Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
With the proposed fixtures having been circulated to the clubs, partisan interests are already beginning to emerge. I've seen some correspondence from some club officials urging all to attend the meeting in order to "defend their positions". Of interest to the clubs will be timing of specific tournaments and events hosted by the clubs themselves. On this one I have no sympathy with them. They should declare the tournaments they want to host with their preferred timings and wait for the union to allocate them. After banging on the director in charge of fixtures for not being assertive enough, this is clearly one opportunity for him to stamp his authority. That Mombasa no longer host the driftwood sevens at their preferred mid season time since it is a major fund raising event for them should be a precedent to note. Mombasa have gone ahead and host their own off-calendar event at that same time to meet their shortfalls, and I believe this is the path to take. Of key interest is the Impala Floodlit Tournament, slated for it's "traditional" time of January/February, whilst it has always been touted as the "traditional pre-season event". It makes no logical sense to start a tournament, after a break, interrupting an already running one, and for a period of four weeks at that. The other poorly slated tournament is the Rugby Super Series. From the sponsor's perspective, having the Safari Sevens bang in the middle of the Super Series will remove the thunder from one (or the other) event and this needs to be re-looked. Lastly, the Worldwide Structured season is to help with players preparation, player fitness, player peaking and player rest. I don't know if the senior coaches and conditioning experts have been consulted in the drawing up this new season plan.
Monday, August 25, 2008
For me, the most improved teams this season, Quins and Strathmore. From seemingly hopeless positions, Quins are challenging for the cup in the last match and Strathmore have topped my favorites, the middle order. Most disappointing, I'll say Nakuru. They lost the plot just when it was theirs' for the taking, but again, that's what a league is about. Nondies were also clueless the whole season. I consider it a waste of combined talent and pedigree.
The surprise conclusion to this Kenya Cup can only be made more dramatic by the emergence of Kenya Harlequins. Quins lost 3 of their first four games and were written off as relegation candidates. A sudden turn of form has seen them notch up huge wins and have steadily risen up the table from second last at one point, to now lie third, I doubt many saw them coming. The last match of the season, pitting KCB and Quins has now been billed as a final, since it is a winner take all situation. A draw will see KCB win the cup, but that is pretty rare in rugby and both sides will be going for the outright win.
Do have a good week.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Results after the games as usual.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Why do we have such few players at the top? Other than our development programme that we have roundly criticised on this forum before, what stops us from having more "quality" players at the top? Is there anything an individual and do to at least prepare himself for the game at the top? Are the players aware of what they require too be considered amongst the best in the country? A story is told, from the amateur era, of Sean Fitzpatrick, legendary All Black captain. Fitzpatrick would wake up his wife at 5.00 a.m. every day, before getting ready for work, put her on a chair, and throw the rugby ball to her, for half an our each day! Where am I going with this story? Well there is a lot an individual rugby player can do to improve himself. The least of these is to get fit. I notice that players today try to get fit at the club. They wait for the "warm down" session to improve on their fitness whereas this should be just that, a warm down session. No longer is road work considered of value in Kenyan rugby. No longer is hillwork considered of value in Kenyan rugby. No longer are four by tens considered of value in Kenyan rugby. No longer do players take fitness as their primary responsibility. Players are ready to bitch and whine that they have no coach. The coach doesn't make them work hard enough, etc. Why are they not ready to do all that on their own? Hit the gym on their own? Work on their aerobic base on their own? Why are we so ready to leave our destiny in other people's hands? I find this totally strange.
Without sounding too much like a cliche, ask not what rugby can do for you, ask what you can do for rugby. Only then do we have a starting point, as individuals, without being quick to blame the captain, the coach and the chairman of the union.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
September 6: Nondescripts v UTL Kobs (ASK Jamhuri Show ground), G4S Pirates v Strathmore University (Kampala), Tanzania Twigas v Mombasa Sports Club (Arusha), Quins v Impala (RFUEA ground); September 13: Mean Machine v Nondescripts/UTL Kobs (University of Nairobi ground), Mwamba v G4S Pirates/Strathmore University (Nairobi Railway Club), Kenya Commercial Bank v Tanzania Twigas/Mombasa Sports Club (KCB Sports Club, Ruaraka), Nakuru v Quins/Impala (Nakuru Athletic Club); September 20: Semi-finals; September 27: Final.
Monday, August 18, 2008
What then does this mean, that we have beaten the Africa Champions? To me, nothing. Even the adage that "you are as good as your last game" does not hold water with me. That the KRFU website claims we have 20,000 players playing the game and whine when five are unavailable to me is the problem. That we are not able to consistently produce a top class performance to me is the problem. That we wait until we are before our home fans to feel accountable to them to me is the problem. And that we are content only with beating Uganda to me is also a problem.
Do have a good week and wait for the next Kenya fifteens game, sometime next year...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
1. Daniel Kiptoo -
2. Vincent Ongera -
3. Joel Ng’anga -
4. Anthony Ogot - Kenya Commercial Bank RFC
5. Wilson Kopondo - Mean Machine RFC
6. Allan Onyango -
7. David Mogere -
8. Leslie Libasia -
9. Peter Mutai - Kenya Commercial Bank RFC
10. Lavin Asego - Mwamba RFC
11. Collins Injera - Mwamba RFC
12. Cyprian Shimenga - Nakuru RFC
13. Humphrey Kayange - Mwamba RFC
14. Horace Otieno - Mwamba RFC
15. Innocent Simiyu - Impala RFC [Captain]
16. Frank Amiani - Kenya Commercial Bank RFC
17. Derrick Wamalwa - Kenya Commercial Bank RFC
18. Paul Murunga - Kenya Commercial Bank RFC
19. Fednard Ngaira - Nakuru RFC
20. David Gitau -
21. Sidney Nderitu - Mwamba RFC
22. Vincent Mose - Nakuru RFC
A few casual observations. League leaders Impala only have one player in the entire twenty two man squad. This time we have an abundance of jumpers on the starting pack, don't know how many effective lifters will balance this out. We do not have and effective backup line-out thrower on the bench, nor a jumper either, but maybe we can juggle those on the pitch. On backline replacements, other than Mose, the rest will be weakening the backline so don't expect substitutions in that area. One other major concern is the quality of locks. Fine jumpers they are, but I'm worried about their strength in set pieces. I expect Uganda to use a lot of driving and rolling mauls and our back five in the pack are all people more ready to run than get down and push.
Eric Kioko, Ryan Musumba, Kevin Gacheru, Mugambi Kithamba, Jeff Ojwach, George Mutuku, Ken Andola, Oscar Otindo, Michael Wanjala, Ken Gitobu (Strathmore University), Anthony Ngera, Dennis Karani, Owen Ocholla, Joel Omer, Anthony Oyugi, Mathew Musalia, Jacob Kamau (Impala), Francis Muhindi, David Wachira, Lyle Asiligwa, Anthony Nyandigisi, David Ambunya (St. Mary’s), Patrice Agunda (Kenya Harlequin FC) and Ken Isindu (Nondescripts).
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
On an aside. The National Under 19 team has been named and they are due to depart early next week for Tunisia for the African Championship. In this team, an astonishing nine out of twenty two players play their rugby for various clubs. A good number of the players have been on this team for three years now. This would suggest the squad is fairly experienced and should do much better. To me, it is going to be a damning indictment of our development programmes and our rugby as a whole. Firstly, I believe we lose a lot of good/great players at the school level. Many of the good players at this level do not opt to play for clubs and their rugby careers end there. Secondly, our best/hardest/toughest school players undoubtedly come from Western and Nyanza provinces. There is a glaring omission of players from that region. Thirdly, that some of the players named from clubs are in their third season at club level, also begets two questions. Either these players have been playing club rugby whilst below the official age allowed by the IRB (18), or we're sending over-age players to the games! Personally I see it as a lack of effort to build the best team possible. National competitions are held for both sevens and fifteens at school level as well as the Safari Sevens so selecting players for the team should not be a problem. Not wanting to go there, but the fact that the coach of the team has selected most of the players from the two clubs he is affiliated to also shows a lack of a well organised selection system. And since we have so many "club" players in the team, we can now measure how our clubs fare against the schoolboy sides of the continent!
Impala are poised to win this one next weekend when they play KCB away at the Den. Mathematically, three teams have a chance for the title, but I don't think Impala will drop the ball at this stage. We'll wait and see.
This weekend the league gives way to the return match of the Elgon Cup against Uganda.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
On another note, the KRFU will today be unveiling a sponsorship for the Enterprise Cup. While it is good, I am a believer that all sponsorship must trickle down to the clubs. For instance, will KRFU pay all participating clubs a fee? Will they help clubs prepare their grounds for the games? In what way will the participating clubs benefit directly from the sponsorship? Is there substantial prize money? What really are the Union's costs in holding the tournament? What are the club's costs in participating in the tournament? Is all this considered when sourcing sponsorship? All these need to be taken into consideration when sponsorship is sought.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The buck on our performances stops squarely on the Chairman of the board of the Kenya Rugby Football Union. I will ask the questions I have asked before. What is our vision as a rugby fraternity? I would assume it is to be competitive in world rugby and to perform to the highest level of our abilities. Without mincing too many words, to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. What then have we put in place to achieve our goals? Frankly speaking, I don't know. Do we have any programs in place to upskill our coaches or our players? Do we have any plans to bring in foreign assistance, should we require it, to help us achieve our goals? I don't think so either. Personally I believe every vision should have a strategic plan attached to it i.e. the path to the vision. Do we have one? Who is responsible for formulating and implementing such a plan? The buck stops there entirely. As directors in the Union, do they have any say in things or are they just rubber stamps of unilateral decisions from the top? Why do I ask this? I have seen several directors who used to speak fiercly about things as I do when they were out of the Union. They step in and silence. Apparently a lone director does not have the ability to change things, even within his area of responsibility. I'm not sure, but I think we have a director in charge of development, one in charge of 7's, one in charge of 15's and one in charge of schools. We also have one in charge of fixtures. I wonder how many times they sit together to work on a common strategy, because to me all these are interlinked. If they have a working committee in this structure they can come up with common goals and objectives and push their common agenda through at board level. But no, maybe rub the buck holder the wrong way and you're on your own. Don't rock a "successful" boat, full pun intended. To end this point I ask, what does the Chairman stand for?
Additional comments by Ruggerbug
The obssession with selection seems to come from our nature as Kenyans. We are always selecting. MP's, Ministers, Mayors, Councillors, we always want to know who is and who isn't. Even our papers revel more in who was dropped as opposed to who was selected. They always want to know why so and so is not in the team as opposed to why so and so is in the team. We seem to have a preconceived idea of who should be playing and who should not. Sorry to say that this the mentality of the KRFU as well and extends to their perception of the technical teams. I do not have actual figures, and maybe someone can help me out here, but how many techinical teams, in terms of coaches and their assistants have we had in the last ten years? We seem quick to condemn coaches for "failure' whereas the question should be asked what we did to help them succeed. And in my recollection, I also do not think any of these coaches resigned (bar one due to job relocation), all were sacked! Were any of them debriefed to find out their experiences or their concerns? Are they involved today in any sort of rugby activity? Even former presidents are retained as advisors to sitting presidents, simply because of their experiences (if not wisdom). Are our past coaches utilised in any way? Do we have a structure to create or generate institutional knowledge/wisdom/history? Is the Union using the coaches as scapegoats for their own inequities? That coach after coach has "failed" should in itself be a pointer to our lack of good enough coaches and cause us to look elsewhere, if necessary. I know now eyes are all round looking "who else can coach the team?"
Our take is as follows. Since we are out of the Rugby World Cup, our target can only be the 2015 world cup. The qualifiers will begin maybe two year earlier so we still have about 5 years to prepare. Our take would be to give one technical team that assignment now. Let them build a team for that qualifier from now. Let them have first choice on players that fit into their plan, even over the 7's team. Let them get the team fit, first and foremost. Complaining that teams are fitter than us won't do. Internationally recognised fitness programs and targets are only a Google search away. And it is ony fit players who should be in the team. This has worked very well for the 7's, why not the 15's. Then you have time to work on systems, structures, patterns, game plans, etc. For continuity sake, it is good to build a core team that will be able to go the distance, and build around them. Constant selection will not work. Select to fill a need as opposed to just "getting better players". This means one only leaves the squad if they fail in their set objectives. And all this must be clear to playes in the squad, and prospective players as well. If we have this mindset, we will be well on the way to improving our rugby.
As an aside, we play Uganda a week on Saturday in the return leg of the Elgon Cup. Contrast this, Uganda have had the same coach for close to ten years. He is regularly upskilled with stints in New Zealand and South Africa. When they have a foreign coach, he works under this coach. They have had greats like Jeremy Guscott, Chester Williams and now David Dobela, all working with him in improving Uganda rugby as a whole. The technical team of the national team goes round all clubs, explaining what they are trying to achieve at national level, and giving the players an insight as to what they are looking for in players. This greatly helps the general understanding of the game by all and helps the players work towards selection in a structured manner. Rub that by the old farts at HQ and all they will talk about is the 7s' circuit and the Safari 7's, like that's all the rugby in the world. We as a public want more!
Monday, August 4, 2008
I do not think we were prepared for that game, or for any game whatsoever. I've said it before and I'll say it again, we're focusing our training on selecting players as opposed to coaching what we have. Once you have "stars" or indispensable people in the team, you have a problem. They will not train because they know you need them. They will demoralise those who train as well. In the end you're relying on hope and prayer as opposed to a planned strategy or pattern. As I said after the Cameroun game, instead of using it as a training session, we got carried away and played an unstructured running around game, that produced tries, some out of nothing, but did nothing for our structure or working as a team. This week we will do a "no holds barred" ramble in conjunction with Ruggerbug. And I still insist it is the clubs to have a say in the running of the Union.
On the local scene, the results favored all the seeded teams and means there is no realignment in the table standings. Impala remain on top, but KCB close the gap with one point. Quins remain in third place two points behind while Nakuru remain in fourth but lose 5 points on the pace at the top. With three matches to go... hang on, it's going to be quite a ride.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
On the local scene, league leaders Impala host Nakuru, KCB host Mwamba, Nondies host Mean Machine and Quins host Mombasa. The first two matches are very decisive in that a loss for either Impala, Nakuru or KCB could put paid to their title hopes. The Nondies Machine game is a bottom of the table clash and is a fight against relegation (if any such thing exists) while Quins should have a walk in the park against Mombasa. Results for all matches after the games.