Injuries and Bad Luck: The Story of Paul Were

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.

He went on and made a name for himself in the topflight league, and set the league ablaze with his sensational runs and pace. His contribution to both Tusker and AFC Leopards was certainly unmatched. While he ran riot on the pitch and dominated sports headlines with goals and assists, he also made headlines in the wrong areas, always rubbing shoulders the wrong way with coaches and fans, thanks to claims of indiscipline. That, never slowed him. Like many talented locals, he became ripe, and packed for greener pastures across borders.

Things did not really work out. Not once. Not twice. A meteoric rise to the top was suddenly suffering an unexpected slowdown. He is back into the country.

Kenyanstar brings you an exclusive and candid interview with Paul Were where he speaks about his career that has suffered major injury blows, discipline and why he is on a break.


Kenyanstar: Thank you for taking time to talk to us Paul. Kindly give us a brief on your career so far?

Paul Were: My career has been  shaky and wavy since I left Kenya but I thank God for the opportunities.I have always given my best and still hope for the best.

KS: You have been in at least three clubs in recent  years. What has influenced your movement?

PW: I have had really tough and hard decisions to make in my moves. No one understands what people go through. Unfortunately most of them believe what is only said in the press. We get judged by our decisions and our past. However, whenever I make a move, I consider what impact it will have in my career and what I will achieve.

KS: You have added to the statistics of Kenyan players who have left South Africa in just a couple of months. What could be the reason for these fast departures?

PW: My move  to South Africa was quite interesting. I had a problem with my work permit which made me miss like 8 games. Nonetheless, my coach then did believe in me and things went well. Unfortunately, he got sacked months in. A new coach was hired and as you are aware, he comes in with a new philosophy and his prefered players. I guess this somewhat affected me. Things got worse for the club and myself when we got relegated.

For the case of Kenyan footballers, it is not about departures. Football is what we love to do and what we call our life, and career. So if you're not comfortable and happy where you are, you certainly will move. The South African League is great and one of Africa’s best. If I get a chance to go back there, I will go back. 

KS: You left Greece recently and claimed that the club had failed to pay your salary.   How true is this?  Also is this the sole reason that caused you to leave?

PW: I moved to Greece and suffered a similar fate as was the case in South Africa. I came to play for the national team against Zambia and suffered a very serious injury.  God gave me the strength nonetheless and I had my contract back from Greece. When I went to apply for my visa to go back to Greece, the embassy had changed its systems because of the Syrian refugee issues. This complicated the visa application process, and things got tough for me. Recall, I was battling the injury issues, and now my documents were not right. While this was happening, I had missed up to 10 games for my club Kalloni. Nonetheless, Kalloni was neither a weak nor strong team, but due to my travel issues, they opted to sign other players in my place. I finally managed to go to Greece. I pushed myself hard, and thought that I was fit enough. I started a Greek Cup game, and few minutes in, I pulled a hamstring, and this forced me out for a month or so. I now missed almost 12 matches. I recovered though, and when I got back to the pitch, Greece had been hit by a serious economic crisis. I guess some clubs took advantage of this and myself and other players were not paid. We had an agreement with the club to sort out my dues but they did not honour their part of the bargain. This prompted my lawyer to take up the issue with FIFA.  Trust me I went through hell while there.You just can't post your problems to prove you are suffering. I however, thank my friends who supported me during the tough time in Greece.

KS: You aren't the first Kenyan player to lament about Greece...Is there anything that affects foreign players there?

PW: As I have already explained, Greek clubs don't pay. For instance, my previous club Acharnaikos offered what I thought was a good deal that could help me grow and support my family. When I signed for them, most transfer windows had been shut and I had litle options. I hence trusted my agent when he brought the deal to the table. We were offered a deal together with Ismael Salim and we thought we could give our best there, since statistics count the most. But again it never was. We endured a torrid 5 months without salaries, and being foreigners, it just got worse. The only thing I got was money for food from my agent. I couldnt hold in there any longer. I left the club and declined to return. We had a serious push and pull with the club, but I could not return as the club had failed to honour its contractual obligations. I preffered to suffer with my family here, rather than staying abroad, suffering and also not being able to support my family here. It’s tpugh and we suffered so much while there.

KS: About two seasons back, you were close to making a move to Gor Mahia. How was it like?

PW: At one point when I had come back to Kenya, I decided to join Gor Mahia.I knew it was a  great move but it didn't go through because of my ITC. I sincerely do not know what happened but was totally upset that I did not sign for them, since it would have been a perfect time to clear my mind, play well and settle with my daughter and family. After Gor Mahia fell through, I waited and talked with friends and agents to get a deal, Turkey came. It however, didn't go through again because of many reasons which I can't say here.

KS: Are you considering any return to the KPL?

PW: Yes.I was considering coming back to the KPL, I am still young and can still make a great move. You see in football, you  can't just continue to satisfy people and  sacrifice because you need to be famous, or have people call your name yet you have nothing to show for it. As a player, you need to live and football is a short career.

KS: Discipline- Or lack of it. Is it still an issue in your career? If not, how did you overcome it?

PW: I don not know why  people always say that we(footballers) are ill disciplined. Is it bad for me to go out or to go catch a drink with my friends? For as long as I do my best and give my best in training and on the pitch, what is the big issue here?  My past and all my indiscipline issues have largely been a creation of the media, and this creates a negative perception. The media will write great stuff about you when you are doing well. A small flip and the negativity will flow. The fans will then  criticize and judge you very harshly.  Interestingly, some of the fans you meet out in social places will always praise you and even buy you a drink. However, when something negative comes up, the same people will be flooding the social media saying how you were drinking and doing all bad things. I never overcame anything, I am just grateful to all my previous coaches as they understood and supported me.  My daughter and getting mature helped me.

KS:  Where are we likely to see you next? Have you received any offers?

PW: I don't know for now because I am a free agent. I am waiting for my agent to see what is coming through.

KS: Any closing words to your fans?

PW: I wish to  just thank each and every fan who has always been there for me, supported me, and wished me the best, because sometimes in life not everyone will love you or like u. As fans of Kenyan football we just need to support our own football and support our leaders. We need to try to make our game to be the best in Africa because we have talents and great players. We should stop accusing players and see the best in them and try to help and make them better. We players are human beings and to be in the spotlight is not easy. We face lots of temptations but we thank God as He always guides us. I urge everyone to support football and love this game.

Richard Omwela retained his chairmanship during Kenya Rugby Union elections  held late on Wednesday pipping Sasha Mutai by just two votes.

Shujaa will start their Hong Kong Sevens campaign with a Pool B clash against Canada at 3.18pm East African Time  on Friday 7 April 2017.

They will then complete their pool matches on Saturday 8 April, starting with a fixture against series leaders South Africa at 8.56am and France at 12.34pm respectively.

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is the seventh round of the 2016/17 HSBC Sevens World Series. Shujaa currently sit 12th on the log with 40 points.

Janet "Shebesh" Okello leads the overall try scoring charts. The Northern Suburbs speedster has scored a series leading 26 tries.

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.

Kenyan driver Carl Tundo has proved to be a real contender in the race for the African Rally Championship title after he finished third in the Kenya Safari Rally over the weekend in Nairobi.

The Safari rally is the third round on the 2017 ARC calendar. Tundo, who survived a roll in the last stage of the race, came third in his Lancer Evo10.

Tapio Laukannen became the first Finnish to win the 65th edition of the Kenya Safari Rally. He showed earlier intent for victory posting the fastest time on day one.

Another Kenyan Jassi Chatthe, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, who won the ARC title in 2015, finished sixth over the weekend, to go second with eight points, ten points behind Tundo.

The rest of the registered ARC drivers have not scored any points after three rounds. Ian Duncan and Ammar Slatch settled for second overall, 22 seconds behind the leader.

A total of 44 drivers started the Safari Rally that returns to ARC calendar after a hiatus two years. Safari Rally is one of the most competitive races on the African calendar.

Defending champion Don Smith from Kenya pulled out of the race at the 11th hour in protest claiming unfairness in the starting order. The final start list order released on Thursday had placed the 2016 champion as car number 33 yet the provisional start order had placed him at car number 2.

It means the rally revved off on Friday morning without the African defending champion. Yet, article 45.3 of the rules and regulations, gives the ARC contenders priority on a start order of a continental race.

Valery Bukera of Burundi and last year’s Mountain Gorilla victor was the best-placed foreign driver in 11th place out of the 30 finishers, while South Africa’s Geoff Bell was the best-placed two-wheel-driver in 14th place, driving a Datsun 260Z.

The fifth round of the ARC goes to South Africa for the Sasol Rally next month.

ARC Driver Standing

1. Carl Tundo (Ken): 18 points

2. Jassi Chatthe (Ken): 8 points

Safari Rally results

1. Tapio Laukkanen: 01:54:12

2. Ian Duncan: 01:54:34

3. Carl Tundo: 01:56:18

4. Onkar Rai: 01:57:01

5. Karan Patel: 02:01:13

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.

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.

The International World Games Association (IWGA) has announced that seven International Federations (IFs) have made bids for membership that meet its criteria, with their applications set to be discussed at the SportAccord Convention next month.

The International Basketball Federation (Fiba), International Triathlon Union (ITU), International Wushu Federation (IWUF), International Cycling Union (UCI), Union Internationale Motonautique (International Powerboating Union), International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) and United World Wrestling (UWW) have all applied to become IWGA members.

The federations have been invited to give a final presentation to the IWGA Annual General Meeting at SportAccord Convention on April 3 in Aarhus, Denmark.

The IWGA currently has 37 member federations. For IFs to become a member of the IWGA, membership of SportAccord is a prerequisite. Another requirement is that the sports, or disciplines of sports, proposed by the federations for inclusion in the World Games are not currently on the programme of the Olympic Games.

Wroclaw, Poland will stage the 2017 World Games from July 20-30, following on from the 2013 edition in Cali, Colombia. Birmingham, Alabama will be the first US destination to host the World Games since the inaugural event took place in Santa Clara in 1981 after it was formally awarded rights to the 2021 Games in April 2015.

The World Games - under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) - showcases more than 25 sports, such as squash, karate, sumo and dance sport.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has signalled its opposition to the proposed reforms of the world game outlined by the International Cricket Council (ICC) stating they will “adversely affect” the very nature of the world governing body.

The ICC is set to make a final decision on a new financial and governance structure at a meeting in April after agreeing “in principle” last month to reverse a move to put the boards of India, Australia and England in a dominant position of the game’s administration.

The BCCI, along with Sri Lanka Cricket, voted against the proposal to perform a u-turn on the 2014 decision after failing to defer the vote during February’s ICC board meeting in Dubai. Under the proposed restructuring, a new revenue distribution model would seek to counter the imbalance favouring the so-called big three, with India the most influential voice in the world game.

In a communication of its preliminary observations on the proposed ICC constitution, reported by the ESPNCricinfo website, the BCCI said the changes were “vague” and “unclear”. The status of the reforms package was thrown into question last week by the resignation of Shashank Manohar, who has been driving efforts to limit the influence of the ‘big three’, as chairman of the ICC.

“The proposed ICC constitution seeks to convert the ICC from a members' organisation to a supra-national regulator,” BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri wrote in an email sent to ICC chief operating officer Iain Higgins. “This is a fundamental change in the nature of the ICC that adversely affects the autonomy of its members.

“Further, several of the proposed changes are vague and unclear in their purport and intended operation. Given that one of the stated objectives behind the proposed changes is to bring in clarity and transparency, it is imperative that there is complete clarity on all the proposed changes so that members can properly understand the same before formulating their position thereon.”

Johri also reserved heavy criticism for the new financial model proposed by the ICC, stating it is “arbitrary” and not “agreeable”. Under the current ‘big three’ model, full members receive a contribution cost for participating in ICC events based on their perceived value in the sport. The new model is set to remove these contribution costs and instead introduce a set figure allocated to each of the 10 full members, along with two second-tier associate members - Ireland and Afghanistan.

Johri said, according to ESPNCricinfo: “The ICC is seeking to change the existing financial model without having any scientific formula or technical analysis behind the proposed changes. It is a fundamental attribute of any resource allocation system to first collect information and then allocate resources based on the information, priorities and a defined methodology following appropriate principles. The move to propose changes to the existing financial model without carrying out the aforesaid exercise is an arbitrary one.”

He added: “Any discussion on the proposed new financial model has to be based on clearly articulated and acceptable principles which recognise the relative contribution of BCCI to the revenues of the ICC. For the above reasons, we are not agreeable to the proposed new financial model.”

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.

Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunner Solskjaer is confident that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will want to play in the Champions League at Old Trafford next season. 

Jose Mourinho snapped up the veteran forward on a free transfer last summer and the Swede has been a talismanic presence at Manchester United this season, scoring 26 goals in all competitions.

Ibrahimovic is yet to extend his contract, which expires in the summer, but according to Swedish daily Expressen, the forward will sign on the dotted line soon to prolong his stay at Old Trafford for one more season.

And Solskjaer believes the Swede will want to experience Champions League football with Manchester United, if they qualify for next season, as he feels there is no better club than the Red Devils to represent on the biggest stage of European football. 

The former Manchester United striker told Expressen: “We hope that we can qualify for the Champions League next season.  

“Then I expect Ibrahimovic will want to play on the biggest stage for the best club.

“There is no better place to play Champions League football than at Manchester United.

"They are the biggest and the best club.”

Despite winning countless league titles and domestic cups in various countries, Ibrahimovic is yet to win the Champions League in his career.

Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin has described potential interest in him from Barcelona as "special".

The 22-year-old penned a new six-year deal with the Gunners last November but has been strongly linked with a move away from the Emirates this summer, with a number of top clubs across Europe thought to be interested.

Bellerin began his career as part of the Barcelona youth setup before leaving for Arsenal in 2011, and in recent days the La Liga giants have been linked with a £35m bid this summer as they continue to look for a long-term replacement for Dani Alves.

"It's nice there are a lot of big clubs that are interested in me, but if one of those is Barcelona that's special," Bellerin told Sport.

"I don't forget I grew up in that home and I will never forget my stay at Barcelona... I left Barcelona because I felt the club was not confident in me, I didn't feel valued, I was disenchanted."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has described speculation of Bellerin's potential exit as 'very difficult to take seriously'.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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