Geoffrey Kipsang and Gladys Cherono dominate world half marathon

New sensation, 21 year old Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor won the world half marathon championships in a time of 59:07, which is an amazing time considering that there was no rabbit. The time was the fastest time recorded for a half marathon in 2014. It was a good 13 seconds ahead of the second placed finisher, Tsegay of Eritrea. 59:07 is the 4th fastest time in the history of World Half marathon championships. It is also the second fastest winning time in history.

Pre-race favourite Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea was fourth. The second best Kenyan was Wilson Kiprop who was sixth. Eritrea won the mens team event with Kenya finishing second.

Kenya Girls dominate

Kenya occupied the top five positions in the womens event. 30-year old Cherono, who won silver in the women’s 10,000 at the Moscow World Championships last summer, won gold in 67:28 as she turned the tables on Mercy Wacera (silver in 67:43) who had edged her for the title at the World’s Best 10k last month (32:06 to 32:09). This is the e first time in history of World Half Marathon Championships a nation swept the medals in the women’s race.

Kenya Dominance
For the fifth time in history KEN won both men and women’s race in the World half Marathon. Previously then won both in 2010, 1999, 1998, & 1997.

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Koffi Olomide Praises Mugabe as a patriot

President Mugabe is a real patriot who wants to see Zimbabwe and Africa freed from any form of bondage, iconic Congolese rhumba musician Koffi Olomide has said.Koffi, arguably one of Africa’s biggest artistes, is in the country to perform at the wedding of Miss Bona Mugabe and Mr Simba Chikore in Harare tomorrow.

In an interview yesterday, Koffi said no one could contest President Mugabe’s credentials.

“(President) Mugabe loves Zimbabwe and nobody can contest that. He loves his country and Africa. For me an African, I am proud of him because he loves Africa. “He fights for Zimbabwe (to be) free. Mistakes or no mistakes, it is not my matter. He is a real patriot.” said Olomide to the herald

Koffi Olomide performs at Bona Mugabe’s wedding

Koffi was one of the key performers at Bona Mugabe’s wedding. The latter is the daugher of Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe and was marrying Simba Chikore.

Koffi and Cyndi Le Couerr perform at the wedding

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For those wondering what happened to Ronald Gundo

Former Strathmore University and Maseno Secondary basketball star Ronald Gundo left Kenya two years back to pursue a basketball scholarship Stateside. One sports website even inaccurately reported that he was going to play professional ball. But basketball-wise not much has been heard from Gundo since then.

The video above shows that Gundo is still actively involved in basketball.

The video shows Ronald Gundo working on his jump-shot and around the basket moves. It then shows Gundo participate in a game. Clearly he has not lost any of his athleticism as evidenced by his ability to drive to the basket and his shot blocking. And clearly he has been hitting the gym

Gundo first came to prominence in 2010 when he helped Maseno secondary win the national schools basketball title by shocking highly fancied Laiser Hill Academy 54-52 in the finals. Laiser Hill was a school famous for recruiting the best players from all over East Africa and at one time boasted current NBA player Hasheem Thabeet. Beating Laiser Hill on that day was a huge shock.

Gundo was then recruited by Strathmore University in 2011 where he played along with University of Louisiana Monroe star Tylor Okari Ongwae. He also played with Okari for the Kenya youth teams.

Gundo is part of a proud tradition at Maseno Secondary for producing top notch basketball players. Other Maseno products like Collins Onyando and Brian Oduor also made a significant impact in USA college basketball.

Gundo is now affiliated with Valley Forge Military institute. Fans will be curious to see where Gundo’s basketball career takes him next.

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Rudisha should now focus on winning and less on records

Athletics fans all over the world and not just Kenya are waiting with bated breath for David Rudisha’s return to the track after a long layoff. The world beating Rudisha who is easily the greatest 800m runner and one of the best all time athletes, has not run competitively in a year due to a knee injury. He missed the 2013 world athletics championships. At present time, it is said that his knee has healed but he has not regained his leg strength. He will need several months of physical therapy in order to regain the appropriate muscle mass. It is impossible to predict how good Rudisha will be when he comes back.

At the age of 25, Rudisha is still relatively young and should have several more years at the top. But much will depend on how he manages his running. One distinctive featurs of Rudisha is how hard he ran each race.

No matter how far ahead he was, he never slowed down. He probably felt that he owed it to his fans and to the large crowds that appeared at Diamond league meets a record breaking performance. His greatest performance came at the 2012 Olympics when he became the first person ever to run under 1:41:00 in winning the gold medal.

Rudisha going all out

His penchant for pushing himself hard in every race, while it served to entertain fans is likely a contributing factor to his serious injuries.

Dominating the top lists

In addition to holding the world record, Rudisha also owns the three fastest times in the history of the 800m. He owns 6 of the 10 fastest times ever run in the 800m. He has run under 1:42:00 an incredible 7 times. By comparison, Sebastian Coe, who held the world record for 16 years, has only run under 1:42:00 once.

It therefore goes without saying that Rudisha has nothing left to prove when it comes to setting records. When he comes back, Rudisha should now focus on winning and forget the records. He should do the bare minimum it takes to win a race. It is perfectly okay to win a race in 1:45:00. The legendary 800m runner Billy Konchellah did exactly that. He often slowed down when he had the race sewn up.

For the sake of extending his running career, Rudisha should now pace himself and not go all out when he has already won the race. Kenya fans will be eager to see him run at teh 2015 World athletics championships and the 2016 Olympics especially since all of a sudden there is a dearth of decent 800m runners in Kenya. Yet this is an event Kenya is used to dominating.

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Its time Kenya got serious about hosting tournaments

Virtually every month or so, a high ranking Kenyan official declares plans by Kenya to host a major international tournament. One of the first things sports Minister Hassan Wario did when he assumed office was declare that Kenya would bid to host the 2019 world athletics championships. Wario seemed to think that the fact that Kenya was an athletics powerhouse was reason enough for IAAF to award Kenya hosting rights.

Sam Nyamweya’s announcement that Kenya would bid to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was rightly laughed off by most football pundits. Kenya had initially been awarded hosting rights for the 1996 Africa cup of Nations. This was contingent upon constructing a new stadium in Mombasa. But the rights were taken away because the Moi government refused to disburse the funds needed to build a new stadium in Mombasa. They had initially promised to do so.

No stadium has since been built so what made Nyamweya think that CAF would award Kenya hosting rights especially after the 1996 debacle ?

The real reason that the Moi-government refused to build the stadium in Mombasa was because the KFF Chairman at the time was Joab Omino who was an opposition member of parliament. Moi was afraid that if Kenya succesfully hosted the tournament, the opposition would get all the credit. So he declined to build the stadium. Because of his recalcitrance, Kenya was banned from both the 1996 and 1998 Africa cup of Nations. Thus a talented generation of Kenya players like Musa Otieno, Allan Odhiambo, Vincent Kwarula, Paul Were, Tom Odhiambo, Kennedy Simiyu, John Odhiambo, Francis Onyiso, Tom Ogweno, John Luchuku and all the other Fabisch boys who excited Kenyans in 1996 missed out on an opportunity to showcase their skills to European scouts.

CAF did not take Kenya’s bid for the 2019 tournament seriously. But they ended up giving Kenya hosting rights for the 2019 CHAN tournament. This is a lesser tournament that features only players based in African leagues. Nevertheless considering the chaos that ensued when Kenya hosted the 2013 CECAFA cup, there is a danger that Kenya will once again be embarasse but this time it will be on a continental scale.

A look at Zambia’s new stadia

Zambia has recently completed the construction of two new ultra modern stadium. They are the 60,000 seat Heroes National stadium and the 45,000 seat Levy Mwanawasa. stadium. Construction of the two stadia was completed in 2013 and 2011 respectively. It comes as no surprise therefore that Zambia’s bid for the 2019 Africa Nations cup will be taken seriously while Kenya’s bid is dismissed as a joke worthy of the Vitimbi sitcom.

Heroes National stadium in Lusaka


Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola

Jubilee Promises

One of the promises of the Jubilee coalition during the elections was that they would build 5 new stadia. This is typical of the empty promises that politicians usually give. But one can only hope that there will be at least one new stadium built in Kenya in the next few years. Note that almost all the stadia used in Kenya including the rugby grounds were built by the colonial governments. In 51 years of Independence, Kenyan governments have only seen it fit to build two stadia : Kasarani and Nyayo.

A new stadium built in a stadium like Mombasa would make Kenya’s bid to host a leg of the IRB sevens series more realistic because the IRB prefers to hold tournaments at sea level. This puts Nairobi with its 1600m altitude at a huge disadvantage.

Such a stadium would also make a bid to host the Africa cup of nations more realistic. The attendant financial benefits that come with hosting such tournaments is huge. They also are a significant boost to tourism.

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Tylor Ongwae had a sensational season

This season, Kenyan forward Tylor Okari Ongwae’s made his debut in NCAA division 1 basketball playing for the University of Louisiana Monroe, popularly known as the Warhawks. Ongwae who starred for Kamusinga secondary in 2009 before playing for the national was the starting forward for the University of Louisiana Monroe. He had a superb season in which he led the Warhawks in scoring with 16.2 points per game. He was second in rebounding with 5.8 rebounds per game.

Prior to the season, it had been projected that senior forward Amos Olotayo would lead the team in scoring. But Olotayo went down with an injury early in the season. At the time he had been leading the team with 13.2 points per game. Olotayo’s exit meant that the team would now be highly dependent on Ongwae who had been second leading scorer. Ongwae duly obliged, competently taking over primary scoring responsibilities.

During the season, he had eight 20-plus scoring games on his resume and three double-doubles. He scored 27 points and 11 rebounds in ULM’s season-opening 103-98 victory over arch rivals, University of Louisiana Lafayette,  on Jan. 4. Ongwae recorded 27 points and 10 rebounds against first-place Georgia State on Jan. 25. In the second meeting against the Ragin’ Cajuns, he scored 16 points and 11 rebounds.

In addition to leading ULM in scoring, he led  the Warhawks in free throw percentage (.770) and steals (30) and is second in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and minutes (32.2 mpg). He has played at least 40 minutes in three contests.

His superb performances saw him named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District Second-Team. He was also named to the Sun Belt Conference Third-Team and the College Sports Madness SBC Fourth-Team.

Sunbelt Conference Tournament

After the season comes the Conference tournament, which is similar to the playoffs in the NBA. The intensity of the game usually goes up by several notches. With the increased intensity, Ongwae upped his game. His rebounds per game went up to 6.5 and his scoring went up to 17.7 per game.

Greatest Performance by a Kenyan

Ongwae’s performance is easily the greatest by a Kenyan. There have been other Kenyans who have starred in college basketball in the USA but none have made such an impact in division 1 basketball. In fact most Kenyans who play college basketball in the US tend to play in division 2.

There have been players of Kenyan descent who starred in division 1 basketball such as Robert Nyakundi who led Southern Methodist University in scoring in 2012 and Omondi Amoke who starred for the University of California Bears. But both of them are essentially Americans. They were born and grew up in the USA unlike Ongwae who learned his craft in Kenya and sharpened it at Ranger college in Shreveport Louisiana before joining ULM.

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Angela by Ndombe Opetum

This song marked Ndombe Opetum’s glorious return to TPOK Jazz. He had joined the band in 1975, then left in 1984 on a sojourn in which he formed a band known as Tiers Monde Cooperation along with Sam Mangwana and Empopo Loway. When the band folded, he went solo before rejoining Tabu Ley’s Orchestre Afrisa in 1987. After his stint with Afrisa, he rejoined Franco’s TPOK Jazz much to the delight of TPOK Jazz fans.

He marked his return with this song Angela and a second track (Tawaba). The songs were released around the time of Franco’s passing in 1989.

The song Angela is about a long lost love. The theme of the song is Ndombe Opetum pleading with Angela to come back or at least get in touch with him. The song starts with Ndombe asking : Anje mokolo nini okozonga which means Angela when will you come back. He also says Bolingo na yo esilaka te epai nazali. Which means my love for you is not ending. Ndombe also describes how he prays all day for Angela’s return while thinking about her all day and wondering of Angela has forgotten him.

In part two of the song, the oft repeated chorsu tells about the pain of love then pleads with Angela to send him a message even if it is just via a cassette tape. Since you left , I have not been feeling well.

Anjela eh bolingo mpasi mingi eh
Tindela ngai maloba ata na Cassette
Uta okende na koma malheureux ooh

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Caleb Ndiku wins world indoor title

Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku beat a strong field to win the 3000m at the 2014 World Indoor Athletics Championships held in Sopot Poland. The field included Kenyan turned American Bernard Lagat who took silver, Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet, the world 5,000m silver medallist and the fastest man in the discipline this season, Kenya’s Augustine Choge and American Galen Rupp.

The veteran Bernard Lagat was aiming for a place in the record books with a fourth victory in the world indoor 3,000m. A fourth gold medal in the event would have put Lagat one victory ahead of Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie in the all-time annals of the World Indoor Championships.

But Ndiku had other ideas and he unleashed a fierce final lap to win in clocked 7min 54.94sec for gold, holding off Lagat who took silver in 7:55.22, with a second Ethiopian, Dejen Gebremeskel, claiming bronze (7:55.39)..

Hellen Obiri takes Silver

Defending champion Hellen Onsando Obiri of Kenya claimed silver in 8:57.72. The race was won by Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, who has broken three world indoor records this season. She dominated the race, clocking 8min 55.04sec to add the 3000m crown to the indoor 1500m title she won two years ago in Istanbul. Ethiopian-born Bahraini Maryam Yusuf Jamal took bronze.

Medal Standings
Kenya finished 10th in the medal standings with 1 gold and 1 silver.

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Picture of some of Tabu Ley’s 104 children

It is well known that legendary Congolese musician Tabu Ley was a prolific singer and composer who released well over 250 albums. But Tabu Ley was equally prolific at fathering children. The total number of children he fathered has been reported variously as 50, 89 and 104. The actual number of children he fathered is not known and even Tabu Ley himself drew a blank when asked. A few weeks after his passing, some of his children posed for a group picture below.

Tabu Ley is said to have taken a keen interest in his children, assuring that they recived his support and got a good education. Two of his daughters, Mireille and Collette, studied at the Utalii College in the ’80s. Collette also performed in concert as a dancer. Mireille was the subject of a song that Tabu Ley sung in the 1960s called Mireille Mwana. In the song Tabu Ley expresses his joy at the birth of his daughter. The chorus goes “Mireille mwana Oh, Ngai tata na yo nakosepela yo, which means Mireille my daughter, me your father am very happy about you.

A few of his children did follow in his musical footsteps. The most famous of whom is Melodie whom Tabu Ley fathered with Mbilia Bel. Melodie sung on some tracks in Tabu Ley’s last album “Tempelo” from 2006.

The other children who have pursued a musical career are Pegguy Tabu, Abel Tabu, Philemon and Youssoupha Mabiki.

Youssoupha, born in 1979 is a rapper based in Paris. He has a Senegalese mother.

During his last days, when he was being treated at St Lucas hospital his daughter Inna was constantly by his side. In fact, he lived with daughter Inna and her mother Melanie in Creteil on the outskirts of Paris previously.

One of his sons, Marc Tabu is a television journalist in Paris. It was he who broke the news of Tabu Ley’s death on his facebook page.

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Jerim Onyango’s career defining moment

In the pantheon of great goalkeepers that Kenya has produced, there is usually one match or one tournament for which said goalkeeper will be remembered for a memorable performance.

Mahmoud Abbas miracles against Uganda

The legendary Mahmoud Abbas produced his career defining performance at the 1982 CECAFA senior challenge cup. In the semi-finals against Zimbabwe, the Zimbabweans were awarded what looked like a dubious penalty. After some protestation from Harambee stars players, Joel Shambo of Zimbabwe stepped up to take the spot kick. Abbas picked up the ball, walked straight to Shambo and stared at him in the face then walked back to the goal Shambo was so intimidated that he shot the kick directly at Abbas. In the finals, Kenya played a strong Uganda team that had reached the final of the Africa cup of nations 4 years earlier. The hosts pelted Kenya with everything in their arsenal, forcing 15 corners to Kenya’s 1. But Abbas was solid between posts. In the ensuing penalty shootout, Abbas saved two penalties as Kenya shocked the hosts to win the cup. So epic was his performance that the stand at the Nakivubo stadium where Abbas made those saves was actually named Abbas Stand.

Tirus Omondi,  David Ochieng and Washington Muhanji

Three years later it was the turn of Gor Mahia goalkeeper Tirus Omondi. His moment came at the 1985 CECAFA cup senior challenge cup. He had just been called to the national team. But the rookie Omondi, popularly known as “Tairero” saved three penalties and once again the victim of the heroics was Uganda as Kenya beat the Cranes 3-1 on penalties to advance to the final.

In 1987, at the 4th All Africa games, it was David Ochieng’s time to shine. In an epic semi-final against Malawi, Kamoga pulled off miracles by saving three penalties as Kenya advanced to the finals by beating Malawi 3-2 on penalties.

At the 1990 Africa cup of nations, one of the best players was goalkeeper Washington Muhanji. He performed incredible save after save in all three games. Most memorable was in the match against Senegal where he was caught out of position several feet away from his goal-line as the ball floated towards the goal. It seemed like a certain goal. But Muhanji back-pedalled at a high speed towards the goal and punched the ball over the goal line. So impressive was Muhanji that he was offered a professional contract by a Belgian side but his standing contract with thge army prevented him from leaving for the professional ranks.

Arnold Origi dashes Uganda’s hopes

More recently it was Norway based goalkeeper who once again foiled the aspirations of the Ugandans. During the 2012 Africa cup of Nations, Kenya faced Uganda on the last day of qualification. Uganda needed to beat Kenya to assure qualification for a tournament that they had not qualified for since 1978 (34 years !)

And Uganda were confident as they had forced a draw away to Kenya and had beaten Kenya at home several times in reent memory. In fact as Kenya arrived , one Ugandan customs agent told Origi “Oh so you Kenyans have come to be beaten again ?”. It was this act of insolence that motivated Origi. During the game, the Ugandans once again pelted the Kenya goal with shot after shot but each time Origi frustrated , foiled and stopped the Ugandans. The game ended 0-0 thus dashing Uganda’s hopes yet again.

Jerim Onyango’s heroics against US Bitam

And finally in 2014 it was Jerim Onyango’s chance to shine. Gor Mahia were playing US Bitam of Gabon. But they may as well have been playing against the referee as well. Jerry Yekeh, the Liberian referee red carded a Gor Mahia defender (David Owino) as well as team manager Frank Ouna. He also awarded the Gabonese side two penalties during the run of play. But Jerim Onyango pulled off heroics by saving the spot kick. The game ended 0-1 in favor of the Gabonese thus levelling the aggregate score as Gor Mahia had won the 1st leg 1-0. In the ensuing penalty, shootout, Onyango once again emerged as a hero saving two penalties as Gor Mahia won 4-2 on spot kicks.

“All my time in football, I have never seen four penalties saved in a single game by the same goalkeeper,” Gor midfielder Innocent Mutiso, who converted the winning penalty said later.

The interesting thing is that spot kicks were previously considered Onyango’s weakness. In fact during the previous years when Gor Mahia were faced with imminent spot kicks, it was backup goalkeeper Ivo Mapunda who was inserted into the line-up as penalty saving was his forte.

Jerim often made way for Mapunda before penalty shootouts

Twice Mapunda had steered Gor Mahia to win the FKF cup in 2011 and 2012. Jerim on the other hand had no such ability. His performance against US Bitam therefore came as a surprise to many. It is as if he had been saving his heroics for this particular game. This could very well be Jerim Onyango’s career defining moment.

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