as the chairman. But I'm not campaigning. I want clubs to look at the work we have done vote us in or out based on that. I think as a sport we are in a position where we can make decisions based on tangible evidence and not mere rhetoric.
KS: What is the union’s plan for Infrastructure?
Currently our best bet is having the government come good on its promise because the President of the Republic of Kenya HE Uhuru Kenyatta promised us a rugby stadium on our return from Singapore but if they don't then we will have to explore other options.
KS: Is it the government's responsibility to put up this infrastructure? What role does the union play in ensuring it happens?
Look, the government did build Kasarani and Nyayo stadium for football, the county government further built City stadium but for football yet again so it is not so much to ask that they do one for Rugby and Cricket for that matter we also pay taxes as a sport so why should all the resources be channeled to one sport that has produced no known result over the years?
KS: So if the government doesn't come good on this promise?
Of course it has always been on the table for us. We had plans in 2011 to acquire the Ligi Ndogo grounds and combined with the KRFU, our main grounds then we would put up a standard facility including some bed and parking capacity, we had even already set aside some Ksh. 45 Million for this project. We had entered into an Agreement for buying Ligi Ndogo grounds and paid a deposit. Unfortunately there was a change of leadership and consequently a change of thinking around this project so we lost the opportunity. If it is to come up again then we will probably look at a partnership with the County Government of Mombasa to put up a Rugby stadium.
KS: Why Mombasa? Have you already engaged them?
No, Not yet! But it would be our best shot if we ever want to get on the World Rugby 7s circuit.
KS: Wasn't Safari Sevens meant for inclusion on the World Rugby 7s circuit?
Safari Sevens is a great competition by the idea to submit a bid for its inclusion on the World Rugby 7s circuit was not well thought out. It was never going to make it for various reasons; For starters the hosting city needs to have a five star bed capacity of at least 20,000. Nairobi doesn't have that so our best bet is probably Mombasa combined with Diani and Malindi and they will still be strained. Secondly, you need not only have a standard rugby pitch for the main competition but also a second one for the women and several others for training. We are not anywhere close to these requirements. Lastly, the current thinking around World Rugby is to host all the legs of the circuit in low altitude cities so there is no possible way our high altitude Nairobi will have a chance unless this thinking changes. So if it were me i would not even submit that bid.
KS: Why do you think the number of fans attending the Safaricom Sevens has dwindled over the years?
It is a combination of factors and especially for last year's event. First is competition with other sports specifically motor sport which was on the same weekend. Second is the location, Kasarani you would admit is on 'the other side of town' with respect to majority of Rugby fans in the city and creates some sort of an inconvenience and lastly is the reduced level of Safaricom sponsorship. Previously the sponsorship included marketing the event through their various platforms but that was not the case last year so the event publicity suffered. Obviously we should have done a lot more for publicity but it's a lesson we learnt and have already put in place a committee for this year's event.
KS: Is this a pointer we will not be going back to Kasarani for Safari Sevens this year?
We cannot rule out Kasarani but we need to look at other ooptions. Nyayo Stadium is one of them. Part of the reason why we have been having it at Kasarani is the Safaricom was the main Sponsor of the Stadium and it made no sense to take it elsewhere. We understand that has now changed.
KS: Shall we see the return of the Bamburi Rugby Super Series?
The super series was a competition for regional Franchise teams in Kenya and Uganda sponsored by Bamburi mainly because their business covered these countries. The super series can of course make a comeback albeit with a bit of modifications but first we are sourcing for a sponsor because it is expensive to manage these franchises. The potential sponsor candidates are corporate organization with countrywide product reach and with that respect we have considered and engaging people like Bidco and others. It was a very good competition because from it we got teams like Western Bulls which has come up very strongly.
KS: What are the union's top three priorities over the next five years?
The first is to put up a high performance center. A piece of infrastructure that can comfortably host an international tournament without the limitations i mentioned earlier like Bed Capacity, Training facilities and even parking space.
The Second is to have a fully functional secretariat with regional branches all over the country and effectively institute some supporting structures to manage the game throughout the country so we won't have to always dispatch resources human and material to various parts of the country when needed.
The third is to develop further our national squads, both the Sevens and the Fifteens. We missed out narrowly in the last world cup but we are hoping to qualify for 2019 one. So you will notice we are putting a lot of emphasis on the junior teams and giving them more game time because in the near future we shall require them to step up.
KS: Tell us about the Kenya Rugby Limited.
The idea behind Kenya Rugby Limited was to have a company that is fully owned by the union to run the business aspect of the game, while allowing the union to deal with the game itself. It did not and still does not feel prudent to have the union involve itself in the business matters of the sport. The union's core function is to run the sport, not the business associated with the sport. Things like jerseys would be sold by the company not the union. Back then I had Kenya Rugby Limited running the Safari Sevens as an independent entity.
KS: What steps has the union taken to make the game safer especially following the recent deaths of several Rugby players?
That is a very unfortunate thing that has been happening. We have sent our condolences to the affected families and I did convene and chair a meeting with all club representatives to discuss the matter. We made some resolutions that every club must take the responsibility to know the health status of their players and recheck the same on a quarterly basis just to ensure we are not risking anyone's life. We have also instructed the match officials to be keen and ensure that for the case of injuries the match must be stopped for the affected players to get medical attention. If the player is concussed then he must not come go back to the field of play. Such a player must undergo treatment and take leave from the game for at least two weeks. And finally we are also calling out to all players to be conscious of their personal health status and not risk their life.
KS: Has the union outlined any sanctions or penalties for any parties that do not adhere to these recommendations.
We have a team working on that but need a buy in from Clubs and players.
KS: What challenges do you think Kenyan Rugby is facing?
The three main challenges are poor infrastructure, insufficient resources to effectively manage the growth of the game and relatively low uptake by sponsors. We don't have enough match officials, coaches and even qualified medical personnel and I encourage more Kenyans not only to train for these functions but also to come forward when these positions are advertised.
KS: What do you make of the teams participation at the Rio Olympics?
There were some failures on our part but this was also an epic failure on the part of NOCK. On our part I think we had a poor team selection. On NOCK's part they did not consult and were failing even on the very basics. For instance if they would have consulted us then the rugby teams would not have camped in Nandi which is a high altitude area while we were going to play in a low altitude Rio. So while Nandi is a good training ground with good facilities especially for athletes, it was not the best preparation for our Rugby team. I also think our friends at NOCK are not giving attention to team sports especially when they look at the prospects of one man bringing back a medal vis-a-vis seven men bringing back the same medal. So i think we went to participate not to compete.
KS: What lessons do you think other sports federations in Kenya can learn from KRU?
Mainly it's improvement of their corporate governance. Some things that happen are very disheartening. The hitches with player visas and travel arrangement to a point where government has to fork out Ksh. 40 million to charter a plane like it happened in football the other day are all a reflection of poor corporate governance.
KS: What role do you think sports play in national cohesion?
Sports play a big part in National cohesion because when we go out there to play we win or lose as Kenya, not as a Mluhya or Luo or Kikuyu or any other tribe. It is always about Team Kenya. A good example to look at is South Africa and the 1995 Springboks winning team. Had that team not won then it would have been more difficult to hold that country together.
KS: Finally what would you like to tell Rugby fans in particular and Kenyans in general as your parting shot?
I want to assure all rugby fans and Kenyans in general that we will continue to do whatever we can to grow the game despite all the challenges. We have received enormous support from the country and we thank every single Kenyan for that. My phone never stops ringing every time we lose a match, with Kenyans asking what went wrong and commenting on the team selection. This is an indication that they follow our progress and we do not take it for granted.
We are still young and short in capacity but we have enormous talent. We are the only small country playing with the big boys but we hope and believe that Singapore wasn't an accident. We will win more.
Finally i want to call upon the Government of Kenya to support our efforts more because their support will go a long way in taking us several steps forward.
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