Sports in Kenya – First Quarter 2016 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The first quarter of 2016 is
already up, funny how time flies when we’re having fun…but is Kenyan sport
really have that much fun? January – March there have been a number of
positives to cheer up our common good as a nation (though David Ndii doesn’t quite believe in this….). The same period has also seen a number of
disappointing results, pronouncements or lack thereof. Let’s get this started;
Good

  • FKF Elections – a new Board of management is running
    Kenya’s biggest sport, football. After a number of false starts, it was the
    youthful Nick Mwendwa who
    won the day. His base, christened #TeamChange also scooped a number of
    strategic positions including the Vice President – giving Kenya her first female
    top football official.
    Kenya’s Oscar Ouma against New Zealand’s Bonny Williams – courtesy of FoxSports.com 
  • Kenya 7s – 2016 started well for the 7s team. In March, victories
    against strong nations like New Zealand and Argentina at the Las Vegas 7s showing
    intent into the team’s aspirations of finishing in the top 6 of the IRB 7s log.
    One of the highlights was one Collins Injera clocking his 220th try
    and now chasing the top try scorer’s position being the only top 3 7s players
    with a shot at it. 
  • Kenya’s athletic prowess – world half-marathoners (both men and women ) and continental cross-country
    champions is what we are! The two teams scored big victories both at individual
    and team levels colleting top honours and firmly setting the pace as the world
    prepares for an Olympic year. Hongera
    wanariadha wetu
    !
  •  Motoring whiz – Tejas
    Hirani
    – if you don’t know that
    name, then you don’t know the young genius of a motorsport driver in the
    country who’s making it big on the icy and speedy trails in Europe. And as he
    says on his link this is “a champion in the making”…enough said! 
  • Sponsorships – the betting companies have been placing
    their money where mouths are by signing sponsorship deals with the Kenya
    Premier League, top teams in the KPL including AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia among
    others. Other corporates have restored some of their sponsorships including
    Kenya Airways, Safaricom who put investments in the rugby sport. Golfing
    enthusiasts got their annual swings thanks to a raft of sponsorship deals –
    including Barclays Bank, MultiChoice, TransCentury among others.
    Flying Tejas – Kenya’s motor-rallying Tejas Hirani –  courtesy of www.tejashirani.com 
Bad

  • Anti-Doping Bill – if ever there was a time our MPs were
    needed to legislate on a Bill before its signed into law, it’s now. But what do
    our ‘honourable men and women decide? Blow whistles while others were busy
    cheering on the Presidency before going on recess. Now Kenya stares at missing
    major athletics events including the 2016 Rio Games
  • Football politics – it didn’t take long for the game to be
    back in mucky waters – from the national coach appointment, to the circus that was the national team selection and
    ultimately 2 defeats for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. It has also
    been an unsteady start to the Kenya Premier League as teams seek to secure
    sponsorships, with officials busy scheming how to keep the monies deeper and
    for long than pay deserving players and coaches. I mean why did Gor Mahia
    insist on reducing former manager’s pay before he decided to jump ship?
Ugly

  • AFCON  2017 Qualifications – Kenya’s (placed 103 on FIFA  world ranking loss to Guinea Bissau – over 40 places at 147 below Kenya  and we couldn’t muster a single goal. The second game inNairobi ended in a loss of 0-1 though the match was disrupted for 30 min as
    Kenyan players disagreed with referee’s decision to award a goal. In the meantime, the team and the venue Nyayo National Stadium faces severe penalties and likely suspension for the indiscipline.

  • Kenya’s Volleyball queens loss to Egypt in Rio Games direct qualifications – the team looked destined to book a direct ticket to Rio in August but the Kenya Volleyball Federation officials and team management had other ideas. First the change in personnel bringing in less experienced players was bound to backfire. Secondly the team’s preparations were haphazard and the technical aspects not well covered. The only reprieve is that there is one more round of qualifiers to be played next month in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sports Bill – Let’s Get Kenyan Sport started

After a 10-year heart-wrenching and sometimes frustrating journey, Kenyan sport will finally get its biggest shot in the arm. As the 10th Parliament prepares to end its stay, the one thing the Kenyan sports fraternity will be grateful for is their passing of the Sports Bill ( it awaits Presidential assent to become law as early as March 2013).

Kenya 50 years oncourtesy of www.1500questions.org

At least our lamentations to our Minister one Ababu Namwamba seems to have borne fruit and history will judge him accordingly.
The Sports Bill had a number of proposals which will among others ensure Kenyan sport changes and is run more professionally as well as addressing the revenue issues which plague majority of the sports bodies.

Check this out;

  • establishment of Sports Kenya Development Authority ( mandated to oversee all sports activities, promote, co-ordinate and implement sports programs and manage sports assets and facilities countrywide among others);
  • establishment of a National Sport Fund ( to raise and manage funds for sports authority as well as advise sports federations on appropriate financial grants among others);
  • establishment of  a National Sports Institute ( to manage sports training facilities, promote research and development, check on current sporting trends and recommend appropriate practices to sports federations);
  • registration and regulation of sports organisations and licensing ( creation of Registrar of Sports organisations, licensing of sports bodies – federation, club or otherwise, inspection of financial records and books among others)

Once the Bill is signed into law, existing sports bodies will have to register afresh and in some cases might have to elect new officials for fresh mandate. This has surely not gone down well with many of the current sports officials. The Bill also prescribes regular monitoring and evaluation of sports bodies through annual reports and returns to the Registrar.

It also offers the Secretary of Sport ( equivalent to the current Minister) to intervene and dissolve a sports body in case of disputes or mismanagement. This again has caused discomfort with some of the federations such as Football Kenya Federation which believe they’re beyond any national government interference ( as FIFA honchos have always made national federations feel above the law).
The law has addressed the perennial headache of fund-raising which shall be taken care of by the Sports Fund. This will ensure future national and international representation will have sufficient funds to participate in events and also federations running their affairs smoothly.

But we in Kenyan sport should remain vigilant and ensure that the Sports Law is not just another clause in the Kenyan laws. Just like our legislators, most of the sports officials without interest in the development and growth of sport will fight back and stifle these developments. Law experts tell us that the law doesn’t operate in a vacuum and isn’t cast in stone – it is in the interests of all those involved to safeguard against its abuse. ( We know that a number of sports bodies campaigned for the removal of the clause limiting the terms of office for sports officials).

As the country marks the golden anniversary and in its over 60 years legacy in international participation in sport, the legislation will pave way for added investment and interest in Kenyan sport. It will ensure professionalism in running sports bodies and see that sport is firmly grounded in case of indiscipline.

Notice is served to all you charlatans running sport! Just like our outgoing MPs, start packing your bags too!

‘Useless’ Kenya Facts:
The 10th Parliament had quite a number of MPs who have either been sports personalities or managed sports organisations in one capacity or the other. Here are a few noteworthy ones;

  1. Peter Kenneth (MP for Gatanga) – served as Chairman for Kenya Football Federation 1996 -2000( now Federation of Kenyan Football…semantics), played for now-defunct Re-Union as goalkeeper,
  2. Alfred Khangati (MP for Kanduyi )- served as Chairman Kenya Volleyball Federation in the 1990s and
  3. Dr. Sam Ongeri (MP for Nyaribari Masaba)- served as Chairman for Athletics Kenya 1974-84, 
  4. Chris Obure (MP for Bobasi) – played for Gor Mahia in the 1970s ,
  5. Elijah Lagat (MP for Emgwen) – former marathoner who won Boston (2000), Prague (1998) and Berlin (1997) marathons respectively,
  6. John Harun Mwau ( MP for Kilome) – sharp-shooter who represented Kenya in the Olympics in 1968 and 1972 shooting category.
(…if anyone can recall any others, please help us note them)

Kenya Premier League becomes Tusker Premier League, Really???

After a couple of months of haggling and boardroom meetings, Kenya’s Premier League found a suitor in the name of Tusker – EABL’s flagship beer brand. Analysts may look at it and say that it’s a major boost to the professional football game in Kenya, but as usual we have the skeptics who think otherwise.
First, the KSh. 170 million deal signed is for a 3-year period meaning a little under KSh. 60 million per year – a fairly modest figure for a 16 club league ( approx KSh. 3.75 million per club if its shared equally among them).

Secondly, this is the second time EABL is making an offer for the title sponsors for the Kenyan top football league. In 2001 they withdrew after football wrangles and mismanagement from football officials running the now defunct KFF were the order of the day. It is 2012 and this has not changed drastically after only recently the Vice Chair Sammy Shollei was suspended for making public claims of corruption and poor managerial decisions. We shall also remember the cancelled deal between Safaricom and FKF ( in the Sakata Ball junior tournament).
Though KPL is not entirely run by FKF, FKF still calls the shots on matters football in Kenya. They have been trying to get their noses in ( like they did with the whole fiasco of accreditation for media houses and journalists for the 2012 season). They may not been in on the servings yet but they’re not far from it too. Once Nyamweya and his minions are able to wrestle the league from SuperSport-led Jack Oguda, we can be sure it won’t be business as usual more like business unusual…

Third, EABL has been managing a club that is in the KPL , Tusker FC – reigning champions of the league. The club recently sacked its manager Sammy ‘Pumzo’ Omollo  and has been having a bad patch after being eliminated at the CECAFA Club Championships held in Dar in July and August this year. This relationship of the club and its ‘sponsors’ need be outlined clearly to avoid any conflict of interest.

Fourth, the EABL is also sponsoring the national team Harambee Stars with the sponsors hoping for a World Cup qualification – a bit far-fetched if you ask us. This is because with the expected hire of a foreign coach, the wage bill of the management team will go throw the roof at the expense of the team’s meagre resources. For the longest time, whenever the players go for national duty, they’re never paid in time – be it their allowances or refunds for air tickets. What will change with this sponsorship?

Fifth, EABL is a beer company and they have been challenging the legality of the oft-quoted Mututho Laws – which prescribe against the consumption of beer during the day/working hours and at certain public locations. The same goes for under-age drinking. We all know that the Kenyan football fans are a fragile lot especially in the derbies which don’t always end up well. Put alcohol in the mix, and can’t imagine what would happen next.
How shall EABL hope to overcome these challenges? Maybe through its soft drink brand ( which would have been quite a coup by the way, Alvaro Premier League especially for share-of-throat that they have been trying to fight with soft drinks). This is something FKF and KPL ought to have considered when approaching potential suitors.

Talking of suitors, it has been said in the grapevine that there were other companies which were also approached but when they raised the issues of management and proper financial outlays, these were not easily availed. It would also have been interesting to see a separate sponsor from the national team to the national league.

But being still at times teething era, the Kenyan football scene has lots to learn from other African leagues and more advanced ones across the world. In Ghana for example, Globacom International ( mobile company) sponsors the Ghanaian League for approx. KSh.180 million per year! Points to ponder right there!

{Guest Post by Football Pundit Ansell M}

Football Kenya falters again and again

Football Kenya fallacies
After securing fresh mandate from the football fraternity in the country, the current Chair one mercurial Sam Nyamweya seemed to have finally come in through the main door to bring order to the rather chaotic scene that is Kenyan football.
But barely a month in office, the Chair started making moves which have since started becoming all too common and frequent. Last year in the first week of December , it was announced that from 2013, all football tournaments that were to be played in Kenya from the lowest levels to the senior ones would have to seek Football Kenya Federation’s clearance – the main gist of this was the many corporate-sponsored tournaments which football officials have salivating and rubbing their hands with glee due to the monies involved.
Early this year one of the country’s professional players made formal complaints about refunds not made to him for air travels made during national duty. Another player still also complained about his use of image and non-compensation for the same. Both these cases were poorly managed by the FKF team which started making pronouncements of how unpatriotic our pro players had suddenly become.

As the country was preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for 2013, it became clear that the technical team did not have what it takes to deliver the goods and the campaign was in shambles by last month with sacking ( and ‘appointment’ as football technical director )of the national coach.
By this time also the cracks had started emerging between the Chair and the Vice-Chair along with other branch officials who have not been accommodated in some of the rushed decisions made by the Federation.
Mid-last month, one of the biggest football tournaments, Sakata Ball was cancelled by the sponsors Safaricom in the last minute after it emerged that some FKF officials had made a claim for a percentage of the sponsorship fee(s). This was clearly without justification.
The straw that broke the Camel’s back was Monday’s announcement to the media that FKF had resolved to suspend Vice-Chair and of the Nairobi branch officials for some fabricated and cooked-up issues. And in quick succession, the Chair proceeded to appoint one of his handy men to the post of Vice-Chair.
There are many other issues which we would wish to highlight, but let’s not bore you to death with the sad song(s)…

Same old, same old…
What irks us here at SportsKenya is the fact that once again, Kenyan football is a non-starter, largely due to an incompetent leadership team which is bereft of any new ideas to inject into the local scene. Some have been hoping that the current Chair – who’s well known for his dubious character and political machinations – would somehow see the ‘light’ but that very light has been put off for many a football fan.
KPL as sponsored by SuperSport Limited has been trying against all odds to restore some order into the game. But interference has been seen from FKF e.g. the media accreditation process which was done in a shoddy manner, disciplinary issues relating to the suspended games as well as the tiffs with some of the refereeing officials who at times are at pains to gain control of the game but can’t due to fans’ pressure.

The usual nonchalant stance by FIFA is not entirely suprising given the fact that the first port of call for the current Chair after his election was the Swiss city of Zurich. It may also not be lost to us that the current FIFA President is on his last days and wouldn’t want to antagonise officials who might come back for his neck upon retirement.
The Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Sport is the lame-duck which pipes threats but never makes good its word. Mr. Minister, you can bite the bullet and disband the top team since we have not even qualified for the AFCON coming up in 2013 anyway. And the more we wait for semblance of order to take place, the more the disorder and misconduct of the top organs will continue.

If we can make that sacrifice and bear the painful process for at least 6-12 months, we can midwife a new management team that will have not just the goodwill of football practitioners and enthusiasts but also serve as a lesson on how not-to-mismanage the universal game of football! Well until then, we can forget any meaningful change in the Kenyan football status in the near future…

Dennis Oliech, FKF & EABL – Get it Together People!

Tusker Sponsorship stirs Harambee Stars’ Nest

While the remuneration saga has been going on for the last few weeks now, Dennis Oliech’s retirement threat seems to have finally caught the football world’s attention.  A brief history of this is that, East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) through its flagship brand  Tusker confirmed sponsorship of the national football team Harambee Stars in anticipation of the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 qualifiers and the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil….all good so far…

Mariga, Oliech & Mugalia (Image that stirred the Hornet’s Nest) – www.futaa.com

As part of the agreement whose details have yet to be revealed but Harambee Stars Management Board seems to know, EABL were allegedly given rights to use the images of the national players as part of their promotional material to drive their brand communication.
Now that’s where the line becomes blurred.
Oliech came out openly in the use of his image (along with MacDonald Mariga & Ben Mugalia) for the Tusker promotion. FKF and the Harambee Stars Management Board accused him of his lack of loyalty to the national cause and sacrificing self to play for Kenya.

Players’ Endorsements & Players Dues
While some may argue that Dennis Oliech is a professional and should overlook the said endorsement fees, it calls to fore the use of Kenyan sports personalities and lack of proper remuneration and contractual commitments.
Looking at the EABL/Tusker sponsorship, that brand generates millions in sales and even if they might not feel inclined to pay the individual players, it would be presumed to be part of the KShs. 110 million committed. Sponsorship fees made by Kenyan corporate firms are usually committed to the national teams or otherwise but most of these funds never actually trickle down to the players and if they do, its miniscule.
Enter Football Kenya Federation, though in office for only a few months, they have not entirely endeared themselves to the national team players. Already one of the best goalkeepers in Arnold Origi announced his retirement last year after Kenya’s failure to  qualify for Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. MacDonald Mariga also complained about non-committal arrangements in refund of his air-flight tickets for national team engagements. Read in interesting article here on national team players’ welfare.
If you look at the complaints they are coming from the professional players who interact with other players in the European leagues. Thus they would have an idea of what they are claiming to be their rightful dues.
Back to FKF, we know that players have often turned up for national engagements without allowances for months on end. That a few players don’t mind playing for Harambee Stars even if they’re paid a pittance are supposed to be old stories.

To bring this rant to a logical end,

  1. EABL and FKF should ensure they outline the details of the sponsorship agreement, even if they have to disclose such details as who gets what and promotional material usage etc.
  2. Also Kenyan corporate firms, it’s about time you paid up a little more to our Kenyan sports personalities. 
  3. Kenyan and other corporate firms, when making any commitment to sports activities, remember at the final end the players welfare is paramount. Without this, the end consumer that you target will be a disillusioned lot and that’s not what your brand(s) stand for.
  4. Its about time Kenyan football players formed a Players’ Association. And if there is one then it’s not doing its work. Player grievances and issues such as player contracts, players remuneration, injuries, agents’ activities and all others relating to players should be addressed through a common voice. This will ensure you have a strong bond and common purpose to realising the interests of players.

Football Derby exposes Kenyan football soft underbelly

Many had gone to the game expecting it to live to the hype but what transpired on Sunday is the sad reality of what the Kenyan football game should address and hopefully learn from going forward.
Before going all ham on this post, we seek your indulgence on an article carried by the Daily Nation last week on Wednesday 14th March about how ‘financially-troubled clubs being dropped from KPL‘. The article sought to give direction on what would happen to clubs which have not had proper finances being demoted to lower rung leagues from the Kenya Premier League.

Dropping the Ball? 

It sought to give a clear signal to clubs which have not been able to meet their financial obligations such as paying their players, having concrete contracts for the players as well as functioning secretariat would face such consequences.
The same article estimated each club’s requirement for a season at between KSh.12-15 million. Of this amount, each club is estimated to earn about KSh. 4.4 million from SuperSport who are funding KPL’s activities thus far.
For the last two seasons, we have seen many a club come into the top league but struggle through the season to meet their financial obligations. This season already Rangers FC has been sending red alerts to potential financiers to come to their aid.  They have even contemplated changing their base to create veritable home support in a bid to attract fans to their games.
This is just one of the concerns that KPL needs to address. One of the ways it can aid in this is by securing an overall title sponsor for the Premier League similar to what other leagues in more ‘developed football economies’. This would ensure some more subsidies for the clubs from the KPL in terms of bonuses and assured revenue.

Secondly, the KPL needs come up with a blueprint which would ensure that by the time a club is in the Nationwide League, it is already approaching potential sponsors with the promise of support if they do indeed qualify for the top flight.

Thirdly, with new devolved system of governance, it will be imperative for urban centres in the different counties to come up with social amenities such as stadia, community grounds and related infrastructure. If they can manage to convince a few of the towns which have basic stadia to spruce them up in time and relocate them to these towns, that would build home support for the teams and in longevity ensure wider spread of the game.

Fourth as we saw on Sunday, only a few of the top clubs can muster huge crowds. If the level of competition is enhanced and less emphasis is laid on these top teams, the other teams will also start enjoying sizeable crowds during their games. See what has happened to Sofapaka, Ulinzi FC to name but a few?

Fifth, the security levels at most the games not just the big derby matches but also those in smaller towns leave a lot to be desired. Many a times the Kenya Police are contracted to suppress any crowd trouble but this needs reinforcement from private security personnel.

Sixth, heavy penalties should be incurred by the hosting team in case a game has crowd trouble, no amenities or poor surfaces for the play-grounds. Even the Nyayo National stadium which has been hosting majority of the games! It was downgraded by FIFA due to fan trouble and lack of proper sitting arrangements. It is a no-brainer on this one!

Seventh, both KPL and FKF need to engage professional hands in the management of the game locally. Too many quacks are masquerading as sports administrators but we have seen a rather sorry state of the game at times.  The fact that players can go for months without pay while their managers/team owners ‘roll in 4×4 vehicles’ leaves a lot to be desired. Same applies to player agents and any other personnel relating to club/game logistics. FIFA is always willing to help and are regularly offering workshops and seminars to help with capacity building.

Eighth, since 1995, Kenya has not had club representation at continental level beyond the 1st or 2nd round qualifiers. This is not by accident, its because we have not invested in the game and when we do, it such knee-jerk situations that it fails to make any impact. Lack of proper structures at the top has meant management-by-crisis which has seen us where we are.

Ninth, social media’s with us! But have we used those channels appropriately? As noted by another blogger here. That fans and club enthusiasts can use these channels to hurl abuses at each other is such a sad state of affairs which won’t help bring back the many fans who are yearning to watch live matches.

So going forward, it is bad that the game on Sunday ended the way it did. But if FKF and KPL can pick lessons from this, it can be a new phase for the game going. 

Gor Mahia sacks entire technical team

After a dismal start to the 2012 Kenya Premier League season as well as poor show in the continental challenge, Gor Mahia executive board has sacked the entire technical team led by Cameroon-born Anaba Awono.
Taking over (on an interim basis) will be former Kenyan international Bobby Ogolla who has coached a couple of Kenyan sides including World Hope FC, assistant coach – Sofapaka and also Kenyan national team.
Gor Mahia whose fan-base is one of the largest in the country may have contributed to the speedy sacking as the top officials seek to rescue a season which already gone awry in 3 games played thus far. They also lost the season’s curtain-raiser to Tusker in the SuperSport DSTv Cup.
Of urgency now will be to see if they can salvage a win against Mozambique’s Ferraviaro in the CAF Cup qualifiers needing a 4-goal outright win. There’s also the Super 8 Cup matches coming up later this week with their first game pitting them against arch-rivals AFC Leopards who’re on a winning streak thus far.
A word to might go to the fans who’s expectations are way up there and who’s conduct has been called to question every so often once they lose a match. Shall they rise from the ashes like the Phoenix ? Only time will tell!

Sepp Blatter & FIFA retinue to visit Kenya ( East Africa) soon

With Federation of Kenya Football having conducted a relatively smooth election to merge Football Kenya with Kenya Football Federation, FIFA powers that-be had to acknowledge the legitimacy of the new office holders. The new chair, mercurial Sam Nyamweya  managed to hold audience with FIFA President Sepp Blatter in November 2011 a few days after the elections and the latter promised to make good the new office’s endorsement by paying a visit to the region with Kenya being part of the circuit visit.

FIFA Pres. Sepp Blatterimage courtesy of http://dadoubd.canalblog.com/

Work on another of the sites for the FIFA Goal Projects is said to start soon in the lakeside town of Kisumu. So while FIFA prepares another whistle-stop trip around Eastern Africa, we thought of a few things they ought to consider as they throw in some sun-bathing lotion, safari/khaki trousers and designer sun-glasses;
1. FIFA Goal Project in Kenya – though this has been touted as one of the biggest FIFA projects to get football from lower levels and under-priviledged areas, in Kenya we are well below expectations. Initial work at the Kasarani Sports Centre stalled and though there is commitment from the Government to continue with the project, FKF officials have not put any structures in place to ensure the same doesn’t happen in future.

2. Non-partisanship  – in the past, FIFA honchos have been seen to take sides when any sort of crisis plagues the local game. This has seen the local football scene deteriorate considerably over the past 15 or so years. It doesn’t help that your organisation broods no interference or nonsense from national Governments but that doesn’t mean that the game should be sacrificed for a few ego bruises.

3. Women’s Football – while the Kenyan male counter-part has had a warm-cold representation at international circles, the women’s game seems to be spurred by some form of inspiration and is fast taking root among Kenyan urban poor. Does your office have any developmental agenda for their game? They just might be what Kenyan football needs to spur it to international fame.

Image courtesy of www.picturesdeposit.com

4. Transparency – many analysts have talked and commented about the secrecy that shrouds your books and other financial statements – the jury’s still out there on how transparent the overall body is run. This should not be the case for national federations. We’ve seen too many shady merchants running the game and getting away with it. Don’t fault them, they only take orders from above …

5. Africa’s agenda – beyond the voting rights that African states have enjoyed, and yes we (South Africa) did host a World Cup. What’s your agenda for African football going forward? Your on-and-off tiffs with CAF top-dog Issa Hayatou have been well documented. Well ours is to hoping that in your last few years of the final term, the game of football can be of great pride to the African citizenry in the near future. Continental sports media house SuperSport has taken the initiative to develop local leagues across many African states, maybe you can take a cue from them. The resources that your organisation enjoys are enourmous and a little bite on the cherry won’t hurt will it?

Thus said, we hope that your visit will be worth the while and as we say in Swahili… Karibu Sana!   

Rangers Football Club to Disband…

It’s never good to hear of budding talent and promising institutions close shop and this one on Rangers United Football Club isn’t either. This club had lots of promise going into the 2011/12 season having come in as one of 3 promoted sides from the country’s Nationwide League.

Oh no….

But their success was tempered by their then sponsors Postal Corporation of Kenya ( a most notorious Corporation for building sports teams and players only to bail out on them at the hour of need, check the hockey and volleyball ladies teams).
Their last season was a tough one for the team surviving on handouts even as its officials went round the corporate world with an enviable record and promising start to the season. This was short-lived with the team barely scraping through to avoid relegation.According to Press reports, the current Football Kenya Federation, Sam Nyamweya is rumoured to have bankrolled the club’s salaries and wages to players and management. (Unconfirmed sources also tell us that the team had secured a corporate sponsor who had agreed to part with about KSh. 30 million and which they offered 10% of last season to help the team secure their place in the Premier League…)
Its chairman Yobes Ondieki Ongeri is reported to have given up on securing financial support hence throwing the gauntlet on the team’s hopes.
Of urgency is how KPL will address the issue to ensure either the club receives emergency funds to be able to make it through the league or seek alternative representation since the fixtures including Rangers had already been scheduled.

It also calls to enquiry the financial health of other clubs which might have similar if not worse ramifications. Last year at least a 1/3 of the League’s teams had this or that issue with players’ salaries, lack of transport to honour fixtures and management wages. What happens to the SuperSport TV revenues pledged? What measures do Kenyan football clubs have to ensure longevity and survival of their clubs? Is the success of a few clubs blinding us to see what is the real situation on Kenyan club football? 

Your work is cut out for you, KPL honchos!

Kenya v/s Togo :- Harambee Stars & Football Kenya Federation; who’s fooling who?

Togo is in town and Kenya’s national team is still not stable to the extent of playing their hearts out. In an earlier post this year, Can Kenya find its place in 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, we gave albeit brief notes of what it would take to ensure we’re on track to qualifying for the biggest tournament on the continent. Maybe we weren’t clear enough;

1. Technical Bench – the national coach and his team are still without contracts and there seems to be a perception that since there are not many fixtures within the year, the Federation can get away with appointing an active team manager from the Kenya Premier League to hold forte for the time being. WRONG! As we witnessed last year, dividing time for national and club assignments becomes very tricky when those fixtures fall close to each other. What’s more, preparing a national team is usually the sum of many clubs’ teams so the national coach ought to have travelled and watched his players enough times to warrant their selection to the national team. In the same breadth, sought out the pay issues and remunerate the bench accordingly.
2. Club versus National appearances – while the technical bench will insist on a player having been active at least for the last 3 months before a national team game, it is ought to help when the players have had a semblance of residential training together for at least 5 days. FKF has been trying but not hard enough and as if that is not enough, they have not been facilitating the travel arrangements of national team players especially those from abroad. Why wouldn’t it be resolved each at a time instead of waiting for scenarios of players refusing to report for national duty thanks to unpaid allowances and refunds?
3. Harambee Stars Management Board – since most of the officials who were on the Board seem to be hoping to run for this or that public office, it is only fair that the Board is disbanded and a new team reconstituted. It would also be good for fair share of representation for both ladies and youth percentile in future.
4. Stadium and hosting facilities – the renovation at Kasarani sports complex is taking way too long. While we have enjoyed easy access at the Nyayo National Stadium, the venue’s still in need of better facilities for parking, warm-up for teams playing and general security as well as capacity-wise. On this one, FKF its beyond your call but you can hasten the work by Sports Stadia Management Board.
As you address this, let’s all meet at the Nyayo National Stadium at 1700hours to cheer on our boys against Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor as they start the long journey to South Africa’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.


Probable Squads:
Togo (nickname The Sparrow Hawks)
Goal-keeper: Mawugbe Atsou  Defenders: Dare Nibombe, Senah Mango, Abdoul Gafar Mamah, Serge Akapko; Midfielders: Komlan Amewou, Alaiyxis Romao, Floyd Ayite and Razak Boukari, Strikers: Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor, Serge Gakpe

Kenya (nickname Harambee Stars)
Goalkeeper: Duncan Ochieng Defenders: Eric Masika, James Situma, Brian Mandela, Pascal Ochieng Midfielders: Victor Mugubi, Jamal Mohammed, Titus Mulama and Humphrey Mieno Strikers: Dennis Oliech, Allan Wanga.

Final Update on Scores: Kenya 2 ( James Situma, Allan Wanga) – Togo 1 ( Razak Boukari)