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.
World Boxing Super Series set for September launch
The World Boxing Super Series, a new annual elimination tournament featuring some of the sport's top fighters and a $50m (€47m) prize fund, will launch in September.
Nascar adds second top-tier race in Las Vegas
North American stock car-racing series Nascar has added a second Las Vegas race to its calendar, with the US city now set to host two top-tier events from the 2018 season onwards.
Germany and Turkey to battle for Euro 2024
Uefa, football's European governing body, has confirmed that Germany and Turkey will be the only bidders for the Euro 2024 national team tournament.
SportAccord goes back to the future as reforms unveiled
SportAccord, the umbrella group of more than 90 Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations, has unveiled proposals for constitutional changes that could see it return to its former designation and introduce a new means of electing its president.
Adidas raises expectations after 'exceptional' year
Adidas has raised its long-term revenue projections through to 2020 after hailing an "exceptionally successful" 2016.
Bank of America backing boosts Vegas bid for Oakland Raiders
The efforts of NFL American football franchise the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas have been boosted with the news that Bank of America has agreed to step in to fill a financial black hole that had been created in a project to develop a new stadium in the Nevada city.
Fredericks steps down from IOC and IAAF roles amid allegations
Frankie Fredericks has stepped down from senior roles within the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after a newspaper report that he received almost $300,000 (€282,500) from disgraced marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack.
British Cycling recruits FA exec as new CEO
The British Cycling governing body has appointed Julie Harrington of the English Football Association (FA) as its new chief executive.
UFC claims first with Vegas arena deal
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has claimed an industry first with a multi-year agreement that names the mixed martial arts organisation as an anchor tenant of the T-Mobile Arena in the US city of Las Vegas.
Fifa outlines requirements for 2026 World Cup bidders
World football’s governing body Fifa on Thursday stated that the United States would have to permit entry to players, officials and fans from any country that qualified if it won the right to host the 2026 World Cup, while reports have detailed a potential rival joint bid for the tournament from Morocco, Spain and Portugal.
Rio 2016 rejects claims of corruption in Olympic bid process
Rio 2016 has maintained it ran a clean bid for the 2016 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games amid a report on Friday that corrupt payments could have influenced the decision to award the event to the Brazilian city in October 2009.
Argentine players maintain strike action ahead of return of domestic football
The Argentine Footballers' Union (FAA) maintained it stand on strike ahead of commencement of the league this weekend. Argentine players are protesting over unpaid salaries, as the Argentine Football Association (AFA) threatened sanctions in a bid to ensure the domestic game returns to action. Read More
Durban bid chief confident city will retain Commonwealth Games
Tubby Reddy, the chairman of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), has insisted that the city of Durban has "done enough" to retain hosting rights to the 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games multi-sport event.
Barcelona seeks to create world's leading sports innovation centre
Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona has unveiled plans to develop the world's leading centre for sporting innovation.
Velon and Infront put the hammer down with new cycling series
The Velon umbrella body of professional cycling teams and the Infront Sports & Media agency on Wednesday unveiled a new team-based series which will feature the world's leading squads.
Liverpool makes Commonwealth Games offer amid Durban concern
The English city of Liverpool has offered to bring forward its bid for the Commonwealth Games and stage the 2022 edition of the multi-sport event, amid serious concern over whether current host Durban will be able to fulfil its obligations.
Sports Minister raises further concerns over Durban's Commonwealth Games
South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has said that Durban may have to forfeit its hosting rights to the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to the high cost of staging the multi-sport event.
Liverpool hires EA chief as new CEO
English Premier League football club Liverpool has announced that Peter Moore will become its new chief executive.
Nordic nations shelve Euro 2024 bid plan in favour of new strategy
A collective of Nordic football associations has decided to drop plans to bid for Uefa Euro 2024 in favour of exploring efforts to land national team events in women's and youth football.
FIG to develop parkour-related discipline
The International Gymnastics Federation's (FIG) executive committee has committed to the development of a new discipline that is related to parkour.
The gambling industry is growing rapidly in Kenya. We could be competing with the West African nations. Since last year, the country has witnessed over 10 bookmakers join the industry with each contesting for a piece of the pie.
Giant bookies Sportpesa’s market share has certainly gone down with the entry of the new bookmakers and the industry looks lucrative.
We take a look at the list of the bookmakers in Kenya. In certainly no particular order.
BetPawa has been in operation in Kenya since January 2016. Interestingly, just as we have ranked them at the top, BetPawa has the lowest stake in Kenya. With just one shilling, you are good to go and can start betting. They offer one of the highest payout in Kenya of Ksh.2.5 million. Besides that, you will receive a free bet of Ksh.25 on sign up to get you off the ground. BetPawa does not not offer USSD betting. BetPawa has a 24-hour customer service, live betting, win bonuses and some pretty amazing odds too. They operate in 3 other countries.
They certainly have been in the game longer and are the dominant player. They have been in operation for two years now. Sportpesa has a wide array of sports and markets on its platform and offer instant payouts to its clients. The KPL, Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Quins and Hull City sponsors have a minimum bet of Ksh. 49. Sportpesa has some lucrative jackpots that include the Ksh. 100 million mega jackpot.
3. Betin Kenya
Betin Kenya is part of the GoldBet Group; one of Europe’s largest betting and gaming operators. They offer a wide array of sports including horse racing. You can also bet on Casino games, racing and virtual sports. Betin has live betting options too. They offer the highest payout of Ksh.10 million. Betin also offers betting shops where you buy tickets and bet.
4. BetWay Kenya
A household name in the gaming industry. They offer a variety of jackpots and markets for you to play on. With BetWay, you will receive game codes every often.
Betika is about a year old in Kenya. They have some amazing odds and a variety of sports. Betika offers a jackpot and a Bingwa 5 selection where you have to pick 5 correct scores for Ksh.50. They also offer a 24-hour support.
Mcheza is the second online bookie to set foot in Kenya. It’s platform has been compared to that of some other bookies in Kenya. They offer a jackpot daily for 7 matches. On Mcheza, you can get some pretty exciting bonuses for referrals and deposits.
7. Elibet Kenya
Elitebet has been in operation for a couple of years. They pride themselves in offering one of the lowest stakes in Kenya - Ksh.5. They offer a weekly jackpot, with a minimum stake of Ksh.5. However, their platform isnt so mobile-friendly.
Justbet has a variety of betting options and some good oods. However, their minimum stake is Ksh.100. The maximum you can withdraw a day is Ksh.100,000. They also offer virtual betting but no jackpot yet. Justbet has a 24-hour customer support.
Betyetu has a quite mobile-friendly mobile site. They offer a bonus on registration. They offer a jackpot of up to 10 million and will reward you for up to 9 out of 13 correct picks. The minimum withdrawal is Ksh.100. You can also bet live.
10. Eazi Bet
With Eazi Bet, you register fast and easy on mobile. You can bet on a host of matches, and also bet live. They offer betting in shops too. Their minimum deposit is Ksh.1 and Ksh.50 is the minimum withdrawal.
Lucky2U Sports Bet was launched during the FIFA World Cup 2010. Lucky2U Sports Bet is operated by Lucky To You Limited. They offer a variety of betting options though their website is quite poor.
12. Supabet 247
One of the latest entrants in the game. They have an array of betting products covering sports betting, casino, poker and bingo offerings. They also have a Ksh.20 million jackpot. The maximum pay-out is Kshs 200,000 on single bets and Kshs 2,000,000 on multi bets.
Another new player in the game. The minimum bet is Ksh. 50, as is the minimu withdrawal. They also offer some bonuses on sign up and you can bet via SMS.
14. Tucheze Afrobet
Tucheze boosts and hosts the most intelligent and advanced betting platform in the country. A new entrant in the market, Tucheze offers live betting and casino betting too with a maximum payout of up to Ksh 1,000,000.
15. Premier Bet
A multi-national sports betting company. Registration is done online and deposits can be made through buying vouchers at Premier Bet shops. They offer a variety of markets and betting options too.
Safaribet has lots of betting options and sports on its site. The site is quite easy to navigate.
17. M-Bet Kenya
A not-so familiar bookie in Kenya. The M-Pesa deposit limit is Ksh.1 while the minimum withdrawal is Ksh.150. You can withdraw a maximum of Ksh. 5,000. They offer a variety of betting options and operate in Tanzania too.
18. Cheza Cash
A new entrant to the market in 2017. One can bet on 5 different sports together with a weekly jackpot of Ksh. 15,000,000. Each time you play the jackpot, you earn points and could win Ksh.15,000. You can withdraw a minimum of Ksh.1 from Cheza Cash. Also, when you deposit Ksh.100 and bet with it, you earn a bonus of Ksh.100
Partnership signed to enhance integrity of esports industry
The European division of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has partnered with the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) in a move that is designed to enhance the integrity of the rapidly developing esports industry.
Referendum bid places question marks against Budapest's Olympic Games tilt
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is faced with the prospect of the bid race for the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games being reduced to two contenders after a threshold was met to stage a referendum on Budapest's bid.
Budapest 2024's 'ship has sailed' – bid chief
Budapest 2024 chairman Balázs Fürjes has conceded that the Hungarian capital's bid for the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games has likely "ran aground" as International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach labelled the uncertainty surrounding the bid as the work of a political group that is seeking to "make a name" for itself.
Giudicelli steps up to become new French Tennis Federation president
French Tennis Federation (FFT) secretary general Bernard Giudicelli will step up to the top role at the governing body after being elected as its new president.
Aiba forges partnership with WBA
The International Boxing Association (Aiba) has entered into a partnership with the World Boxing Association (WBA), one of the four major sanctioning bodies of the professional side of the sport.
Kohli lands record deal with Puma
Indian cricket star Virat Kohli has signed a lucrative endorsement deal with German sportswear company Puma.
Former Amazon executive Paull to lead Bamtech
MLBAM, the interactive media and internet division of North America's Major League Baseball, has appointed Michael Paull as the new chief executive of its Bamtech video technology division.
Six Nations chief rejects expansion talk
Six Nations chief executive John Feehan has said there is "no vacancy" in the national team rugby union tournament amid a concerted campaign for Georgia to be granted an expansion slot.
Budapest to quit 2024 Olympics race
Hungary's government announced on Wednesday evening that it would scrap Budapest's bid to host the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games – a move that leaves only Los Angeles and Paris still in the running.
ISSF approves gender equal Olympic program, assigns event hosts
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has signed off on a major overhaul of its competition system for the 2020 summer Olympic Games and has assigned hosting rights for a number of its events in 2018 and 2019.
Bayern confirms channel launch
German Bundesliga football club Bayern Munich has confirmed that it will launch its own linear television channel, FC Bayern.tv, on February 27.
Budapest 2024 winds up Olympic bid, Orbán hits out at Momentum
Budapest 2024 on Friday confirmed that formal procedures have commenced to end its bid for the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games as Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, slammed the role played by the Momentum Mozgalum political movement.
A group of Derby County legends made a playing comeback on Thursday by featuring in a walking football tournament to support the Derby County Community Trust’s annual trip to Kenya.
The Kenya Cup, which ran in partnership with Richmond Villages Retirement Homes, saw former rams Archie Gemmill, Roger Davies, Roy McFarland and Kevin Hector don their football boots again in Repton, reminiscent of the Derby’s title winning era of the 1970s.
Walking football was the sport on offer and is a growing phenomenon amongst the older generations, providing an excellent outlet for those looking to return to the sport after many years’ absence.
Teams of over 60s from across Derbyshire took part, all to raise money for the Rams in Kenya project which will see over 60 volunteers return to the African country this summer.
During what will be their sixth visit, volunteers will spend time funding the installation of running water, building classrooms, providing resources, supporting teachers and completing maintenance and site improvement. Money raising events such as the Kenya Cup prove vital in making the trip possible.
In what was a fantastic fundraiser, the ex-Rams showed great vigour and hadn’t lost that competitive edge. They eventually finished the day runners-up to Riverside following a 3-3 draw and loss on penalties in the final.
The trip began in 2012 and has grown since 13 volunteers departed on the first visit. 164 volunteers have now taken part across the five trips.
Volunteers also get the opportunity to take part in the Rift Valley Adventure Day which is a visit to the Nakuru National Safari, Thompson falls and the equator. There is also the chance to visit the Menengai Crater, an elephant orphanage and the giraffe manor in Narobi.
Facilitated by African Adventures, the trip benefits both the Derby County Community Trust and the impoverished areas around Nakuru in Kenya.
Here is the business that has been happening from last Friday throughout the week in the world of sports.
Puma resurgence continues with strong financials
German sportswear company Puma has posted a 33-per-cent increase in operating profit to continue its financial improvement on the back of a year of major sporting events.
New Super League seeks to shake up triathlon
Hamilton Island in Australia has been announced as the host of a new triathlon series that aims to create an entertainment property that will take triathlon into the mainstream.
Funding not an issue for Vegas stadium, says Raiders president
Oakland Raiders president Marc Badain has insisted that financing the NFL American football team's proposed move from California to Nevada will not be an issue, despite the project having recently lost one of its key backers.
European Tour furthers innovation strategy with new GolfSixes event
Golf's European Tour has continued its drive for innovation in the sport by unveiling a new event entitled GolfSixes.
'Landmark' pact set to herald peace in kiteboarding
World Sailing on Monday hailed the signing of a "landmark agreement" which aims to unite the kiteboarding community and end a period of turmoil in the sport.
Amsterdam to host 3x3 basketball showpieces
Fiba, basketball's global governing body, has announced that the Dutch city of Amsterdam will host the 3x3 Europe Cup later this year and the 3x3 World Cup in 2019.
Formula E secures fresh Chinese investment
CMC Capital Partners, a leading Chinese investor in the sports and entertainment sectors on Tuesday announced an investment in Formula E Holdings Limited, the official promoter of the Formula E electric car-racing championship.
MEPs call for Commission inquiry into F1
The European Commission could launch an investigation into alleged "anti-competitive practices" in the Formula One motor-racing world championship after Members of the European Parliament voted to support an inquiry.
Turkey confirms plan to re-enter bidding arena for European Championships
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) on Wednesday confirmed it will bid to host Uefa Euro 2024, following up on a pledge it made when exiting the race for rights to the 2020 edition of the showpiece national team tournament of European football's governing body.
LFP and FFF launch first overseas office in Beijing
The French Football League (LFP) and French Football Federation (FFF) on Thursday joined forces to inaugurate their first overseas office in Beijing, China.
FIA slams 'malicious' criticism of role in F1 takeover
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has hit out at "inaccurately informed" and "malicious" reports concerning its role in the takeover of Formula One by US mass media company Liberty Media.
You are now informed! Be sure to read again next week on Friday to catch up on the latest in the world of sports.
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.
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.
The news came to her at the start of February that she was to deliver a motivational talk to the young students of Nyakach High School deep in Nyanza's Nyabondo plateau. It was something the Kenya Pipeline Volleyball Team captain only dreamt of as a child.
Pauline Naise belongs to a different class, a rare one, with a few names ahead of her. A class of Kenyan stars who have represented the country at International level in two(or more) different sports, and have excelled at it. The likes J.J Masiga for Rugby and Football, Aasif Karim for Tennis and Cricket, Carl Tundo for Motorsport and Golf and Collins Omae for Rugby and Athletics.
Lawyer Ambrose Rachier has been Gor-Mahia football Club's chairman for close to 10 years, since 2008 and was given fresh mandate by the 'Green Army' in December 2016 to steer Kenya's most successful football club for another four years a period he believes will be his last term at the helm of the club. During his 10 years at Gor-mahia, and in particularly the last six seasons, Rachier has won the League three times and finished second in the other three making him the Kenya Premier League Limited Chairman for three straight years and Vice Chairman for the other three. Rachier has also tried on two occasions to ascend to football's top most office in the country but both attempts were unsuccessful. Ambrose Rachier gave an Interview for the Kenyanstar of the week column incidentally on the morning he was slapped with a ban by FKF for 'bringing the game to disrepute' ...
KS: In Brief for those who do not know you, who is Ambrose Rachier?
I'm a loyal Kenyan Citizen, 68 years old, a family man, a lawyer, Scholar, Teacher, Sports enthusiast, A fan of Gor-Mahia but most above all a leader... Of-course i tried my hand in politics but swore never to go back there after the lessons i learnt.
KS: How long have you been in football administration?
Since i took over Gor-Mahia leadership in 2008
KS: Let's talk about Gor-Mahia, You've been at the helm for a long time now, This is the 10th year i believe... Has it been a success story for you.
Gor-Mahia has had tremendous improvement! I Insist Tremendous improvement under my chairmanship and i can outline various areas where these improvements are there for all to see.
When i took over the club had just a handful of active fans and no funds at all. We now have a phenomenal return of the fans or what we like to call the green army and you can see, this in itself is a source of income for the club. We've also had a number of sponsors come on board since then, We've had Tuzo, Sportpesa and Crown Larger.
I took over when the club was narrowly escaping relegation, Our performance on the field of play has since improved and in the last six years we have either won the league or unluckily finished second. One of these league wins has been unbeaten the entire season.
We have improved corporate governance and introduced structures, we now have a fully fledged secretariat with a CEO running the club and we now hold well organized elections.
We have been steadily improving player welfare through better pay and simple things like a club bus to ease movement. We are also acting like a spring board, providing young players with opportunities to play in better leagues out of the country. You will remember George Odhiambo, Aucho, Olunga and most recently Erick Ouma.
Last but probably very key is that i helped in founding and setting up of the Gor-Mahia Sacco which is very key to the Gor-Mahia Family. The Fans, players and even officials can save funds and access credit facilities via the Sacco.
KS: Some people... most people agree and are happy with your record but they think you have steadied the ship and should allow someone else to sail it to harbor.
Of-course Samuel I'll not be Gor-Mahia Chairman forever, this is probably my last term and i still have a lot to offer a lot to offer especially if i get the tranquility in the last four years...
KS: What do you have up your sleeve? Say a five year plan...?
Three main things that need to be done...
For starters we plan to develop an academy and run a very solid youth team. Our football will go nowhere without investment in academies. There is no country in the world that has done well in football without investment in academies, even the much talked about Ghana National team they have been playing together from a very young age. The big players you hear about, the likes of Mesut Ozil and his Germany Teammates have been in academies from the age of five years.
Secondly i plan to launch a Gor-Mahia stadium project... And this is not just a stadium but a soccer village that will also include a residential area for our players and staff. So a player signing for Gor-Mahia would mean that among other things they get a house for the entire duration of their contract. Infrastructure is another very important necessity in football and unless we invest in Infrastructure we are headed nowhere.
Lastly i intended to put a lot of effort into player welfare at Gor-Mahia. Things like insurance cover should be include on the sign-up package for Gor-Mahia. Football is largely about the players so if we don't invest in them then we will have no football to enjoy.
All these are achievable and i intend to go forth with them, they are not just pipe dreams.
KS: When you say solid youth team, what does it mean with regard to what you currently have? The one that takes part in the KPL youth Tournament.
That is an Ad-hoc youth team that we recruit mainly from the schools and largely on a need basis. Most of the other times they are on their own. I talk of a youth team that will be part of the club with a substantial budget to run it. This will also lower our cost of recruitment because it is expensive to recruit players.
KS: Gor has done well locally over the past six years, twice near champions, then champions three times in a row, unlucky not to make it four but then, What is the secret? What ensures you stay at the top level?
I think it's good leadership, and not just from me but most of the people elected into office with me over the last years have shown great leadership so credit to all of us and also to those who have been electing.
KS: Having said that, Why isn't this performance not replicated in continental competitions? Fair to say not just by Gor-Mahia but by most Kenyan teams with few exemptions?
Thank you, that is a very important question and there are two reasons for it ...
First is our calendar. We need to align our calendar with all other major leagues. The thing is when continental competitions begin, most other leagues have been ongoing and are probably halfway while for us we haven't even started, we are just getting off pre-season. our teams are therefore playing teams that have already jelled and worked out functional formations. While not impossible, it is very difficult to win against a team that is already in rhythm while you are only starting.
Second, is lack of support from the federation. It is very expensive to compete in the continental competitions and support from the federation would go a long way. Federations in other countries support their clubs.
KS: You have been KPL Chair for three years, Vice Chair for another two and this year is your third as Vice Chair. The other chairmen on the council must also appreciate the challenge our calendar poses with regards to continental competitions, why hasn't this been fixed once and for all?
Because this is the responsibility of the federation.
KS: Mr. Rachier, What challenges do you face as the Chairman of Gor-mahia? What challenges does Gor-Mahia as a club face
There are three main challenges;
For starters finances are still a major challenge as we try to implement our programs and still compete effectively.
Secondly hooliganism is a big challenge for us in two ways. One because it endangers the lives players and peace loving fans and two because it hinders the growth of our fan base in terms of the actual fans who would like to come and support the team at the stadia.
The third challenge is the tendency by our fans to try and micromanage people they have elected into office. This is a big drawback to our corporate governance practices. Our fans need to be educated and to understand that when you give someone a job you have to allow them to do the judge them on the Results, Do not give someone a job and show them how to do it at every stage.... Why then did you give him or her the job in the first place?
KS: You mention Hooliganism, who does the back stop with?
The law enforcers. The police need to provide security, arrest the few hooligans masquerading as fans and have them pay with their time. Unfortunately even when these people are arrested they are allowed to walk the next day. The clubs don't own the stadium so it is difficult to task them with security.
KS: Most clubs only fire a non performing coach. A coach who can't win trophies for them. Gor-Mahia has parted ways with a few title winning coaches, One who won it unbeaten .....
Samuel, the circumstances are different for all of them for those we have fired over the last few years. I can mention a few cases without names. One, sometimes back we fired simply because he wasn't performing, Another one we lost to the National team so there was very little we could do and another one we fired on grounds of indiscipline mainly because in Cohort with a few fans he held the club at ransom with outrageous demands contrary to our agreement and contract. These kind of acts undermine our corporate governance efforts and we had to act promptly.
KS: In addition to not winning the league, does losing all three pre-season friendly matches so far pass as underperformance for Ze Maria? Should we expect to see him fired soon?
No you can't fire a coach because he's lost in pre-season friendly matches. Nonetheless I have had an elaborate meeting with the coach and he explained all these losses. He is still getting to understand our new players. In the first match he had just jetted in and very little training had taken place, In the second match it wasn't about winning, he actually played all the 26 players in that single match and in the third match, the one against the Ugandan side like i said this is a team playing in an ongoing league while we are still in preseason. We have however set target for the coach and we can only judge him or take action based on these targets.
KS: Is it a good or bad thing when Erick Ouma leaves Gor-Mahia for Georgia?
While i wish Erick all the best at his new club i still believe that this move is ill advised. In my opinion the best for him would have been to stick around, even if not at Gor-Mahia then locally for another one or two seasons to assert his game and probably attract better opportunities. One problem with our football is that we have people calling themselves agents who are not even registered and they are miss-advising these young boys. Sometimes you engage a player and the moment you invite him to take his sign-on fee he arrives with a bunch of people claiming to be his agents.
KS: Gor-Mahia has won the league three times in a row... We still see your matches with a stadium only quarter full, what will it take to have more people attending Gor Matches?
The main issues here are our calendar again and the hooliganism. We cannot ignore the fact that we are competing against elite leagues like the EPL, Bundesliga, Laliga and others. By the time our league starts all these league have gained momentum and it becomes very difficult to convince someone to forget about chelsea and come watch Gor-Mahia even if you get everything else right. It would be much fairer competition if our league started at the same time with all the others. And like i said with hooliganism still an issue then most would be fans would rather stay away from the stadium.
KS: AFC Leopards Vs Gor Mahia, is this rivalry just a fans conception? As the chairman of Gor-Mahia does it give you more pleasure when you win against Leopards than when you win against any other team?
Football cannot be sweet without a derby so yes there is a lot of Joy in winning against Leopards and a lot of sadness when they win against us.
KS: Talking of AFC Leopards, they are one of the biggest clubs in the country, why do you think they have been struggling in the past few years?
I think it goes back to lack of tranquility and not allowing elected officials to do their job. Every fan cannot be the club chairman so we have to allow elected officials do their job and replace them when the right time comes.
KS: Talk to us about you FKF Presidency bid. What did you want to achieve as FKF president that you couldn't achieve as KPL Chairman.
To answer this you have to understand the different roles of the two organizations. KPL is only the league manager...
KS: So what did you have in store as FKF President?
A lot of things and i hope they can still be done. Unfortunately i'm past my sell-by date because i don't think i'll run again but my agenda revolved around four issues; Development of youth football, Development of Infrastructure, development of women football and Transparency in management.
KS: Has you being past your sell-by date has anything to do with the ban you've been slapped with?
No it's a personal decision i made after my second unsuccessful bid. The ban does not benefit our football in anyway. It is not about individuals, If you ban me today and someone else takes my position tomorrow he will find the same same issues on the table. So the correct thing to do as a leader is to have a discussion with all involved parties and solve outstanding issues.
KS: So would these same issues be on the table today had you been elected president?
Not necessarily because what we are seeing today is lack of leadership. It is important that we emulate best practice as it is done elsewhere globally. We need to be very clear in interpreting roles of KPL and the federation and we need to respect existing agreements because we have been discussing these issues with the federation for some time now. So if i were the president i would offer leadership and will not engage in this discussions with a fixed mind.
KS: Why is CAF licensing an issue for some KPL clubs?
It is not an issue. The issue is it's execution. The rules are very clear on what should happen to clubs that fail to obtain this license. There are sanctions, penalties but relegation is not one of them! Relegation and promotion should be purely on sporting merit so we have to question the integrity of some of these decisions. Why for instance should a club that hasn't played in the league for all these years suddenly being fronted for promotion at all costs immediately someone becomes president?
KS: What are the arguments against an 18 team league?
The federation is in no position to set the number of teams to play in the league, it needs to take advise from the league manager and when deciding who gets promoted and relegated it has to be on sporting merit and not political expediency. We are not opposed to an 18 team league but we have shared with the federation the impact of the expansion starting with the additional 66 matches.
KS: So what would be your message to the FKF President when he reads this?
I plead with the all powerful leader of football in this country to rethink his decision. We are powerless and do not want to defy him. We also do not wish to engage in a fight with him. We are getting late for the commencement of the league and any further delays will make it difficult for us to have a successful season. The constant wrangles are not good for football. We need leadership from the top. As a leader, you cannot be crying foul always. What is the problem? Good leaders bring harmony and find solution to problems
KS: These issues around sports administration across all sports federations and organizations in Kenya seem familiar. What do you think is the major problem?
Samuel, There is someone who is the overall in charge of the Industry and answerable to the president, what has been his input so far? ..
KS: What has been the impact of the sports act on our sports and football in particular?
I think there has been no impact and i also think most people do not understand it. I think there should be a complete overhaul of the sports act and simplify it for the benefits of our sports organization.
KS: Thank you for your time Mr. Rachier ...
As African elite national football teams battle for the continent's most coveted football prize, The African Cup of Nations in Gabon, Kenyans are watching from the sidelines. Hoping that in 2019, our national team will be there competing against and alongside the best as we did 13 years ago in 2004. But as we wait, do we have the necessary strategies and policies in place to take us to the Cup of Nations or even the World Cup. Cheza Sport CEO speaks to Kenyanstar about the need for football academies in improving the Kenyan game. For his efforts with Cheza Sports, Collins Olimba is our Kenyan Star of the week.
Kenyan Cricket is on the rise again, but not at the pace it should be. Reckons Kenyan International Irfan Karim. Karim remains hopeful but asserts that it will take efforts and commitment from all stakeholders for Kenya to regain the form that took her to the semi-Finals of the world cup in 2003. Kenyanstar caught up with the 24 years old Wicket Keeper and son of the great Aasif Karim for the following Interview on our Kenyan Star of the week column.
One on One with Kenyan International Arnold Origi. Year of Interview: 2011
KS: If the youngest brand of football fans in kenya were to ask who Arnold Origi is, what would be your response?
(Laughs) Arnold is just a hard working lad born and raised in eastlands Nairobi 26 years ago, easy going, loves what i do and always gives 100%.
KS: When did your football career begin? Besides Mathare United and Tusker FC what other local teams have you played for?
My career began in Dandora as a 9 year old, playing in the MYSA u-12 championships for young mighties and espanol. Other than Mathare United and Tusker FC I have also played for Ngara youth Pelico in the FKF division 2 and Pumwani sportive in the super 2 league.
KS: What are the lowest and highest moments in your football career?
That has to be first the horror against Eritrea at kasarani, but i think the lowest of all was my knee injury because I feel at that point just before the injury I was on the verge of getting to a very high level as goalkeeper so that together with a series of other small frustrating injuries kept me out of the game for almost a year effectively derailing my progress. The highest point has to be my first three caps for the national team. The feeling and the experience was and still is priceless.
KS: You are one of if not the finest goalkeepers the current generation of kenyan fans have seen, do you think you could reclaim Harambee stars number 1 Jersey?
(Laughs) ... Thank you for that! Absolutely.. I have no single doubt in my mind that am going to be back between the sticks for the national team very soon.
KS: What does it entail to be the first choice goalkeeper at Moss FK?
Hardwork and sacrifice. You have to work hard a lot and sacrifice maybe time to talk with friends and family back home to have an extra session.. Here African Goal Keepers have a very negative reputation so you have to be at your absolute best in every match because one or maybe two bad games and that could be you watching the rest of the season on the bench.
KS: Your kenyan fans learnt with great disappointment late last year that Moss FK had been relegated to the second division. What would you attribute as the major cause of your teams poor performance?
Yeah It was sad and disappointing that we got relegated especially for the fans and the board because they had really worked hard to help save the team from going bankrupt. The Main attribute to that was that a majority of key players and the technical bench were lazy and were not committed. The players were not working hard in training and in matches and the coaches did not have the commitment and did not show desire to lead the team and help avoid relegation.
KS: Should we expect to watch you play Top division soccer with moss fk next season?
Absolutely.. Because I think that now we have got a coach who has the best mentality and has instilled a different working culture to the playing unit and is very committed.
KS: Do you think kenyan football has come of age? If yes what has changed? if not what should be changed?
The kenyan league is not of age yet but there is not a single doubt that quite a lot has changed and KPL is doing a super fantastic job. A lot still needs to be improved and this might take time so we maybe have to be a little bit patient with the conclusion that it has come of age. Unpaid or delayed salaries and allowances should be non-existence by now, I think also something can be done with the playing surface where the matches are being played because now it's only three that are in shape. but all in all KPL is doing a fantastic Job. It may take time but with the kind of effort being put in the league will one day be modern.
KS: Who among the kenyan goalkeeprs playing in KPL and out of the country would you rate as the best.
The Best Kenyan Goalies Playing in the kenyan league i would say Martin Musalia, Francis Ochieng and Wilson Oburu.
KS: During the Guinea Bissau match there was talk of a feud between Mariga and Oliech, is this true and might it have contributed to Harambee stars 1-0 loss?
There was no feud between Mariga and Oliech.. This was just a case of trying to find scapegoats for the loss..The only thing that can be attributed to the loss was bad preparation for the match and I think the whole nation saw how bad it was.
KS: Do you think kenya has realistic chances of qualifying for the 2012 African cup of nation?
The Chance of qualifying is still there. I think it is too early to give up or even start doing mathematics with the table. We just have to stay focused and just prepare and prepare well for the next game and take each game at a time.
KS: What is your take on kenya's recent poor performances.
Its quite a shame that we have got bad results lately. But quite honestly the team's management has been more than poor. I think we have a great side with massive talent but haven't been given much to work with and to be quite honest, I feel sorry for the fans because they have always been fantastic hoping that soon rather than later we will give them something to cheer about, but all that has ended up in heart aches.
KS: What is your Parting shot to upcoming footballers and Kenyan fans?
To all the upcoming players I always say this to them; Discipline combined with hard work leads to success nothing more. And to all the fans, you have been fantastic in support of the kenyan game and the national team. I appreciate your patriotism and so please do not lose hope, keep on supporting the team.
The most eagerly waited match by Kenya as a country; if Stars could pull a surprise in Lagos then Stars would be near their dream of playing in their first ever World Cup and that would have been France 98.
A towering defensive talent from Eastlands Maringo estate, George Waweru’s soccer talent was evident since his high school days at Ofafa Jericho High School.
Harambee Stars came into this match with a must win approach in order to make their chance of playing the Africa Cup of Nations 1998 edition in Burkina Faso a reality.
The match was played at Nyayo stadium. Harambee Stars wore their traditional white black striped tops, black shorts & black sock with white strips on the top. The brave warriors of Namibia wore red top, green shorts & green socks. The Brave Warriors came into the match with immensely experienced players. Kenya, under the late coach Reinhardt Fabisch fielded a youthful side with the likes of Eric Ochieng aka Cantona, John Odhiambo aka Baresi, John Luchuku, Josiah Ougo aka Kaki, Eric Omondi aka Tojo just mention but a few.
The match commenced on a high tempo with both sides looking for an opener. Unfortunately in the 35th minute of the match the Brave Warriors forward Uri Khob scored the only goal of the match which was the decisive goal & eventually gave the Namibians the win. Harambee Stars pressed but to no avail, as the Namibian shot stopper Kanalelo denied Harambee Stars an equalizer with his heroics saves. Despite jeers and confusion from the fans who had thronged into the stadium to support Harambee Stars, the Namibian goalkeeper seemed to be unperturbed and remained unmoved making brilliant saves, one after the other.
Stars gave their all but the Brave Warriors stood their ground. After the final whistle was blown Stars players looked dejected though they had put on a spirited fight. The Namibians qualified for the AFCON 1998 edition at Burkina Faso together with Cameroon in that group with Indomitable Lions as group winners and Brave Warriors as runners up.
Photo: Alamy Stock
Mickey Weche aka T9, was a very combative and solid defender, one of the best ever to be produced by Kenyan soccer.
Mickey Weche got his nickname from soccer enthusiasts because of his hard tackling tackles while defending for his team. T9 is a name given to stray dogs in Tanzania which during those days would bite your heels and leave you dead.
Mickey Weche had a stellar soccer career with AFC Leopards SC, Reli FC and Harambee Stars. His defending proficiency earned him several call ups to the national team. He represented Harambee Stars in the 1992 AFCON edition at Dakar Senegal whereby he was the team captain and scored the only goal in the tournament for Stars; a penalty against Nigeria.
Mickey Weche also played for Reli FC. He marshalled the defence with the likes of the late Charles ‘Fundi’ Oduor. After his retirement from soccer T9, as he was affectionately known by soccer lovers in the country, joined coaching. He coached Strathmore University soccer then Ingwe signed him to the technical bench. He would later return to the Strathmore University soccer team.
Harambee Stars came into this match after a sterling come back from three goals down to beat Burkinabe at the same venue.
Under the stewardship of the late Reinhardt Fabisch, Stars needed a win so as to make their World Cup dreams a reality. The West African country Guinea alias Syli Stars jetted in the country with a star-studded team, with majority of its players hailing from the French league. Their contingent was lead by team captain Titi Camara.
The match commenced on a high tempo in the 3rd minute. Stars were awarded a penalty which captain Musa Otieno converted. Stars pressed Guinea but failed to find the back of the net again for the second goal.
The match was very explosive to a point where Syli Stars captain Titi Camara had a confrontation with German coach Reinhardt Fabisch on the touchline and did spit on his face. Kenya played very well but no more goals could be yielded. The match ended 1 - 0 in favour of Harambee Stars.
This is how Harambee Stars lined up:
Goalkeeper: Francis Onyiso ( Ulinzi Stars).
Defenders: Musa Otieno(Sanlam Santos - South Africa), John Luchuku (AFC Leopards SC), Josiah Ougo ( Gor Mahia), Vincent Kwarula (Kenya Breweries)
Midfielders: Eric Omondi ( K.C.B.), Eric Ochieng’ (AFC Leopards SC), Suleiman Rashid ( U.A.E.), John Odhiambo ( Gor Mahia)
Forwards: Ken Simiyu (Nzoia Sugar F.C.), Mike Okoth Origi ( Belgium).