Another one bites the dust

With the folding of Kawangware, The KFF, KPL lost another community based football club to financial insolvency and in the world where the the most widely played sport generates billions of dollars by way of marketing, sponsorships, and sale of television rights one wonders when the KFF will wake up and smell the coffee on the vast untapped and potential that awaits them should they find some emeans to turns iconic football identites such as Gor Mahia or the fallen AFC Leopards into marketing brands

That so many people are around to shed tears when unfortunate things happen as was the case when Oserian, then Mumias Sugar FC were wound up and that nobody then, and even now seems to have learnt from the mistakes of the past and tried to implement some kind of concrete plan to remedy the situation with the ‘perilous’ situation that faces local football teams. Its one thing to wax lyrical about how some convenient scapegoat like , the penetration of the English Premier League or the mere existence of institutional football clubs is killing ‘community football clubs or ven inviting delegates from South Africa’s PSL or even from FIFA to give wise words of counsel but where is the action that speaks so much louder than words. Where are the massive adverts and marketing when for example there is a top of the table clash at City stadium. How many Kenyans are even aware that this season’s Premier league and indeed Nationwide divisions could probably be the most exciting and close finishes in recent memory?

One cannot imagine that a product is going to sell especially in a competitve market without advertising. Where are the Gor Mahia, and Mathare United replica shirts, one can hardly find one of the national team leave alone any of the leading football clubs in the country yet most sports stores are stocked up with the latest edition of Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal replica kits. Even local rugby, and cricket which doesn’t quite have the same player base have found a niche in these markets but football lags behind. What’s even more disappointing is that there doesn’t seem to even be any kind of a safety net for teams in financial distress to sort themselves out, these teams are merely left to waste away in preperation for yet another series or complaining about how football is being killed by whoever happens to be the popular villain for the occasion.

Until the KFF is prepared to take action rather than sit on thye sidlines and moan then Kawangware will not be the last football club we will be burying.

Kenya vs. Bermuda ODI series review

As I haven’t been able to keep interested readers up to date with the regular blow by blow account of the rather fascinating three match ODI series between Kenya and Bermuda that came to a conclusion earlier on Sunday this post will look at general the general performance of the teams over the entire OD series. Having seen of Canada in two identical 4 wicket wins the Kenyans were brimming with confidence going into the series against opponents who not were not only looking out of their depth against Associates teams with ODI status but had managed to lose even to Uganda in their one of their warm-up games.

First up the batting. While this as been a relatively low scoring series with the highest total being a rather meagre 187/7 racked up by the Kenyans in pursuit of Bermuda’s 183 all out in the second ODI. Although Kenya wound up sealing a 3-0 series white wash there were quite a few occasions when they took their collective eye off the ball and but for the ease at which the Bermudan top order kept collapsing to leave the Kenyans for the most part chasing small totals then the series might have been a lot closer. Despite the absence of Tanmay Mishra who is away in University the first game saw a clinical half century from Obanda get Kenya home with few worries and many overs to spare but his absence apparently to injury from the batting line-up in the subsequent two matches and the resultant near-collapses that followed since may have exposed a certain lack of cover in the middle order. The Bermudans on the other hand never really got going with the bat often losing their first 5 wickets with little added to the scorecard and only being saved from complete obliteration by their captain Irving Romaine and young wicketkeeper Jekon Edness in the last game and going into their Intercontinental cup clash later this week both teams will no doubtedly have a few things to iron out in the batting department.

With the series being low scoring as it was it goes without saying that the bowlers particularly those of the art of spin generally had a good outings all around. Bermuda’s rock Dwayne ‘Big Daddy’ Leverock was the pick of the Bermudan bowling if not the entire series as his ability to take advantage of the spin on offer from the Gymkhana pitch more than tested Kenya’s batsmen and on two occasions almost wrestlked victory from the jaws of defeat, another special mention goes out Rodney Trott a young off spinner who marked his second ODI by bagging the wicket Of Steven Tikolo and then going on to take 4 wicket in the third match of the series and almost win Bermuda that game. As far Kenya’s spinners go there was a welcome return to form for Hiren Varaiya who earned figures of 3/10 (and the position as Kenya’s leading wicket taker for the series with 6) as well as good performances for Kamande and Tikolo. As far as the seam bowling goes where Bermuda’s bowlers tended to be rather wayward and inconsistent Kenya’s seam bowlers generally to the man bowled with accuracy and discipline with Peter Ongondo being the pick of the bowlers.

With the ODI series completed both teams will now reset their focus on the core business at hand, their Intercontinental Cup clash on Thursday with Bermuda desperate to halt a run of two huge innings defeats while Kenya who will probably be sweating on the fitness of Alex Obanda,on the other hand can go top of the table with a maximum points win

Kenyavs. Canada (First ODI)

Having won the Intercontinental cup clash at a canter, thanks to big performances from Odoyo, Obanda, and especially Kamande who overcame the pain inflicted from a mugging only two days before to take 4 First innings wickets, Kenya came into this game on a high and looking to extend their dominance over Canada in the shorter version of the game. Despite reports that Peter Ongondo, one of Kenya’s most reliable pacemen of recent times would miss out on the OD matches due to injury it was widely expected Kenya would still be the favourites and his absence would very likely grant Alfred Luseno a chance to impress the selectors following his 1 year exile.

The selectors however chose to go with the youth of Elijah Otieno and th experience of Lameck Onyango over Luseno’s extra pace and as soon as the game got going The young Otieno opening the bowling alongside Thomas Odoyo got his first ODI wicket removing Mohammed Iqbal of his first delivery. However he, as well as fellow seamer Nehemiah Odhiambo, leaked runs at high enormous rates and though the Canadian batsmen were equally generous with their wickets it was largely the introduction of the offspin of Tikolo and Kamande late into the powerplay overs with Canada at 101/3 that really put some breaks on proceedings. In fact so effective was the spin of Kamande that at the end of his spell of 10-0-32-1 almost 20 overs later Canada had only managed to put on 52 runs and had in the process lost a further 3 wickets. And although the return of the fast bowlers meant that the Canadians were able to build some momentum goin into the slog overs the inability of all but Arvind Kandappah to stay at the crease for any extended period of time meant Canada’s innings ended two overs short of their allocated 50 on 230 all out

While Kenya had been set a none too challenging score 230 was still ‘defendable’ and any mistakes from the Kenyan’s could have been costly. At the start of th reply Kenya’s openers opted to hit out at everything the Canadian bowlers threw at them and by the 5tth over all of Kenya’s 31 runs had come off either boundaries or wides and this hit out at all costs almost fell apart when first Obuya, then Nehamiah Odhiambo, then Ouma and Finally Steve Tikolo were sent packing in three overs of madness that sent Kenya from 31/0 to 41/4. adn when Collins Obuya fell lbw a few overs later it seemed the Canadians were going to win the game a a canter, However Thomas Odoyo had other ideas and with the calm headed Alex Obanda for company the rebuiling process began with the two adding an important 86 for the sixth wicket before Obanda lost his wicket trying to accelerate the scoring rate having scored 30 off 91 deliveries.
At this point Odoyo who had just crossed the 50 mark himself upped the ante and with Jimmy Kamande he was not only able to blast his way to a second consecutive unbeaten century against the Canadians, he was able to rally Kenya to a victory which at one point seemd dead and buried with one and a half overs to spare.

So with victory only just assured Kenya await Sunday’s rematch again at the Gymkhana looking to seal the series win while Canada will be heartened by their ablilty to rattle Kenya early on and will most probably consider themselves more than capable of tying he series.

Match Sorecard(Cricinfo)

Tusker go Top

Tusker secured maximum points with a 3-1 win over relegation threatened Coast Stars on Saturday thanks to a brace form league joint top scorer Allan Wanga to go two points clear of Mathare United in the Premier League as Sony Sugar in third prevented the leaders from expanding the gap between the two teams from growing by securing an encouraging 2-0 home win over Homegrown. Tusker now sit on top of the table with 53 points, one ahead of Mathare United who have played two matches more and 3 ahead of Sony Sugar who like Tusker have two matches in hand over Mathare United with Red Berets, Ulinzi and Chemelil Sugar in 4th 5th and sixth. Gor Mahia on the other hand took advantage of Coast Stars slip up by beating Mathare Youth 2-1 to climb two places and 2 points clear of the relegation zone.On a sad note Kangemi who are 15 points adrift at the bottom of the table were unable to honour their fixture against KCB at city stadium and one can only worry if this is a one off or a tell tale sign of yet another community based football club on its deathbed

Kenya vs. Canada (Intercontinental Cup) Day 3.

Considering the see-saw nature of the action on Day one with both teams having the bit between their teeth at some point it would have been a major surprise to any one that missed day two with Odoyo’s marvellously executed century as well as two top notch innings from David Obuya and Alex Obanda that Canada found themselves starting their second innings a whole 130 runs behind with two days left of play left to somehow salvage a positive result. Still Kenya needed to actually get ten wickets and then chase down whatever balance might be left over to seal the victory and if they took there eyes off the ball then this strong position could well be squandered.

As it panned out that wasn’t to be the case because by the end of the first over Canada were already 2 down with only 5 runs on the board as both their openers were removed by PJ Ongondo and with Alfred Luseno bowling with plenty of venom from the opposite end it seemed Canada could very well be embarrassingly rolled over, however some level headed batting from Bastiampillai and Quaser Ali, and then later onbegan the rebuilding process and help Canada clear the arrears with only 3 wickets lost and by the time Bastiampillai fell to the bowling of Tikolo on 63 and Canada on 165/4, Canada were looking in a strong enough position to go and set Kenya a daunting second innings target to chase but the players who had been reponsible for most of the runs in Canada’s first innings could not not repeat the trick as in the very next over Ashif Mulla nicked an Odhiambo outswinger to the wicket-keeper, Ouma before Kandappah misqued a Tikolo delivery six overs later to be dismissed for 87 and leave canada at 196/6 and eventually the return of Odoyo to the attack delivered the prize wicket of Sunil Dhaniram to leave Canada at 215/7

With their best batsmen now back in the pavillion Canada totteredto 229 all out with Tikolo being the pick of the bowlers getting figures of 4 for 34 with 5 maidens of his 16 overs. With just over 20 overs remaining in the day’s play and only 100 short of victory Morris Ouma and David Obuya set about polishing off the match with Ouma blasting fours off the first two deliveries he faced (a stark contrast to his golden duck in the first innings) bringing up his fifty in 49 deliveries and although Canada were able to get David Obuya’s wicket toleave Kenya at 80/1 by then ther seult was already a formality and the winning runs were duly knocked off 3 overs later when Ouma smashed Qaiser Ali down the ground for six to seal a comprehensive victory and give Kenya the maximum 20 points available for the Intercontinental cup. Another similarly comprehensive victory against Bermuda in November should put Kenya on top of the table as long as canada do not get more than 14 points in their game away to Namibia.

Match Scorecard (Cricinfo)

Kenya vs. Canada (Intercontinental Cup) Day 2

Resuming on 8/1 after a decidedly shaky start to their reply with David Obuya and Hiren Varaiya at the crease Kenya and the media men were already calling day 1 a disasterand although Kenya were indeed in a bit of a pickle at the start of play on day two that day one could hardly be described a disaster for Kenya considering that they had got Canada out for a relativly small 1st innings total and they still had every chance of putting up a decent lead as long as their batsmen did the right thing.

Moving into play on day 2 Canada were quick to remove night watchman Hiren Varaiya with left arm seamer Umar Bhatti again doing the damage to have Kenya at 8/2 but even they may ahev ended up regretting this as on to the crease a fiery 19 year old Alex Obanda who put on a veritable master-class in how to play the drive shot in his whirlwind 70 ball 83 that helped add 122 runs for the third wicket completely dispelling any fears that the poor batting displays that had plagued Kenya since the World Cup would return to haunt them. All the while David Obuya, who had recovered from taking a direct hit the day before while fielding to open the bating,
continued to accumulate runs and reached his own fifty from 106 deliveries. As had beenthe case with the Canadian innings there was little joy for the Canadian seam bowlers and it took the intervention of Sunil Dhaniram’s left arm spin to break the Obanda-Obuya axis at the crease. Nonetheless Obanda’s innings had decisevely changed the direction of the game and after useful contributions from captain Steve Tikolo and Collins Obuya Kenya were able to nudge ahead of Canada’s 1st innings total with 4 wickets in hand with Thomas Odoyo and Jimmy Kamande at the crease

It was at this stage that Thomas Odoyo really turned on the fireworks blasting his way with the aid of Kamande , and Nehemiah Odhiambo to his first First Class century and effectively taking the session if not the game away from The Canadiadians to finish unbeaten on 103. Although they eventually bowled Kenya out for 393 at th end of play, that a number of chances in the slip cordon were put down will be of concern to the Canadian team as they look to overturn a deficit of 130 in their second innings and try make a fight of this contest.