Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Both matches promise to be explosive. The only thing missing is the prize money but I hear all the teams and the KRFU have been generous enough to donate the entire gate takings to the Gender Violence Recovery Centre, quite an honorable gesture. But on the field it will be the full bragging rights at stake and that leaves for explosive action. In the second division match, both teams I'd say are fairly matched and both teams have a sprinkling of first team players on their way to recovery from injuries. These player played a major role in last weekend's final. The winner will be determined by he who makes the fewer errors.
The first division one is also going to be a blinder. All matches, even last weekend's between these sides this year have been tough and close and he who blinks first will lose this one. I'm not calling anything this weekend, let me keep my money.
Do have a good weekend and enjoy your last fifteen a-side rugby before the sevens season starts.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My post-Kenya Cup post may have been a bit harsh on Harlequins and they came out to prove me wrong. Even my pre-match prediction was premised on that same belief and they showed me just how mistaken I was. The display this past weekend was one of they took the
I am not a fan of the so-called grandslam that is coming up as to me I don't know what it proves. Last year's was the biggest sham in that a team that had not played a competitive match in four weeks beat the one that had just won a final, and through the most difficult route possible! Over celebration perhaps, a flue I think not, but still form does account for something. This time round however, I will not miss this event. The second division is almost becoming stale but it does show the effort the two clubs, KCB and Quins put into their feeder system (?). It also portrays the depth in the two teams.
The first division one will be a match to savour. To me, these were the form teams of the year in terms of structure, pattern, play and purpose. They are the two teams that worked at a system, not just at winning games. And they seem to be the teams with the strongest tacticians. All this will come to a head on Saturday and I do wish there is some decent prize money at stake for the teams to fight out. Because other than playing for pride, the game of rugby sometimes becomes very hard...
Do have a good week and enjoy your rugby.
Monday, October 26, 2009
mama and I found ourselves watching a game which we thought was a gone
conclusion. How wrong we were as Quins brought down Impala much to our
shock and were straightforward winners with a 19-6 scoreline. This
team must have undergone a metamorphosis from the time Mean Machine
thrashed Quins in the league.
This past Saturday they were totally unrecognisable as they put Impala
in their place bringing them down to earth. I actually felt Machine
would have been worthy opponents in the final than Impala.
Across the border our Ugandan opponents are really working on building
their 15's rugby. Word has it they have lined up games next year with
Zimbabwe, Sweden and Germany. Also they have bagged a $50,000
sponsorship from Kooga. That is good for their 15's rugby. Hopefully
the KRFU are not asleep are working on similar programs for the 15's
Kenya Rugby team.
Have a good week and catch my mama and I at Mwenda's on Friday if I
don't put something before then.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
The main event sees Impala take on Kenya Harlequins. The two teams had varied yet equally difficult paths to the finals, coming form behind to win their semi final matches. This is the third meeting between these two sides, with Impala having gotten the better of Quins both times. In the first match Impala were head and shoulders above Quins. There would have been no dispute as to the outcome of that game as they dominated in all departments. In the second match I'd say Quins dominated the play, the territory, the possession, but scored no points. Impala in return had an effective and stifling defense, that failed to fold under onslaught after onslaught. So third time, what do I expect?
A tight game with plenty of scoring opportunities. The kickers will be key in the opening exchanges but as time wears on, effective finishing will matter and dominance in the set pieces. I expect Impala to totally disrupt these without dominating, but also not affording Quins a platform to play from. This in effect will give them more running ball and more opportunities as they have more effective finishers. I see both teams reaching double figures in scores and Impala running off with 8 points over Quins.
Do enjoy the matches. For those not their, I hope our Twitter correspondent will provide tweets from the venue, on our left column and final scores after the match.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
South Africa. Paired with South Africa Springboks, France and Zimbabwe
this certainly is a pool of death.
Certainly Kenya's performance in the last IRB Series and the 7's World
Cup has them firmly in the spotlight and no team is going to
underestimate them or ignore them. If that were to happen it would be
rugby heaven for Kenya.
South Africa Springboks and Zimbabwe recently warmed up at the TrustCo
Namibia 7's where the two met in the final with the IRB Series
champions comfortably winning. Kenya 7's preparations are yet to take
shape and are very much on paper but by Kenyan standards hardship are
the order of the day.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
But if the partnerships were terminated on account of a rogue unaccountable union we are truly sunk as any new partners will in the shorter than long term pull out as well. I will still drink my Tusker with pride and joy not for lack of other options but for the mere fact that EABL has appeared to support the safari sevens for the past thirteen years. If Heineken or Keroche decide to put their money where their mouths are, I will be forced to put their bottles where my mouth is.
My best news of the week however was that a borehole is finally being sunk at the RFUEA grounds. I have read cheeky remarks on the timing of this seeing that the rains are here. I would rather look at the long term, the rains will go as they came, and if we did not invest in water storage having being warned of el-nino rains from the beginning of the year what use are the rains for!!! This investment goes directly to the most important people in the game i.e the players. I hope their days of grass burns injuries from a hard dry pitch will soon be over.
My worst news, in the year so far. Gray Cullen is not in the sevens team shortlist. If this is due to any reason other than unavailability due to injury or something. It would be the biggest oversight of a most deserving player. Please, anyone tell me why he is not in the team.
But I digress as usual. The players have not been with the squad for the better part of three months. Some have suffered the worse for the lay off due more to their own indiscipline, than lack of something to do, but most have been gainfully "employed" turning out for their clubs week in, week out in the local leagues and cups. That the season has run from January to date with no break is no fault of the players, or the clubs for that matter, but they seem to be the ones to pay the price. I often get saddened when I meet people and they tell me "Rugby is doing good these days.." and I ask myself, what does that mean? That Rugby is doing good is something that the "old farts" like to propagate and leave in the general domain. And when people tell me that, they assume we are all in the gravy train, so to speak. How does the 7's team doing well affect the Navy 7's player, playing this weekend against Mombasa sports club? Is he assured of being well kitted? Is he assure of having a good meal before and after the game? Is he assured of getting a small stipend to help with his daily costs? Or is he just proud to be a "Kenyan Rugby Player". And I have digressed once more.
I think the coach is being selfish and not sensitive to the needs of the clubs. The clubs need their best players during the circuit in order to win trophies, retain their fan base.. oh and yes.. to win or retain their sponsors. Anybody who has ever been anything in a club knows the huge costs and demands associated with running a club and the difficulty in obtaining and retaining sponsors, leave alone quality players. But no.. what do the clubs matter in this whole thing? After all, we are preparing for our first Olympic gold medal. But what are we doing to ensure we have a plethora of quality players, who will strengthen the team when needed. Having read that current captain Humphrey Kayange will be forty come those Olympics, shouldn't we invest in structure that ensure the continuity of the sport in Kenya?
Do have a good week and do enjoy your rugby.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Kenya Rugby will see two new sponsors come on board for their two most
(easiest?) saleable products. Kenya Airways after a lot of persuasion
to their CEO Taitus Naikuni will be unveiled as the new Kenya 7's
sponsors while Safaricom will finally get the prize they have coveted
most the Safari Sevens.
That it has taken Kenya Airways so long to see the logic of being part
of rugby again is not a surprise. The surprise is that Taitus Naikuni
has finally given in to this idea is the surprise. Maybe it is true
that he is on his way out thus making it easier for new partnerships
to be formed. Credit however must go to Dick Omondi and Thomas Opiyo
for working very hard behind the scenes in thus ensuring that the
'Pride of Africa' are able to make hay while the sun shines. Opiyo is
set to be rewarded by the KRFU and will replace the ineffectual
Catherine Mugadi on the board.
Michael Joseph or MJ as he is more socially popularly known has dreamt
and coveted the Safari Sevens since his first foray a few years back.
The dream has now come true and MJ will ensure a strong legacy for the
Safaricom Safari Sevens is left behind. After the EABL fiasco MJ's
exit plan is well close to his chest. With MPESA now going beyond
borders, the timing is absolutely right. The achilles heel maybe that
this event is too close to the other major Safaricom event mainly the
Lewa Marathon. Shaka Kwach a KRFU director employed at Safaricom has
been the successful linkman here.
Telkom Orange must be in tears after seeing two targeted prizes find
their way to different rivals. Orange succesfully irritated Virgin
Atlantic till they left in a huff on the heels of EABL. As they sat
waiting to be crowned the coronation will take place elsewhere. MJ
surely doesn't mind an alliance with Kenya Airways in preference to
Orange. Western Union must watching all this very closely.
Meanwhile with rugby now an Olympic sport intense jostling for the
representative slot is going on. Secretary-General Frank Sabwa,
Development Officer Fred Ollows, Director Willie Ombisi and GM Auka
Gecheo all seek the board's nod. However others names have been
floated namely Asiko Owiro, Peter Nduati and Aggrey Chabeda. However
the Chairman Richard Omwela could decide to take up the position and
keep all the Rio hunters at bay.
Monday, October 19, 2009
7 Essential Blogs for
Sports fanatics of any kind are always eager to keep up with the latest news on their favorite sport. And, when your sport is a very mainstream one, like baseball, basketball or hockey, it’s easy to find out plenty of information about what’s going on in your sport and your favorite teams. But, if your sport is rugby, you may find it difficult to get all the news you need. That’s why keeping up with the blogs is so important. Following are some essential rugby blogs for all fanatics of the sport.
- The Rugby Blog – This is likely the most successful and most read blog on rugby. It is part of Front 5 Media Networks, out of the
, who also run The Cricket Blog and The Football Blog. They keep up with UK Club Rugby as well as International Rugby. UK
- The Welsh Rugby Blog – This blog is dedicated to Welsh rugby – and offers a slightly quirky take on the sport, but it’s also very informative. This blog is somewhat new, but promises to grow into a great blog. This blog has great links to all the other rugby news and blogs.
- Rugby World Cup Blog – This blog is specifically related to World Cup Rugby, but the authors seem to have all the latest news early on. This blog gets a lot of comments and interaction from its regular readers, which makes it all the more entertaining.
- Blood and Mud – This blog is pitched as “the only rugby blog you’ll ever need”. This is a very informative blog, and the author posts very regularly. It is true that you can find out all the latest rugby news right here.
- Scrumhalf Connection – This blog is dedicated to women’s rugby, and is pretty much the only blog of its kind, since most other blogs hardly acknowledge that women’s rugby even exists! Since she is pretty much the only blogger about women’s rugby, she has taken it upon herself to keep up with and report all the latest in women’s rugby.
- SA Rugby – The premier blog on rugby in
. This is one of the most informative blogs, from a news perspective. South Africa
- Heaven’s Game – This is one of the most professionally written blogs, and has regular commentary from Bob Dwyer, a retired Australian rugby coach and bestselling author. This blog also has links to the rugby news for every country that’s serious about rugby.
Keeping up on the latest rugby news through blogs is fun for all rugby fans, but might just have the most appeal for American rugby fans, who don’t get much rugby news during regular news sports segments. Many professional rugby teams have their own blogs, too, so be certain to check out your favorite team’s blog. Some professional players blog, too. Reading their blogs is a great way to get the player perspective on the lineups, matches and results. And, for another perspective altogether, check out the Confessions of a Rugby Ref. This blog is entertaining and gives a new spin on plays and matches.
M. E. Ward writes about how to get a sports management degree online.
The writer of the above article is Mary Ward. A keen rugby enthusiast and a regular reader of this blog.
Friday, October 16, 2009
speaker at the annual rugby patrons of Kenya dinner we applaud the
efforts of this exclusive rugby gathering in bringing one of the
worlds former rugby greats to Nairobi.
Fortunately for Gavin this is not his first visit to Kenya as the
aristocracy of Kenya Rugby a.k.a. Rugby Patrons of Kenya, did ensure
that the Scotsman was many years ago was the guest of honour of the
Tusker? Safari Sevens some years back. Well we do wish Gav a pleasant
stay at Muthaiga as he settles down to his sumptuous A la Carte dinner
this evening. A scotch on the rocks is surely his natural drink of
choice. It is a great honour to have you around Guv'nor as you are
indeed a worthy speaker fitting tonights occasion.
The Patrons for all their contribution (so they say) are a mysterious
closed rugby body. Where they actually fit in the Kenya rugby scene is
hard to know but they are most noticeable during the Safari Sevens
where they smugly sit in their reserved or preserved corner and
dutifully plan their next accompaniment of the British and Irish Lions
tour. Fortunately for them the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand will
offer them solace as the recent Lions tour is one they would love to
forget in a hurry.
This year they have certainly uppped the tempo and were visible during
the Bamburi Super 4 Series finals. They are certainly investing in the
age-grade rugby program which is exposing a high number of the Kibera
neighbourhood boys and girls to the rugby world of their dreams. Of
even more interest is that these wealthied men (no women please) of
Kenyan rugby royalty will this Monday 19th October 2009 announce their
investment of Kshs 1.2 million for the construction of a permanent
borehole at their RFUEA grounds on Ngong Road. Indeed a sensible
investment indeed and another milestone for Kenya rugby.
As has been mentioned on this blog before, there is a concerted drive
and effort to invest in everything rugby related but not the players
who are the foundation of the Kenyan rugby game. Why build showers for
the players yet they have no transport to get to the rugby fields and
train? The investment is appreciated just like the KRFU plans of
buying the Unga grounds. Are these for rugby development or more
permanent parking space for fans or 'funs' as others would say. Kshs 7
million is plenty money to spend especially when the KRFU have just
lost both EABL and Virgin Atlantic as sponsors.
To the rugby patrons we say, if just 20 of you moneyed gents just gave
a million each for sponsoring the Kenya 7's, would that not be a
worthwhile investment of which the returns are definitely guaranteed?
Enjoy the mushroom soup.
Having watched that match, I think Quins have the more patient and steady build up whilst KCB are more deadly when within striking distance. It will make for an interesting eighty minutes for sure and I think this time, slow but steady will win the race (one kick the difference in it).
Enjoy your weekend. Results here after the match.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
However, more and more we are seeing a dangerous situation where players are more national team players than club players. Given, the IRB Sevens circuit takes the better part of the year and the players involved in it have to be dedicated to the team at that point, but I have seen this year, players who were invincible at the start of the Kenya Cup league, slowly begin to look mortal. Tha to me is double sided. Either other players have picked up and can now match the "super stars", or the "super stars" have come down to ground level. The former is good, but the latter.. eh.. makes me start to think about the coming IRB Sevens Circuit, and whether we will be in the same form we left off. But as I always say, that is just me. This so call "national team club" illness has also gone to the fifteens. I have seen players who only play in the Super Series, and the National team.. rarely turning out for their clubs. And that is once more the creation of demi-gods.
Though most agree that the clubs are the roots and the basis of all rugby in any country, what I see is our union struggling to remain relevant, in an environment which favours the strengthening of grassroot structures, be in men's, women's or youth rugby. That the union runs such programmes in isolation, maybe for lack of want of critical scrutiny, or to further this "national team club" thing, I can't tell. Maybe just to keep the gravy train flowing, I still can't tell, but I think the approach is all wrong. How would you expect such players to eventually join or become part of existing clubs? Unless you have a grand master plan to create new clubs and infuse them in those? It is plain to see that the IRB have fallen for our numbers game and I'm yet to find out, but it seems to have moved from simply number of players and referees to other numbers. Once I confirm from my sources, I will do a post on this, but it is just feelers I am getting at the moment.
All in all, methinks the clubs are making a valiant attempt at building the game in the country. What is lacking is union support for the same clubs that they raid for players to join their "club". Do have a good week and enjoy your rugby.
Monday, October 12, 2009
With ample time to prepare for the 7's circuit the campus lads have two aces up their sleeves : national 7's coach Benjamin Ayimba and the inspirational no nonsense national team player Wilson K'Opondo.
Go Machine Go. Bobobobobobobobobobobobobbooboo.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
My calls, I think third time Quins will be lucky, by eight points and Impala may just edge Nakuru by a score. Results here after the matches.
Do have a good weekend.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
of the IRB Sevens in Dubai. On paper the pool C consisting of England,
Kenya, USA and Russia should see Kenya cruise into the main cup
quarters with ease. However Kenya have shown an unpredictable nature
whenever they face England and the USA.
The 26 man squad has already been named by the KRFU and the 7's
technical team. Ayimba together with Ochieng seem pretty sure of their
players this time. The upcoming 7's circuit will not really matter as
the team has already been called up. New talent will have an outside
chance of making the team this time and may have to patiently cool
their heels till 2010.
Ayimba who had earlier threatened to quit earlier in the year seems to
have found inner peace for the moment and had a quiet coaching
campaign with Mean Machine in the just ended Kenya Cup. The good
performances in the second half were however undone by losses in the
first leg. Kopondo continued to be a pillar and this time round having
been under close scrutiny of Ayimba he may find himself a more
deserving starter in the Kenya 7's squad.
Ayimba should not waste time with Nato Simiyu and Naftaly Bondo as
these two do not have what it takes to make the cut in top sevens
rugby. Ken Isindu if nurtured properly could be the X factor in the
team while Andrew Amonde, Benjamin Otieno and Samuel Wefwafwa deserve
a crack in the team.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Kenya Cup kings Impala. The comrades are ready to cause a major upset.
Good luck Machine. Good luck Kopo.
This has been a quick one to write as the madness at Mwenda's is
awesome. At least my mama and I are well insulated but we shall enjoy
and dance the night away.
Our sympathies go to Nakuru Rfc as we join then in opposing the
ridiculous Kenya Rugby Football Union decision to ban their home fans
for the next two games.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
This time they have managed to completely part ways with EABL's
flagship brand Tusker. Deborah Mallowah the EABL Marketing Director in
a letter quoting section 6.3 of the now terminated agreement with KRFU
said goodbye and adieu to their 13 year relationship with Kenya Rugby
and more so the Safari Sevens. This was in response to KRFU's earlier
letter in July where the rugby hierachy insisted in no kind words that
Safari Sevens sponsorship must go hand in hand with the Elgon Cup.
The KRFU had demanded Kshs 4 million from EABL. Initially they had
requested Kshs 6 million but then revised their figure downwards. When
the demand was not met the KRFU and cronies went round media houses
telling off EABL with some of the unkindest words one could have ever
imagined. Richard Omwela the Chairman was very much at the forefront
of the anti-EABL campaign and this was very much witnessed at the
Elgon Cup where rival brand Heineken emerged with a paltry sponsorship
of Kshs 125,000. This money is yet to be paid though.
That Tusker/EABL have walked away from rugby when the game's
popularity in Kenya is at an all time high due to the Kenya 7's
success is a strong and worrying pointer. Corporates and indeed many
other stakeholders have in recent times expressed their concern over
the way the KRFU manages its finances. KRFU have despite their so
called best run sports federation status failed to produce accounts
for 3 consecutive years. This has brought out a lot unease in the
corporate circles that has sponsors thinking twice. Virgin Atlantic
are said to be mulling over their sponsorship for the Kenya 7's team.
Orange are also not too happy and their comments have been expressed
in various corporate fora. EABL have already taken off to the hills as
a safety measure. Transparency and accountability are surely lacking
in Kenya Rugby.
One thing for sure is the Safari Sevens in 2010 will not be the same
and the new bride being wooed is Safaricom. To Michael Joseph and Peter Arina the question is 'Are KRFU the Better Option?'