Smiling Rhonex Kipruto smashes 10K world record with no pacers and no vapourfly

Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto obliterated the world record 10k road race record at the Valencia Ibercaja on Sunday January 12 2020. The race was a World Athletics Gold Label road race.

His time of  clocking 26:24 was a good 14 seconds faster than the previous record of 26:38 which was set by Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei also in Valencia 5 weeks ago. Prior to that, the record was held by Leonard Patrick Komon of Kenya who clocked 26:44 in 2010.

The impressive time set by Kipruto is 3 seconds faster than the Kenya track 10,000m record that is held by Paul Tergat. It is only 7 seconds slower than the world track 10,000m record that is held by Kenenisa Bekele. These statistics are impressive because running on a road is typically more difficult than running on a track.

Secondly, Kipruto ran most of the race alone. The pacemakers had all dropped out by the 4Km mark and the rest of the field could not match Kipruto’s pace. So he ran the last 6km on his own, often smiling at the crowd.

Thirdly Kipruto set the record without the sensational Nike Vapourfly shoes which experts say have been key in most recent record breaking feats including Brigid Kosgei’s new women’s world marathon record., Bekele’s new marathon personal best that was only two seconds slower than the world record and of course Eliud Kipchoge’s 1:59 feat.

“I’m over the moon,” said an elated Kipruto. When I clocked 26:46 in Prague in 2018, I set myself the target of breaking the world 10km record and today my dream came true. I’m very thankful to the organisers for relying on me to set the record and to the city and the people of Valencia for treating me so well and for their support throughout the race.”

Kipruto is coached by legendary Iten based coach Colm O’Connell.

How does this bode for the Olympics?

At the 2019 World athletics championships, Kipruto took bronze. The race was won by Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei who is a good tactician. Kipruto likely will not beat Cheptegei in a slower tactical race. So he needs to restrategize on how he will cope with the heat of Tokyo will setting a faster pace.

Sheila Chepkirui runs second fastest women’s 10K

The women’s 10K race was contest between three Kenyan women: Rosemary Wanjiru, Norah Jeruto and Sheila Chepkirui. At the halfway point, the leading pack had four women including Kenyan turned Israeli, Lornah Salpeter. But the latter fell off the pace, leaving the three Kenyans. Chepkirui outlasted her compatriots to win in 29:46, the second fastest time ever. The world record is held by Joyceline Jekpkogei of Kenya at 26:43.

Leading results

Men
1 Rhonex Kipruto (KEN) 26:24
2 Benard Kimeli (KEN) 27:12
3 Julien Wanders (SUI) 27:13
4 Jacob Kirop (KEN) 27:30
5 Shadrack Koech (KEN) 27:32
6 Stephen Kissa (UGA) 27:47
7 Djilali Bedrani (FRA) 27:50
8 Alex Korio (KEN) 27:53
9 Chala Regasa Ketema (ETH) 28:00
10 Sikiyas Misganaw (ETH) 28:01

Women
1 Sheila Chepkirui (KEN) 29:46
2 Rosemary Wanjiru (KEN) 29:51
3 Norah Jeruto (KEN) 29:51
4 Bosena Mulate (ETH) 30:50
5 Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (ISR) 31:09
6 Rediet Daniel (ETH) 31:55
7 Rachael Zena Chebet (UGA) 32:00
8 Karolina Nadolska (POL) 32:08
9 Jenny Nesbitt (GBR) 32:42
10 Mercy Chemutai Koech (KEN) 32:46

 

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Kenya at the 2013 World championships: Surprise wins for Eunice Sum and Milcah Chemos

Background

The 14th IAAF World Championships in Athletics was held in Moscow, Russia, from August 10 to August 18 2013.  Kenya finished third overall in the standings with 12 medals: 5 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze. The highlights included both Eunice Sum and Milcah Chemos fullfilling their potential by winning gold. Edna Kiplagat, Asbel Kiprop and Ezekiel Kemboi retaining their titles.

800m: Eunice Sum upsets Savinova

Coming into this race, Mariya Savinova or Russia was the overwhelming favourite. Not only was she running infront of her home crowd, but she was also the defending world champion and defending Olympic champion. Eunice Sum for her part had never won any international event. Her best performance thus far was a silver medal at the African Championships in 2012.

In the final, Sum ran a tactically astute race. Alysah Montano set a torrid pace in the first lap. Sum followed within striking distance. Savinova, who was then known as the chess player for her tactical prowess was further behind and started to make her move with 250m to go. As she started to surge past the field, a win seemed inevitable. But Sum held her off at the curve thus forcing her to take a longer route. With 100m to go, Sum and Savinova were even and had caught up with Montano. With 50 metres left, Sum shifted to a higher gear and Savinova had no answer. Sum had won her first ever international gold medal with a personal best of 1:57.38.

Savinova would eventually lose her silver medal after it was proven that she had been doping all long.

Race Video

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase: Finally gold for Chemos, silver for Chepkurui

26 year old Milcah Chemos had only been a participant in athletics for four years. She only took up competitive running at the urging of her husband who was also an athlete. Prior to this event, she had won bronze medals at the 2009 and 2011 events. Both those events had been won by Russian women thus it was expected that a Russian woman would win again.

But as the race progressed, it became apparent that the Kenyans and Ethiopians would dominate this race. With a lap to go, the Kenyan duo of Chemos and Lydia Chepkurui were leading the field. The gap between them increased as the last lap progressed. With 200m to go, Chemos surged. Chepkurui gave chase. Chemos navigated the last two barriers then finished with a powerful kick to win comfortably. Chepkurui had to hold off Sofia Assefa for silver.

Race Video

Women’s marathon: Edna Kiplagat retains title

Edna Kiplagat had led a Kenyan sweep of the medals in 2011. The only athletes who challenged her were fellow Kenyans.  However in 2013 things were different. At the 30km mark, the leading pack consisted of Kiplagat, Valeria Straneo of Italy, Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia and Kayoko Fukushi of Japan. Melkamu soon found the pace too hot and dropped out. Straneo was leading with 1km to go before Kiplagat made her move and Straneo had no answer. Kiplagat won in 2:25:44 to retain her title.

Race Video

Men’s 1500m: Asbel Kiprop retains his title

All three Kenyans made it to the final: Asbel Kiprop, Silas Kiplagat and Nixon Chepseba. Kiprop and Kiplagat had gone 1-2 in 2011 while Chepseba was in brilliant form, having won his first ever Diamond League race earlier. In the final, Chepseba set the early pace and held the lead until about 200m to go when the rest of the field closed him down. Kiprop surged ahead of the field, leaving the rest to compete for the rest of the medals. Chepseba finished fourth, just outside the medals while Kiplagat ran out of gas when he made his surge in the last 100m

Race Video

3000m Steeplechase: Third succesive gold for Kemboi

Kenya had four runners in the final: Ezekiel Kemboi, Abel Mutai, Paul Kipsiele Koech and 19 year old newcomer Conseslus Kipruto. The final was remarkable for the rivalry between Kemboi and Kipruto who threatened to end Kemboi’s dominance of this race.

In the final lap, Kipruto held the lead with 250m to go. Then Kemboi made one of his tradeamark accelerations that left the rest of the field stunned. Nobody had any answer for Kemboi’s surge. Kipruto tried to chase in the last 100m but despite closing the gap, he could not catch Kemboi who won gold with Kipruto taking silver. Koech finished fourth.

Race Video


Chepseba’s torrid pace in the semis was too hot for the rest of the field

 

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2011 World Athletics Championships: Utter Domination by Kenya

Background

The 2011 World Athletics Championships was held in Daegu, South Koreafrom 27 August 2011 ending on 4 September 2011. Kenya recorded its best ever performance up to that point, hauling 7 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze for a total of 18 medals. They finished second in the medal table behind the USA. Kenya was particularly dominant in the women’s distance events, sweeping all the medals in the 10,000m and the marathon and taking the top two spots in the 5000m.

Men’s 800m: David Rudisha’s First senior gold medal

David Rudisha had a brilliant junior career, winning the World Junior Championships in 2006. But as his senior career started, it seemed he would be one of many athletes who shone brilliantly in the juniors but struggled to find success in the seniors. During the 2009 world championships for example, a tactical error in the semi-finals saw him fail to make the finals.

But by 2010, it became apparent that Rudisha was going to fulfill the promise of his youth career. In 2011, he set a new world record. Thus coming into these championships, he was the firm favourite. He did not disappoint as his long strides left the competition in his wake, allowing him to win fairly comfortably in 1:43.91.

Race Video

Men’s 1500m: Kiprop and Kiplagat go 1-2

In the previous championships, Kenya had a sub-par  performance in the men’s 1500m despite having the three athletes with the fastest times in 2009: Asbel Kiprop, Augustin Choge and Haron Keitany. Kiprop, the Olynmpic champion, finished 4th. Choge was and 5th and Keitany suffered an injury in the semis.

In 2011, Kenya was determined to make amends as they fielded yet another strong trio: Kiprop, Silas Kiplagat and Daniel Kipchirichir Komen.  They did not dissapoint. In the final, Kiprop and Kiplagat both ran a tactically astute race to take gold and silver.

Race Video

3000M Steeplechase: Kemboi defends title. Kipruto second

Ezekiel Kemboi had won this event in 2009 after three unsuccessful tries. One of the runners who had beaten him to gold on occassion was compatriot Brimin Kipruto. Kemboi thus took no chances, accelerating at the back straight which is where he usually makes his move. Kipruto gave chase but when he realized he would not catch Kemboi, he slowed down significantly and was almost passed by French runner Bennabad.

Race Video

Men’s Marathon: Kirui and Kipruto go 1-2

Abel Kirui gave what was described as the most dominant performance in the history of championship marathon running. Kirui finished about half a mile ahead of the rest of the field to win the title for the second time in a row. Running in extreme heat and with a humidity of 65%, Kirui produced a burst in the last quarter of the race that the rest of the field was unable to match. He finished in 2:07:38 . Compatriot Vincent Kipruto was second in 2:10:06

Race Video

Women’s 5000m: Cheruiyot and Kibet go 1-2

Vivian Cheruiyot was the most dominant distance runner of the 2011 season. She thus came into this race as the overwhelming favourite. She did not disappoint. She ran a tactically brilliant race, gradually increasing the pace from the 4.4 km mark. At the bell started to pull away from the leading group. Ethiopian legend Meseret Defar gave chase

It was an exact repeat of the 2009 edition. For the second successive time, Vivian Cheruiyot and Sylvia Kibet occupied the top two positions, relegating Defar to third place. And as was the case two years earlier, Defar was broken by Cheruiyots surge to the point that she forfeited second place to Kibet at the finish line again.

Race Video

Womens 10,000m: Kenya goes 1-2-3-4

It was thorough and complete dominance by Kenya in the women’s 10,000m as the top four finishers were all Kenyans. It marked only the third time that a country had occupied the top four positions in any event. Vivian Cheruiyot set the pace over the final two laps as is typical of her. At the bell, the four Kenyans seperated from the rest of the pack with only Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia, the previous silver medalist  staying in tow. When Cheruiyot broke away, Sally Kipyego gave chase but was soon unable to keep up. Melkamu then positioned herself for third pace but could not fend off the other two Kenyans.In the end, Cheruiyot won comfortably folloed by Sally Kipyego, Linet Masai and Prisca Cherono.

Race Video

Women’s marathon: Kenya goes 1-2-3

It was complete domination for Kenya in the women’s marathon. Kenya swept all three medals with Edna Kiplagat, Priscah Jeptoo and Sharon Cherop taking gold, silver and bronze respectively. This despite a collision at a watering station between Kiplagat and Cherop that knocked Kiplagat down. Cherop waited for Kiplagat to rise before continuing. The Kenyan trio pulled away with 5km to go. Only Bezunesh Bekele of Ethiopia stayed in touch. But she was soon broken by the Kenyan trio.

This was the first time that a country had won all the medals in a marathon at either the Olympics or the World championships and as of 2019, still the only time.

Race Video

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Kenya Rugby Review for 2019

Sevens players go on strike

The 2018-2019 season will be remembered as the  year when 15 Kenya sevens rugby players boycotted the national team due to disagreements over pay. A furious KRFU chairman Richard Omwela warned the players that they would never be allowed to don the national jersey again.

“We shall not allow a group of players to manipulate the Union. They shall play on our terms and not theirs,”

The player boycott was occasioned by the Union’s decision to slash player salaries especially after a number pf sponsors pulled out. Player salaries went from around Ksh 170,000 per month to around Ksh 100,000.

“What message will we be sending to nation or the players, who have agreed to play on meagre pay…Are they playing for money or the nation? it’s unacceptable for them to continue dictating to us when they know the situation.


KRFU Chairman Richard Omwela was at the centre for the firestorm

Problems started in 2018 at the Paris sevens when players covered the sponsor name to protest non-payment of salaries. It turned out that the sponsor had actually given KRFU the money but KRFU did not remit salaries to the players.

Under the agreement, tourism CS Balala says the KRU was to pocket Sh17.6 Million with Sh2.4 million going directly to the players with each player getting Sh100,000.

“It does not therefore make sense to me that KRU could not even use part of the Sh4 million we had advanced them to pay the players part of their share, while they await more funding from us”, a visibly angry Balala, who also blamed the players for being unpatriotic said.

With issues unresolved, Andrew Amonde, William “Lomu” Ambaka, Samuel Oliech, Nelson Oyoo and Collins Injera opted out at the beginning of the season. Billy Odhiambo, Oscar Ouma and Oscar Ayodi trained with the team then left. Meanwhile Eden Agero, Dennis Ombachi and Jeff Oluoch played in the Dubai and Cape Town legs before leaving the team.

Kenya finishes 13th in the World Sevens series

The net result of the player boycott was that Kenya fielded a vastly inexperienced squad. Added to this fact was that the coach Paul “Pau” Murunga, a former Kenya sevens star, was also in his first season as head coach. Their inexperience showed as Kenya lost all their matches in the Dubai, Sydney and Vancouver legs and were staring at relegation.

Matters came to a head in the London leg when Kenya lost to fellow relegation candidates Japan in the 13th place playoff. A good performance was therefore required in the last leg (Paris) to stave off relegation. By this time, a number of the key players had returned to the team. Kenya finally produced their best performance of the season. Here they finished second in their group and 7th overall with 10 points, a result that helped Shujaa stave off relegation. The Paris leg marked the only leg in which Kenya qualified for the main cup quarter-finals.


Oscar Dennis Hawke scored his first ever try for Kenya in a 19-14 win over Wales in Singapore

There was very little to celebrate in the 2018-2019 season. Unlike past seasons where some Kenya players were among the leading scorers, leading impact players and best players, no such thing happened. The only Kenyan who won any sort of award was Jeff Oluoch who was voted the most impactful player of the Hong Kong leg in which he scored 59 points.

Kenya qualify for the World Rugby Under 20 Trophy


Coach Paul Odera could not hide his joy at qualifying

The Kenya U-20 team, popularly known as Chipu, qualified for the World Rugby Under 20 Trophy , which is the second tier U-20 global tournament. It had been 10 years since Kenya qualified for this event.

The qualifiers were held at KCB Sports club. Kenya qualified by beating Namibia 21-18 in an epic match in which the lead changed hands five times. What made this a momentous occassion was the fact that Namibia had eliminated Kenya on the previous four occasions. Kenya has suffered final losses to Namibia, falling in 2013 (51-8), 2014 (52-17), 2017 (66-24) and 2018 (37-18).  On their way to the final, Kenya destroyed Tunisia in the semi-finals by a score of 73-0

Kenya at the World Rugby Under 20 Trophy

Kenya were placed in tough Pool A with Japan, Uruguay and hosts Brazil. The opening match was a baptism of fire as Kenya went down 11-63 to Uruguay. Kenya then recovered to beat hosts Brazil 26-24. It was a see-saw battle that saw the lead change hands four times. Kenya then lost the last group match to eventual winners Japan 48-34. Against Japan, Kenya were trailing 19-3 at halftime. But a gallant second half display saw them cut the deficit to 31-29 at one point. This showed Kenya’s potential.  In the 5th place playoff, Kenya lost 52-13 to Canada.


Flyhalf Dominic Coulson in action against Japan

Coach Paul Odera was positive on Kenya’s performance and also highlighted the areas that need work.

“I would say we performed beyond expectations. To finish sixth in our first time here in over 10 years is an excellent achievement. There’s a lot to do to perform better next year,” assessed Odera.

“Better preparation, playing teams ranked higher than us and training camps are crucial if we are to go far,” he said before adding, “Our scrum and line-out need work. We also need to reduce our errors as we were punished for every mistake.”

A successful year for Lioness

In April, Kenya Lioness reached the semi-finals of the Women Sevens Series Qualifiers . They won their opening four matches, beating Uganda 24-0, Hong Kong 36-5, Papua New Guinea 20-10, before recording a memorable win over Argentina by a score of 17-15. Their run came to an end when they lost 17-15 to Brazil in the semi-finals.

In August, The Kenya women’s 15-a-side team played in the qualifiers for the 2021 women’s rugby world cup. Four teams participated with the others being hosts South Africa, Uganda and Madagascar. Kenya beat Uganda 37-5 and beat Madagascar 37-5

In the final Kenya lost 39-0 to South Africa. The South Africans had beaten Uganda and Madagascar by scores of 73-0 and 89-5 respectively.

Kenya’s hopes are not over after the 39-0 defeat, the Lionesses finished as runners-up and will contest a play-off against the winner of South American qualifier with the victor heading to the global repechage that will determine the final qualifier.

Kenya women’s rugby team soared to its highest ever world rugby rankings. By improving their score to 46.71 points, Kenya moved above Jamaica, Denmark and Fiji and into the top 25 ranked nations for the first time.

In the Elgon cup, Kenya Lioness once again underlined their dominance over Uganda, winning the first leg 44-13 at Mamboleo grounds in Kisumu. They then won the second leg 35-5 at Kyadondo grounds in Kampala.

In the Safari sevens, Uganda once again had no answer for Kenya who won the tournament with a 47-0 win over Uganda.


Kenya Lioness qualified for the Olympics

In October, Lioness played in the qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics that were held in Tunisia. Kenya beat Ghana 36-0, thrashed Botswana 49-0 and Senegal 36-0 in the pool fixtures. In the quarterfinals, the Lionesses edged Zimbabwe 36-5 and then defeated hosts Tunisia 19-0 in the semis. In the final, Kenya lost 15-14 to South Africa.  Kenya however qualified for the Olympics by virtue of the fact that the South Africa Olympic committee withdrew their team due to their low global ranking.

KCB Retain Kenya Cup

Kenya Commercial Bank RFC retained the Kenya cup with a 23-15 win over Kabras Sugar in the final. KCB did not lose any matches in 2019. Their last loss was in November against Nondies. It was Blak Blad who came closest to beating KCB, losing 20-15 in January. KCB also provided the highest number of players to the national team. As many as 8 KCB players featured for the national team in 2019 including prolific scorer Darwin Mukidza, Oliver Mangeni, Andrew Amonde and others.

Kisumu and Western Bulls prevailed in Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Championships to get promoted to Kenya Cup for the 2019/2020 season.

Change at KRFU

Geoffrey Oduor Gangla was elected the new chairman after beating former vice chairman Sasha Mutai. Gangla replaced Richard Omwela who had been serving for his second term. The first Omwela era was an era where sponsorship money was scarce and Kenya routinely lost to Uganda in both men and women’s competitions. The second Omwela era was notable for a strike by senior players that led to Kenya’s worst performance in several years of the World sevens series. Can Gangla restore Kenya? He seems to be on the right track now.

No sooner had Gangla taken helm than Auctioneers descended on KRFU offices at RFUEA grounds to reposess property over a Ksh 4m debt that KRFU owed.

“It is an old debt. The incident is unfortunate but there is nothing we could do. We at times access some of these facilities on credit and when the government does not pay on time, we encounter such incidents,” said Gangla.

Shujaa back on track

After being in the dodrums for two seasons, the Kenya national sevens team aka Shujaa, started to regain some of its lusture, First the appointment of New Zealander Paul Feeney brought a level of credibility, technical expertise and experience that is needed to compete at the highest levels. Local coaches are often unable to maneouvre the intrigues and politics that come with working for KRFU.

Secondly the return of over a dozen senior players who had given Shujaa a wide berth in the 2018-2019 season brought back much needed experience and ability.  Senior players like Willy Ambaka and Nelson Oyoo melded well with emerging players like Daniel Taabu and Johnstone Olindi.


Kenya easily qualified for the 2020 Olympics

Shujaa announced their intentions with a ruthless demolition of all the competition at the 2020 Olympic qualifiers, beating Cote’d Ivoire 36-7, Senegal 50-0, Namibia 33-0 and Uganda 24-7. A starke contrast to the 2016 Olympics when Kenya almost did not qualify but for a memorable last gasp try by Dennis Ombachi.

This was followed by a much improved performance in the opening legs of the 2019-2020 World rugby sevens series. A number of new players emerged such as Daniel Taabu, Daniel Olindi and Alvin Otieno aka Buffa, showing that the future of Shujaa is in good hands. Kenya reached the quarter-finals of Cape Town leg, recording memorable wins over Australia and Samoa in contrast to the previous edition where Kenya lost all their group games including a 38-7 drubbing by Fiji and a loss in the 13th place playoff to Wales.

All things considered, Kenya looks set to have another goood season in 2020 for both men and women’s rugby.

 

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Kenya at the 2019 Cape Town Sevens

Group stage

Kenya 24 Samoa 19
Tries: D Sikuta, AO Otieno, D Taabu, LB Odhiambo
Conversions: Taabu(2)

Kenya 12 Australia 7
Tries: V Onyala, AO Otieno
Conversions: Taabu

Kenya 24 Ireland 24
Tries: ANO Amonde, V Onyala, J Olindi, AO Otieno 11′
Conversions: Taabu(2)

Quarter-Final

Kenya 5 South Africa 17
Tries: AO Otieno,
Conversions:

Photos


Alvin Otieno “Buffa” scores against South Africa


Players huddle before taking on Australia


Dan Sikuta (right) scored a crucial try against Australia


Kenya celebrates a crucial win over Australia


Johnstone Olindi on his way to score against Ireland

 

Squad

Andrew AMONDE
Age36 D.O.B25 December 1983 Height1.89m Weight100kg

Willy AMBAKA
Age29 D.O.B14 May 1990 Height1.93m Weight95kg

Billy ODHIAMBO
Age26 D.O.B07 November 1993 Height1.87m Weight91kg

Jacob OJEE
Age28 D.O.B07 March 1991 Height1.8m Weight81kg

Bush MWALE
Age26 D.O.B14 November 1993 Height1.87m Weight91kg

Alvin OTIENO
Age25 D.O.B19 April 1994 Height1.83m Weight94kg

Nelson OYOO
Age25 D.O.B26 June 1994 Height1.8m Weight82kg

Herman HUMWA
Age24 D.O.B08 November 1995 Height1.82m Weight102kg

Jeff OLUOCH
Age24 D.O.B02 April 1995 Height1.77m Weight96kg

Johnstone OLINDI
Age20 D.O.B04 November 1999 Height1.77m Weight68kg

Vincent ONYALA
Age23 D.O.B10 December 1996 Height1.75m Weight89kg

Daniel SIKUTA
Age27 D.O.B28 December 1992 Height1.85m Weight102kg

Daniel TAABU
Age23 D.O.B19 January 1996 Height1.74m Weight70kg

 

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Kenya Football in 2019

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations preparations

Kenya made an appearance at the Africa Nations cup after a 15 year hiatus. The tournament was held in Egypt. Kenya was placed in what turned out to be the most difficult group. The other teams in the group were Senegal, Algeria and Tanzania. Senegal and Algeria would meet in the final and were clearly the top two teams in the tournament.

Prior to the tournament, Kenya embarked on an expensive training camp in France. The camp was fiercely criticized by Kenyan pundits.  One of the complaints was that the weather in France would not prepare Harambee stars for the heat and humidity of Egypt. But coach Sebastian Migne was unmoved

“And the weather was very important to me. During this preparation, we will have many sessions, sometimes three times a day and you can’t do that in a hot country,” he added.

During the camp, Kenya played friendly matches against Madagascar and DR Congo. Kenya beat Madagascar 1-0 with Victor Wanyama scoring from the penalty spot. A week later, Kenya drew 1-1 with DR Congo with Olunga giving Kenya a 27th minute lead that was canceled with three minutes left.


Kahata, Eric Johana and Wanyama in action against DR Congo

The matches however did not prepare Kenya adequately for the intensity of playing against Algeria and Senegal, Africa’s two best teams. In fact Kenya had turned down opportunities to play against Tunisia and Egypt. The heat and humidity of North Africa plus the hostile crowds would have given Kenya better preparation.

Corruption during the France Camp

It would later turn out that FKF paid OneGoal Pro agency Sh106 million to prepare the Harambee Stars camp in France. OneGoalPro is owned by one Joe Kamga, who doubles up as then Stars coach Sebastien Migne’s agent. This was clearly a conflict of interest.

Numerous Joyriders traveled with the team to Cairo, each being paid hefty daily allaowances. Chairman Nick Mwendwa and his deputy Doris Petra paid themselves Ksh 50,000 and 45,000 daily. Eight members of the executive committee were given Ksh 40,000 in Daily allowances. As reported by the Nation, these were Michael Ouma, Mwendwa’s personal assistant (PA) Sylvia Mumbua, Muthomi’s PA Juliet Nyambura, Frank Ogolla, ,Christine Ojode, Chris Amimo, Joseph Andere, Muriithi Nabea and Tony Kweya.


Sports cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed addressing the national team in France

The Nation report further indicated that among other things, FKF claimed to have spent Ksh 63 million for a friendly against Togo that never took place. In the end, PS Kirimi Kaberia stated that FKF was unable to account for the Ksh 244 million that was given to them.

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Kenya had a nervous start against Algeria. The players were clearly jittery in the first half, perhaps the big stage overawed them. In the first half, Harambee Stars could hardly string together more than two passes and were committing unnecessary fouls. Algeria took advantage by running directly at the Kenyan defence and tumbling at the slightest touch. It came as no surprise when Algeria were finally awarded a penalty which  Riyad Mahrez converted.  Mahrez would then score the second goal as he was left wide open.

In the second half, Harambee Stars coach introduced Eric Ouma “Marcelo”, a move which shored up the left flank which had been leaking significantly. He also introduced Johana Omollo. This stabilized the Stars midfield and with Omollo’s poise and ability to maintain possession, Kenya’s performance in the second half improved significantly. They were however unable to find the net and the match ended 2-0 in Algeria’s favour.

In the second match, Kenya played neighbours Tanzania in a match that was for East African bragging rights. Twice Tanzania took the lead because dangerman Mbwana Samatta was left wide open. For the first goal, his shot was parried by goalkeeper Patrick Matasi but the ball fell to Simon Msuva who finished with an easy tap in. Samatta would yet again escape the Kenya defence on the right flank to score Tanzania’s second goal.


Olunga scored with a scissors kick

Kenya fought back each time with Olunga equalizing the first goal with an overhead scissors kick in the first half. In the second half, Johanna Omollo scored Kenya’s second goal with a glancing header of Ayub Timbe’s cross. Olunga would then score the winner after a superb run by Eric Johana. Kenya won the thrilling match 3-2 and with it, East African bragging rights.

In the last match, Kenya played Senegal. Kenya looked good in the first half with solid defending that saw them hold off the Senegalese. At halftime the score was 0-0. Early in the second half, Dennis Odhiambo almost scored but his powerful shot was saved by the Senegalese keeper. It was downhill from that point on as Kenya conceded 3 goals, two of which were scored by Liverpool striker Sadio Mane. The match ended 3-0 in favour of the Senegalese.

Gor Mahia in the 2018-2019 CAF Confederations cup

Gor Mahia under coach Hassan Oktay  became the first Kenyan side to qualify for the group stage of any continental competition. They did this by beating New Star de Douala of Cameroun in the CAF Confederations cup playoff round, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 0-0 away.

In the group stage, Gor Mahia finished second in group B with 9 points. A 4-2 win over Egyptian giants Zamalek as well as wins of NA Hussein Dey and Petro De Luanda saw them through. In the quarter-finals, things fell apart as they lost to RS Berkane 7-1 on aggregate.

2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup

The 2019 edition of the CECAFA senior challenge cup was held in Uganda. Harambee stars emerged from group B with a 100% record, beating Tanzania 1-0, Zanzibar 1-0 and Sudan 2-1. But things fell apart in the semi-finals as Kenya were beaten 4-1 by Eritrea in what was one of the most embarrassing defeats in the history of Kenya football. Kenya then recovered to beat Tanzania 2-1 for 3rd place.

2019 Sportpesa Supercup

One of the most memorable tournaments of 2019 was the Sportpesa Supercup which pitted four Kenyan teams : Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Bandari and Kariobangi Sharks, against four Tanzanian teams: Simba, Young Africans, Singida United and Mbao FC.

The biggest shock came when Mbao FC eliminated Gor Mahia on penalties in the opening round after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation. AFC Leopards were also eliminated in the opening round, losing 2-1 to Simba FC. Another opening round shock came when Kariobangi Sharks beat Yanga 2-1. Bandari went on to upset formbook, beating Simba 2-1 in the semi-finals with William Wadri and Wycliff Ochomo canceling Meddie Kagere’s opener. It was an all Kenyan final that ended with Sharks beating Bandari 1-0.

Sportpesa withdraws from Sponsorship

In August of 2019, the betting company Sportpesa pulled out of all Sponsorships in sports. It was a huge blow for local football as at the time, they were sponsoring the national team, the Kenya Premier League and a number of local clubs including traditional giants AFC leopards and Gor Mahia.

Soon after this, the Kenya Premier League fell on hard times. The loss of sponsorship came a year after Supersport had pulled out of televising KPL matches, leaving teams with a significant financial hole. Now with Supersport out,  several players reporting having gone a number of months without pay. Two Sugarbelt clubs SoNy Sugar and Chemelil Sugar fell on hard times. SoNy Sugar, who had won the KPL title in 2006 were relegated after they failed to honour three matches. Chemelil Sugar were not doing much better. At the end of 2019, they had played 13 matches, lost 12 and draw one.

Continental Club competitions

Gor Mahia earned the right to represent Kenya in the 2019-2020 edition of the CAF Champions league. They started out well, beating Aigle Noir in the preliminary round by an aggregate score of 5-1. Things came a cropper for Kogalo in the first roiund when they fell to USM Alger of Algeria 6-1 on aggregate. Two years earlier they had played the same Algerian side and lost 3-2 on aggregate. The heavy loss was attributed to the difficult financial hardships the club was facing. Kogalo were thus relegated to the CAF Confederations cup where they faced DC Motema Pembe in the playoff.

Hassan Abdallah of Bandari in action against US Ben Guerdane

Bandari FC qualified to represent Kenya in the CAF Confederations where they gave a good account of themselves. In the preliminary round, they eliminated Al Ahli Shendy of Libya on goal aggregate, drawing 0-0 at home and 1-1 away. In the first round, they eliminated US Ben Guerdane of Tunisia, winning 2-0 at home and losing 1-2 away. In the playoff round, they faced off with moneybags, Horoya of Guinea. They lost 2-4 away and 0-1 at home. A good performance for a side that rarely plays in continental football.


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Kenya at the 2009 World Athletics championships: Vivian Cheruiyot comes of age

Background

The 2009 World Athletics championships were held at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany from 15–23 August 2009. With a medal haul of four gold, six silver and one bronze, Kenya finished 3rd overall in the medal table behind USA and Jamaica. The championships will be remembered as the moment Vivian Cheruiyot finally came of age. They will also be remembered as the first time that two members of the same family won medals for Kenya: Linet Masai and Moses Masai won gold and bronze medals respectively.

Women’s 5000m: Gold for Cheruiyot, Silver for Jebiwott

Since 2003, Kenyan women had been playing second fiddle to the Ethiopians in this event, especially Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar. In 2009, Vivian Cheruiyot and Sylvia Jebiwott finally broke the stranglehold that the Ethiopians had on this event by going 1-2.

Cheruiyot started to push the pace with two laps to go. At the Bell, the pace heightened. With 300m to go, the race was reduced to Cheruiyot, Defar and Jebiwott. Defar passed Cheruiyot with 150 metres to go and appeared on pace to record another Ethiopia victory. But Cheruiyot still had plenty of petrol left in the tank which she used to chase down Defar and pass her in the last 50 metres. In the process she caused Defar to break her stride which enabled Jebiwott to overtake Defar for silver.

Race Video

Men’s Marathon: Gold for Kirui, Silver for Mutai

Abel Kirui, an employee of Kenya’s Administration Police, clocked 2:06:54 to set a new championship record. It marked the second succesive time that a Kenyan had won this event. Emmanuel Mutai completed the 1-2 when he clocked 2:07:48to take silver ahead of Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia. It marked the second time that a country had gone 1-2 in this event after Spain in 1997

Race Video

Men’s Steeplechase: Gold for Kemboi, silver for Mateelong

Ezekiel Kemboi had won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. But at the World championships, he had taken 3 succesive silver medals in 2003, 2005 and, always losing to other Kenyans. So before these championships, Kemboi announced that he was tired of always taking “silver, silver, silver” and that he was going for nothing but gold this time. He ran like a man on a mission, stopping the clock at 8:00.43, a new championship record. Richard Mateelong took silver. Paul Kipsiele Koech ended fourth while defending champion Brimin Kipruto faded to 7th place.


Ezekiel Kemboi could not hide his joy at winning the World Championships for the first time ever

Women’s 10,000m: Linet Masai from with shock gold medal

Here again Meseret Defar was the firm favourite. At the 9KM mark, defar set a torrid pace to try and break the rest of the field. The 2 other Ethiopians Wude Ayalew and Meselech Melkamu followed in tow. Meanwhile Linet Masai and Grace Momanyi of Kenya led the second group. Defar appeared to br running away with the race with 100 metres to go. But she was soon passed by Melkamu. With 50 metres to go, the long strides of Masai ate up the track and she passed Defar before passsing Melkamu at the finish line for a famous gold medal.

Race Video

Other Medals.

Moses Masai, brother to Linet Masai, won a creditable bronze medal in the 10,000m behind Kenenisa Bekele and Zersenay Tadesse. Defending champion Alfred Kirwa Yego took silver in the 800m. Milcah Chemos toook silver in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase. Defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei tool silver in the women’s 800m.

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2007 World Athletics Championships: Finally Redemption for Kenya

Going into these World Championships, Kenya had lost much of its mystique and prestige as a distance running giant. In 1999 and in 2005, the country had won only one gold medal. While in 2003, only two gold. The period from 1995 to 2005 can best be remembered as the EPO era when Kenyan athletes routinely lost to EPO powered athletes. Out of competition testing for EPO was started in earnest around 2005 when it was approved by WADA. Also in 2007, for the first time, IAAF conducted over 1000 tests. And as a result, Kenya’s fortunes changed for the better. The country’s performance at the world championships significantly improved. That is not to say that Kenyan athletes do not use EPO. But between 1995 and 2005, Kenya was way behind the curve-ball when it comes to EPO use.

The 2007 World Athletics championships were held in Osaka Japan from August 2 to August 7. Kenya finished second in the medal table with 5 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze for a total haul of 13 medals. The highest ever by the county. Former Kenyan Bernard Lagat won two gold medals for the USA.

Women’s 800m: Majestic Jepkosgei leads from start to finish

Janeth Jepkosgei, Kenya’s new sensation, had announced herself by winning the gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth games. She was considered a contender coming into these championships. However no Kenyan woman had ever won a medal in this event and Mozambican legend Maria Mutola still loomed large with her big game experience.

Whereas many runners would have saved their energy for the finals, Jepkosgei ran hard in all three rounds, leading every race from start to finish. In the semi-finals, she signaled her intentions by running a world leading time of 1:56.17. This installed her as a favourite though many wondered if she had burned all her energy before the final.

In the final, she once again took the lead immediately after the gun. Her majestic stride appeared like a springbok leaping across the savanna and was accentuated by her flowing ponytail. At the bell she had a solid lead. With 250 metres to go, Mutola made her move and things looked ominous because Jepkosgei appeared to be slowing. With 200 metres to go, the Moroccan Hasna Benhassi made her move, passing Mutola and charging at Jepkosgei. Mutola then ran out of steam, unable to match Jepkosgei’s pace. Benhassi charged but Jepkosgei found another gear, increasing her lead over the last 50 metres to win in 1:56.04.

It marked the first time a Kenyan woman had won this event. Which is amazing because Kenyan men had excelled in this event for decades.

Race Video

Men’s 800m: Yego with a last grasp win

Alfred Kirwa Yego was not Kenya’s to contender. That distinction belonged to Wilfred Bungei who had been the fastest and most consistent Kenyan in this event for the previous 4 years. Still when Yego made it the final, he became one of the favourites given Kenya’s strong tradition in this event.

The slow pace of the first lap favoured fast finishers like Yego. Abraham Chepkirwok of Uganda appeared to be running away with the gold with 150 metres to go. Gary Reed of Canada caught up with him at the beginning of the final straight. With 100m to go, Yego was a distant third and looked unlikely to win. But his incredible finishing speed enabled him to close the gap and catch Reed at the finish line. Though he did noty lean, he was able to win by a hundredth of a second. He immediately pointed at the scoreboard as if to say that the scoreboard would soon announce him the winner. He was vindicated. He won in 1:47.09, perhaps the slowest in the event’s history.

Race Video

Men’s Marathon: Luke Kibet gives Kenya a rare win

Prior In the 10 previous World Championships, Kenya had won the men’s marathon event only once. This despite Kenyans dominating the various city marathons worldwide. As a result, not much was expected from the Kenyan contingent of five: Luke Kibet, William Kiplagat, Laban Kagika, Laban Kipkemboi and James Macharia. None of them had any experience in big city marathons.

However the hot and humid conditions favoured Kibet. The temperature was 30 degrees celsius with 72% humidity.  Kibet won the race by a significant margin, finishing in 2:15:59, a minute and a half ahead of Richard Yatich who had changed his name to Shami Mubarak after switching allegiance to Bahrain.

Race Video

Women’s marathon: Second world championship for Ndereba

Catherine Ndereba had won the world championship in 2003 and a silver medal at the 2005. In 2007, she won her second gold medal. This in addition to her two Olympic silver medals, made her the most successful female marathon runner ever. She won the race in 2:30:37 . fending off Zhou Chunxiu of and crowd favourite, Reiko Tosa of Japan.

Race Video

3000m Steeplechase: Clean sweep for Kenya

Given Kenya’s dominance in this event, a clean sweep was not unexpected. Kenyans had thoroughly diominated this event in 2007. The top athlete was another Kenyan Paul Kipsiel Koech who was not at this event.

Brimin Kipruto, Ezekiel Kemboi and Richard Mateelong finished 1-2-3

Race Video

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Remembering Lutumba Simaro in pictures

Simaro first joined TPOK Jazz in 1964


Simaro (left) soon after rejoining TP OK Jazz in the mid 1960s

 

Simaro’s wedding to Nkelani. His best man was the legendary Docteur Nico Kasanda who is on the far right

 

Simaro briefly joined a group called Wapi Vedette in the early 1960s

 

Simaro (far right) with other TPOK Jazz members in the 1960s

 

Posing in the late 1960s

Simaro with Gege Yoka-Mangaya in 1975

 


Simaro came to prominence in the mid 1970s with hits like Okoregrettaire Ngai, Presence, Bodutaka and others


Sharply dressed Simaro seen here in the early 1980s

 

Simaro seen with Franco here on the album sleeve for “Merci Bapesaka na Mbua. Composed by Simaro, it was one of the band’s greatest hits

 


Starting in the Mid 1970s, Simaro was appointed by Franco as the Chef d’Orchestre and was seen as Franco’s right hand man

 

It was Simaro who introduced Franco to Josky in 1974 upon which the latter joined TPOK Jazz

 

Simaro and Franco on tour in Kenya in 1986

 

This TPOK Jazz album from 1988 was labeled as “Simaro et le TPOK Jazz” reflecting the fact that Simaro had already started taking the reins of TPOK Jazz

 

Simaro touring Paris in 1990 with TPOK Jazz. He was then the band leader

 

When TPOK Jazz folded, the trio of Ndombe Opetum, Simaro and Josky formed Bana OK. This was around 1998

The greatest composer in the history of African music, seen here during the Bana OK days in the late 1990s

 

Simaro receiving an award from the then President of DR Congo Laurent Kabila

 

Franco with former DR Congo president Laurent Kabila

 

Simaro with Faya Tess in 2016. The latter did renditions of several Simaro songs during this period.

 


Simaro with one of his sons

 


Simaro in concert with TPOK Jazz in the mid 1970s. Behind him is rhythm guitarist Gege Yoka Mangaya

 


In his prime, Simaro would practise on his guitar 12 hours a day


Simaro seen here with TPOK Jazz founder member Armando Brazzos (left) and guitar wizard Mose Se Fan Fan who played with TPOK Jazz in the early 1970s

Simaro with one of his granddaughters

 

Simaro in 2018, aged 80

 


Simaro ailments started around 2018

 

This is when Simaro was admitted to hospital in Paris. He would pass on a few days later

 

Simaro’s wife of over 50 years: Mama Nkelani on the right

 

After his passing, all of DR Congo went into mourning

 

Lying in state: Simaro’s funeral

 

His final resting place

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Kenya at the 2019 Dubai Sevens

Group Stage

Kenya 12 South Africa 17
Tries: Alvin Otieno, Vincent Onyala
Conversion: Daniel Taabu

Kenya 5 England 12
Tries: Nelson Oyoo
Conversion: N/A

Kenya 19 Spain 22
Tries: Olindi, Oyoo, Ojee
Conversion: Daniel Taabu (2)

13th Place Playoff

Kenya 26 Scotland 14
Tries: Alvin Otieno, Onyala, Sikuta, Olindi
Conversion: Daniel Taabu (3)

Squad

Andrew Amonde
Willy Ambaka
Billy Odhiambo
Jacob Ojee
Bush Mwale
Alvin Otieno
Nelson Oyoo
Jeff Oluoch
Johnstone Olindi
Vincent Onyala
Daniel Sikuta
Oscar Dennis
Daniel Taabu

Gallery


Alvin Otieno in action against South Africa

 


Olindi (middle) Providing cover defence

 


Ambaka shakes hands with an SA player

 

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