Kenya at the 2019 Dubai Sevens

Group Stage

Kenya 12 South Africa 17
Tries: Alvin Otieno, Vincent Onyala
Conversion: Daniel Taabu

Kenya 5 England 12
Tries: Nelson Oyoo
Conversion: N/A

Kenya 19 Spain 22
Tries: Olindi, Oyoo, Ojee
Conversion: Daniel Taabu (2)

13th Place Playoff

Kenya 26 Scotland 14
Tries: Alvin Otieno, Onyala, Sikuta, Olindi
Conversion: Daniel Taabu (3)

Squad

Andrew Amonde
Willy Ambaka
Billy Odhiambo
Jacob Ojee
Bush Mwale
Alvin Otieno
Nelson Oyoo
Jeff Oluoch
Johnstone Olindi
Vincent Onyala
Daniel Sikuta
Oscar Dennis
Daniel Taabu

Gallery


Alvin Otieno in action against South Africa

 


Olindi (middle) Providing cover defence

 


Ambaka shakes hands with an SA player

 

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Kenya at the 2005 world championships: Benjamin Limo with surprise win

The 2005 world athletics championships were held in the Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland from 6 August to 14 August. Kenya registered a below par performance with only one gold medal. The games were held at the height of the EPO era when there was no testing available for EPO. As such Kenya bit the dust in many events where they would normally do well. Kenya finished 9th overall in the medal standings with 1 gold 2 silver and 4 bronze.

5000m: Benjamin Limo with a surprise gold medal

Not much was expected from Benjamin Limo. The experts picked Eliud Kipchoge, the defending champion as well as Sileshi Sihine of Ethiopia and Ali Saidi Sief of Algeria. With 100m to go, it looked like Sihine was going to run away with the race. But in a masterful display, Limo shifted gears and rocketed passed Sihine who had no answer.

Race Video

Other Performances

William Yiampoy finished third in the 800m. The winner was Moroccan turned Bahraini Rachid Ramzi. In 2009 Ramzi was busted and banned for EPO use. In second place was Russian Yuriy Borzakovskiy. A decade later, the scandal of systematic doping would be exposed. Moses Mosop finished third in the men’s 10,000m, half a second behind the winner, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Ezekiel Kemboi and Brimin Kipruto took silver and bronze medals behind Kenyan turned Qatari Saif Said Shaheen.

On the women’s side, Catherine Ndereba took the silver medal in the marathon. In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Jeruto Kiptum started Kenya’s strong tradition in this event by taking the bronze medal. In subsequent years, Kenyan women would come to dominate this event just as the men did.

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Mangasa by Simaro and TPOK Jazz (Lyrics and Translation)

Introduction

The song Mangasa was released late in 1988. It was part of an album that featured four songs, all by Simaro. The other songs were Couerr Artificiel, Maclebert and Sindo na Bruxelles

It was at a time when Franco’s health had started to fail and he was not as active in the band as he was frequently in Europe seeking treatment. Franco had therefore started ceding control of the band to Simaro. To illustrate this, the album cover was labeled “Simaro et le TP OK Jazz”.

The lead singer is Josky Kiambukuta. Madilu System and Malage de Lugendo also provide solo vocals. De Lugendo’s vocal is especially powerful as his ability to variate his voice from high to low in the same verse is in full effect here. A melodious harmony section fills the space between the three vocalists, all of whom also featured prominently in the other three songs on the album.

Synopsis

The song is the story of a man who divorced his wife. He thought he had found a better woman. But after going with more than five other women in a short time, he claims to find the flaws of his first wife in others.

When he recalls his life with his first wife, he concludes that there is no perfect woman. He regrets ever leaving his first wife. He is embarrassed. His disappointment is illustrated by the popular proverb of a crocodile who fled the rain to hide in the popular epic known as Elima Ngando

Song Video

Lyrics and Translation

Josky’s Vocal Solo

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Oliech was never eligible to play for Qatar, Olunga is ineligible for Japan

In recent days there have been rumours floating in social media that Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga has been offered an eye watering amount of £600 million to play for the Japanese national team. The rumours took flight after Olunga scored 8 goals as his league leading team Kashiwa Reysol thrashed eigth placed club  Kyoto Sanga 13-1 on the final day of the season.

 

A number of news outlets also posted the story. Many Kenyans on social media were quick to jump on the band wagon, urging Olunga to forget Kenya and follow the money.

Others insisted that Olunga should not make the same mistake that Oliech made in 2004 when the Nation of Qatar supposedly made an offer to him when he was age 19.

As you may recall, reputable news outlets including Kenya’s main newspapers printed stories that Oliech was being offered around Ksh 200 million to defect to Qatar. As part of the deal, Qatar was to fund a new stadium in Kenya. Reports suggested that the then Sports minister Najib Balala had acquiesced to the deal. Oliech’s own mother later reported that her son had indeed received an offer to defect but had turned it down.

What is likely to have happened is that none of the officials involved actually understood the FIFA statutes around eligibility.

FIFA 1962 Statute would have made Oliech ineligible for Qatar

It is indeed true that before 1962, a player could represent multiple countries in succession. The legendary Alfredo de Stefano played for Argentina, then Colombia, then Italy in succession.

FIFA put a stop to this free-agency in 1962 at the thirty-third FIFA Congress by creating legislation that contained these relevant provisions:
(1) a player must be a naturalized citizen according to the particular country’s laws to be eligible to represent the country;
(2) if a player has been included in a national team, he is ineligible to represent another nation;
(3) the only exceptions to these rules concern players whose nationality is affected by independence being given to a region or by part of a country being ceded to another.

By 2004, Oliech had already represented Kenya in full internationals. Not only did he play for Kenya but  he was the top scorer as Kenya qualified for the 2004 Africa cup of Nations. This would have disqualified him from playing for Qatar. So the whole idea that he could defect to Qatar was far pure hogwash.

2004: FIFA Changes nationality rules again

Had Oliech not played a full international for Kenya, he would have been eligible to play for Qatar. All he would need to do is to live in Qatar for two years. During this period, a number of Brazilians ended up changing nationalities to play for other countries: Francileudo Santos and Jose Clayton both played for Tunisia after having played for Esperance for two years.

The relevant FIFA statute at the time stated that a player could also change nationality if he had at least one parent or grandparent who was born in that country, or the player must have been resident in that country for at least two years.

During this period, Qatar was among many nations that had become notorious for naturalizing foreign players especially Brazilians. FIFA thus held an emergency congress to address the issue again.

“If we don’t stop this farce, if we don’t take care about the invaders from Brazil towards Europe, Asia and Africa then, in the 2014 or the 2018 World Cup, out of the 32 teams you will have 16 full of Brazilian players.” said FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2007.

As a result, The residency requirement for players lacking birth or ancestral connections with a specific country was extended from two to five years in May 2008.

Note that this statute alone would disqualify Olunga who has been in Japan for much less than the required period.

Also in 2004, FIFA relaxed their statute to allow players who had represented a country at youth level, to represent the country of their ancestry at senior level. As a result there has been a rash of players featuring for other countries. Indeed nations like Algeria and Morocco nowadays field teams made up almost entirely of players who grew up in France and Holland. Some of them played for France at youth level.

The FIFA statute today.

Today in 2019, the FIFA statute for nationality reads as follows:

Any player who has already participated in a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one association may not play an international match for a representative team of another association, unless: The player permanently loses the nationality of that country without his consent or against his will due to a decision by a government authority.

To put it plainly, Olunga would only be eligible to play for Japan if he were to be expelled from Kenya i.e. lose his citizenship as happened to Professor Micere Mugo after the 1982 coup.

What causes Confusion?

The fact that some players have in  the past been able to easily change nationality makes people think it would be easy for a player to switch nationalities. Many people do not fully understand the FIFA statute.

Some are even confused by the fact that Divock Origi whom they think is Kenyan, plays for Belgium and Zinedine Zidane whom they think is Algerian, played for France. In reality Divock Origi is Belgian and likely has never had any Kenyan document be it a passport, an ID Card nor a birth certificate.

Further confusion arises from the fact that other sports like athletics and rugby make it rather easy for a player to change nationality. In fact in 2005, the rumours about Oliech defecting were fanned by the fact that a famous Kenyan athlete , Stephen Cherono, who had represented Kenya and won a gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth games, had in 2003 defected to Qatar for a large sum of money and changed his name to Saif Said Shaheen.


Stephen Cherono aka Saif Said Shaheen in 2005

Japan is also famous for naturalizing players from New Zealand and South Africa to play for their national rugby team. Indeed almost all the top rugby nations today have naturalized players from nations like South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa. This also leads to confusion and a lack of understanding. Which brings me to the last point about Olunga.

Would Japan naturalize Olunga if he was eligible?

If FIFA rules were lax and rich countries could throw their money around, it is unlikely that Japan would come after Olunga. They would most likely be interested in players from prestige countries like Brazil and Argentina.

If they were to recruit from African countries, they would likely go after famous players like Mo Salah or Sadio Mane who would not only play well for Japan, but due to their fame, they can also draw large crowds to the stadium each time they play. Football is after all a business. Tickets must be sold. Jerseys must be sold. And huge TV deals must be signed. And you do that by signing famous players.

Indeed if FIFA rules were as lax as athletics, you would have the equivalent of the Wild west whereby players would sign contracts to play for one nation for a few years. Then sign for another nation. By the time a player retires, he might have played in 3 different world cups for three different countries. A farcical situation.

 


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Kenya at the 2003 world championship: Eliud Kipchoge announces himself

The 2003 World Athletics Championships were held from 23 August to 31 August 2003 in the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, France. Kenya won 2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze for a total of 4 medals, the lowest total by the country since 1987. Kenya finished 7th overall behind Ethiopia, Belarus and Sweden.

The two gold medals came from 18 year old Eliud Kipchoge in the 5000m and Catherine Ndereba in the women’s marathon.

5000m: Shock win for Eliud Kipchoge

The heavy favourite for this race was Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia who had won the 10,000m a few days earlier. His primary challenger was expected to be Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj. Other contenders including defending champion Richard Limo and John Kibowen of Kenya, Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia and Zerseneya Tadesse of Ethiopia. No one expected anything from the 18 year old Kipchoge.

Bekele started off on a torrid pace, passing the halftway mark only a second off world record pace. The idea was to set a strong pace in order to ward off El Guerrouj who being a miler, had a stronger finishing kicker. The lead changed multiple times in the second half of the race.

At the bell, El Guerrouj made his move  and it looked like he was striding to victory. But he started to tire with 140m left. That was when Kipchoge and Bekele caught him. With 80m to go, the trio were all running in tandem. Any of them could win. Kipchoge went neck and neck with El Guerrouj and managed to outlean him at the bell. A famous win for the 18 year old. A win that portended greater things for Kipchoge. Nearly 15 years later, he would set the world record in the marathon. John Kibowen finished right behind Bekele for a creditable 4th place in a famous race.

Race Video

Women’s Marathon : Catherine Ndereba becomes first Kenyan female gold medalist

Catherine Ndereba became the first Kenyan woman to win marathon gold in the women’s marathon. She won with an impressive time of 2:23:55. A major achievement since Kenyan women failed to win any medals in 2001

Other Medals

In the men’s 3000m steepelchase, Ezekiel Kemboi took the silver medal. The race was won by former Kenyan Saif Said Shaheen, who was formerly known as Stephen Cherono. It marked the only time Kenya did not win this event since 1987.  In the women’s 5000m, Edith Masai took the bronze medal with an impressive time of 14:52.30.

 

No coach has accomplished more than Brother Colm O’Connell , the head coach at St Patricks Iten. Since her arrived in Kenya in 1976 since 1976, O’Connell has coached 25 world champions and four Olympic gold medallists, including Peter Rono, Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha.

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Eliud Kipchoge richly deserves Athlete of the year title

Eliud Kipchoge added another page to his legendary status when he was named World Athlete of the Year in the Male division at the World Athletics Awards 2019. The gala was held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Saturday November 23.

Other Nominees were : Donavan Brazier (USA), Christian Coleman (USA), Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda), Timothy Cheruyiot (Kenya), Steven Gardiner (Bahamas), Sam Kendricks (USA), Noah Lyles (USA), Daniel Stahl (Sweden), Christian Taylor (USA), Karsten Warholm (Norway).

In April, Kipchoge captured his fourth victory at the London Marathon with a 2:02:37 course record, the third fastest performance of all time.

In October, Kipchoge finally broke the two-hour barrier over the 42km distance at the INEOS challenge. He clocked 1:59:40.2. It was his second attempt at the distance. In 2018  he clocked 2:03:05 .

Other attempts had been made by Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa who ran the distance in 2:04:45 and former world half marathon record holder Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea who clocked 2:10:41

For the 2019 challenge, Kipchoge had to run average distances s follows: 100m: 9.58, 200m: 19.19, 400m: 40:03, 800m: 1:40.91, 1,500m: 3:26, while the world record at 5km is 12:37.35, 10km: 26:17.53 and half marathon at 58:18.

The half marathon time is especiallyt incredible because only one person has ever run a half marathon faster: That is Geoffrey Kamworor who holds the world record.

Kipchoge’s feat did more than anything else to attract attention to a sport that over the last. After his feat, Kipchoge received congratulatory messages from world leaders including Barrack Obama and Cyril Ramaphosa.

Brother Colm O’Connell wins lifetime coaching award


O’Connell with Wilson Kipketer at the awards

 

No coach has accomplished more than Brother Colm O’Connell , the head coach at St Patricks Iten. Since her arrived in Kenya in 1976 since 1976, O’Connell has coached 25 world champions and four Olympic gold medallists, including Peter Rono, Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha.

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Edwin Kurgat wins NCAA cross country championships

Eldoret native Edwin Kurgat, won the prestigious NCAA Division 1 cross country championships. This is a race that brings together all the best cross country runners from Universities across the United States. It is a prestigious race that always attracts large crowds given that cross country running is very popular in the United States. On a muddy course in Terre Haite, Indiana, amidst bitter cold and rain, Kurgat completed the ten kilometre course in 30:32.7

Kurgat who represents Iowa State Univeristy, had to fend off a strong challenge from Peter Seufer of Virginia Tech. Seufer led for most of the race until Kurgat made his move with one kilometre to go. Kurgat’s win also helped his team (Iowa State) to finish fourth overall in the standings. The overall title was won by Bringham Young University. Two other Kenyans finished in the top 10: The University of Alabama duo of Vincent Kiprop and Gilbert Kimutai finished 5th and 9th respectively.

Results

Kurgat finished third in the national championships in 2018, finishing only a second behind the winner. In 2019, he has been dominant on the grass. He won all the major cross country races he entered including the John McNichols Invitational the Nuttycombe Invitational, Big 12 championships, and the Midwest Regional championships. He was thus the firm favourite coming into the race and he lived up to it.

Background

Kurgat who is from Eldoret,  is yet another product of St Patricks Iten, a school that holds legendary status having produced dozens upon dozens of world beaters including David Rudisha, Wilson Kipketer, Peter Rono and others.

When he joined St Patricks, his primary interest was hockey.

“I had some good endurance. If you play the center position, that’s number six, you run back and forth. You help the defense, you help the striker. That’s where I started doing some endurance stuff, but it wasn’t like anything with running.” he said to Flotrack.

He started to run seriously after being encouraged by his sister Caroline Kurgat who was an NCAA division 2 champion.

“She just kept telling me, ‘Please, it’s not anything hard. You just have to run. You don’t have to think about anything else,’” says Kurgat.

Tradition

The legendary Henry Rono won this event in 1976, 1977 and 1979), thus starting a strong Kenyan tradition.
Other Kenyans who have won this race in recent times are Robert Cheserek (2014, 2015 and 2016), Kennedy Kithuka (2012), Lawi Lalang (2011), Sam Chelanga (2009, 2010), Boaz Cheboiywo (2001), David Kimani (1999), Martin Keino (1994), Josphat Kapkory (1993).

Ezra Mutai wins Division 2 title

Kenya’s cross country dominance extended to division 2 where Ezra Mutai  won.

 

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2001 World Athletics championships: Limo and Kamathi shock the world

The 2001 World Athletics Championships were held in Edmonton Alberta between 3 August and 12 August. Kenya’s performance was much better than in the 1999 edition. Whereas Kenya finished 13th with 1 gold medal, in 2001 Kenya finished in 3rd place with 3 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.

The gold medal’s in the men’s 5000m and 10,000m were unexpected since Kenya had in recent years performed poorly in this event. Disappointing however was the performance of the Kenyan women who did not continue with the progress they had made in the previous three editions. Kenya women did not win any medals.

5000m: Surprise Gold Medal for Richard Limo

The Kenyan team for the 5000m consisted of two twenty year olds: Sammy Kipketer and Richard Limo, who teamed up with veteran John Kibowen who had been world cross county champion (short race) in 1998.

The race favourite was Ethiopian Million Wolde who had won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. Algerian Ali Saidi Sief who had won the silver medal at the Olympics was also a favourite. Hailu Mekonnen of Ethiopia was also a strong favourite having set  the fastest time of the year

Kipketer set off on a torrid pace, setting up a 20 metre lead. But he faded and the rest of the field caught up with him with two laps to go. At this point, Algerian Ali Saidi Sief took the lead. He led until 150m were left. That was when Limo shifted gears and passed Sief who finished second. Wolde was third. Kibowen finished 4th. After the race, Sief failed a drug test and was disqualified. Kibowen was thus promoted to bronze.

Limo was only 20 and his career looked promising. But injuries stifled his dreams and he never scaled these heights again. He switched to the marathon in 2004 and had some success, winning the San Diego Marathon.

Race Video

10,000m: Kamathi shocks Gebreselassie

Coming into this race, Haile Gebreselassie was the firm favourite. He had won this event four times: 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999. He had also won at the Olympics in 1996 and 2000. Kenyan Paul Tergat who had been his main challenger was not in the race as by this time he had switched to the marathon.

When the bell for the last lap sounded, it seemed like it would be another coronation for Geb and the Ethiopians looked like they would sweep the podium as they looked the strongest. Geb took the lead with 250m to go, followe dby compatriot Assefa Mezegbu.  But the unknown Kamathi was undaunted. He took on the Ethiopians and went into the lead at the final bend. The Ethiopian trio did not have an answer for Kamathis sudden burst of pace. Kamathi won in 27:53.25, followed by the Ethiopian trio.

Race Video

3000m Steeplechase: Reuben Kosgei confirms favourite status

Coming into this race, Reuben Kosgei was a firm favourite. He had won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. But a strong challenge was expected from the Moroccans with Brahim Boulami and Ali Ezzine.

Kosgei lived up to his reputation, winning comfortably. Barmasai was passed by Ezzine in the last 50 metres and settled for bronze.

Boulami would later set a world record in this event with a time of 7:55.28 which he would lower by another two seconds. Later he failed a dope test after EPO was found in his sample.

Other Medals

Simon Biwott won the silver medal in the men’s marathon. This was Kenya’s best performance since Douglas Wakihuuri won gold in 1987.  Wilfred Bungei and Bernard Lagat settled for silver medals in the 800m and 1500m respectively.

 

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Kenya at the 1999 World Athletics Championships

The 1999 World Athletics championships were held in Seville Spain between the August 20 and August 29. The games were held at the apex of the EPO era when athletes had free reign in using EPO with its attendant performance enhancing effects because there was no test for EPO.

Kenya ended 13th in the standings with only 1 gold medal 4 silver and 1 bronze. As you might guess, Kenya’s only gold medal came in the 3000m Steeplechase.

3000m Steeplechase: 1-2 Finish for Kenya

Kenya fielded a very strong side. Defending champion Wilson Boit Kipketer was joined by Chris Kosgei who had won silver in this event two years. Also present was the African champion and Commonwealth games silver medalist, Bernard Barmasai. The trio were joined by Paul Kosgei.

In typical fashion, Kenya did most of the front running but were challenged by Damian Kallabis of Germany and Ali Ezzine of Morocco. Kosgei and Kipketer pulled away at the last waterjump to finish 1-2. It marked the 5th consecutive time that Kenya had occupied the top two positions in this event.

Race Video

Other Medalists

Kenya won 3 additional silver medals: Noah Ngeny took silver behind Hicham El Guerrouj. In the process, Ngeny set a new national record at 3:28.73. Bejamin Limo took silver behind Salah Hissou of Morocco. Paul Tergat took silver behind Haile Gebreselassie of Morocco. Kenya’s only bronze medal came from Tegla Lorupe in the women’s 10,000m. It was her second bronze medal in this event having also won bronze in 1995.

 

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1997 World Athletics Championships: Sally Barsosio wins First Female gold for Kenya

The 1997 World Athletics championships were held in Athens Greece from August 1 and August 10. Kenya ended up with three gold medals. The most notable of these was the gold medal by Sally Barsosio. She became the first Kenyan woman to be a world champion in any event in any sport. Kenya finished with 3 gold 2 silver and 2 bronze medals.

Women’s 10,000m: Barsosio shocks the world

Going into this race, not much was expected from the 19 year old Sally Barsosio. After winning a bronze medal as a 15 year old at the 1993 World championships, she had faded badly, finishing 10th at the 1996 Olympics and failing to qualify for the 1995 World championships.

Instead, the hot favourite was Fernanda Ribeiro of Portugal. She was the defending World and Olympic champion and had beaten Barsosio everytime they raced in the 5000m or the 10,000m.

But on race day, Barsosio executed a tactical masterclass. Knowing that she could not beat Ribeiro in a sprint finish, Barsosio set off on a torrid pace. She at one point was at least 50 metres ahead of the field. It looked like a suicidal pace and everyone thought that she would eventually fade. But Barsosio held her lead throughout and won in 31:32.92 which was 7 seconds ahead of Ribeiro and a new world junior

5000m: Daniel Komen leaves the field gasping

During the period between 1996 and 1998, Daniel Komen was peerless. He did not just win races. He won by significant margins. This race was no different. Komen ran unchallenged and led by as many as 40 metres at one point before winning at a canter. It was a satisfying win for Komen. He had missed the 1996 Olympics after he developed malaria during the trials.

Komen was 22 years old at this time and it looked like he had a bright career ahead of him. Unfortunately however, Komen, like many Kenyan runners of this era, ran in too many races. This resulted in numerous injuries which ended his career. Komen would win one more major event, the 1998 Commonwealth games. By 1999 at age 24 he was finished.

Race Video

3000m Steeplechase: Clean Sweep for Kenya

Kenya fielded an incredibly strong team for this event. One of the strongest the country has ever fielded: Moses Kiptanui, Bernard Barmasai and Wilson Boit Kipketer. All 3 are among the all time greats in this event. It came as no surprise therefore when the Kenyan trio left all athletes in their wake. By the last lap, only Al Asmari was able to stay with the Kenyans. But with 200m to go, the Kenya trio shifted gears and left Asmari behind. In the end Kipketer had the most petrol left in the tank. He took gold followed by Kiptanui and Barmasai.

Race Video

 

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