The Kenya Premier League, 2012 Pre-Season Analysis

Can the Kenyan football league go back to the glory days of the 80’s? When fans used to throng the stadiums and local players got the recognition they deserved? When Kenyans were not obsessed with calling Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea “my club”? That’s what I ask every time someone tweets/writes a facebook status or argues in public about “my team”, usually an English Premier League Club.

I am in love with local football. And not with the footballers. Okay, maybe some footballers. My point is, I plan to attend as many Kenya Premier League Matches as possible. The KPL has 16 teams, and as an AFC Leopards (Ingwe) fan, my wish is to attend all home and away matches this season.

The KPL Standings. It's like we've won this league already, see, we're on top of the table! Unbeaten, we shall remain at that position till the end of the season!

AFC Leopards is the team to beat this season. Having finished 5th in the 2011 season, we had an impressive unbeaten second leg of that season. With a striking squad of the likes of Allan Wanga (he who married NTV reporter Brenda Mulinya-now-Wanga), Mike Baraza, Victor Ochieng, a midfield of Charles Okwemba etc, and a defence that includes Eriq Masika (we signed him from Gor for a record transfer of 450,000 from the other team. Maybe we haven’t reached the more expensive human trafficking in Europe, but so what? It’s a record!). So I was saying our defence includes the likes of Masika with his blonde hair, Jonas Paco and Kenya under-23 star Imbalambala, AFC is aiming for the 2012 KPL cup.

The new AFC Leopards signings pose with their balls (LOL) at City Stadium when they were being unveiled. Photo from afcleopards.blogspot.com

….

The other teams that stand a chance of winning the KPL are Tusker FC, Ulinzi Stars and Sofapaka. The other team (for non-soccer fans, that’s Gor Mahia) will be struggling to play in the continental cup they qualified for last season and I bet they will lose their concentration in KPL matches but then that’s my non-expert opinion.

The rest of the teams will be battling for positions in the middle of the table (and may land at the bottom), while Oserian FC and Muhoroni Youth replace the now relegated Bandari FC and Congo United.

As you may have noticed, this was not really an analysis but a post informing you that the first match AFC will play this season is against at Chemelil Sugar at Nyayo Stadium, Saturday 11th February, 4pm. The question is, je utatoklezea? (Will you be there?)

Eric Masika, dependable defender, before and after. He's ours this season, finally came home!

Kenya Second to South Africa in Tweeting

According to research results released today by Portland, How Africa Tweets, South Africa is the country most active on twitter, followed by Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco respectively.

Not surprisingly, a majority of tweets (57%) were coming from mobile phones. I took part in this survey, I remember (well, with 45,000 tweets I have contributed to research somewhere!). Below is the graphical representation

Operation Smile: Update and Way Forward

I know you are wondering, what happened to that Operation Smile story?! You guys helped me raise about Kshs. 60,000 (61,980 to be exact). The amount needed is Kshs. 150,000.

What’s this amount for? Take a look at the last post I wrote on this topic:

In summary, I was (and I still am) running a social media campaign to try and raise the Kshs. 150,000 needed for a friend of mine to get jaw surgery. His jaw was removed during an earlier surgery to remove a tumour. The cost of the artificial jaw is about Kshs. 150,000. We deposited the amount we had in the account and asked them if they could release the jaw, but they said the need the full amount.

I want to go to the clinic selling the supplies and ask them what’s the least amount they can take. I will show themthese blog posts. Then with the new (hopefully lower) target amount, I can start the campaign again. And hopefully this time, I will be successful, with your help.

Pivot East Competition and Conference

If you are a technology enthusiast, developer, journalist, blogger; by now you should have heard of Pivot East, the second edition of the mobile apps developer competition/conference that was held last year under the name Pivot 25.

The competition will end with the top participants pitching to an audience of investors and other stakeholders during the conference that will take place on 5th and 6th June.
The online registration process for developers and mobile entrepreneurs who would wish to take part as contestants will open on Monday 23rd January 2012 through the website www.pivoteast.com

The categories that one can register their app are:

  • Financial Services Category
  • Business and Resource Management Category
  • Entertainment Category
  • Mobile Society Category
  • Utilities Category

Please visit the website to understand what each category entails. This is of course, for the interested developers out there!

Why Samsung Phones Will Rule Kenya in 2012

While Nokia seems to be faltering in Africa, especially where the high-end market is concerned, Samsung is getting it right. Let’s face it, the Samsung Galaxy S II is the phone to beat this year. Launched late last year, its screen size, processing power and memory are the benchmark for the competitors such as the iPhone 4S, the LG Optimus, the Sony Experia Arc etc. I’m not saying it’s the best (this is an objective term), but it’s the one setting the standards!

The Galaxy S II is the King of them all...

We are still waiting for Nokia to deliver on the high-end Windows phones, so we can compare. The iPhone 4S was launched in Kenya last week, for the asking price of 16GB model at KSh 74,899, 32GB model at KSh 87,999 and the 64GB model at KSh 101,499. The S II 16GB is selling at 60K, I’d say value for money.

When it comes to the mid-level phones, Samsung should make more sales this year with the many variants of the Galaxy in the market, including the Galaxy Mini (which everyone seems to have). This phone is an alternative to the Huwaei Ideos, which is painstakingly slow in response. The Galaxy Mini is an improvement in performance, even though the resolution is compromised. The phone goes for about Kshs. 13000

The Samsung Galaxy Mini

For the lower-level phones, where Nokia dominates (every mulika-mwizi is a Nokia), Samsung introduced dual-SIM phones. While Nokia dual-SIMs have normal keypads, the Samsung Ch@t 322 and a new model, Ch@t 222 are QWERTY phones. Makes for faster texting.

The Samsung Ch@t 222 is just like the Samsung Ch@t 322 which I reviewed last year. You can read techweez’ review of the Ch@t 222 here.

The Samsung Ch@t 222- pic from courtesy of techweez.com

The Samsung ChatON

If you have used 2go, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger etc, you are already know what messaging apps are all about. I like the Samsung ChatON User Interface, very pleasant. It gives WhatsApp competition. It is available for all Samsung phones, so you can download it from the Android market or from Samsung Apps for those using Bada. It comes pre-installed in the Ch@t 222 phone.

A conversation I had with someone using the Samsung ChatON app.

I think it will be an exciting year and I’m looking forward to the phone wars that will bring down prices for consumers while increasing the benchmark for quality phones!

Mobile Web East Africa Conference 2012

The Kenya ICT Board and All Amber Ltd, the organiser of premier mobile-related events in Africa, announced a partnership to deliver Mobile Web East Africa for a second time. This senior level and progressive conference will take place on 22nd & 23rd February 2012 at the 5* Southern Sun Mayfair hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

Date: 22nd and 23rd February
Venue: SouthernSun Mayfair Nairobi (I must admit this website sucks! I mean, what is that?!!) But the place is awesome.
Cost: $375-$475. Check it out here.

This is the website for the Southern Sun Hotel....!

#MWEA2012 is going to be 2 days of interaction and presentations designed to advance the harnessing of the internet and applications on mobile devices. There will be an app developer competition, supported by inMobi. App developers and start-up companies will get discounts on the cost of the conference.

The two day conference will offer so much, it’s better you just check out the website for all the information concerning timing, venue, the conference speakers, sponsors, the app competition etc.

I definitely plan to attend. Set the date in your Calendar, 22nd and 23rd February. You are advised to register early as the conference may be sold out.

What I don't Miss About JKUAT

I loved spending my undergraduate years in JKUAT. However, the first day of the semester was a headache. You had to contend with long queues, which quickly became uncontrollable crowds. You had to deposit school fees at the bank, then come with the deposit slip to the students’ finance office with it as proof of payment. From there you could then register for the new semester, book rooms, etc.

Fighting through the crowd to finally get to the cashier was not easy! Usually if you are a girl you gave a boy classmate to do the dirty work for you! And with heroic tactics, these guys were creative in finding ways to the front! This also happened just before exams, when you had to be cleared by the finance department before you can sit for your exams.

I’ll leave you with like three pics, see for yourself. I got the pics from FB, so if you’re the one who took them, thank you for allowing me to use them. You wouldn’t say no, would you?

Jack Bauer has nothing on this guy!

Here’s another one..

See what you can do with a little cooperation?

From another angle..

Oh those days!

New Neighbourhood

It’s already the second week of 2012! I still haven’t done a post reviewing the past year – where this blog got 110,000 page views- and I don’t think I will do it. Let me just contend myself with living this year to the fullest (sorry for the cliche).

I have decided to ditch the formal blogging voice and go with one that’s more of me.. more of Savvy. That’s my 2012 resolution. Anyway, we recently moved from a hood on Thika Road, Kahawa Wendani, to a new one near Utawala. There is a big difference between these two places.

1. Building Style

Houses in Kahawa Wendani, as in most estates in Nairobi, are built to make maximum use of available space. Apartments can have up to 8 floors, and no self-respecting average Nairobi apartment block will have a lift! Also, there is rarely any piped water flowing and you have to buy water and carry it up the 8 flights of stairs!

A building in Kahawa Wendani on your way to Nakumatt Supermarket.

Houses in the general Utawala area are restricted to a maximum of two storeys, I hear because of the proximity to the airport. The place is more like an upcoming suburb and people move there after years of saving, buying plots and building their own houses. Some of the houses are not yet complete, ours included. But there is this Kenyan spirit of doing things; the house will be completed while you live in it. At least you are not paying rent.. rent is just money down the drain!

An average house in the Utawala area..

2. Type of Neighbours

In Kahawa Wendani, we hardly knew our neighbours looked like, let alone their names. The only time we knocked on their houses was when you had to ask them to move their vehicle which was blocking yours in the limited space that served as the parking lot.

Most of the people living in Kahawa Wendani are young; students who study at Kenyatta University (KU)

In our new neighbourhood, we are starting to know our neighbours… On the day we moved, which was a Sunday, the people passing by stopped to say hello and welcome us to the hood. One of our new neighbours then went to her farm and picked sukuma wiki for us to use during the week. The scarcity of water in Nairobi in general also affects the area and for like the first two days, we borrowed water from the Probox neighbour (duh, he drives a Probox). The only son of the neighbour on right hangs out in our house most of the time. The neighbour yonder (equally no taste in cars, you see Funcargos, Noahs, Proboxes etc) has a kid who comes to our kitchen demanding chapos because she’s hungry. It’s like we’re back in the village!

Most people living here are families, hardly any single/young people unless they are waiting to move out (points at self)

3. Transport To and From Town

From Kahawa Wendani to town, we had various matatus, from old to pimped new ones. There was also the option of theGithurai buses (they make you so religious, you have to pray before and after the journey because of the reckless driving). The pimped matatus carried equally pimped crew and passengers, mostly KU students. The buses were cheap off peak times, 10bob to town! They have fancy names like Maranatha, Paradiso etc

Now the buses that service the Utawala route are the boring but reliable KBS, City Shuttle etc. They charge a

A KBS bus
constant fare of Kshs. 80 bob, even if you’re the only passenger to town and it’s 6pm! The passengers are equally boring, usually reading newspapers, eating snacks and fries as if we’re traveling upcountry.

4. Population

Because there are no tall apartments built closely together till they receive no sunshine, Kahawa Wendani is fast becoming another Githurai. There are many people there, try driving along the busy narrow road to the supermarket.

Utawala has fewer people, better houses, polite neighbours, and the house we live in is bathed in sunlight from sunrise to sunset. The setting feels village-like save for the lack of farms. No doubt less exciting to live in than Kahawa but I prefer it here.

Thika Road Vs Mombasa Road Traffic

To be honest, this is a tough one! Traffic on both roads is horrible especially during rush hours. To Kahawa Wendani, Thika road is busy in the morning when people are going to work, and in the evening when going home. The superhighway was not yet complete when we were moving, so the traffic load had not lessened.

From Utawala, we use the bypass (I think the Eastern bypass) to Mombasa Road, where traffic usually starts at Capital Center and stretches all the way to Uhuru Highway. I prefer it though because I’m currently a student/tutor at Strathmore and hence I don’t have to sit in the crawling traffic all the way to town! I get off at Nyayo and find a matatu going to Madaraka at the stage.

Happy 2012 people!

South B United Sports Academy

There are many sports academies all over the world, dedicated to nurturing talent in sports. There are a number in Nairobi, the most famous being Mathare Youth Sports Assocation, which has produced top football players among them Dennis Oliech and McDonald Mariga.

The South B Sports Academy is no different. Right now, they only have football teams (Under 17, Under 14, Under 12 etc You’ll forgive me if I’m not accurate with those ages!) but there are plans to include other sports as well, such as basketball. They are all boys’ teams and they hope this year they can include girls’ teams as well.

These kids are the team captains for the coming year.. for the under-x teams (x here is the team age)

A friend invited me to the academy’s end-of-the-year prize giving on 30th December in South B. There were a number of invited guests, among them the area chief. They gave words of advice to the kids, most of whom come from the poorer neighbourhood in the South B area. Sports not only keep them out of trouble, but they can provide a livelihood in the future.

The kids then received certificates, medals and trophies for achievements such as top scorer, most disciplined etc.

The kids listen patiently to the advice they were being given.. They got the award for the most disciplined sports group in 2011

The kids are not just talented in sports, but they provided the much needed entertainment in between speeches with clever rap lyrics, and dance moves that would earn them a spot in that Citizen TV dance show.. what’s its name again?

The sports academy, which relies on the support of well-wishers, would like appreciate any help in form of sports kits, financial or tournament sponsorship. Check out their facebook page, you can get in contact with them through it.. or you can email me.

Happy New Year Folks!