Profiling Paul Raphael Mungai Kiongera

First published in the year 2012: 

He was then KCB’s Top scorer with six goals to his name at the time of the Interview. He has featured prominently for the national Junior teams, the Under 20 and the Under 23. Before the start of the season, no one really knew much about the Friends School Kamusinga alumni.

However, his exploits on the pitch have made him a known figure in the local soccer scene. He even received his first ever Senior Harambee Stars Call up when the team was preparing for the match against Malawi in Nairobi.

Raphael Mumgai Kiongera, mostly known to his peers as Munga was born in Webuye on the night of 14th June in 1993. He loved soccer so much that he started playing as soon as he could co-ordinate his two feet.

He attended primary school in Webuye where he used to prominently feature for the school team in inter school competitions in Webuye. Funny enough, he never used to be a striker while at Primary school. He used to be a goalkeeper, who would switch once in a while to an offensive midfielder.

Upon Completion of primary school, he was enrolled at the Friends School Kamusinga, a school known better for basketball and hockey talent. However, he chose to continue with his love for football. At FSK, he started off as a keeper, and the then coach Mr. Oruko noticed his good goalkeeping exploits during inter class competitions and drafted him into the school team.

But Mr. Oruko would then be promoted to the School’s Games Master and the soccer team had a new coach, Mr. Waluvafu. The coach then noticed that Mungai would make a better attacking midfielder than a goalkeeper. It was then that he switched from his goalkeeping antics into midfield business.

He was later drafted back as a defensive midfielder at Form Two, a position he played up to the time he completed school.

Though he says they never had such great outings as a soccer team in Western Province, Mungai vividly remembers his last year in fourth form as one of the best years in the School’s soccer history.

“In that year, we participated in the Allan Bradley Tournament hosted by our school and managed to reach the finals. We had never gone into the finals before. We beat very notable schools like Kakamega high and Vihiga, but we lost to Manor house in the finals. In that same year, we managed to reach the Provincial Level of the school games. The last time the school reached the Provincials was in 1998,” says Mungai.

He never really thought he would take up soccer as a career. His parents too, never always advised him so, and neither did the principal of his school.

“We always used to collide with my parents. They thought I was playing with education by playing soccer all the time. The Principal of our school always said that football can never be taken as a career as he always pointed out at the usual wrangles that go on in soccer. I loved football but I never thought at even one point I would play professional football,” adds the KCB forward.

Upon Completion of high school, he immediately joined the Kenyatta University in 2011 where he is currently a second year pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. In his first year at KU, he went for trials at Nationwide side KRA, with his desire still burning to play soccer. Good for him, he was picked by the team. He only played there for six months before KCB noticed his talent and captured him.

2012 was his best season at KCB’. He scored six goals for them and was selected for the Under 23 National team and neared a call up to the national team. He vividly remembers the most important call of the year inviting him to the senior team like it was just yesterday.

“It was on a Monday, I was just relaxing in the house because we had played a game on Sunday. As I was resting I got a call from a new number. I received the call and got the most “shocking” news. The person at the other end told me that he was the coach and I was needed in camp immediately. I could not believe it, it was a huge surprise for me,” he says.

“I did not expect to get a call to the national team because the squad had already been named. It was a BIG surprise for me,” he adds.

He notes that he picked a lot of experience from his days in the National team camp, interacting with players who have plied their trade in Europe and also getting to learn a lot from the immediate former national team coach Francis Kimanzi.

As a young player, he has also had his ups and downs. For his lowest moment;

“That had to be in 2010 in the CECAFA Under 20 Championships in Eritrea. We had played so well in the tournament and were even hot favorites to win the cup. Everybody was talking about us. However, in the semi finals, we lost 2-1 to Uganda. I felt too bad because we lost due to simple mistakes, a match that we would have easily won,” says Mungai.

His highest moments;

“My career is still on a high and I know I will have bigger and better moments. But up to now, my highest moment is the Wesr African trip we had with the Under 23 team. We surpassed so many people’s expectations. I was happy meeting with top players I always see on television like Demba Ba and Demba Cisse, against Guinea also being tightly marked by players like Bobo Balde and Ishamel Bangoura who I have only heard on radio and seen on TV made me feel great,” he says with a huge smile on his face.

Challenges for a soccer player are always forthcoming for a soccer player. But for the youn Mungai, the biggest difference is how you handle those challenges that make you a better player.

“The biggest challenge I have seen in my soccer career is whe things just do not work out for the team. You do everything right and play the Coach’s tactics to the latter but you still go for almost a month without victory. The pressure is always high on everybody’s shoulders but it is always up to an individual to shell out of the pressure and come out a champion,” adds Mungai.

He puts his aspirations as one day playing in the elite European leagues.

“It is any player’s dreams to play in Europe. I am no different. I would like to work hard and see myself playing in bigger and better leagues,” says the avid Manchester United fan.

His role models,

“Here in Kenya, I admire Sofapaka’s John Baraza. He is a prolific scorer and despite his age he still runs around like and 18 year old. Ever since I started hearing of him, he has never stopped scoring. Around the globe, I admire Totenham Hotspur’s Raphael Van Der Vaart. He is an attack minded player whose philosophy is always forward play. You rarely see him playing the ball to his back. That is what I want to adapt as a player,” he adds.

And which striker would he feel complete twin striking alongside with?

“Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is my role model. He is a team player who fights for the team and can lift the team when it is evidently down,” he says.

Of the defenders he has played against in the Kenyan Premier League, he has singled out Tusker duo of Brian Mandela and Joseph Shikokoti as the hardest nut to crack.

“The two are very intelligent defenders who play with a striker’s mind. They are never too rushy in making tackles and beating them is never easy. Most of the times you find them winning the ball so easily. I think they are the best defenders in the KPL,” he adds.

His parting shot;

“Always work hard and trust in God. Never let your dreams die. Challenges are part of life and never give up even if you find the biggest rock on your path. If you were destined to success and you work towards that, nothing will come in between you and your success”

Simon Ngige played an inspired round of 7 birdies and 6 pars as he went on to claim a total score of 67, 4 under the 71 par Muthaiga Golf course, at the end of Day one of the Barclays Kenya Open.

Ngige ended day one tied for 13th as the best placed Kenyan, ahead of amateur Alfred Nandwa (T42) who ended on 2 under par, Riz Charania and David Odhiambo (T56) both on 1 under par. Stefan Adersen and Richard Ainley (T73) finishing the day on par.

The day however belonged to South Africa’s Jaco Ahlers, the former European Tour player blowing away the field to finish on 7 under par to finish top of the Leaderboard, ahead of Welshman Rhys Davies who shot a 6 under par.

Defending Kenya Open champion Sebastien Soderberg finished on T56 after playing a round of one under par. Kenyan hopefuls Dismas Indiza and Jacob Okello both had a bad day at the office playing rounds of 1 over and 7 over par respectively.

Greg Snow also completing a rough day on the Muthaiga course on 2 over par to place him at T113.

Day 2 action resumes on Friday from 7:00 am with players aiming to make the CUT to play into the weekend.

Netherlands’ Will Besseling, the winner of Karen Masters last week was also impressive, posting 35 in the first nine and 32 on the back nine for a score of 4 under par 67.

Former champion Gary Boyd of England posted a similar score but would have had a better result had he not picked a double bogey on hole 12 that cancelled an eagle on hole 10 where he teed off.

Reigning champion, Swedish Sebastian Soderberg is six strokes behind the leader after picking four bogeys in his round, he, however, picked a total of five birdies to settle for one under par 70.

The field for Friday's matches has, however, been reduced owing to the withdrawal of Englands Chris Lloyd, Bjorn Hellgren of Sweden who retired and the disqualification of Kenya’s Mathew Omondi who signed for the wrong score.

Leader board after Round 1:

Jaco Ahlers (SA)            -7    64

Rhys Davies (WL)         -6    65

Oscar Lengden (SWE)   -6    65

Oscar Stark (SWE)         -6   65

Jens Dantorp (SWE)       -6   65

Kalle Samooja (FIN)      -6   65

Kenya's track legend Paul Tergat has urged athletes to take cross country competitions seriously as it boosts their performances during the track and road race seasons.

Tergat, who is a five-time World Cross Country Champion, said the event has had a low acceptance rate, especially from athletes in Europe and America, yet it has been proven it serves as a stepping stone towards building an athlete's stamina and endurance.

"Cross country is a very important event. And as we head to Kampala, it is important for those athletes who avoid it because it is strenuous to note that it helps boost their preparedness in terms of endurance," he said.

Tergat is the brand ambassador for the IAAF during the World Cross Country Championships, which will be held on Sunday in Kampala.

Last month he toured the course in Kampala and it filled him with nostalgia knowing what fame and accomplishment he gained out of the event during his active days as an athlete.

"This is very fine," Tergat said after a tour of the course. "It is a good challenging course with so many obstacles that will give a great scene to the spectators and a great run to the athletes."

Tergat said the about 600 athletes who will line up for the championships will have an upper hand in the build-up to the track season, which starts in May as they seek to attain optimum performance ahead of the World Championships in London in August.

But he singled out Kenya to dominate the event which returns to the Africa continent for the fifth time. World Cross Country Championships were first held in Africa in 1975 in Rabat, before Johannesburg, Marrakech and Mombasa staged the game.

Now he has prodded the Kenya team, which departs to Kampala Thursday, to go and affirm their prowess in the event by winning in the Ugandan capital.

His sentiments were echoed by another cross country great, Kenyan John Ngugi.

After missing out on the top podium places at 2007 Mombasa World Cross Country, Ngugi said that it's now time for senior men and women to remedy that with victories at Kampala.

Tergat on the other hand, said Kenyan juniors have now matured to take on the world after they failed to secure victory at the 2015 World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China.

Ngugi made history when he became the first man to win five senior men's 12km titles at the World Cross Country Championships. He won the races back-to-back from 1986 to 1989 before returning to claim the title again in 1992.

Tergat would become the second man to win the race five times, equaling Ngugi's record with back-to-back victories in 1995 to 1999.

Not long after the Sports Dispute Tribunal(SDT) reinstated Sofa Paka and Muhoroni Youth to the top flight  Kenya Premier League, Football Kenya Federation has confirmed the guideline for promotion and demotion of the league .

In a  letter signed by the Fkf Secretary General/CEO Robert Muthomi and sent to the Managing Director of Kenya Premier League Company Jack Aguda and copied to all KPL clubs, the federation has advised the KPL Company to stick to the decision of the National Executive Committee(NEC) which resolved that the last two teams on the final table standing  be relegated to the second tier league.

''We take this early opportunity to advise that as per the decision of the Fkf National Executive Committee, the teams finishing last and second last position according to the final table standing of the 2017 KPL season will be relegated directly to the National Super League(NSL). The teams finishing first and second position according to the final table standing of the 2017 NSL season will be promoted directly to the KPL.

The team finishing 16'th position on the final KPL table standing and the team finishing position number three(3) in the final NSL table standing will be subjected to the play off match to determine the team that participates in the 2018 KPL season'' read part of the letter

The newly expanded 2017 KPL consist of  18 teams including four newbies namely Nzoia Sugar, Kariobangi Sharks, Nakumatt and Zoo Kericho

A late strike by Jumaan Khalid salvaged a point for Nairobi City Stars during the mid week Fkf National Super League match played at KPA Mbaraki Sports Club on Wednesday 22/3/2017.

The match started at a cracking pace with Rangers throwing everything into attack from the word go and in the 5'th min dribbling wizard George Owiti tapped home a pass from Francis Ochola on the left flank.

Ten minutes later City Stars keeper Koffi Jean Claude  parred away  Athman Bori 's long drive  for an abortive corner. City Stars came back  raiding Rangers goalmouth with Oscar Jumba drive cleared by Samuel Karori in the 23'rd min.

The visitors made another effort in the 38'th min when Hamisi Mwinyi set Jumaan Khalid but his shot went over the bar.

City Stars came back a rejuvenated side in the second half and soon their  coach made substitution bringing in Innocent Mutiso for Edwin Nduati. Mutiso terrorized rangers defence with his long drive going off target in the 77'th min.  Two minutes later  Juman Khalid shot blocked by Rangers keeper Ryan Hamisi. Jumaan Khalid levelled the score when he headed home a cross from Mutiso four minutes to time and enable the visitors share the spoils.

With the Results Rangers have five points from three matches as City Stars have one point from three matches played.

Rangers face Vihiga United next Sunday 26/3/2017 at Mumias stadium as City Stars host Agro Chemical at Camp Toyoyo on the same day.

Nairobi City Stars 1-1 Modern Rangers FC

Strathmore University ladies team on Thursday evening beat Vikings 3-0 denying them 3 points in the only midweek fixture played at the City Park Stadium.  This was the first game for the two teams in this year’s league.

Strathmore dominated the game with Vikings getting to the 25 yard line less than five times. 7 minutes into the game, Gilly Okumu of Strathmore made a solo move dribbling ball from 50 yard line past Vikings defense then passed  to Judy Apondi who put tried to find the back of the net but instead the ball went to a Vikings defense player giving the university side their first Penalty Corner (PC) but failed to convert.

In the 12th minute, Ruth Odhiambo with an assist from Gilly, tapped in the ball past Vikings Goal Keeper, Esther Kariuki was was caught flat foot. Thirteen minutes later,  Gilly got the ball in the net after dribbling past vikings defense. Despite dominating the 1st half, Strathmore failed to covert 4 PCs something that their Coach Meshack Senge said he could not understand but will address it when speaking to the girls.

The the 2nd half Strathmore seemed content with the score missing many open chances and failing to convert any PC they got against Vikings.  In the 52nd minute, Winnie Ingati scored what would be consider the goal of the season as she chipped inside after seeing Esther Kariuki had left the goal. 5 min to stoppage time game became tense when sticks started flying in the air and at some point Strathmore player of the day, Gilly had to be taken out by medical team to be attended to after she was hit on the head.

Strathmore will play next Mombasa Sports Club Away on the 9th of April while Vikings will be Hosting Amira Sailors at City Park on the 19th of April.

AFC Leopards has raised concerns over fan behaviour while travelling for matches  against  following events of the fans' trip to Thika last Sunday.

Everton are considering a pre-season friendly in Tanzania as part of their expected new sponsorship deal with SportPesa.

Barcelona are the only club to provide Chapecoense with financial help after the deadly plane crash that killed players and staff members of the Brazilian side in November,

Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari is still unsure about its Formula 1 championship chances in 2017 despite finishing as the fastest team through pre-season testing.

Following a winless campaign in 2016, Ferrari sprung a surprise in winter testing by dominating proceedings in Barcelona, with Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen finishing as the fastest drivers.

The new SF70H car appears to be a marked improvement on its predecessor following the change in the technical regulations, with three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton naming Ferrari as the favorite to win the first race in Australia this weekend.

Vettel remained coy about his chances when speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, saying it won’t be until the first sessions of the weekend in Melbourne are complete that Ferrari will truly know where it stands.

“So far we don’t know anything. For all of us it will be exciting to find out where we are on Saturday and Sunday, to get a first impression,” Vettel said.

“For us a lot of new things last year didn’t really go the way we expected, so I think for this year we have really focused on ourselves. We have tried to do our job back in the factory and in testing.

“I think testing times, I don’t think they are that crucial, I think it matters much more what you show from here onwards. We’ll see. I think we are a bit in the dark like everyone else, not knowing what other people have done.

“For ourselves we can be reasonably happy, we did decent mileage, we didn’t have any major issues with the car and hopefully we can carry that momentum into the race.”

Vettel added that Mercedes rival Hamilton “must be” the favorite for the drivers’ title in 2017 given the German team’s form, having won over 50 races in the past three years.

“Mercedes obviously has been in very, very strong form the last three years and even though we changed the regulations, if a team is strong then they will build a strong car the year after, no matter what you do with the rules,” Vettel said.

“I think it’s very clear who is the favorite. For all of us sitting here, we are trying our best to catch-up. How much we have succeeded, we will see and, as the season goes on, I’m sure the cars will have big progression and all the teams will bring lots of stuff to develop the cars.

“So, whoever’s in a good place in the beginning and still in a good place at the end will have a chance.”

Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko is convinced Mercedes will consider Sebatsian Vettel for its 2018 line-up.

Marko is obviously well-versed when it comes to analysing the German driver's motivations and hypothetical plans, having brought him into the Red Bull pen years ago and shared four world championships with the Ferrari driver.

This season is viewed by many as a 'make or break' year for Ferrari and Vettel.

Should the Scuderia fail to live up once again to its expectations, the German could be encouraged to take a look at an opportunity of driving a Silver Arrows.

"Frankly, Sebastian’s results from 2016 did not reflect his class," former boss Marko insisted.

"There were some races where he would have done much better if he just wasn’t unlucky.

"Now, he will definitely try to be successful and in the end decide what will be the best for him personally," he added.

Marko thinks Mercedes signing Valtteri Bottas only for 2017, amid the expiring contracts of Vettel and Fernando Alosno, have been no coincidence.

"Mercedes will be interested in them for 2018," Marko concluded.

Manchester United reportedly lead the race to sign Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez. The 22-year-old joined Atletico from Uruguayan side Danubio in 2013, and has been a regular at the Vicente Calderon over the last three seasons.

Gimenez has been forced to play second fiddle to Diego Godin and Stefan Savic for periods of the 2016-17 campaign, however, and it is understood that the defender is considering his long-term future in Madrid.

Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move for the Uruguay international, but according to AS, Man United are in pole position to land the centre-back as Jose Mourinho looks to sign defensive reinforcements this summer.

Gimenez, who has been restricted to just seven La Liga starts this season, has a release clause in the region of £39m.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has been ruled out up for to a month with calf injury suffered in loss at West Brom, the scan has revealed.

Popular Articles

Those who love him, love him with so much passion. Those who hate him, also do so with the same gusto. If a book on ‘The most hated footballers’ were ever to be written, several chapters would be dedicated to him.

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.

The day is September 26th 2010. Kenya U-20 coach Vince Ombiji brought on a young and promising player as the national junior side took on Lesotho. The rookie had an almost immediate impact, as he ran down the Lesotho defense rugged. Fleet foot works, pacy and pin point crosses made him a darling to the fans instantly. Kenya’s next big thing was alive.

The figure of Ksh. 600,000 released by Gor Mahia today, as the total gate collections for the Gor Mahia vs Zoo Kericho match in Kisumu are ‘stupid figures’,  Gor Mahia Organizing Secretary Judith Anyango has told Kenyanstar in a long ranging Interview.

Even thou they finished fourth in the just concluded Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association Basketball championships, Rueben Muraya is one person who has caught the eyes of many. His dazzling dribbling skills and speed has made him a crowd favorite and a contender for the MVP award.

She started playing volleyball at the age of nine at Kawaii primary School. Meet Florence Bosire, one of the best setters in the country. Recently,she was part of the Prisons team that won the Africa Women Volleyball Championship trophy for the fourth time. She did not participate but had a hand in the win.

Bale and Ronaldo both played as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 yesterday. Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro strengthened their grip on the La Liga title.

However, despite the victory, all is not well at the Santiago Bernabeu. Spanish outlet Diario Gol claimed yesterday that Ronaldo was fuming with Zinedine Zidane for substituting him late on.

The former Manchester United star provided the assist for Benzema's goal but was replaced by Isco in the 79th minute. It was said that Ronaldo believed Bale should have been substituted instead after an abject display.

But Diario Gol claim Bale was also angry after the game. The former Tottenham star's stock is rising in Spain after helping Madrid win the Champions League twice in the past three years. And the Wales international reportedly believes Ronaldo is preventing him from becoming the club's main man.

Bale has to play on the left wing due to Ronaldo's desire to play further up the field. He feels that Zidane is making a mistake by deploying him in that position as he prefers to play on the right, where he can cut inside.

Club chief Florentino Perez is now monitoring the situation as Madrid's two biggest stars aim to do outdo the other. 

The Kroenke camp are big fans of Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer is particularly close to the influential Josh, who was appointed to the club’s board as a non-executive director in 2013.

The Argentine striker scored 91 goals in 146 games for the Partenopei, including 36 Serie A goals in 35 games last season. However, ‘Pipita’ then left for Juventus when the Bianconeri activated his €90m release clause, causing fury in Naples.

Joel Matip on his future with Cameroon:

France’s national railway company, SNCF, and professional and financial services group Deloitte have signed up as official supporters of France’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

SNCF will advise the French Rugby Federation (FFR) on transport and sustainable mobility options, and support the implementation of a ticketing strategy for the World Cup.

The company will also provide logistical support to the FFR during different stages of the application process while promoting the bid both nationally and internationally.

Deloitte’s French division will work with the FFR on drafting budgets and financing plans for the event.

FFR president Bernard Laporte said: “(We are) very pleased to be able to count on the expertise of these two companies with world-renowned know-how to help us in our application. This support again illustrates the strong mobilisation of the economic world behind #France2023.”

France faces competition from Ireland and South Africa in its bid to stage the 2023 World Cup. The World Rugby Council will select the winning bid on November 15.

The protracted saga of Arsene Wenger’s contract situation is nearing its conclusion – and it’s not the one Arsenal fans were hoping for.

Although the offer of a new two-year deal has been on the table of some time, there had been speculation that Wenger would call time on his Emirates career after over two decades at the club.

However, despite another high-profile Champions League exit and another title challenge falling away before it could really begin, the Frenchman has seemingly become more resolute in his belief that he can steer the Gunners out of the trouble they now find themselves in.

Multiple sources on Sunday night and Monday morning have reported that Wenger will tell the Arsenal board that he wants to stay at the club beyond this season – for either one or two more years – in a decision that will not be a particularly popular one if and when it is confirmed.

In fact, the Guardian report suggests that Wenger and the board are looking for the best way of telling the fanbase that there will be no change in manager, which in itself would suggest just how toxic the atmosphere around the club has become. Confirming a deal so soon after a poor 3-1 defeat to West Brom – their fourth in five league matches – that has seen them slip to sixth in the table and putting their top four chances in real danger.