Marion Jones went to prison, so should Kenyan athletes

On March 8, 2008, a tearful Marion Jones was carted off to prison to start a 6 month sentence for lying to investigators about her use of performance enhancing drugs. She had been arguably the most popular athlete. When she was busted for doping, it had a devastating effect on the sport. Many fans in the USA lost faith in the sport as it has now become synonymous with cheating.

In sentencing Jones, the judge noted the effect that Marion Jones doping had on society. noted that “athletes in society … serve as role models to children around the world. When there is a widespread level of cheating, it sends all the wrong messages.”

This applies in Kenya as well except that the effect of doping is more magnified. When an athlete the calibre of Rita Jeptoo is busted for doping, it has a chilling effect on the fortunes of other Kenyan athletes. Suddenly doubts creep up as to whether other Kenyans are clean. The mystique that Kenyan runners have will soon start to fade. Whereas Kenyan runners are a required staple in every road race, soon race organizers will feel less obligated to invite Kenyans. Thus what has been a lucrative opportunity for Kenyan runners will disappear.

This is bad in a country where the youth unemployment rate is close to 50%, the government’s fake statistics notwithstanding.  And keep in mind that these athletes are often feeding extended families and paying school fees for multiple relatives with their earnings. It is therefore apparent that athletes who are using performance enhancing drugs are putting the livelihood of their fellow runners in jeopardy. And they are ruining one of the few things that gives Kenyans a sense of national pride.  This is especially true for prominent athletes.

It is therefore imperative that the Kenyan authorities get to the bottom of the doping mess that is plaguing the Kenyan athletics scene. Investigate who provided the drugs, which agents encourages them to cheat and which other parties are involved. Obtaining drugs like EPO without a prescription is likely illegal even with Kenya’s lax laws. Athletes who do not cooperate with the investigations should be sentenced.

Note that this article is not suggesting that all athletes who dope should be thrown in prison. The point of this article is that the athletes should be asked to reveal their sources and other information that can help fight the menace. Those who do not cooperate should be sentenced just like Marion Jones.

It has taken decades to build Kenya’s reputation as a factory for legitimate distance runners. A few bad apples should not be allowed to ruin it
 

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Bina na Ngai na respect by Dalienst and OK Jazz (translated)

This song is the most famous song composed by Zitani Dalienst Ya Ntesa, known mostly by his sobriquet Dalienst. He joined TPOK Jazz in 1978 and immediately became one of the band’s key performers with his superb vocals. But it was this song from 1981 that propelled him to trans-continental fame. The song is indeed one of the biggest TPOK Jazz hits ever. It is a song about a woman who urges a suitor to dance with her respectfully for she is a married woman. In an earlier song, Dalienst admonished men against blaming women for all their problems. That song was “Lisolo ta Adamo na Nzambe”. This song cemented Dalienst as the defender of women’s rights. It features sublime vocals by Daliesnt accompanied by backup vocals from Josky, Wuta Mayi and Lukoki. Solo Guitar by Gerry, bass by Decca Mpudi.

 


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Let Kalusha Bwalya be the CECAFA chairman

The CECAFA senior challenge cup is Africa’s oldest tournament in any sport. But its not just old by African standards. It started in 1926 as the Gossage cup. This makes it older than the world cup and the European cup of nations.

However the senior challenge cup finds itself in a desperate situation. The 2014 edition was canceled after Ethiopia pulled out as hosts. They cited their preparations for the 2015 AFCON as the reason. But that is a lame reason considering they were already out of contention. The real reason is likely that they could not afford to host the tournament. The costs are astronomical at US $600,000 or Ksh 52 million.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. CECAFA senior challenge cup badly needs a solution before it fades into oblivion. Several ideas have been mooted for example playing it in a league format. This could be a viable solution for reducing costs. However it will interfere with local leagues and will transfer hosting costs to each individual country that plays.

One of the problems plaguing the tournament is the lack of a sponsor. Current Chairman Nicholas Musonye, try as he might has been unable to secure any sponsorship.

What the tournament needs is a fresh, new exciting face to market the tournament. A famous, accomplished person with a solid reputation who can  appeal to sponsors. One who can create goodwill with FIFA and possibly attract funding from the world body.A person with solid organization skills.

That person is none other than Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya. It was gratifying to note that Bwalya attended the 2014 CECAFA general assembly. Also in attendance were the federation chairmen from all the other CECAFA countries.

Kalusha Bwalya is a footballing legend. One of the most famous footballers the continent has produced. In his heyday, he was among Africa’s greatest players. He succeeded in Europe at a time when few Africans thrived in Europe. His most famous moment came when he scored a hat-trick to lead Zambia to a famous 4-1 win over Italy at the 1988 Olympics. (See the video below)

After retirement, Kalusha has distinguished himself as a competent admistrator. He became chairman of the Football association of Zambia (FAZ). Under him, Zambia won the Africa nations cup for the first time ever.

It goes without saying that Bwalya has the cachet, the personality and the competence to be an effective CECAFA leader. He is the kind of person that sponsors, prominent businessmen and even presidents want to associate with. I mention presidents because many CECAFA tournaments are sponsored by presidents and famous personalties such as Paul Kagame of Rwanda who sponsors the club cup.

Why would he want the position?

I am assuming that Bwalya is an ambitious fellow. He has been FAZ chairman for years now. The next logical step in his progression is to be CECAFA chairman. And CECAFA would only be a stepping stone towards becoming CAF chairman. Remember that current CAF chairman Issa Hayatou is likely on his way out. He is in his 70s and has health issues.  As CECAFA chairman, Bwalya would be in prime position to challenge for the top CAF position. And who knows. From there he could challenge for a position at FIFA. At age 51, Bwalya is relatively young compared to the likes of Blatter and Hayatou who are in their 70s. If Bwalya does a god job rescuitating CECAFA, he will have proven his mettle and he could parlay that into more senior positions as CAF chairman and perhaps a post at FIFA.

Could Zambia rejoin CECAFA?

The golden era of the CECAFA senior challenge cup was the early to mid 1980s. During this period, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi were permanent CECAFA members unlike today when they only occasionally participate. During this period, top challenge cup players were legends throughout East and Central Africa. In Kenya players like Bob Ogolla, Ambrose Ayoyi and Joe Masiga became household names throughout the region. Zambian players like Efford Chabala, Godfrey Chitalu and indeed Kalusha Bwalya were reknown througout the region. In 1984 in Uganda, Zambia won the tournament for the first time ever. On the way, they beat defending champions Kenya 2-0 in the semis. It was a tough semi-final that was scoreless after 90 minutes. Bwalya played a key role as Zambia scored two extra time goals by Philemon Mulala.

In his playing days, Kalusha Bwalaya played in Belgium, Holland and Mexico

Bwalya’s presence could be the impetus to bring Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe back into the fold. It could also bring back the fan interest that used to exist during that golden age.

What about Musonye?

Lets not forget that Musonye took over CECAFA in 2000 at a time when the tournament appeared dead and buried due to poor organization. But Musonye brought in solid organization and put the tournament back on its feet. However just as it was time for a change in 2000, it may be time for a change in 2015. That does not mean Musonye should leave. The tournament still needs his expertise. CECAFA needs emergency measures and the inclusion of Bwalya as the new face of CECAFA could be the tonic needed.

Kalusha Bwalya destroys Italy

During the 1988 Olympics, Zambia made history buy destroying Italy 4-0. And this was not just any Italian team. Players like Tacconi, Colombo, Carnevale etc were members of top tier teams including AC Milan who won the champions cup and Napoli who won the UEFA cup. Bwalya netted 3 goals. the best ever performance by an African team against top tier European opposition.


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Shabana FC learning from past mistakes


Shabana FC is a natural crowd pullers

It is no secret that Shabana FC received a significant amount of help from the authorities in their bid to qualify for the Kenya Premier League. Their challengers had points deducted under very dubious circumstances. When it was all said and done, Shabana had mysteriously climbed 12 points at the expense of 1st placed West Kenya Sugar and second placed Kisumu Agro-Chemicals.

It is not the first time a team has been promoted by hook and crook. AFC Leopards also benefited in 2008 as did Top Fry Nakuru All stars in 2012.

Shabana is good for the premier league

All in all it is unfair in principle. But the truth of the matter is that the league desperately needs community teams like Shabana which can pull crowds. Most Kenya Premier League matches are played to sparse crowds mostly because half the teams are corporate teams like Tusker and KCB which cannot pull any crowds. And even self supporting clubs like Sofapaka and Mathare have existed for years now and have never been able to build a fan base in large part due to poor marketing.

The entry of community clubs will also give the Kenya premier league more leverage when negotiating with TV companies and sponsors. TV deals and sponsorship deals are based on the number of fans watching a league. And the presence of Shabana adds thousands more fans not just on the terraces but also on television.

When Nakuru All stars were promoted to the top tier in 2014, they depended on the very same players who guided them to the top flight. This is a good thing for the sake of cohesion. But to survive in the top flight, you need established and experienced players.

Shabana FC will survive

Unlike Nakuru All Stars Shabana appear to be taking the right steps to strengthen their squad. A team that was not good enough to finish ahead of West Kenya Sugar and Kisumu Agrochemical cannot possibly hope to survive the top flight. Shabana understand this and have already started recruiting experienced players. Among the players who have already joined the Kisumu based side are Augustine Etemesi, Joel Bataro, Andrew Ongwae (Nairobi City Stars) and Vincent Nyaberi .

Shabana FC are natural crowd pullers

Shabana has started to appeal to their fan base with promotions and marketing. On December 12, Jamhuri day, they are slated to play Gor Mahia at Kisumu stadium, a match that has been billed as the Nyanza derby.

Kisii governor James Ongwae has also jumped on the bandwagon and promised to ensure that Gusii stadium will be ready for the premier league.

“We shall finalize construction of three stands including a VIP pavilion to accommodate fans. I intend to meet executive committee of Shabana to discuss way forward because the revival of this club will have a positive impact on local economy besides helping nurture talent.”

Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, an ardent sports fan, has also vowed to donate two sets of Uniforms to Shabana.

This is good news for everyone because Gusii stadium was once banned for being the most unsafe stadium in the Kenyan national league.

Merchandizing

Shabana have also started various initiatives to raise funds for the team. Key among these is the resplendent new Shabana jerseys modeled by the lovely ladies pictured below.

All in all Shabana appears to be in better hands than the troubled team that was relegated almost a decade ago and did not play in any league for two years.


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Patrick Makau back to form wins Fukuoka


In 2011, Patrick Makau made history by setting the world marathon record. It had previously been held by Ethiopian legend Haile Gebreselassie. But on that day, Makau soundly beat Geb and in the process set a new world record at 2:03:38.

But since then Makau has not been able to scale those heights as he has been injury plagued and has hardly featured in the top city marathons.

On Sunday December 7, he shrugged off his setbacks and won the famous Fukuoka Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, in 2:08:22.

He had targeted a time around 2:06. But Makau told local reporters that he was still happy with his performance and his return to winning ways after struggling to find his best form since his win at the 2012 Frankfurt Marathon.

In excellent conditions, with temperatures hovering around eight degrees Celsius and little wind, Mongolia’s Ser-Od Bat-Ochir broke the race wide open at around 30 kilometres. He finished third with a national record of 2:08:50, 10 seconds faster than his previous best.

Makau became the fourth successive Kenyan to win at Fukuoka and has now won 5 out of 11 marathons he has attempted.

Ethiopia’s Raji Assefa powered ahead in the final kilometres to finish second in 2:08:48, the second fastest time of his career after his personal best of 2:06:24.

Leading results:
1. Patrick Makau KEN 2:08:22
2. Raji Assefa ETH 2:08:48
3. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir MGL 2:08:50
4. Masakazu Fujiwara JPN 2:09:06
5. Tomoya Adachi JPN 2:09:59
6. Henryk Szost POL 2:10:02
7. Chiharu Takada JPN 2:10:03
8. Yared Asmerom ERI 2:10:09
9. Tsuyoshi Ugachi JPN 2:10:50
10. Mekubo Mogusu KEN 2:11:29


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Nyandja by Koffi Olomide (Lyrics)

The song Nyandja is track number 12 from Koffi Olomide’s 1998 album Droit de veto. It was composed by Nseka Kudidelela who is pictured below next to the Lyrics


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Urgence by Koffi Olomide (Lyrics)

The song Urgence is track number 2 from Koffi Olomide’s 1998 album Droit de Veto. It was composed by Binda Bass who is pictured below next to the lyrics


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Rafiki Koffi Olomide (Lyrics)

The song “Rafiki” is track number 10 from Koffi Olomide’s 1998 album Droit de Veto. It was composed by Beniko Zangilu Makiadi who is pictured below next to the lyrics


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Prototype by Koffi Olomide & Quartier Latin (Lyrics)

The song Prototype is track number 4 from Koffi Olomide’s 1998 album, Droit de veto. It was composed by Mboshi Mbola who is pictured below besides the lyrics.


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Zaniha by Koffi Olomide & Quartier Latin (Lyrics)

This song with a Spanish rythm is track #5 from Koffi Olomide’s 1998 album Droit de veto. It is composed by Ondoma Motema who is pictured below next to the lyrics

 


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