Faith Kipyegon, Obiri and Bett shine in Shanghai

For a second straight week, Kenyan runners showed their dominance in the middle and long distance events of the 2017 Diamond League. Helen Obiri, Faith Kipyegon and Kipyegon Bett were the winners. Hyvin Kiyeng finished second in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. The Kenyan duo of Nicholas Bett and Harun Koech once again showed their lack of consistency, finishing in th 7th and 8th position respectively.

19 year old Kipyegon Bett  beats a strong field

Kipyegon Bett who is listed at age 19, won the men’s 800m , showing the rest of the field a clean pair of heels, to win in convicing fashion.  Kenyans occupied the top five positions. Robert Biwott finished second. Biwott has been trying his hand in the 1500m but the 800m is clearly his best position. David Rudisha finished a distant fourth.

OS BIB ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Points
1 Kipyegon Bett  KEN 1:44.70 8
2 Robert Kiptoo Biwott  KEN 1:45.15 7
3 Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich  KEN 1:45.17 6
4 David Lekuta Rudisha  KEN 1:45.36 5
5 Alfred Kipketer  KEN 1:45.40 4
6 Adam Kszczot  POL 1:45.45 3
7 Marcin Lewandowski  POL 1:45.87 2
8 Brandon McBride  CAN 1:46.40 1
9 Thijmen Kupers  NED 1:46.84
10 Casimir Loxsom  USA 1:49.44
11 Dashan Zhang  CHN 1:51.95
Bram Som  NED DNF

Faith Kipyegon dominant

Olympic Gold Medalist, Faith Kipyegon, picked up where she left off in 2016. She won the women’s 800m also in dominant fashion.
POS BIB ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Points
1 Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon  KEN 3:59.22 8
2 Dawit Seyaum  ETH 4:00.52 7
3 Besu Sado  ETH 4:03.10 6
4 Rababe Arafi  MAR 4:04.94 5
5 Malika Akkaoui  MAR 4:05.83 4
6 Angelika Cichocka  POL 4:06.23 3
7 Claudia Bobocea  ROU 4:06.33 2
8 Katie Mackey  USA 4:07.15 1
9 Maureen Koster  NED 4:07.38
10 Alemaz Samuel  ETH 4:07.41
11 Linden Hall  AUS 4:07.59
12 Jenny Blundell  AUS 4:07.72
13 Margherita Magnani  ITA 4:09.65
14 Cory McGee  USA 4:09.94
15 Xiaoqian Zhong  CHN 4:20.23
Jennifer Meadows  GBR DNF

Personal Best for Obiri

Olympic silver medalist Helen Obiri, won the women’s 5000m in dominant fashion and in the process set a new personal best

POS BIB ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK Points
1 Hellen Onsando Obiri  KEN 14:22.47 8
2 Senbere Teferi  ETH 14:31.76 7
3 Letesenbet Gidey  ETH 14:36.84 6
4 Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi  KEN 14:45.95 5
5 Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui  KEN 14:51.87 4
6 Sofia Assefa  ETH 14:56.37 3
7 Sentayehu Lewetegn  ETH 15:08.57 2
8 Mercyline Chelangat  UGA 15:09.45 1
9 Etenesh Diro  ETH 15:09.49
10 Tsige Abreha  ETH 15:18.32
11 Haftamnesh Tesfay  ETH 15:20.71
12 Gesa Felicitas Krause  GER 15:24.53
13 Jip Vastenburg  NED 15:47.97
Calli Thackery  GBR DNF
Tamara Tverdostup  UKR DNF
Sifan Hassan  NED DNS

 


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Congratulations on a friendly and peaceful Mashemeji derby

The first leg of the 2017 derby pitting Kenya’s top two sides, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia passed without incident. Not only was the match incident free but also the fans of both sides maintained a friendly atmosphere before and after the match, at the stadium and on the streets.

At halftime, fans of both sides jogged and danced around the stadium together. Those of us who watched this event in the 1990s would tell you that such scenes were impossible back then.

The is precisely the kind of publicity the Kenya Premier League needs. Sports Minister Hassan Wario is always quick to admonish fans of these teams because it is politically convenient. He should now take this opportunity to congratulate both sets of fans. And the people in charge of the league and the clubs should seize upon this opportunity to attract more fans to the stadium.

 


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Employ the KPL CEO on a performance contract

When Supersport stopped televising the Kenya Premier League, they cited breach of contract as their primary reason. They claimed that they were promised a 16 team league yet KPL is now an 18 team league. They also claim that KPL was the only body warranted by FIFA to run football. None of these hold water.

According to the East African Standard, the primary reason Supersport has quit is that they had banked on the KPL to attract other entities who could advertise on the channel to enable it to recoup the huge investment. But this was not forthcoming.

The ability to attract sponsors is a core responsibility of a league like the KPL. The very survival of the league depends on it. And sponsors will come on board if the league is popular. The KPL has existed for about a decade now and one is hard pressed to think of any initiatives that the league has taken to popularize itself. In fact the attendance has been decreasing since its peak in 2011 and 2012.

The rise of the English Premier League

Using England as an example, prior to the advent of the English Premier league, the top league in England was known as the English first division and was run by the English Football Association (FA). The clubs took control of the league in the early 1990s and renamed it the English Premier League (EPL). They then appointed competent business people to run and market the league. These were people with corporate experience in marketing and sales. Through excellent marketing and business decisions, it has now established it self as one of the wealthiest entities in not just soccer but all sports across the globe.

Back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s the English league was a non-factor in Kenya. Few in Kenya used to watch it. And those who did watch European football, preferred Football made in Germany and the Italian league. Most fans however watched the Kenyan league, then known as KNFL. Perhaps this is why crowd attendance for Kenyan league matches was so much higher back then. But once the EPL unleashed their marketing machine, fans started slowly trickling away from local leagues to the EPL. And by 2000, the drift had become a deluge that drowned the Kenyan league which at the time was poorly run.


During the 1980s, attendance of local matches was immense

 

What makes a good League CEO?

In Kenya, KPL apparently has only one full time employee (the CEO). Therefore the task of attracting sponsors and bringing new fans falls on the CEO. It is not clear what the current CEO’s qualifications are. Ideally the KPL CEO would be a well spoken person with a genial personality who is willing to go around the country promoting the league, giving numerous interviews on radio and TV to promote the league. Have a presence on social media to interact with fans.

Ideally the CEO would be a person with corporate connections who can meet with corporate CEOs and negotiate sponsorships for the various KPL organized tournaments like the Top 8 or the youth tournament. It would need to be a persuasive person who can speak to corporate types intelligently and sell them on why they should do business with the KPL.

Gaining Government Support

One of the reasons the Supersport left Kenya is because the static Government failed to put measures in place to safeguard the heavy investment by SuperSport despite the firm’s concerted efforts to keenly engage them in their operations (inviting the Head of State to open its studios as an example).

A key component of the KPL CEO’s job is to meet and persuade government officials that a healthy KPL is good for the country. KPL provides employment to hundreds of players, some of whom would resort to crime if they did not have football. But KPL also provides employment to journalists, camera-persons, football analysts, sound engineers, lighting experts and riggers besides support staff such as drivers, crew managers and make-up artistes. Therefore a country with a high unemployment rate like Kenya needs a healthy KPL.

The KPL CEO would need to make this argument to the top government officials including the president and his cabinet. The current sports minister often appears hell bent on ranting about hooliganism involving Gor Mahia fans because it is politically convenient. Rather than bash the club which has little control over its fans, the minister ought to work with KPL to put in measures that can address hooliganism. A competent KPL CEO should be able to convince the government that helping secure a stadium and its environs is better than simply bashing a club for political reasons.

But the KPL CEO also needs to work with governors and MPs to convince them to upgrade their stadia which host KPL matches. Better stadia with better facilities especially seats and clean well maintained lavatories will attract fans. One of the biggest impediments to attracting fans is the poor condition of most of our stadia. Thika stadium is a classic example of a poorly maintained stadium which if renovated could attract significantly more fans for both football and rugby and end up paying for itself.

Diplomatic Skills

The current KPL CEO has a history of antagonism. In past years he was especially had a lot of animosity for certain clubs and club officials. Of late KPL has been unable to reach timely agreements with the Federation in charge of Football, thus resulting in long drawn out turf battles and wrangles that discourage sponsors.

Performance Metrics for a CEO

His pay should be based on metrics and targets such as:

1. Attendance: Higher attendance from the previous year should result in a larger pay.
2. Sponsorships: More sponsors or more lucrative sponsorship deals should result in more pay.
3. TV ratings.
4. Size of TV contract
5. Stadium Safety and security.

If a CEO is unable to improve on these metrics from year to year then for the sake of all league stakeholders and employees, it might be time to seek a new CEO.

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Nyanza governors lagging behind in football development

Ever since the advent of devolution in Kenya, a number of governors and MPs across the country have taken it upon themselves to provide promising young footballers in their constituencies with opportunities to develop their talents while also giving local businesses opportunities to sell their wares to visiting fans when these stadia host big matches.

Among the counties that have constructed or are upgrading their stadia include Narok, Bomett, Eldoret, Nakuru, Meru and Kakamega. While in Nairobi, the legendary Jericho sports ground, now known as Camp Toyoyo has received a massive facelift.

One would think that leaders from the former Nyanza province where the sport is very popular and where much of Kenya’s talent for team sports comes from would be at the forefront of these projects. But they are completely missing from action.

Siaya Stadium

The Siaya stadium is likely one of those stadia that were built before independence and has never been renovated or upgraded. Even with CDF and devolution funds available, nothing has been done with regards to the stadium, When Gor Mahia toured Siaya in 2015, The Governor (Cornel Rasanga) said lack of standardized stadiums in the region has contributed to few sporting activities at the local level.

“Many youths at the local level are talented in various sporting activities but they don’t have any platform to display their prowess,” said Rasanga.

He said he has already appointed a designer to design the stadium saying there is need for such a facility in the region. Rasanga said the stadium will accommodate both field and indoor games and will cost Sh100 million. Nothing has been heard from him since this statement was made.


Siaya stadium: Not fit for grazing cattle much less playing football

 

The last time Siaya hosted a big match was likely in the 1980s when they hosted Re Union matches in the big 5 tournament that featured Kenya’s top 5 teams. If Siaya were to construct a stadium, it is likely that Gor Mahia would host some matches there as would Muhoroni Youth, Chemelil Sugar, SoNy Sugar and perhaps even Western Stima.

Siaya county despite producing a significant number of football legends in Kenya has been so neglected football wise that there has never been a team from Siaya in the top tier league perhaps since independence.


Siaya Rangers play their home matches here

 

Migori Stadium

The Auditor General has unearthed a mega scandal in Migori county stadium where Sh29million was paid for upgrading this stadium. The project was never finished. Contractors received full payment yet almost two years after the expiry of the contract period, hardly any work has been done. Payments amounting to Sh18,953,603 were made to various firms without supporting documents.


Migori stadium

 

Today, Migori stadium is abandoned. It is now well known for activities similar to those that made Muliro gardens in Kakamega famous two years ago.

Kisumu

For more than a decade prior to 2009, Kisumu stadium was left derelict and dilapidated. That was until FIFA the world football governing body agreed to upgrade the facility including the provision of artificial turf and renovating the terraces. FIFA did their part and the Kisumu county government was given the task of finishing the construction.

But the county government dilly dallied and Kisumu lost its chance to host matches of the 2013 CECAFA cup. It took protests by Kisumu locals to get the county government to finally move and complete construction in 2014.


Locals protested in 2014: The red text asks governor Ranguma : “How many times must you be told?”

 

When FIFA announced the renovation of the stadium would start in 2012, Kenyans were promised that it would be a world class stadium capable of hosting tournaments like the Africa Nations cup. However after completion, the stadium is below par.

According to a report in the East African Standard, the outer perimeter wall is very ugly and the inner perimeter fence is vulnerable to destruction. The facility did not consider power lighting. One cannot believe a renovation of such a magnitude did not even cater for the provision of solar-powered floodlights.

The changing rooms were not touched and the players still use the tiny 10-foot by 10-foot cubicles. There are no support facilities like gymnasiums or additional warmup pitches. If anything, some sporting federations prefer using the neighbouring Kisumu Polytechnic instead of the stadium.

The only parking area, opposite Kisumu Day School, was cordoned off by a chain-link, which is falling off because the place is used by rogue boda boda riders as a training ground. One corner of the parking lot has been converted into a car wash pit.

Sitting adjacent to Kisumu stadium is the largest garbage dump in western Kenya. Residents of Nyalenda slums dump their garbage there. This massive garbage dump is the primary reason the stadium has been disqualified from hosting matches of the 2018 CHAN.

Yet again county government inaction has denied Kisumu residents the opportunity to watch international football and denied local businesses a chance to cash in by selling goods and services to traveling teams and supporters.

Obunga

‘Obunga sports complex in Kisumu is a big playing ground found in Obunga area of Kisumu city. It was once part of  the Kenya breweries LTD’s complex. This stadium could be used to host KPL matches, Super League matches and even rugby matches.


Obunga stadium is sometimes used for grazing
Courtesy of kisumunewsinfo.blogspot.com

 

Homa Bay

In 2016, the governor, Cyprian Awiti stated that plans are in place for Homa Bay County to construct a sports academy and modern state-of-the-art stadium with the sitting capacity of over 15,000 people with the intention of improving sports in the area.

Awiti  and County Executive for Sports and Culture David Omoro said the county has committed adequate funds for the two mega projects and are in talks with the national government and the world football governing body FIFA to get more help. The facility will be the first of its kind in the densely-populated county which has a sizable football fan base.

“We are engaging various sports stakeholders to come on board and support this initiative. The land has been identified and the county is in the process of advertising the tender,” said Awiti during the county sports talents show at the weekend.

Awiti said the initiative is centered towards reinvigorating a sporting culture among the locals and will be extended to include other disciplines that are not as popular such as boat riding, baseball, rugby, netball, among others.

That was in 2016 and no progress has been made on these promises.

Woodley Stadium Nairobi

Woodley stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in Kenya. It was built in the 1940s by the Scottish Community in the area, before it was sold to the Nairobi City Council after independence.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Woodley stadium, then popularly known as “Calix” , hosted a number of top tier league matches. Starting in the 1990s, the stadium was completely neglected and fell into disuse. It has only come back to use in the past few years. However it has seen no upgrades in decades.

In 2012, the then Nairobi Town Clerk Phillip Kisia, said the stadium, which was known as the home of Kiko Cup, will be upgraded, renovated in order to host Kenya Premier League matches. He said it would also be fitted with floodlights for it to host night matches as well.
“I had promised to give the stadium an uplift last October (2011) during the finals of Ramadhan Cup and the work starts today. We have contracted Isack Abdullahi as the contractor who will do the job that would cost Sh14 million and we expect him to finish the work after three weeks,” said Kisia.
Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa even urged the area youths to make good use of the facility and maintain it after its completion.

No such upgrade happened. Whether any upgrades will happen largely depend on the area MP Ken Okoth and on Nairobi governor Kidero. Upgrading Woodley and enabling it to host KPL matches would create plenty of business and employment opportunities for local youth including street vending, transportation, security etc.

The immensely popular Kibera Black stars play at Woodley stadium

 


In cases of a downpour, the stadium at Woodley becomes atrocious

 

The Leaders and Counties who are doing it right

Below is a gallery of various stadia and sporting facilities constructed by county governments and other local governments

Narok Stadium

Narok stadium was completed in 2016. It will inspire young footballers in the area to strive to greater heights. Though cultural reasons have traditionally prevented Maasai youth from pursuing football, this new stadium could be tonic needed to create a culture of football among the Maasai. It will also help if the Kenya Premier League hosts some matches there.


Narok stadium: Courtesy of Narok County governor Samuel Tunai


Another view of Narok stadium

 

Bomett stadium


Bomett stadium courtesy of governor Isaac Rutto

Joho Stadium

Mombasa is a hotbed of football. Aside from Nyanza and Western, this is the area where the sport is most popular and they have suffered for too long with poor infrastructure. The Joho stadium is what is needed to inspire youth in the area. It sets a trend by discarding the running track thus bringing the crowd closer to that game.


Joho stadium courtesy of governor Ali Hassan Joho

 

Kinoru Stadium Meru

One Governor who sees the economic benefits of building sports facilities is governor Peter Munya of Meru county

“When big teams come to Kinoru, people spent the night in our hotels. When Gor Mahia came to play Tusker FC all the hotels were full. I am told the presidential suite at Alba Hotel was also booked for three days,” said the governor.


Kinoru stadium in Meru, when under construction

 

Aside from the aforementioned hotels, small scale businesses like taxis, matatus, hawkers, shopkeepers, restaurants etc. stand to benefit significantly if stadia are constructed and bring in big games.

When Tusker played AFC at Kinoru, the stadium was full. With these kind of revenues, a stadium like Kinoru can soon pay for itself.

Bukhungu stadium

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya Ambetsa who is a former official for AFC Leopards, fully understands the passion for sports that exists in his county which is why he pushed hard for the renovation of the legendary Bukhungu stadium. And with two KPL teams from Kakamega hosting matches, the stadium renovations will soon pay for itself.

Kakamega is also home to two legendary schools: Kakamega High and Musingu that have a massive reputation and draw huge crowds when they play football or rugby.


Bukhungu stadium currently under construction

 

Eldoret

Kipchoge Keino stadium which had fallen into disrepair and disuse, received a new running track and terraces. In 2016 it hosted the Olympic trials and is set to host the CHAN in 2018. And GFE 105 , a second tier side from Eldoret appear to be in contention to earn promotion to the KPL in 2018.

In February of 2017, additional Ksh 304 Million has already been paid for the second phase of renovation, which includes building the terraces, two pavilions, entry and exits gates, changing rooms and an indoor games hall, will take eight months before completion.

Machakos

It was governor Mutua aka Maendeleo chap chap who set the trend by completing the renovation of Kenyatta stadium in Machakos at an impressive and rapid pace. Within a year, the stadium hosted the 2013 CECAFA cup and has hosted numerous KPL matches and rugby matches since then.

Harambee stars in Machakos during the 2013 CECAFA cup

Camp Toyoyo

Jericho sports ground now known as Camp Toyoyo is a hallowed ground. A disproportionate number of Kenya’s football legends played here during their formative days.


This picture was taken at Camp Toyoyo and features numerous legends of Kenya football. For many years, the grounds did not have single blade of grass
In this pic are some legends:  3rd from left is Oti ‘father’ rip, 5th from left is allan odhiambo, Adach osewe,  In white vest is Steven Ojiem,  felix otieno , Noah nunde, ghost mulee
Bottom row far left is Benard otieno ‘zico’ richard asabe, Mark ojajo, Ben gachie, Douglas Mutua, Tom Odhiambo
Image courtesy of Tom Odhiambo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2016, became the first neighbourhood sports ground in Kenya to be equipped with Astro turf. The grounds were refurbished at a cost of Ksh 50 million which came from the Makadara constituency CDF fund thanks to the area MP Mutura Kangara.

Mr. Kangara understands that in a crime ridden area, finding ways to keep youth engaged in positive activities like football helps reduce crime. But the grounds also generate revenue because they are often rented for use by top teams who pay thousands of Ksh per day for training.


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Kenya results at the 2017 Singapore sevens


Speedster Nelson Oyoo escaping the clutches of England’s Dan Norton

Group Stage

Kenya 22 Argentina 7
Tries: Wanyama(2), Ombachi, Oyoo
Conversion: Agero

Kenya 17 Samoa 7
Tries: Amonde, Odhiambo, Oyoo
Conversion: Agero

Kenya 7 Australia 29
Tries: Oyoo
Conversion: Agero

Cup Quarter-Final

Kenya 12 England 13
Tries: Wanyama, Oliech
Conversion: Oliech

Plate Semi-Final

Kenya 21 New Zealand 24
Tries: Ombachi, Tanga, Mayar Dulo
Conversion: Agero(2), Ligamy

Squad

Humphrey Kayange
Brian Tanga
Dennis Mayar Dulo
Billy Odhiambo
Bush Mwale
Eden Agero
Andrew Amonde
Nelson Oyoo
Dennis Ombachi
Oscar Ouma
Augustin Lugonzo

 

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Kenya Results at the 2017 Hong Kong Sevens


Kenya en-route to beating France 29-12


Group Stage

Kenya 14 Canada 17
Tries: Oyoo, Ombachi
Conversions:

Kenya 10 South Africa 35
Tries: Oyoo, Ombachi
Conversions: Oliech(2)

Kenya 29 France 12
Tries: E Agero ,LB Odhiambo D Ombachi FL Wanyama (2)
Conversions: E Agero, S Oliech

Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final
Kenya 24 Japan 17
Tries: L Ligamy, BS Mwale, FL Wanyama, S Oliech
Conversions:S Oliech(2)

Challenge Trophy Semi-Final
Kenya 24 Russia 5
Tries: LB Odhiambo, D Ombachi, FL Wanyama B Tanga
Conversions:S Oliech(2)

Challenge Trophy Final
Kenya 19 Scotland 21
Tries: A Amonde, D Ombachi, FL Wanyama
Conversions:L Ligamy, S Oliech

Squad

Brian Tanga
Derek Mayar Dulo
Billy Odhiambo
Bush Mwale
Eden Agero
Andrew Amonde
Nelson Oyoo
Dennis Ombachi
Oscar Ouma
Augustin Lugonzo

 

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Joyciline Jepkosgei breaks four world records

Virtually unknown Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei broke four world records at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon which is IAAF Gold Label Road Race. She set a new world record for the half marathon with a time of 1:04:52 on Saturday.

Jepkosgei ran at a blistering pace and ended breaking the world records for 10km, 15km and 20km on her way to the victory. She covered the first five kilometres in 14:53, then passed through 10km in 30:05. Defending champion Violah Chepchumba was the only one to keep up with Jepkosgei at this point and also broke the previous world 10km record by clocking 30:06. The previous record was set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003 at 30:21. It was well and truly smashed.

Both Jepkosgei and Chepchumba went on to smash the previous 15km record held by Florence Kiplagat at 46:14. The duo clocked 45:37 and 45:40 respectively.

In the process Jepkosgei broke the world record by clocking 1:04:52. She sliced an incredible 14 seconds off the previous record that had been set by compatriot Peres Jepchirchir in February of this year.

The nine fastest half marathon times in history  have now been run by Kenyan women.

 


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Mathare United is no longer a pipeline of talent

There was a time not too long ago when the Mathare Youth Sports association was the backbone on which Kenya football was built. During the period of the late 1990s to the early 2000s, a disproportionate number of national team players.
Many of these MYSA products went on to have succesful careers in Europe. Among the first was Evans Nyabaro. After passing through the MYSA age group set ups, Nyabaro went on to have a 11 year career in Europe. First he played for IK Start in Norway before playing for Sleipner in Sweden.

In this picture 3 players are Mathare United products: Arnold Origi, Jamal Mohamed and Dennis Oliech

In fact the last time Kenya qualified for the Africa nations cup (2004), the squad was built largely of players from Mathare United and MYSA or players who had passed through the MYSA system. The Mathare players in that squad included the likes of Titus Mulama, Walter Odede, Adam Shaban, Duncan Ochieng. Overseas based players like Dennis Oliech, Andrew Oyombe and Willis Ochieng were among the players who at some point had been trained at MYSA. Simon Mulama, twin brother to Titus had also been a stalwart of Harambee stars, making his national team debut while still in his teens and going on to play for top Egyptian side Ismaily. Both Mulama brothers were at MYSA by age 10 and thus started honing their skills in a structured environment very early.

During the period of the 1990s and early millenium, MYSA was the only semblance of a youth system in Kenya. Which explains why they provided the bulk of national team players.

The Mulama brothers pictured here were in the MYSA system in the 1990s and later became succesful professionals

And Mathare went on to build on this: They came very close to winning the Kenya Premier league in 2007. They would eventually win it in 2008 before finishing second again in 2009. Francis Ouma, another MYSA product was the league’s top scorer in 2008.

During this period, Mathare Youth FC, the Under 20 team for MYSA was also in the Kenya Premier League. It marked the first and only  time that a senior team and its youth team were in Kenya’s top tier at the same time.

And after the 2004 Africa nations cup, Mathare continued to produce top tier players like Arnold Origi who is the most accomplished goalkeeper Kenya has ever produced. Origi has been playing in the Norwegian top tier for almost a decade. Edgar Ochieng another MYSA product starred for the national team for many years, helped Sofapaka win their only league title in 2009 and went on to play in Oman. George Midenyo, another MYSA product, went on to play in Scandinavia as well. Another MYSA product who thrived in Europe for many years was Jamal Mohamed whose career took him to Sweden, Romania, Kuwait and Oman.

Women’s football.

MYSA was the first organization to give girls a chance to play structured football. That was long before girls football was offered at secondary schools or primary schools as it is today. One MYSA product, Doreen Nabwire Omondi, became the first Kenyan woman to play in a top tier European league when she joined Werder Bremen in 2009 and later FC Cologne in 2013. It is a significant accomplishment considering that European sides typically do not sign players who come from countries with no football pedigree. And she accomplished this during a period when women’s football was basically moribund in the country. There was no league or national team. To this day she remains the only Kenyan woman to have played in Europe.

Doreen Nabwire in action for Werder Bremen

 

Nabwire scored on her debut and went on to have a succesful career in Germany.

“Dodo is a really ambitious player,” said Werder Bremen coach Birte Bruggemann, who is understandably full of praise for her new charge. “She knows that this year in Germany will bring her on. She can use both feet, she has great skills and is very mobile,” said Bruggemann after Nabwire’s first match for the green and whites.

Nabwire was pivotal in the creation of the first MYSA girls team (U12) during the 1990s. She coached the team. MYSA. The MYSA girls continued to go from strength to strength and by the early 2000s, they had multiple succesful age group teams for girls. One such team toured the USA in 2009 and earned rave reviews for their play on the field and their achievements off the field. CNN even performed a video feature of the team during their USA tour. See the video below

 

 

On the strength of their youth system, MYSA ladies won the first ever Kenya women’s league in 2010. They finished a whopping 14 points ahead of second placed Kisii United.

Today (2017)

That Pipeline of talent has gone dry. Mathare hardly produces any national team players anymore. Few if any MYSA products are making their way to Europe.

The Kenya women’s football recently captured the imagination of fans across the country when they eliminated Algeria to qualify for the womens AFCON for the first time ever. There were no Mathare United players in that squad. Instead the bulk of players came from Coast based Spedag and other sides like Nyamira united.

In fact the MYSA ladies team that won the league by a whopping 14 points in 2010 has all but disappeared. When the list of league teams was announced in 2016, there was no MYSA ladies.

Mathare Youth FC had played in the KPL until 2008 when they were relegated, was disbanded in 2012 and has not played in any league since then.

It appears Mathare United has stopped investing in youth development like they did in the 1990s and early 2000s.
This is surprising considering that Mathare now has a massive sponsorship from Britam to the tune of Ksh 25 million, something they did not have in the 1990s. They have seemingly also stopped investing in girls football. What used to be a pipeline gushing with talent has slowed to a trickle. And in the case of women’s football, the pipeline has gone completely dry.

 


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In Pictures: Kenya dominates 2017 world cross country


IAAF Chairman Sebastian Coe at the press conference at the Kampala Sheraton. With him are Asbel Kiprop, Faith Kipyegon, Sasha Gollish (Canada) and Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda)


Kenya’s Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon flashes her beautiful smile as she is introduced to the media at the Kampala Sheraton



Kenyan running legend Tegla Lorupe enjoys a light moment with the crowd at the Sheraton


The Kenya mixed relay team on the podium




Kamworor roared to victory, successfully defending his title. He had trailed the Ugandan Cheptegei for most of the race before the Ugandan flamed out.




Irene Cheptai won the senior women’s race, as Kenyan women occupied the top 6 positions



Asbel Kiprop ran a storming first leg to give Kenya a comfortable lead. He then handed off the Winfred Mbithe Nzisa (second left) who consolidated Kenyas lead. She then handed off to Bernard Korir Koros who then handed off toe Beatrice Chepkoech for the anchor leg. Chepkoech staved off a determined comeback from Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba. In the end Kenya won by an 8 second margin

 


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Kenyan female cross country runners emulate the legends of the 1980s

The 2017 world cross country championships were held in Kampala Uganda on March 26. Kenya fielded a strong squad of six women for the senior women’s race. And incredibly, the six women occupied all the top 6 positions. The dominance harkened back to 1988 when in the men’s senior race, Kenya occupied 9 of the top 10 positions.

 


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