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Sam Nyamweya took over as FKF chairman in 2011 when he won a flawed election. As incumbent, he is once again the favourite to win thanks to his vast war-chest:
Kenya has not qualified for any major tournament under Nyamweya. Under Nyamweya, the senior national Harambee stars has attempted to qualify for the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Africa nations cup. All attempts have fallen flat in large part due to poor preparations. The players have pleaded for adequate preparations including friendly matches but their pleas have almost always fallen on deaf ears. Poor preparations has seen Kenya eliminated by teams like Guinea Bissau, Togo and Lesotho.
Kenya’s performance in he Africa Nations championships (CHAN) has not been any better. In the qualifiers for the 2014 edition, Kenya was eliminated by Burundi while for the 2016 edition, Kenya lost to Ethiopia.
Kenya has fared even worse in age group tournaments. In most cases, Kenya has withdrawn due to lack of funds. When Kenya has participated, their aspirations have been doomed by poor organization at FKF. Case in point was the Olympic qualifer against Botswana. Poor travel plans saw Kenya arrive only hours before the match. The net result was that Kenya lost 0-3 to a team they should have beaten.
The performance of the women’s team has not been any better. Once again Kenya has withdrawn from most tournaments due to lack of funds.
FIFA giveseach Federation a minimum of US $250,000 which under current exchange rates translates to Ksh 25 million. There is additional money that comes from FIFA as grants for special projects.
A German TV exposee on corruption in football accused Nyamweya of ‘pocketing’ more than USD 500,000 (Sh48.9m) in development aid funds from world governing body, FIFA.
In a documentary titled “Soccer for Sale – Sepp Blatter and Allegations of Sleaze at FIFA” that aired on Deutsche Welle on Monday, Jérôme J. Dufourg, a French football marketing executive who worked with FKF provided documents supporting claims that allegedly implicate Nyamweya.
Yet Nyamweya always claims the Federation is short of funds. When Harambee stars recently played Mauritius, the FKF abandoned the players at their hotel without allowances is nothing short of scandalous, with some national team players having to ask their clubs for money.
Kenya are due to play Cape Verde in November. The players have asked for adequate preparations and friendlies. Yet the federation is already claiming that they don’t have the money to finance the team for the clash, saying that the government should be funding the squad for international assignments as per the Sports Act. It is therefore likely that Harambee stars will face a strong Cape Verde said without having played any friendlies and likely after training together for only 3 days.
Most observers understand that the primary reason for Kenya’s poor performances is due to a lack of high calibre players. Without structured youth development, Kenya will not produce the calibre of players that is needed to be competitive and regularly qualify for the Africa nations cup.
Current FKF Vice Chairman Robert Asembo was once asked in a TV interview why his team has not made any attempts towards youth development. He was flat out dismissive of the idea and said it was not a priority. One would have assume that Nyamweya has the same thought process. Yet these are the people now vying for office.
One of Nyamweya’s first actions when he was elected in 2011 was to destroy the Safaricom Sakata ball tournament. Yet it is through such grassroots tournaments that latent talents are discovered.
Despite destroying the aspirations of fans and players, it is likely that Nyamweya will emerge victorious in the election. This is because many of the voters are only driven by self interest.
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Twenty six years after the passing of Franco Luambo Makiadi, a statue has been unveiled in his honour. Franco who is considered the greatest musician Africa has ever produced, passed away in 1989, ending a career that lasted over 30 years.
The statue was inaugurated by Congolese Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo.The bronze statue is 2.97 metres in height and weighs 400 kilograms. It stands in the heart of Matonge district in the commune of Kalamu in Kinshasa. Matonge disctrict is known as the heartbeat of the Congolese music scene.
Some prominent Congolese musicians present at the ceremony praised the work. But they want other greats of Congolese music are honored in the same way.
“We thank the Head of State for this gesture how much capital for us. We hope that this kind of event extends also to other artists like Kalle Jeff who was one of the tenors Fiesta style, “said the president of the Association of Congolese musicians Kiamwangana Mateta Verkys who at one point in the 1970s was a prominent member of Franco’s band TPOK Jazz.
Several members of the government were present at the inauguration of the statue of Luambo Makiadi. During the event, the Ok Jazz Group that Luambo founded and led for a long time, played a few songs. The band has recently been revived by Franco’s son and plays at the Une Deux Trois nightclub that Franco played at during his heyday.
On his Twitter account, the Prime Minister praised the work of Franco, “a symbol of rumba music.”
|Franco Luambo website|
Kenya’s dominance of IAAF Gold Label Road Races continued on Saturday October 17 2015. Bernard Kipyego and Joyce Chepkrui won the men and women’s races at the 2015 Amsterdam Marathon.
Despite battling persistent drizzling rain, temperatures below 10C and a high humidity, the duo recorded the sixth-fastest times in the history of the race; Kipyego winning in 2:06:19 and Chepkirui crossing the line in 2:24:11.
Kipyego took the lead at the 30km mark after the pacemakers dropped out. Ezekiel Chebii, Mike Kigen and Chala Dechasa tried to chase but Kipyego proved too strong. Chebii finished second in 2:07:18, lowering his PB by almost two minutes. Kigen was third in 2:07:45, completing a Kenyan sweep of the podium places. Dechasa finished fourth in 2:08:25
Kipyego 29, was the defending champion having won the 2014 edition. 2014 was the first time Kipyego had won a major city marathon. Prior to that, he had represented Kenya at the world cross country championships as a junior in 2005 and as a senior in 2007 and 2008, finishing 2nd, 3rd and 10th respectively. In 2009, he finished 5th at the world championships 10,000m and 2nd in the world half marathon championships. He appears to have found his niche as a marathoner.
In her 5th marathon, Joyce Chepkirui, sliced nearly 4 minutes off her personal best when she won in 2:24:11. She took the lead from Philomena Cheyech at the 28 km mark and ran solo for the rest of the race.
Chepkiriui had failed to finish on her marathon debut in London in 2012. She then finished 15th in LOndon in 2013. She won in Honolulu last year in 2:30:23 and then placed 10th in Boston in 2015.
On the track, she won the gold medal in the 10,000m a the 2014 Commonwealth games and also won the long race at the 2012 African cross country championships.
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The 1988 Olympics are among the most memorable for Kenyan. In total Kenya ended up with 5 gold medals. Not too many people expected Kenya to excel at these games. They had won only 1 gold medal at the 1984 Olympics.
Of Kenya’s gold medals at the 1988 Olympics, perhaps the most dramatic was Peter Rono’s win in the 1500m. Though he had won the Kenyan trials, not much was expected from him. He was not among the top 1500m runners in 1988. He had no big race experience. He had never won a medal in a major championships. And at 21, he was the youngest competitor in the field.
In fact Rono’s only previous medal was at the 1986 junior championships in which he won silver behind another Kenyan, Wilfred Oanda Kirochi. In 1987 he had actually qualified to go to the world championships but ended up finishingh 11th in the semi-finals.
Rono was based in the USA at the time, representing Mount St Mary’s college. That year he was NCAA champion in the indoor 800m and 1500m, plus the outdoor 1500m. Thus he was well known in American running circles but certainly not in Kenyan or global running circles. It is also true that he arrived at the Olympics after a long and gruelling NCAA season which would tire most runners.
In the Olympic finals, he was competing against British legend Steve Cram who had won the world championships gold medal in 1983 as well as Commonwealth games gold medals in 1982 and 1986. He had also won the European championships in 1982 and 1986 plus an Olympic silver medal in 1984. And in that particular year (1988), he had run the fastest times in the 1500m and the mile.
The other highly rated Briton in the race was Peter Elliott, who had won silver in the 1987 world championships and silver at the 1986 Commonwealth games. Then there was Irishman Marcus O’Sullivan, the world indoor champion. Rounding up the big names in the race was East German Jens Peter Herold, one of the greatest milers of the late 1980s.
The other Kenyans who made the finals were highly experienced duo of Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Joseph Chesire. Both had been at the 1984 Olympics with Chesire coming agonizingly close to winning a bronze medal. He would later win a bronze medal at the 1987 All Africa games behind two other Kenyans, Sisa Kirati and Wilfred Oanda Kirochi.
Though highly inexperienced, Rono’s race plan was a master-class in tactical running. From the beginning, Rono kept glancing sideways to see where his team-mates were as Kenya appeared intent on running a team race. The Kenyans stayed at the back of the pack for the first lap as the two famous Britons stayed close to the front.
Rono made his way to the front of the pack at the 700m mark. He took his place on the inner lane. He would not relinquish his lead for the rest of the race. Elliott moved beside him. Rono kept glancing to his side. Each time a runner tried to take over the lead, Rono was step up his pace and cover the move. Chesire then tried to pass Rono but Rono held on. With 600m to go, It was Atkinson, the American champion who made an aggressive move but Rono easily fended him off at the bend.
Atkinson was still on Rono’s heels at the Bell before he relinquished his chase. With 300m to go, it was Elliott who took up the challenge of passing Rono who kept glancing to his side. The race was heating up with 200m to go with Elliott, Cram and Herold chasing Rono. No one expected Rono to hold his lead against such a world class trio, especially not the announcer.
But Rono kept glancing to his side, shifting up gears and holding off the world famous trio. In the final straight, Rono found a 5th gear which enabled him to fend off the quartet and even widen his lead. In the last 150m, Rono glanced sideways a total of eight times !! But he still had the wherewithal to hold off his world famous challengers.
In the end, the commentator aptly described it as a “Bold piece of front running.” Rono’s winning time was 3:35.96.
Rono never won a major race again. In fact after the Olympics, Kenyans never heard from him again. The 3:35.96 he clocked in the Olympic final would remain his personal best for the rest of his career.
Since he was only 21 when he won OLympic gold, many expected him to dominate for years to come. But it never came to pass.
He however continued to compete in the American collegiate circuit. In 1990, he was was the runner-up at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 1,500 meters behind teammate Kipkoech Cheruiyot. He was also second in the mile at the 1990 NCAA Indoor meet.
He won the 1990 NEC Cross Country championship and was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the 1991 NEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships where he won the 800, 1,500 and 5,000 meter races.
He went on to finish third in the NCAA Championships in the 1,500 meters in 1991. He won the 1991 NEC indoor 3,000 meter championships.
Rono was an 11-time All-American and five-time NEC individual champion. In each collegiate meet, he would run in both the 800m and the 1500m. He would compete indoor and outdoor meets.This at the behest of his collegiate coach. Many collegiate runners who excel at different races are often asked to run in too many races in order to win points for their collegiate teams. In some cases, a topp tier runners is the only one on his team capable of winning races. As such he is asked to carry the team on his shoulders. In many cases they run while injured. The net result is that such runners often burn out due to fatigue and unhealed injuries and end up having very short careers.
It comes as no surprise therefore that Rono’s running career was very brief. He never ran again after he left Mount Saint Marys in 1992. And he was only 24 at the time. In fact after his golden performance in 1988, his form gradually declined likely due to being over-raced by his school team.
In 1992, Rono earned a degree in Economics from Mount St Marys. He married Mary Kirui who was a bronze medalist at the 1987 All African games. He currently lives in New Jersey. His son Martin Rono and daughter Irene also became collegiate runners.
Peter Rono was born in Kapsabet and attended St Paticks Iten where he ran under legendary Irishcoach Brolm O’Connell.
O’Connell trains his less talented team members to be assistant coaches. ”Peter Rono was coached largely by a classmate,” he says. ”He was a small boy and always struggling. He ran the 5,000 when he came, which was O.K., but in 1983, Kip Cheruiyot was selected to run with the national team in Helsinki, and suddenly I had no 1,500-meter runner for the Schools Championships. I went to little Peter Rono and said, ‘You’re going to be a 1,500 runner. I need you.’ ”
Rono gave his grave consent. ”That was his breakthrough. He won the Schools 1,500 and 5,000 double three times. He’s really a 5,000 man. He has no hope in a real sprint, but if everybody’s tired, he can maintain his speed.”
Thus it was that in Seoul little Peter Rono led the last 800 meters of the Olympic 1,500 final and made everybody tired. In the stretch, with Steve Cram and Peter Elliott of Great Britain straining on his heels, Rono smoothly maintained his lead to the finish. He was the first St. Patrick’s boy to win an Olympic gold medal.
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Hong Kong 14-12 Kenya
Mexico 0-55 Kenya
Japan 31-0 Kenya
Fiji 45-0 Kenya
Argentina 19-5 Kenya
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This is one of Franco’s classic songs and most reknown from the golden era of TPOK Jazz. It features exhilarating guitar riffs by Franco as well as superb vocals by Franco and Josky Kiambukuta
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The East African Standard recently announced that Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson is paid a monthly salary of Ksh 2.5 million per month. This is equivalent to US $ 23726.05 per month. This is a staggering amount by any standards. To put things in perspective, Williamson makes more than at least three of the coaches at the 2014 world cup, Miguel Herrera of Mexico, James Appiah of Ghana and Niko Kovacs of Croatia.
Yet these were coaches who had steered their respective teams to world cup qualification. Many Kenya fans have complained that Williamson does not deserve such a massive pay packet. Former national team coach and now Bandari coach Twahir Muhiddin is among those who think Willliamson is not worthy of such remuneration.
Rick Solomon “Tolle”, a former national team player and now long serving football official also added his voice to the naysayers.
Owing to the fact that the team is performing poorly, Solomon says, the salary should be reviewed though he also pointed out that he (Williamson) is not entirely to blame for the poor showing.
But in a quick rejoinder, FKF Chairman Sam Nyamweya defended Williamson’s large salary.
“He deserves the pay and let us not forget the fact that he has had salary arrears for long. In our opinion, he has done well considering the circumstances he was working under,” Mr Nyamweya said.
Nyamweya believes the coach can still steer the national team to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
“We still have a chance of featuring in the finals despite losing to Zambia. We just need to be focused and work hard on this,” he said.
Certainly Williamson is not to blame for Kenya’s poor performance. After all Kenya has been performing poorly for the past 12 years or so. The last time the national team excited the public was in 2003 when a sensational Dennis Oliech steered the team to a CECAFA challenge cup win in Tanzania and to qualification for the 2004 Africa nations cup. Since then it has been one futile campaign for another.
Williamson himself noted that Zambia who recently beat Kenya, had higher quality strikers. The calibre of players that Kenya currently has will not cut it. The reason Kenya does not have enough high calibre players is due to lack of structured youth development.
Because Youth development is basically non-existent, young Kenyan players are not developing tactically and technically. Kenya often does not even enter Under-20 or Under-17 tournaments, unlike countries like Zambia which are regular participants. Without youth teams to act as feeder teams for the national teams, Kenya will continue to lag behind.
Rather than spend Ksh 2.5 million on a coach, the government would be better off injecting more money into youth development programs thart identify talented youth at the grassroots and puts them ins tructured youth development programs.
Unfortunately both FKF and the government think that spending money on expensive coaches is the solution to Kenya’s poor performance. The reality is that there is no shortcut to success. If Kenya does not invest in youth development then Harambee stars is doomed to endless mediocrity.
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The 2015 will go down as a memorable season for Kenyan sprinters. Whereas Kenya is known for producing more world class distance runners than any other nation, it has generally faired poorly in the shortest distances, especially since the early 1990s when the Kenyan athletics governing body (AK) really started to neglect the sprinters.
Yet in the last few years, AK has started to treat sprinters better, resulting in gradual improvements that culminated in a memorable 2015 season.
Firstly Nicholas Bett became the first Kenyan to win a sprinting medal at the world championships when he won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles. It was a run that shocked the world. Not only did Bett overcome the odds to win, he won out of lane 9, the outermost lane which is the most difficult to win from. By running a time of 47.79, he ran the fastest time in the world for the year 2015. It was also a new Kenyan record, breaking the old one set by Eric Keter 22 years earlier when Bett was barely a year old.
But it was not just Bett who shone. Compatriot Boniface Mucheru Tumuti also reached the finals of the 400m hurdles at the world championships and finished a creditable 5th. The fact that two Kenyans made a sprint final was in itself very impressive.
This column has stated many times that Kenyans can do well in the 400m hurdles. This event is very similar to the 800m in terms of cardiovascular demands. And Kenyans have dominated the 800m for a long time. What has been lacking is the technical approach that is needed for hurdling.
Kenya was able to retain the 4 X 400m relay title at the All Africa games in dramatic fashion. Botswana were the hot favourites. Kenya were neck and neck with the Botswana coming into the final leg. No one gave Kenya a chance since Botswana’s anchor was Isaac Makwala who had easily won the 400m gold with s superb time of 44.35, more than half a second ahead of Kenya’s Boniface Mweresa. Botswana also had the 400m bronze medalist Onkabetse Nkobolo plus 800m winner Nijel Amos
However it was Mweresa who prevailed, doggedly holding off Makwala as the latter breathed down his neck. In the last 50m, Mweresa shifted to fifth gear and showed Makwala a clean pair of heels, leaving the tiring Makwala stunned. Mweresa ran an incredible 43.8 second split in the anchor leg. That is even faster than the legendary Samson Kitur who still holds the Kenya 400m records. And is as fast as top 400m like Kirani James.
Kenya’s splits were as follows: Raymond Kibet (45.5) , Alex Sampao (45.6) Kiprono Koskei (45.4) Boniface Mweresa (43.8).
What is also amazing is that Kenya was running without Nicholas Bett and Boniface Mucheru. Had they run, Kenya might have broken the national record.
Kenya placed three runners in the 400m finals at the All Africa games with Mweresa winning the silver medal while Sampao and Kibet finished 6th and 8th respectively.
The Kenyan women’s 4 X 400m were not to be left behind either. They won the bronze medal in 3:35.91 which however is still 7 seconds off the Kenya record which was set in 1987. The Kenyan quartet consisted of Hellen Syombua, Annet Mwanzi, Winnie Chebet and Maureen Nyatichi
Eunice Kadogo was one of the biggest revelations of 2015. She surprised everyone perhaps even herself when she won the silver medal in the 100m at the All Africa games. She was a relatively unknown figure before she arrived in Brazzaville for the games. But she fired a warning shot when she first lowered the Kenyan record with a time of 11.58 in the semi-finals. In the finals she lowered it even further to 11.47. Prior to Kadogo, the record was set by Joyce Odhiambo who set the Kenyan mark at 11.62 in 1987.
The 2015 season saw a number of Kenyan records fall. Mike Mokamba Nyangau set a 100m record with a time of 10.23. He is the son of Elkanah Nyangau who represented Kenya in the late 1980s over the 400m. Nyangau also earned a ticket to run at the world championships in the 200m.
Carvin Nkanata set a new Kenya record in the 200m with a superb time of 20.14. It was the 23rd fastest time in the world in 2015, marking the first time a Kenyan appeared in the IAAF top lists in the short sprints.
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