Mary Keitany runs ultra fast 1:06:02 in RAK Half Marathon

Since Mary Keitany returned from maternity leave in early 2014, she has not lost a race. She maintained her unbeaten run when she won the RAK (Ras Al Khaimah)  Half Marathon in a super-quick 1:06:02 on Friday 13 2015.

It was the fastest time of the season (2015) and the third fastest of all time. Keitany previously set the world record at this event at the same venue in 2011 before her record was broken by compatriot Florence Kiplagat. Keitany is now showing her intent to reclaim this record.

Keitany, Cynthia Limo and Josephine Chepkoech as well as Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska started the race at world record pace and went through 10km in 31:07. This was one second faster than Florence Kiplagat’s split in Barcelona last year prior to her clocking a world record 1:05:12.

Limo and Chepkoech dropped away by the 15km mark leaving Keitany and Daska who passed the 15km checkpoint in 46:41.

Keitany then shook off Daska but also fell off world record pace. Daska finished second in 1:06:27, a new Ethiopian record.

Mens race

The mens race was won by Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew winning a three-man battle for the line in 1:00:05. Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru was second and Jonathan Maiyo third in 1:00:06 and 1:00:07. Eliud Kipchoge, the pre-race favourite was sixth in 1:00:50

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A much improved performance by Kenya in Wellington

Michael Wanjala in action against South Africa at the Wellington sevens

Kenya’s performance in the 2014-2015 IRB sevens series has been abysmal, riven with poor performances largely due to the absence of key players and low morale within the team.

For the Wellington sevens however, Kenya welcomed back a number of key players including veterans Collins Injera and Lavin Asego as well as Billy Odhiambo. The return of the key players proved crucial as Kenya marched into the quarter-finals.

Things looked bleak when hen Kenya lost their opening match 31-7 to Argentina. However they squeezed a 19-14 win over Scotland before beating Samoa 28-14. Day 2 was a disapontment as Kenya lost 19-5 to South Africa and 21-5 to Australia

It was Felix Ochieng’s first tournament in charge. Ochieng who played for Kenya sevens between 1999 and 2005 took over head coaching duties after South African Paul Treu quit.

Kenya showed some variety in their play with some brilliant diagonal runs, decoys, good linking, support play and shift in direction. This is what enabled them to record wins over Samoa and Scotland.

The return of Injera and Asego proved a boon with their experience. A timely interception by Asego resulted in one of the tries against Scotland. Bill Odhiambo, anothe returnee was in fine form, scoring two superb tries against Scotland. Dan Sikuta powered away for the other try after good link up play.

Kenya also showed some good commitment to tackling.

Areas for improvement

One area where Kenya must drastically improve is their defensive formation. They allowed their opponents too much space to run at them. This opened up massive spaces out wide because when a player has that much space to run, he often attracts multiple defenders. The Kenyan opponents exploited these gaps.

Another area Kenya must drastically improve is in creating turnovers. They allowed their opponents far too much possession. Even Scotland whom Kenya beat had the lions share of possession.

In Las Vegas next weekend, they will have to play against England, Argentina and Canada. Argentina is one team that will bury you if you allow them too much possession. Kenya learned this the hard way in Wellington. They will need to improve in this area.


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Angela by Ndombe Opetum (Lyrics & Translation)

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.

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Cherie Bondowe by Mayaula Mayoni & TPOK Jazz (Lyrics and Translations)


The song Cherie Bondowe by Mayaula Mayoni was released in 1975. It was highly controversial because it presented the life of a prostitute from her perspective. It was seen to be promoting or at the very least defending prostitution. The authorities in Zaire banned the song. But Franco and TPOK Jazz recorded the song in Brussels. The fact that the song was banned made it even more popular and TPOK Jazz started to perform the song in public.


The Chorus is then repeated multiple times for emphasis

Live Performance of Cherie Bondowe

This is a live performance of Cherie Bondowe featuring a frontline with Michel Boyibanda and the youthful Josky Kiambukuta and Wuta Mayi who had recently joined TPOK Jazz from Orchestre Continental.


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Why Kenyan sides struggle in Continental events

The performance of Kenyan clubs in continental club events over the past 15 years has been rather poor. Whether it is Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Tusker or Ulinzi, all have faced first round exits. The one exception has been Sofapaka which in 2011 eliminated three teams including an Egyptian side and came to the brink of reaching the quarter finals.

The performance of Kenyan sides is a far cry from the 1970s and 1980s when Kenyan clubs did well: Gor Mahia won a continental event in 1987, reached the finals once and semi-finals a couple of times. AFC Leopards and Tusker also made it to the semis with Tusker even reaching the finals in 1994. And Kenyan sides dominated the regional CECAFA club cup. In the period between 1976 and 1989, Kenyan clubs won the CECAFA cup 11 out of 14 times. And this was a period when Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi were permanent CECAFA members.

There are a number of reasons that Kenyan club’s struggle. One that stands out is player turnover. There is no stability in the playing unit of Kenyan sides. They routinely lose players who are always seeking better fortunes in places like Tanzania, Zambia, the Middle East, Vietnam, and North Africa.

As a result, Kenyan sides field essentially what is a completely new line-up each season. It takes a long time for the players to learn how to play with each other and as soon as they do, some have already left.

Take Gor Mahia for example. They have participated in continental events in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2009, coach James Sianga was rebuilding the team. He went about recruiting very young players some still in secondary school. Not only were they inexperienced but they had no cohesion as they had never played as a unit. The result is that they were bundled out of the preliminary round by Rwanda APR in dramatic fashion. Sianga told fans to be patient as he was building a team for the future. He was vindicated as this team came very close to winning the league in 2011 and won the Presidents cup in 2011.

In 2012, Gor Mahia entered the CAF confederations cup. Prior to the tournament Gor mahia went on a signing spree, signing a raft of new players such as Yusuf Juma, Rama Salim, Moses Otieno, Ivo Mapunda, David Owino, Hugo Nzangu, Demonde Selenga, Wycliff Ochomo, Hadji Mwachoki, George Midenyo, Ali Abondo, Peter Juma ,Wycliff Kasaya and the highly touted Ballotieno. Some of them turned out to be excellent players. But when Gor Mahia played Ferroviario of Mozambique, the lack of coordination and lack of cohesion showed. Gor Mahia lost 0-4 on aggregate. All the goals Gor Mahia conceded in Maputo were the result of mixups and confusion between defenders who were not used to playing with each other. The play upfront was disjointed with new  midfielder Moses Otieno struggling to find Rama Salim or Hugo Nzangu

Against Ferroviario, in 2012, Gor Mahia fielded a line-up that was mostly new players

It has been a similar situation each time a Kenyan side has gone on the continental scene of late. 2014 and 2015 have not been different as Kenyan sides always lose a multitude of players and rebuild from scratch almost every January.

Kenyan clubs are losing players to top teams in Sudan as was the case with Allan Wanga and Dan Sserunkuma. But in some cases they even lose players to mid table sides in Tanzania and Sudan as was the case when Rama Salim joined Coastal Union of Tanzania and Anthony Akumu went to Sudan. it is one thing to lose players to European sides or even to top leagues like South Africa. However it is a sad day when mid table sides in Tanzania and Sudan are able to offer Kenyan players a better deal. In some cases, a player desperately wants to leave the country because they think playing in a foreign league, even one with lower standards will enhance their profile. Such is the case with Rama Salim. However the opposite is true. Playing in a league with a lower standard pretty much stops a players chances of ever playing for the national team again which in turn diminshes their profile.

 It was not always this way

AFC Leopards won the CECAFA cup four times between 1979 and 1984. A significant reason for this is that they were able to hold onto their best players. By keeping the core of the team together for a long time, the team had a measure of cohesion that only comes when players play together. By 1988, the core group of Wilberforce Mulamba, Michael Amwayi, Francis Kadenge and Joe Masiga had been together for 6 or 7 years. Thanks to the  excellent coordination, AFC had a formidable side in 1988. This team would have won a continental diadem in 1988 had a corrupt referee not eliminated them in the quarter-finals.

AFC during their glory days

The Gor Mahia side that won a continental diadem in 1987 also had a core group of players who had been together since the early 1980s. In defence, Peter Otieno “Bassanga” George Otieno “Solo”, Bobby Ogolla and Austin Oduor knew each other really well having played together for over 6 years. they knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and thus knew how to cover each other. The result was a solid defensive unit. The midfield with Magongo, Charles Otieno, George Onyango and George Nyangi also had a thorough familiarity with each other.

The brilliant coordination between these players also carried over into the national team. When Kenya won the CECAFA cup three times in a row, the starting line-up had Mulamba and Masiga in attack while Bobby Ogolla and Bassanga played together in defence.

And since players never left the country to play in lower leagues, the national team was much better. Aside from almost winning the All African games in 1987, Kenya qualfied for the Africa Nations cup three times in a row (1988, 1990 and 1992). And this was a time when the AFCON only had 8 teams. A starke contrast to the case that pertains today when a disjointed Harambee stars will easily lose to the likes of Lesotho.

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Rita Jeptoo to likely lose Ksh 46 million bonus, possibly more

Kenyan marathoner, Rita Jeptoo, a three-time winner of the Boston Marathon and two-time Chicago Marathon champion, was given a two-year doping ban Friday.

Jeptoo tested positive for the blood-booster EPO in an out-of-competition test last September, a few weeks before winning her second straight Chicago Marathon title. Both the “A” and “B” samples were positive.

Athletics Kenya announced Friday that Jeptoo was suspended from all competition until Oct. 29, 2016.

Jeptoo has the right to appeal her sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Her two-year penalty is the maximum for a first violation specified by the old World Anti-Doping Agency code, which was in effect when she tested positive. That penalty was doubled in the new code that went into effect Jan. 1.

Bonus Money

The World Marathon Majors is a the six-race series that includes Boston, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago and New York. It has the authority to demand repayment of prize money under the terms of its athletes’ contract. However, any such action and the stripping of her titles will remain on hold until the appeals process is exhausted.

Jeptoo’s $500,000 WMM bonus for winning both races last year is also in limbo until the case has run its course.

Effect on other Kenyan runners

Prior to Jeptoo’s positive test, no other prominent Kenyan athletes had been busted for doping. But now the positive test has cast a shadow on all Kenyan runners calling into question their performances.

“Her positive test has made it very difficult for us,” two-time women’s marathon world champion Edna Kiplagat said. “We keep on being asked about doping every time we go to compete out there, and I’m hoping that her punishment will make others stop engaging in this bad thing.

“I hope the [ban] will deter Kenyan athletes to stop taking shortcuts. It will be a lesson for others. It’s unfortunate since nobody wants anyone to be banned. If you take something like EPO, which is injected as a professional athlete, it is obvious you know what you are putting in your body.”

She probably deserves a bigger penalty

To many people, the two year ban on Jeptoo is not enough. Shalane Flanagan, the top American woman finisher in Boston last year, told ESPN that she doesn’t feel the two-year ban is enough.

“My stance on anyone caught cheating or doping is that they should receive a lifetime ban,” Flanagan told ESPN. “Studies have shown that someone who’s tested positive for something like EPO, which Rita apparently has used, have benefits that go beyond just the usage. If she used EPO for a number of years, she was able to train at a much higher level during those years.

“Those benefits can be reaped for years to come. Let’s say she doped from 2011 to 2014, the benefits of training on those drugs will extend for another four years. In my mind, I’m happy that she’s banned for two years, and I’m happy we caught her in the act. At the same time, I don’t feel like it’s completely settled. I feel a little uneasy about it because she can come back, train during those two years and still reap the benefits of those drugs.”

From a Kenyan perspective, Rita Jeptoo deserves a bigger ban for the sheer damage that she has done to the reputation of other Kenyan runners. Now every time a Kenyan wins a major city marathon, people will question whether they are clean. It is incumbent on Athletics Kenya to start taking the doping menace seriously. It appears AK has finally woken up from their slumber. Anti-doping bodies from Norway and China are helping Kenya set up its own anti-doping agency.

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FKF defying FIFA is an opening for Wario to step in

When will Harambee stars fabe have reason to celebrate?
Image courtesy of Michael Katami

There is an impasse between the Kenya Premier League which is mandated by FIFA to run Kenya’s top football league and the FKF, the body mandated by FIFA to run the sport of football in Kenya.

FKF led by Sam Nyamweya are determined to take over running the league and have insisted on expanding the league to 18 teams. The KPL meanwhile insists on keeping control of the league and maintaining the league at 16 teams.

KPL took over running the league over 10 years ago because under the Federation was poorly run, rife with corruption and questionable boardroom decisions. The corrupt way in which Shabana FC were promoted to the top league is typical of how football was run back then. The advent of the KPL that is run by clubs has brought stability, sponsorship and the fans have started to troop back into the stadium. Should FKF take over , there is a danger that the league will return to its dark days.

To resolve the impasse, FIFA sent an independent expert consultant, Robert Nieman, to help iron out thorny issues. Nieman compiled a report in which he said that the increase is motivated by political fights between FKF and KPL.Nieman went on to say that Nyamweya influenced promotion of Shabana. He further recomended that the league stick to 16 teams as recomended by KPL. FIFA then demanded that FKF share the report with all stakeholders including the KPL. However Nyamweya and his team refused to follow FIFA instructions and are sticking to their guns.

With Nyamweya demanding to take over the league, there is now an impasse that could foment the creation of parallel leagues, a farcical situation that occurred in Kenya exactly 10 years ago.

In past years it has been said that FKF corruption was being enabled by FIFA. However we now have a case where FKF is openly disobeying FIFA. Whereas FIFA typically looks down on government interference, this is case where the government can step in to enforce the FIFA recommendation which Nyamweya and his team are openly disobeying. Surely FIFA cannot suspend Kenya if the government steps in to enforce what FIFA has mandated.

Its a given that Kenya football is likely headed nowehere with Nyamweya and his team in charge. With them in charge, we can expect further humiliations are the hands of teams like Lesotho and Comoros.

Its time for Mr. Wario to work with FIFA to bring about the changes that are badly needed in Kenya football. He should take this opening with both hands.

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Government must lead in fighting hooliganism

Passions run high at all football matches but it must be controlled

Sometime in November of 2014, FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya took the podium and in front of TV cameras insisted that the government was letting Kenyans down by not helping fight hooliganism.

I am appealing to the government to help set up a special anti-hooliganism police unit, the way it has helped set up other special units to deal with various vices. We have tourist police and military police, we could set a similar one to deal with hooliganism” . The federations and clubs have no capacities to stamp out hooliganism. This is crime that should be dealt with by the government through the police force.

We have been disappointed in the past because police have failed us. Look at the case on Sunday (Gor versus AFC Leopards GOtv Shield final). Police reported to duty late at 11am. The dynamics surrounding hooliganism are complex and it’s only the police who have the powers to arrest and prosecute. The federation doesn’t have the capacity and neither do clubs,” Nyamweya added.

Sports minister Hassan Wario who was at the same meeting was livid. When he took to the podium, a visibly stung and irritated Wario, hit back, blow by blow.

As a government we cannot take rubbish of finger pointing when mistake is on your side (federation and clubs). The government does not throw stones, neither does it uproot chairs in the stadium.“We give you our facilities to use in good state and you destroy it. During the Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards match I saw a Gor fan uproot a chair and hurl it. Is that a failure of the government,” he charged.

“I insist clubs must rein in on their fans. We cannot have cases where fans vandalise and destroy property and then the government is to blame.“We cannot have a special unit to deal with hooliganism. It is not there in France, neither is it there in Germany.

Change of tune

Happily for Kenyan fans, the government seems to have come around to the idea that only they can address hooliganism. Neither the clubs nor the federation has the capacity to deal with hooligans. Only the government can. Even the President has agreed that the government is best placed to deal with the menace of hooligans. However of January 2015, no measures have been taken by the government. Not even a plan has been outlined.  There are a number of steps the government can take:

Hooliganism is not a problem specific to Kenya. It is a worldwide phenomenon

Below are actions the goverment can take

We need better trained Police

Kenya Police are poorly trained and poorly equipped to handle crowd trouble. The only response they can muster is to toss tear gas canisters into the crowd. They toss tear gas canisters at the slightest sign of trouble. Even when there is pushing and shoving amongst a small section of the crowd, they toss tear gas. This only serves to exacerbate the  situation. This is precisely what happened when Gor Mahia played Sofapaka at the end of 2014. There was commotion in one section of the stadium and police responded with tear gas. This caused panic as fans scrambled for the exits. And there were children in the crowd. Some people who were waiting outside the stadium too advantage on the resulting commotion to loot businesses outside the stadium. It seemed as if there were some people who were simply waiting outside the stadium to take advantage of any sign of trouble.

 Arrest Known Perpetrators

In 2015, there was an epidemic of woman stripping in Nairobi and its environs. This promptly ended when public arrests were made and harsh sentences were leveled against the perpetrators. Hooliganism is no different. There are pictures and videos of fans committing acts of hooliganism. It should be very easy to identify and arrest them. If you start arresting hooligans, then other hooligans will realize that impunity does not apply to hooliganism.

Install CCTV Cameras in stadia to identify hooligans.

The amount of money generated by both City stadium and Nyayo stadium is enough to install CCTV cameras. The safari sevens along generates upwards of Ksh 20 million of which 20% goes to the stadium managers.

This money can be used to install CCTV cameras which can be used to identify hooligans. Once hooligans are identified they can either be arrested or banned from stadia. The only reason CCTV cameras have not been installed is due to misappropriation of funds that are generated by stadia.

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Boma Ngai, na boma yo to bomana by Madilu System & TPOK Jazz (Lyrics and Translation)

This classic song composed by Madilu System was released in 1986. It was his second major hit after he joined TPOK Jazz. His first one was Pesa Position. Madilu had joined TPOK Jazz in the early 1980s and he first came to fame by singing duets with Franco. It was these songs that cemented his position as a good composer in addition to being an excellent vocalist. The song also features vocals from two excellent singers, Malage De Lugendo and Djo Mpoy.

The song title literally means, if you kill me, I will kill you, we will kill each other

Part 2


Madilu’s first vocal solo

Malage De Lugendo’s Vocal Solo

Djo Mpoy’s Vocal Solo

Madilu’s last vocal solo


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Rugby fans remember Fidel Odinga

A moment of silence for Fidel Odinga was held prior to the match between Homeboyz and Harlequins


Fidel Odinga, the son of Kenyan opposition leader and peoples rights fighter Raila Odinga passed away on January 4 2015.

Fidel Odinga kept a low profile relative to his father and grandfather who was Kenya’s first Vice President and first ever opposition leader. Fidel was however an avid rugby fan.

In 2014, he became Chairman and patron of Kisumu RFC. He took over at a time when Kisumu were having difficulty surviving. They often forfeited matches because many players did not show up for matches. Fidel Odinga took over in April of 2014.

Mwangi Muthee who recently resigned as the chairman of the Kenya Rugby Football Union eulogized Fidel

“In just half of the current season, Kisumu RFC led in the second-tier division, virtually guaranteeing itself a place in the play-offs for promotion back to the Kenya Cup,” said Muthee.

Muthee noted that Odinga passed away on the weekend, his team, Kisumu RFC was in a residential camp where he had put the players to prepare for the resumption of the league this Saturday.

“Fidel had become my friend whom I admired for the commitment to support rugby in one of the high-potential regions in our country, Kisumu, in particular and Nyanza and Western in general,” Muthee explained, adding that he was effective in stabilising the game, bringing in freshness and boosting morale.

“Because it is such a huge loss to us, it is easy to fathom the depth of sorrow experienced by his family. In the hours after Fidel’s demise, we have witnessed the deep love of his father, Raila Odinga, his mother Ida, his siblings, wife and young son,” added Muthee.

Nondies RFC also observed a moment of silence in honour of Fidel Odinga

Kisumu RFC official Paul Okong’o also commended Fidel as committed to seeing the team back to the top flight league next season.
Another official  Gabriel Amollo said  “Fidel agreed to pay for most of the club’s activities,” He also mediated between wrangling officials and was later elected chairman. The club was to host last year’s annual Safaricom Dala sevens amidst the wrangles and Amollo said they would have failed to honour the tourney had Fidel not assisted them.

According to Amollo, Fidel had also wanted to buy a bus for the club to help players’ and managers attend tournaments. Amollo added that Fidel was also considering seeking grounds for the club, either at the historical Kirembe along the Kisumu-Busia Road or at Mamboleo showground.

Fidel whose full name is Fidel Makarios Castro Odhiambo Odinga was laid to rest on Saturday January 10, 2015. On that day, all KRFU matches stopped for a moment of silence to remember Fidel Odinga. May his soul rest in peace.


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