Agnes Tirop is youngest world cross country winner since Zola Budd

19 year old Agnes Tirop was in superb form, leading from start to finish to win the senior women’s race at the 2015 world cross country championships.

“I am very happy to have won Kenya’s 300th medal,” Tirop said after her landmark victory. “I was trying to push the pace from the start. I had no fear, I was just trying to run my own race.”

Her closest challenger was Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi, who is a few months older. The two led the pack leaving the rest further behind. Tirop made her move with 200m to go leaving Teferi in her wake.

Tirop has previously been the 2013 junior women’s silver medallist and two-time world junior 5000m bronze medallist

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Kamworor destroys strong field in world cross country

Geoffrey Kamworor is going to be a name to watch out for in the near future. On Saturday he destroyed a world class field to win the 2015 world cross country championships with a masterful display of astute tactics.

Knowing that Ethiopian men Hagos Gebrhiwet and Muktar Edris are 5000 guys with big kicks so he purposely tried to break them with a relentless attack. In the end Kamworor and his compatriot Bedan Karoki were well ahead of the pack. Then with 200m to go Kamworor surged ahead and Karoki had no answer. Kamworor won the 12K course in 34:52.

Team Competition

It was a close contest between Ethiopia and Kenya. They tied at 20 points apiece with Ethiopia winning on the tiebreaker thanks to a better finish by their fourth man (7th vs. 12th).

Despite losing the team competition, Kenyans will be elated with the 1-2 finish.

The rise of Kamworor

Kamworor’s rise to the top has been steady. He won the world junior cross country championships in 2013. In 2014 he won the world half marathon championships.
At age 18, he ran 13:12 for the 5K and 27:06 for the 10K. He then turned his attention to the roads. His half marathon debut was 59:31, before improving to 59:26 in 2012, and 58:51 in 2013 before winning the World Half Marathon Championship in 2014. During that time, he ran five marathons, but none faster than the 2:06:12 he ran in his debut.

Kamwororo strength is clearly in the 10K to the half marathon. Unfortunately, there are not enough 10K track races nowadays.
Kamwroror now has his eyes set on the world athletics championships 10,000m where he will be the man to challenge Mo Farah’s hegemony.

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Bush Wamukota, 1st Kenyan ever in NCAA sweet 16

Bush Wamukota, a 7 foot center from Bungoma county, became the first Kenyan ever to play in the NCAA tournament sweet 16. The NCAA tournament is the equivalent of the NBA playoffs. It is a single game elimination (knockout) tournament. It features the best 64 teams in the top American college basketball leagues. The Sweet 16 is the 3rd round.
Wamukota who features at centre for Wichita State University often features as a role player to add size to the Wichita state interior. His primary strength is his shot blocking ability.

Early days in Bungoma
Tom Bush Wamukota was born on September 28, 1993 in Bungoma. His parents are Dan Wanyama and Nancy Sikobe. Kenyans will remember that Sikobe featured for the Kenya National volleyball team before proceeding to the US on a volleyball scholarship. Sikobe had been one of the stars of the Kenya volleyball team that played in the 2000 Olympics.

Wamukota came to basketball late. In his formative days, he practised his shots using a broken bicyle wheel as the goal. He later joined for Maseno secondary school under coach Paul Otula. Maseno is a basketball powerhouse and has sent more baskteball players to the USA on basketball scholarships than any other school.

At Maseno secondary

At Maseno, Wamukota never took basketball seriously until he was in form 4. As a third former, he was 6 feet 3 inches tall. He had a growth spurt at age 17 and by the time he was in form 4, he was 6’10”. It was only then that he started to practise with the Maseno school team.
Wamukota described the lack of sports facilities in Kenya compared to the USA.

“There’s not a lot of support for basketball or for sports like there is over here,” Wamukota said. “I used to play in flip-flops or even barefoot sometimes, because I was growing so much it was hard to keep pairs of basketball shoes that fit. Also, as much as I was growing, it felt like I struggled with my coordination. It never seemed like I could ever get any better.” he said to the Wichita Eagle.

Bush arrives at Wiley College

When his mother Nancy Sikobe left Kenya in 2003 to pursue a volleyball scholarship , she left her entire family behind and would not re-unite with Bush until 2012 when he came to NAIA schooll Wiley College, an NAIA school in Marshall, Texas, where mother , Nancy Sikobe, was the volleyball coach.
“That’s the day I got my son back,” Sikobe said, choking back tears. “That’s the day I got my boy. You always dream, that when you make sacrifices, that the end result will be something better.” she said to the Wichita Eagle newspaper.

Bush credits his mother for making his college basketball career possible.
“She is the only reason that I made it over here,” Wamukota said. “Without her, there’s nothing.” he averred.

When Wamukota arrived at Wiley college, he expected a lot more. For one thing he thought he would be appearing on TV and even asked a team-mate. ‘So when do we get to play on TV?’. The team-mate Tabrie Gibson then explained to him that NAIA schools, which are a step below NCAA schools do not appear on TV.
It was then that Wamukota started to work towards playing for an NCAA division 1 school. He worked hard on and off the court, going to the gym at 5 am and working on various aspects of his game. At Wiley college, he averaged 2.7 points and 2.6 rebounds. He was then able to transfer to Kilgore Junior college.

Bush Wamukota at Kilgore college

At Kilgore, Wamukota averaged 6 points and 6.8 rebounds in his one season. While at Kilgore, he met Wichita State assistant coach Greg Heiar during a recruiting visit. A visit from Wichita State head coach Greg Marashall convinced him to transfer to Wichita State to play his last two years of college basketball.

“The way they treated me, the way they made me understand they had an investment in me as a person and as a basketball player was a big deal,” Wamukota said. “The program and the success they’ve had also meant a lot.” said Wamukota.

Wichita State has been one of the most succesful basketball teams in the last three seasons. In 2013, they reached the final four (semi-finals) of the NCAA tournament. In 2014 they reached the 3rd round and now in 2015 they have reached the sweet 16 (4th round). The school has sent over a dozen players to the NBA including such players as Xavier McDaniel who played for the New York Knicks.

Bush Wamukota arrives at Wichita State

Once he arrived at Wichita State, Wamukota knew he had a steep mountain to climb as far as learning the game.
“I knew, coming in, this wasn’t a situation where I was going to play 30 minutes a game, I was going to have to learn and develop,” Wamukota said. “I’ve only been playing basketball for four or five years, so I’m still learning every day. Here, nobody can say they don’t have a chance to get better every day at practice. There’s a lot of support with my teammates, too.” he said to the Wichita Eagle

Wamukota is mostly deployed for his defensive prowess, typically appearing for about 10 minutes a game.

Bush Wamukota in the 2015 NCAA tournament

During the sweet 16 match against Notre Dame, Wamukota played four minutes and had two rebounds and no points. Notre Dame won 81-70
In the 2rd round upset win over arch rivals Kansas, Wamukota played 14 minutes, scored 3 points and had 2 rebounds. Wichita State beat Kansas 78-65.
In the 1st round against Indiana University, Wamukota played 2 minutes with no points or rebounds. Wichita State won 81-76
During the 2014-2015 regular season, Wamukota played 32 games, averaging 6 minute per game, shooting 53.6% from the field, averaging 1.5 rebounds per game and 1.1 points per game
Wamukota is pleased with the progress he has made since his humble beginnings.

“I told myself before the season that this is a year to develop, to learn and any way I can help the team, that’s what I want to do,” Wamukota said. “Coach Marshall calls my name, I want to be ready to give (Darius Carter) or Shaq (Morris) a break, be ready to play defense.”

Wamukota knows he has to work a lot harder to improve various aspects of his game prior to his last season in college basketball. He plans to hiy the gym harder to add 10 kilograms of muscle.

“I feel like my body is balanced I can do a lot of things,” Wamukota said. “I need to keep improving on defense. I need to work on finishing around the rim. I think if you talked to (Marshall) he would say my touch is pretty good, but there’s certainly a lot of things I need to work on.”

His father Dan Wanyama is the current MP for webuye constituency.

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Rudisha wins in Melbourne

getty images

Kenyan Olympic champion David Rudisha always starts his season in Australia. On Saturday March 21, he continued his clean record in Australia when he won the 800m. It was his second succesive win in 7 days. But this time he did not win as easily as he had done in the previous week.

He had to fend two determined Australians, Alex Rowe and Jeff Risely. Row chased Rudisha closely for 600m before the co-Australian record-holder gave way. Then Jeff Riseley too over the chase and started to close down Rudisha around the final bend. However Rudisha found another gear to win comfortably enough in 1:44.94. Risely was second in 1:45.29.

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Nyamweya outflanks opponents yet again

On Monday, high court judge Roselyn Aburili lifted the ban on the Kenya Premier League, eliciting a sigh of relief from clubs, fans and players who have been eager to get their league going. The league had been barred by ill-informed judge Msagha Mbogholi following an injunction by Sam Nyamweya and FKF.

But no sooner had KPL stakeholders finished celebrating than Nyamweya announced a mega-deal with Tanzanian TV company Azam. The deal will see Azam pay broadcasting rights to FKF to the tune of US $ 2.2 million (Ksh 207 million) over three years.

Nyamweya was so happy that he declared it the best day of his life.

“I am very proud because this is a revolutionary moment for Kenyan football. We have found the winning formula that we have been missing for a long time because of the myriad challenges we have had since we were elected into office,”

The deal outflanks KPL from the perspective that Nyamweya will now be able to come through on his promise to give each club Ksh 1 million a month. This is important for him because it will ensure that all these clubs vote for him at the October elections.

And because Azam likely does not demand accountability, you can bet that a significant amount of this money will end up in the bank accounts of Nyamweya and his cohorts.   He can then pocket some and use some to bribe delegates at the October elections. So do not be shocked if Nyamweya wins the October elections in a landslide.

Nyamweya has promised to use the money to develop football.
“This is a chance for our football to grow and for our players to benefit from the sponsors, who are coming in droves, ” added Nyamweya while warning clubs against mismanaging the Sh1million monthly grant that they will be receiving for the duration of the deal.”

However fans should not hold their breath because he has never done anything to develop football. Even the Harambee stars is funded out of Nyamweya’s personal bank account.

One interesting aspect of the Azam deal that makes it more palatable than the Supersport deal is that it was announced in the open. The amount and terms were announced to the public. This is unlike Supersport and KPL whose deals are always cloaked in secrecy. And therein lies the one positive aspect of Azam’s entry into the scene. They will make Supersport more accountable, force them to deliver a better product and offer better deals to local sports associations.

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Omwela’s first term was below par we expect better

Richard Omwela recently made a grand comeback to the helm of Kenya rugby. He did this by beating the acting chairman Gabriel Ouko by 25 votes to 18.

Omwela had been KRFU chairman from 2003 to 2011 when he lost to Mwangi Muthee.But Muthee abruptly resigned earlier this year leaving the gate open for Omwela to return

On his return, Omwela vowed to return rugby to its former glory.
“This is a new dawn for the union. I pledge to bring the federation back to its former glory,” said Omwela, a lawyer by profession.

Positives from the Mwangi Muthee era

The Mwangi Muthee era had its sour points. But the man brought a general excitement to the Kenya rugby scene. It was during his era that Kenya played in the Vodacom cup and almost qualified for the Rugby XV world cup. He brought in coach Mike Friday who took Kenya rugby sevens to unprecedented heights before he was derailed by board members.

Muthee took steps to strengthen upcountry clubs when he correctly recognized that most of Kenya’s rugby talent now comes from upcountry towns. Indeed under Muthee, there was a proliferation of upcountry teams, and some like Western Bulls became very competitive. And it is Muthee who prevailed upon the late Fidel Odinga to become a patron of Kisumu RFC.

Even more importantly, under Mwangi Muthee, Kenya rugby towered over next door neighbours Uganda, even to the point of soundly beating the Cranes in Kampala with a second string side. And most importantly, the Muthee era brought in record sponsorship to Kenya rugby, most notably the sponsorship for the Kenya sevens team by Kenya Airways which was to the tune of Ksh 400 million.

During the first Omwela era, Uganda womens rugby routinely beat their Kenyan counterparts. Its fair to say that under Muthee, Kenya womens rugby surpassed their Ugandan counterparts winning almost every edition of the Elgon cup

The most positive aspect of Mwangi Muthee was that unlike his predecessor, he was at the forefront of promoting the sport. He was ubiquitous, always on television or on the newspapers promoting the sport to potential fans and sponsors alike. A stark contrast to Omwela who was never seen.

Muthee also came through on his promises. When elected he promised to bring in more sponsorship. He did that. He promised to promote rugby in upcountry towns. He did that. He also promised to raise the level Kenya XV rugby and take them to the world cup. He did indeed raise the level of Kenya XV rugby and came within a whisker of qualifying for the world cup.

General Malaise during the first Omwela era

If you followed Kenya Rugby during the Omwela era you will remember that rugby was not exactly in excellent shape. In fact there was a general malaise about rugby and a prevailing sense that Kenya rugby was stuck in first gear. The fact that Uganda routinely beat Kenya during Omwela’s first era is proof positive of this. The performance of the Kenya sevens team was almost always below par.

Kenya rugby was simply not moving forward. Consider the fact that rugby was as good as dead in Uganda before 1995. But as soon as they started playing again, they already caught up with Kenya.

So when Omwela says he wants to restore the game to its former glory, we are not sure what he means.

We need tangible promises and goals from Omwela

We haven’s seen Omwela make any tangible promises other than a vague promise to “restructure the board” and “restore glory”. He is already setting low expectations.

Kenya Rugby fans will be hoping that Omwela does not take Kenya rugby back to the doldrums.The first thing Kenya rugby fans will want to see is what his grand vision for Kenya rugby is. We need to see him make promises like how he will promote rugby at youth level, how he will promote rugby in upcountry towns, and he needs to outline the steps he will take to enable Kenya to qualify for the 2019 rugby XV world cup.

The unfortunate aspect about KRFU elections is that rugby fans cannot vote. Only clubs can vote. This means a person can get elected by catering only to the needs of club leaders and not doing anything to promote rugby. This may be why the only promise Omwela made was that he would “restructure the board” to cater to the whims of clubs. However the general public and the media and the fans can still hold Omwela accountable for taking concrete steps to take Kenya rugby to higher levels.

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Parking ya Baba by Koffi Olomide (Lyrics and Translation)

Koffi Olomide was born in a poor background. When he wa sborn, he was in such poor health that no one thought he would survive. In his infancy, his relatives called him “Antoine Makila mabe” (Antoine bad blood) due to his poor health.

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Rudisha opens season with solid win in Australia

Rudisha easily wins in Sydney Photo: Getty Images

Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha had been in imperious and unbeatable form for a number of years. That was until he was derailed by injury and missed most of the 2013 season. Even when he came back in 2014, he was not the imperious Rudisha that fans had become accustomed to.

He has now opened his 2015 season determined to climb back to the top of the 800m pile. He opened the season with 1:45.01 win at the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday night, winning comfortably over Alex Rowe.

His time however is slower than he normally runs at this time of the year. Rudisha explained this by saying his preparations were not at an advanced stage. Pacemaker Sammy Tangui covered the first 400m in 51.5 seconds which is two seconds slower than customary.

Fans will be hoping that Rudisha can reclaim his form from 2012. He will have yet another battle on his hands in 2015 against Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Ethiopia’s Mohamed Aman.

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How Gidamis Shahanga was robbed of a gold medal

Gidamis Shahanga, the legendary Tanzanian runner was robbed of a gold medal at the 1983 world athletics championships.

Tanzania’s golden era

Today in 2015, the world of distance running is thoroughly dominated by two East African Nations, Kenya and Ethiopia. Virtually every Marathon and Half Marathon in the world today is won by an athlete from one of these two countries.

This was not the case in the early 1980s. During this period, Tanzanian runners outshone their Kenyan and Ethiopian counterparts in the marathon as well as the 10,000m. Most notable among these were Juma Ikangaa, Juma Mnyampanda, and Gidamis Shahanga. The latter is the subject of this blog post.

During this period, Shahanga was a standout performer. He won the gold medals in the 1978 Commonwealth games marathon and went on to win the 10,000m at the 1982 Commonwealth games. Tanzania actually finished above Kenya in the medal standings during the club games of 1982.

Thus going into the world athletics championships of 1983, Shahanga was considered one of the favourites.

The Race

The runners were bunched together for the first 20 laps with the two Ethiopians Bekele and Kedir leading the pack. With 5 laps to go, Martin Vainio took over the lead and started to press the pace as his home crowd cheered wildly. With Vainio pressing the pace, the field was split but Shahanga stayed with the leading pack of 14 runners.

From Left: Bekele Debele (Eth), Gidamis Shahanga (Tan), Christop Herle (WG), Hansjorg Kunze (EG), Nick Rose (GB), Alberto Cova (Ita), Carlos Lopes (Por), Werner Schildhauer (EG), Martti Vainnio (Fin), Mohamed Kedir (Eth), Steve Jones (GB). Images courtesy of


With 440m to go, the two East Germans Schildhauer and Kunze burst ahead and started to stretch the field further. Shahanga stayed with the leading pack which by now had reduced to only 5 runners: Cova, Vainio, Shahanga and the two East Germans .

Schildhauer led and continued to push the pace as Shahanga who was only a few paces behind struggled mightily to catch up with Vainio, Schildhauer and Kunze. With 50 metres left, Shahanga was still in striking distance. That was when the Italian Cova made his move. He effortlessly strode past the leading group and nipped Schildhauer at the finish line for a memorable finish.

Shahanga (far left) was left biting dust

The final positions (top 8) were as follows:

1. Alberto Cova (28’01.04)
2. Schildhauer (28’01.18)
3. Kunze (28’01.26)
4. Vainio (28’01.37)
5. Shahanga (28’01.93)
6. Lopes (28’06.78)
7. Rose (28’07.53)
8. Herle (28’09.05)

Doping by the Europeans doomed Shahanga

All the runners who finished ahead of Shahanga were proven to be dopers:

Alberto Cova later admitted to blood doping. Blood doping is the practice of boosting the number of red blood cells in the bloodstream in order to enhance athletic performance. It was not illegal at the time.

The two East Germans Schildhauer  and Kunze were part of the Government sponsored East German doping program.

Vainio came from Finland, a country that is well known to have invented and perfected the art of blood doping. In addition, Vainio failed adrug test at the 1984 Olympics when he tested positive for a banned substance known as metonolone.

In essence, all the runners who beat Shahanga into 5th place were doping. Shahanga was likely the only clean runner among the top 5.

Doping was rampant among European athletes during this era due to lax testing. Which is why Europeans for the most part dominated distance running during that era. Finland in particular had numerous Olympic gold medalists like Pekka Vassala and Lasse Viren. It was Viren who became well known as the first athlete to use blood doping to ultimate success when he won the 5000m and the 10,000m at both the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.

But it was the East German state sponsored doping regime that pushed doping to extreme levels. The East Germans were intent on proving that communism was superior to capitalism and they wanted to use sports as their avenue to make their point. It worked to a large extent because East Germany was often at the top of the Athletics medal standings leaving the Americans in their wake.

With today’s dope testing standards, it is likely that some of these athletes would have been exposed for doping, granting Shahanga a medal, possibly gold.

As a side note, it is worth noting that no Kenyan qualified for the 10,000m at the 1983 world athletics championships. kenyan athletics was undergoing a depression after having boycotted both the 1976 and 1980 Olympics which left Kenyan runners demotivated and demoralized.

The video of the race

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Lets be clear: FKF are the problem

Kenya football is stuck in a quagmire as KPL and FKF battle it out to
determine which body will run football in Kenya. Essentially, the top clubs
in Kenya are battling for the right to run their own league.

Many of the media reports appear to be equating the two bodies and accusing them of wrangling.

As of March 5, 2015, it appears that the FKF is winning as they were able to
somehow manage to get a court order to halt the Kenya Premier League. This
despite the fact that going to court contravenes FIFA statutes.

The media is doing a huge disservice to the sport of football by equating
KPL clubs with the FKF. Some media outlets are even saying that the two
sides are fighting over sponsorship money. This is very far from the truth.
In reality it is FKF led by Sam Nyamweya and Robert Asembo who are eager to get their grubby hands on the money.

About half of the FKF teams are corporate teams which pour more money into football than they get back.

Community teams like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are keen to stay in KPL
because it is stable, well run and guarantees television revenue and
sponsorship revenue, something that the FKF league does not have.

Others like Mathare United and Sofapaka have owners like Elly Kalekwa and
Bob Munro who own their teams wholesale and have sunk their own hard earned
money into their respective teams, So if they do earn a profit, which is
rarely the case, they deserve to keep it.

Meanwhile Nyamweya, Asembo and FKF have contributed nothing to football but cannnot wait to get their grubby hands on sponsorship money. Of all the
supposedly warring parties, Nyamweya and FKF are the ones who clearly have ill motives. Most of the KPL chairmen are not fighting to gain financially.

The Kenya Premier League has been running smoothly since the clubs took over running it in 2003. It is not perfect but it creates a measure of stability
that enables clubs to thrive. This element of stability was completely
missing when the federation ran the league 10 years ago. And this was
precisely why in 2003, FIFA proposed that the top league be run by the

The report generated by the Germany based FIFA consultant Nieman stated that among other things:

    • Sam Nyamweya is dishonest: He pre-set the wrong facts after the
      federation boss attended a Joint Executive Meeting held on January 19, 2015 to solve all outstanding issues and enter into a mutual MOU only to write a contradictory note to Fifa’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke”.
    • The report suggested that all parties acknowledge KPL as the official
      body to run the Premier League in Kenya on behalf of FKF.FKF acted in poor
      faith by initially hiding the report from KPL and other parties.
    • FKF has released dishonest statements such as indicating that Muhoroni Youth, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards agreed to play in the FKF-PL.
    • Sam Nyamweya is dishonest: He pre-set the wrong facts after the federation boss attended a Joint Executive Meeting held on January 19, 2015 to solve all outstanding issues and enter into a mutual MOU only to write a contradictory note to Fifa’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke”.
    • The report suggested that all parties acknowledge KPL as the official body to run the Premier League in Kenya on behalf of FKF.FKF acted in poor faith by initially hiding the report from KPL and other parties.
    • FKF has released dishonest statements such as indicating that Muhoroni Youth, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards agreed to play in the FKF-PL.

Now lets look at the other facts:

  • FKF claims they have a television sponsor ready and a title sponsor ready yet they have not identified them. So how is the public supposed to believe them?
  • FKF under Nyamweya has done a poor job of running national teams be it the senior national team, the U23 team, women’s teams and so forth.
  • Under Nyamweya Kenya has been humiliated by teams like Burundi, Lesotho and so forth.
  • FKF has alienated sponsors like Safaricom, most notably by demanding a 20% cut of all sponsorship money.
  • The 2013 CECAFA cup hosted by FKF was shambolic and poorly run to the point that teams like Zanzibar vowed never to play in Kenya again.
  • Sam Nyamweya ensured that FKF officials who are interested in cleaning the game such as Sammy Shollei and Dan Shikanda were suspended. He suspended them for opening a court case in contravention of FIFA statutes yet he himself has flouted this same statute by taking KPL to court.
  • FIFA gives FKF approximately $250,000 (KES 23 million) each year yet it is never accounted for by FKF
  • FIFA even gave the FKF money to pay referees yet none of that money was given to referees.

Nyamweya and Asembo now have their eyes on the sponsorship money and broadcasting money that is generated by the Kenya Premier League.

And nothing Nyamweya touches succeeds. He has no record of
success at anything. There have been virtually no positive developments in Kenya football since he took over. One of the few positive aspects of Kenya football over the last 10 years is the Kenya Premier League. And now Nyamweya and his ilk want to ruin that as well.

The only thing that Nyamweya and the increasingly arrogant Asembo have on their side are technicalities which are basically rules that FIFA and CAF have put in place to keep corrupt officials in office.

Media Creating confusion

The media is doing football a disservice by equating KPL andf FKF.  This moral relativism is what causes judges like Msagha Mbogholi to ban KPL. There is no law in Kenya that bans clubs from running their own league. In the absence of such a law, the high court should be making rules based on what is good for the country as a whole. And it is better for Kenya, the youth and fans if KPL is allowed to run the league.

The point of this article is not to say that KPL is a well run organization where everything is above board. The point is that the Kenya Premier League will be better off if run by the top clubs and not by Sam Nyamweya and Robert Asembo.

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