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}

Kenya v/s Malawi – 2014 World Cup Qualifier starts in Earnest

The qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup to be held in Brazil start in earnest in a week’s time and for Kenya this journey begins with the small step of facing Malawi at home. For a start, the fixture is quite significant given that the Kenya Premier League cleared its first leg of matches for the 2011/12 season a week ago. This ensures that the players have had fairly reasonable time to train as a unit.

Kenyan Football fan

A second feature is the fact that most European Leagues have ended and for those Kenyans who were playing for their respective teams, it is ample time to come back and do national duty for the game. But with the unresolved issues of McDonald Mariga’s refunds and the tiff between Dennis Oliech, EABL and Harambee Stars Management Board, you can rest assured the two will not feature in the upcoming game. Coach Francis Kimanzi will have the unenviable task of naming a team more likely to have new faces & local players as opposed to the over-reliance on the pros.
Third, we have the game taking place at the reopened and refurbished Kasarani ( or by the mouthful name of Moi International Sports Centre-MISC). The facility has ample space for parking, fans and teams alike as well as a great atmosphere for such a game. The venue has also been a good omen to the national team having played games there against big teams and going home victors in front of the home fans. Remember Kenya v/s Nigeria in 1996?
Lastly it will be a long weekend courtesy of a public holiday on 1st June thus providing the perfect excuse for the discerning sports fans in Kenya for a good weekend outing.
Thus said, all Kenyan football fans can show up and support the team to ensure they start on the right footing for the World Cup journey to the Samba country.
Tickets for the game shall be sold online for the first time as Football Kenya Federation tries to beat fake tickets peddlers and ensuring a more centralised and user-friendly mode of acquiring match tickets. You can access the site at and pay via MasterCard, Visa or Airtel Money ( wonder why they never incorporated the more popular M-Pesa…)

As of Monday 28th May, Dennis Oliech had reported to the Kenyan training camp at Kenya School of Monetary Studies for the Kenya – Malawi game.  Word has it that FKF & EABL had sought to clear the small issue of using his image(s) for the Tusker/Harambee Stars promo. Hope it’s the last we’re hearing of this and look forward to Kenya making the best of the qualifications to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

Statistics thus far:
Going into Saturday’s game, Kenya has played 56 games for the World Cup qualifiers; won 18, drawn in 12 and lost 26. A dismal performance indeed! But as they say, every day is a new day and the boys can rise up and rewrite history…time will tell!

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)

After 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, can Kenya find its place in 2013 ?

As the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations reaches its penultimate stages this weekend, Kenya will be once again ruing its chances of having not qualified for the continent’s biggest football showpiece. While much aplomb came towards the end of the qualifiers as the country faced off with its fierce neighbour Uganda, the die had already been cast and not much of a miracle was going to happen anyway.

Football Kenyaimage courtesy of  Football Kenya Limited

Well, the first Africa Cup of Nations in an odd year will be back next year hopefully landing at South Africa in less than 20 years. What gives?

a) First the top football body in Kenya finally held elections and new officials have fresh mandate and endorsement from majority of the game’s stakeholders. This goodwill ought to be exploited and trickled down to the national team.

b) With the Football Kenya Federation, indicating its willingness to work with the Harambee Stars Management Board, structures ought to be in place to ensure the team has maximum corporate support and technical support to see the team through the qualifiers.

c) Address branding and sponsorship issues as early as possible. In December 2011, a new uniform kit was launched to reflect the country’s colours and though not all of us like it, it ought to be more stable than we’ve had in the past. Full disclosure too ought to be made to avoid situations of missing kits and mismatching uniforms for international fixtures.

d) Technical bench – One major flaw that was made in the last 1 year was having a technical bench which was led by a coach who also managed a top club. Given the demands of both jobs, we could even say he gave it a good shot but well we won’t remember missed opportunities. Give the bench their contracts and ensure their pay’s on time to avoid Antoine Hey’s scenarios and such shenanigans.

e) Stadium facilities – With the biggest stadium in the country coming to completion from repairs, it’s about time the national team got used to this venue as the hunting ground for valuable home points. This venue has been a good motivator to the boys maybe its the softer ground or maybe its the 60,000 + fans that would flock it at its maximum…

f)  Club versus country – this problem cropped up during the 2011 season where some clubs felt aggrieved that the national team kept requesting for their players and some usually came back with serious injuries. Case in point is Arnold Origi – one of Kenya’s best goal-keepers who’s called it quits on the national team due such incidences. The calendar should indicate ample time for players to adjust from club to national team engagements.

g) Government engagement – Its about time the Government became a little more proactive in rallying support for national teams representing the country in any sport. Football a sport for the larger majority is the greatest unifier in this respect. We all saw the vibe it created when Kenya played its last qualification game against Uganda in Kampala last year. We can muster the same support albeit on a continuous basis. Kenyan people, its about time you elected a sports-crazed head of state….

 29th of February is a little over 2 weeks, FKF and all you who ought to make Kenyan football happen, the journey to 2013 Africa Cup of Nations starts NOW!

Harambee Stars Official Kit – How do we Source these?

Yesterday the new Football Kenya Federation made their first major undertaking by unveiling the team’s kit at a Nairobi hotel. Well it was an honourable thing but it brings to question how we source these kits and why the frequent changes in the same. We have lost count of the number of times the kit has been changed. It also makes it hard for the fans to keep track of these jerseys which we have been trying to don for the games both local and regional.

Harambee Stars new kitImage courtesy of

Asking FKF officials,
– What are the procedures of securing the team jerseys?
– Does it attract competitive tendering or is it a private arrangement of the Federation?
– How do you qualify whether to give it to one brand and not the other? Adidas, Nike or the other?
– How much does the Federation get for donning on that particular brand?
– How come we have not had any official shirt sponsor for the last couple of years?

These questions come in the bane that shirt sponsorships across the world are some of the main revenue drivers for major teams both clubs and national teams. Some have used it to leverage on their brand and won handsomely ( like the recently signed deal of Barcelona first-ever commercial shirt sponsorship deal). It also helps a country’s citizenry identify with the team.
We have CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup and now we have to buy some new shirts again …pray it doesn’t change once the World Cup 2014 qualifiers start…

2014 World Cup in Brazil…one step at a time…

Kenya’s baby steps to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil starts in the next few hours. Yes we have a new ‘sheriff’ in town by the name of one Sam Nyamweya, yes the form-book tells us that we shall make it to Group qualifying stages and yes we also have a ‘new coach’ to boot…
Well, given the haphazard we have managed our football affairs, we have the PERFECT opportunity to paint a new picture and write history all over again.

FACT: No Eastern Africa has ever been represented in this global festival of sport. We would love to give all excuses and we also know the reasons but we can’t afford that now.

FACT: In the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, (CAF) Africa zone East African states performed so dismally landing the bottom-places for those that were in the Group stages. Kenya finished with 3 points (eventual Group B winners were Nigeria with 12) while Rwanda had 2 ( Algeria won Group C with 13 points) and Sudan had 1 point (Group D’s winner Ghana had 13).

FACT: There will be 52 countries fighting for 5 places. Of course with Africa’s ‘dismal’ performance, the extra 6th place which had been granted (thanks to South Africa hosting the tournament) seems not to be so urgent to FIFA’s powers. What are our chances?

FACT: Kenya has had a different coach/team manager since 1995. Some of course come back in but there has never been any taking charge of the job for more than 12 months consecutively. Not that we are even close to their achievements, Germany has had 10 managers since 1928 2 years before the World Cup started…

We could go on & on but that brief record speaks volumes…as you start your journey Harambee Stars boys, go out & show us the miracles CAN & DO happen!

November 2011 – Sporting Bonanza

New month, new challenges, new opportunities. Yes, Kenyan sports scene is experiencing good things for this 2nd last month of the year 2011.

Safaricom 7s 

And to start us off is one of Kenya’s premiere events the Safari 7s which saw it changed from the usual mid-year period to November so as to align with the IRB 7s circuit which starts end of November 25-26th in Australia. Riding on the back of a new management team as well as loaded sponsorship deals, it will be a defining season for the Kenyan team which seeks to regain its touch as one of the best playing units outside traditional rugby powerhouses. 3-5th of November make a date with Kenyan team as it seeks to start 2011-12 season on winning note.

After missing 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Kenya starts her journey for the FIFA World Cup to be held in Brazil in 2014. This is against a backdrop of major changes in the sport mainly the Kenya Football elections which brought in new office bearers and new body Football Kenya Association. The national team also got one of its former handlers, Francis Kimanzi ( currently managing KPL side Sofapaka). 11th November make a date with Harambee Stars as they starts this arduous journey.
On the regional front, CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup starts on 24th November to 9th December 2011. This has Cup has eluded the national team for the last 9 years and this could be a nice way to warm the boys up for World Cup qualifiers and also rise up FIFA Rankings.
At a local level though the Kenya Premier League comes to its final leg as teams seek to represent Kenya in continental challenges. It has been another competitive year for the SuperSport-sponsored league which has enjoyed increased interest from local football fans and TV alike.

The Kenyan women’s team is back in Japan to represent Africa in the FIVB Women’s World Cup. Since it is not their first outing, we are hoping the ladies can finally muster some steel and win a game or two to place Africa’s representative at a better place. Being the highest ranked women’s team from Africa on the FIVB World Rankings ( currently at 15th place), it will not be an easy ride brushing with top sides such as Brazil and Germany.


Kenyan Basketballimage courtesy of

The Kenya Basketball Federation Premier Leagues come to an end. This season has seen some resuscitation of sorts with the #FridayNightBasketball building a good fan base which is seeing some basketball streaming back to the Nyayo National Basketball gym. The Friday games have organised courtesy of Kenya Basketball Federation, CodeRed DJs – an entertainment outfit which is making entreaties into sports events management and has some sponsorship from GM Kenya. Unconfirmed reports intimate Zuku has developed some interest in screening the games on its ZukuTV.
Catch these games in every weekend culminating with the Finals last week of November or early December. In those news, those of you who love the NBA are surely hoping the lock-out can be quickly resolved for what looks a torrid season for this league which is any basket-baller’s dream.


New York Marathon 2010image courtesy of AP

The World Marathon Majors continues on with New York Marathon scheduled for 6th November at “The Big Apple”. With Kenyan marathoners enjoying one of their best seasons so far, it will be good to see who runs with this one. Last year’s second placed, Emmanuel Mutai starts as favourite for the men’s race but looking at the retinue and pedigree of Kenyan runners and Ethiopians chasing hard, it will be anyone’s day. In the women’s version, Mary Keitany will be hoping to add another WMM title after taking the London Marathon earlier this year.

What is slowly becoming a laid-back and rallying relic in this part of the world, the East Africa Safari Classic Rally is back after one-year break. Featuring former world champions in motor rallying and cars that won the races back in the day, the rally will drive through parts of the East African states of Kenya and Tanzania (click this for East Africa Safari Rally Route map).
Some of the expected drivers include former winners of the earlier version include Bjorn Waldegaard, Ian Duncan, among others. The Rally starts on 19th November at the Sarova Whitesands finishing at the same venue on the 28th. For you who loves adventure and the beauty of the savannah, make time to trail these rally enthusiasts.

Whichever sport tickles your fancy, enjoy this and other sporting bonanzas from in and around the country. Cheer your favourite individual, team or country as the year rolls out another month.

Kenya Football Elections – Are We Finally There Yet ?

This weekend the main highlight for any discerning Kenyan sports fan is the long-awaited Kenya Football elections. The last few weeks has seen a flurry of activities from all charged with giving Kenyan football a new face or is it phase in the journey to glory?

Any hope for Kenyan Football?Image 

Candidates have made last-minute efforts to appeal to clubs and branch delegates who will make their votes count in this decisive process. Of course not smooth-sailing and controversy seems to follow the process every step of the way. There are many contenders but from many pundits the main ones are of course blue-eyed ‘boy’ Hussein Mohammed and never-say-die Sam Nyamweya. The latter brings in youth, corporate networks and largesse along with some general consensus of a new hand in managing the game. Nyamweya on the other hand has been in and out of football management after coming in with Maina Kariuki back in the 1990s. His reins have been tainted by corruption charges which miraculously disappear as soon as they happen.
Well, it is not this space for us to weigh the backgrounds of these and other contenders for the top office and overall management of the game in Kenya. However, we believe IT IS TIME those charged with making the game rise to where it ought to be GIVE KENYA WHAT WE DESERVE!
Of course, FIFA’s hand and other vested interests in the corporate world will be hanging over tomorrow’s proceedings and it shall not be entirely surprising if we don’t get a final word on this. Pessimists, maybe…more like realists! And miracles do happen you know…

Kenya v/s Uganda …Who has the last laugh?

If you are from the two neighbouring countries, by now you have heard and seen the hype around this game and in the next 24hours, we shall know who has the bragging rights. From planned bus-rides to Kampala to students studying the many higher learning institutions in the Uganda, this tie must be one of the biggest ever between the two countries in recent history.

There is much at stake for both countries and especially so for Kenya which had lorded over the other East African countries and qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations 5 times compared with Uganda’s 5 appearances (their performance has been better though finishing 2nd in 1978 behind Ghana) ; Tanzania and Rwanda have each qualified once previously.
But this Africa Cup of Nations qualifier carries not just the sporting side but some heavy political connotations given the diplomatic brush the two countries have had recently due to the Lake Victoria islands of Migingo and Ugingo as well as the bombings on July 2010 in Kampala ( after Al-Shabaab militia were said to have launched their attacks from Kenya and the ensuing renditions of Kenyan suspects). It has also been Uganda’s Pres. Yoweri Museveni toying with various Kenyan potential Presidential candidates as each tries to outdo the other in matters regional.

Back to the game though, recent history is clearly in favour of Uganda. They are the highest ranked country on the FIFA rankings at 76 compared to Kenya’s 133. The last 5 games between the two teams have seen Uganda win 4 and draw 1. And of course there is the 12th man advantage with the Ugandans sensing a return to continental glory since 1978 ( which was their best showing ever at 2nd place).

In our VERY HUMBLE OPINION, we would love to be patriotic and root for our team BUT in a way this is pushing our luck a bit too far. We have had such a mixed bag of performances in these qualifiers and this last game would have been avoided if Kenyan football authorities had made their arrangements once the games started. We have a fair share of professionals plying their trade in European leagues but that has never deterred other teams showing us how its done when it comes to wearing national colours (ask Guinea Bissau).
We have also national bodies running football at the mercies of some unscrupulous and incompetent national officials. With the national elections finally announced, we wait to see what comes of this long-awaited process.

And while we have been running all over like headless hens, our neighbours have sorted their national leagues and made much progress. What Kenyans saw in the first game against Uganda left many in shock at the level of co-ordination, passion and support from the highest offices in their land that the team had and continues to enjoy. Our Kenyan politicians have tried replicating this but albeit a bit late in the process. It would be good for Kenya’s Harambee Stars to miss the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations BUT start in earnest preparing for the 2013 one in South Africa as well as World Cup qualifiers in Brazil. It would also serve the new office (if elections come through on October 29th) to start a fresh slate to ensure there is a better strategy for the game in the country.

Qualifying for the 2012 AFCON would give us a false impression that all is good on our game and soon we’re back to business as usual. Let’s sort our domestic issues once and for all and seek a fresh page to write our footnotes in the game in the next one year. All the same, for those who make it to Kampala, enjoy the roast chicken, bananas and waragi from the ‘Pearl of Africa’ and AVOID any passions beyond the game’s. For you back in Kenya, the time is 1700hours on your national broadcaster KBC ( no confirmation yet from SuperSport)

Prediction: Uganda 3- Kenya 1

Take Your Pick – Octoberfest for Sports…

This month marks some major sporting events in the country and what promises to be a busy last quarter of the year 2011 for Kenyan sports fans.These involves both local and international engagements for our sporting individuals and teams as well;

First off is the much-hyped Kenya v/s Uganda game for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for 2012. This though is being played in Kampala but being close home, the number of fans both from within Uganda and those travelling to Kampala’s Namboole (fondly named Nelson Mandela) Stadium shall be teeming with one too many Kenyans.
Still in Football, the Kenya Premier League continues with the first 5 teams having a 6-point difference between them thus making it still an open contest. 2nd-placed Ulinzi FC got some reprieve after its earlier docked points are now theirs to lose after KPL Disciplinary Committee decided to have the 2 games played. From the fixtures though, the final standings will take shape this month.

Impala Floodies – Lights, Rugby Action !

For you the Rugby fan, you have the 30th edition of Impala Floodlights coming to you early thanks to the re-adjusted Kenya Rugby Union calendar. Starting on the 8th October, the games run every Saturday till 29th October when the final take place. Most of the rugby sides are likely to play their younger squads though as the games progress the prize money may change the playing units slightly. Reigning champs of the Impala Floodies Strathmore will be hoping to repeat their exploits earlier this year to beat more fancied sides.

In volleyball we have Kenya’s own Kenya Prisons team representing the country in the FIVB Club World Championships taking place in Doha, Qatar from October 8th -14th. These championships make a comeback after a long break since 1994. We shall be hoping our girls can make an impact and be among the top 3 teams of the 6 in the tournament.

Chicago Marathon logocourtesy of

In Athletics, the Chicago Marathon starts us off on 9th October. With last year’s winner  the late Samuel Wanjiru not in the field, we shall be hoping another Kenyan takes the lead as they have taken the world this year by storm. This race is part of the World’s Marathon Majors of which the late Samuel Wanjiru was ranked first in 2010.  3 local road races are planned in the Rift Valley; Kebirigo, Eldoret and Kipkelion. There is also the Standard Chartered sponsored Nairobi Marathon which is slowly becoming a nurturing course for future marathoners for the country. It also part of a series of other Standard Chartered marathons, dubbed ‘The Greatest Race on Earth‘ featuring Singapore, Mumbai and Hong Kong as host cities.

Cricket fans, don’t be so gloomy, we have the East Africa Premier League T20 featuring teams from the 3 East Africa countries. The boon for these games are the agreement by SuperSport to screen them live.
In basketball, the final games of the Kenya Premier League come to an end this month with the play-offs expected to start on or before the last weekend of October. This year, the League has gotten a boon from the  #FridayNightBasketball games organised in partnership with CodeRed DJs, General Motors and media partners 1FM. Here’s a review of some past Friday games

Dunk-over-Bike by Mandelaimage courtesy of

Make time for any of these sporting events taking place and enjoy supporting your favourite teams and individuals as we seek to develop and grow local sport.