The Samsung Galaxy Pocket

I am sure everyone has heard of this phone somehow. From radio adverts, to TV ones, to posters.. the Samsung Galaxy Pocket is the ultimate budget smartphone.

The Samsung Galaxy Pocket. Image from http://mobileraptor.blogspot.com


Here is What I love About the Phone

Slim, sleek design

It’s a relatively small phone, and fits perfectly in your hand. I guess it’s called the pocket because it can easily fit in any pocket without the huge bulge some phones give you!

Brilliant Resolution

It has a screen size of 2.8 inches but a good resolution. The display is smooth and fluid (sounds like PR words I know!) but it’s the truth. There is just no other way to describe it, the display is fair to look upon!

Responsiveness and performance

By now you know I’m firmly #teamSamsung and to quote someone who blogged about Samsung phones:

The new Samsung phones ni kama madem wa Campo. Una-touch, inafungua. Una-touch, inafungua. No delays

The phone will give you a good performance with an internal memory of 3GB and allows you to have a memory card of up to 32GB. This is huge internal memory, the Galaxy Y Duos I’m using has only 160MB of memory for my apps, it’s already full and slows down on me at times and I had to uninstall some apps. The Galaxy Pocket has 3GB of internal memory, you can download as many apps as you want and performance will not be affected.

Camera

The Galaxy Pocket comes with 2 MegaPixel camera, which takes reasonably good photos. With good lighting, you can take printable pics.

Cost

The phone goes for Kshs.9,999. It’s the cheapest Android phone with the best performance. Enough said.

You can read the full specifications of the phone on GSM Arena

I’d recommend this phone to anyone who’s never used a smartphone before. It is a perfect beginner’s phone. I would also recommend it to to anyone who has a budget of 10K and is wondering which phone to buy!

What Savvy Reads

Okay, this post is not really about me, I just thought I would share with you what’s on my reading list, and also give some sort of review/preview of the books I have read recently. Between school, work, traveling to watch AFC Leopards play, attending tech events and social events, I sometimes squeeze in time to read a book or two.

That Kenyans do not read is a fallacy, I agree with @Aka3CB in this Diasporadical post. We Kenyans read a lot; from facebook statuses, tweets, blogs, newspapers, drug prescriptions, novels from the street, tattered magazines in salons; to those mganga wa kesi za koti, mapenzi notices, manhood enlargement on signposts; to stickers in matatus, banners on the back of lorries and buses, quotes on pimped matatus, and the Bible that is read to us in the bus, on the radio, on TV..

Someone get me a nice bookshelf like this one for my-soon-to-be-tastefully-decorated-crib! Image from ericadunham.com

Here’s what is currently on my reading list:

  • The Art of Seduction by Robert Green (ebook): I’m yet to finish the first chapter but I’m told I’ll become the perfect seducer after I read that book, he he
  • Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (ebook). After reading 100 years of solitude, which my bro claimed to have no end in sight, but which I enjoyed very much, I decided to read this one too.
  • The Caine Prize for African Literature 2012 shortlist: these are the stories shortlisted this year. You can download the stories in pdf from the website. Short stories are easier to read because they only need an hour of your time, unlike an involving novel that takes days to complete.
  • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green (hardcopy). I started reading this book last year, it was my graduation present from my uncle (first class honours bragging rights, I’m allowed to mention it here!). Anyway, I seem to have misplaced the book but if I find it, I intend to finish reading it.
  • The Hunger Games (ebook)- a fantasy collection that I can’t wait to start reading. I love books like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice) and other non-famous fantasy/SciFi kind of books. This one is big though, they’ve made the movie which I won’t watch until I finish the books. Movies rarely ever live up to their books anyway.

Recently Read: Brief Reviews

The Jesus Papers by Michael Baigent

The book cover. Image from http://www.jesus-is-savior.com

In a summary, this book seeks to discredit Jesus Christ. It concludes that his crucifixion never happened or if it happened, then Jesus must have survived the crucifixion. The author starts by taking us back to the context of Jesus’ story. Jesus was born in modern day Palestine, so that image of a blonde Jesus that Christians spread around is not accurate. The author explores the culture, beliefs, lifestyle, wars, politics surrounding the region Jesus grew up in. He (the author) uses research from historians around the time Jesus was alive, before and after, some artifacts found in museums around the world, including the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in the late 1940′s.

The author uses gaps in the Bible (like where on earth did Jesus go between ages 12 and baptism (30-33)?), inconsistencies in the books of the Bible, the history of WHO compiled the Bible, the (very) violent history of the Catholic Church (like when they were burning “witches” in Europe) to draw the conclusion that Jesus Christ was not divine after all, that he (Jesus) was just a man whom some very powerful people in history used to create a religion for their own power-hungry reasons. However, the author goes on to praise ancient religions like the Egyptian one, where he says someone just feels “overcome by emotion” when they visit the pyramids and other religious sites.

My conclusion: there’s simply not enough evidence to support his theories. Most of his evidence is circumstantial and it’s a good book for anyone objective enough to read it. What the author forgets is that FAITH is not something based on FACTS. People are searching for something to believe in, and Christianity has got some rationality in it. It does not matter how Jesus looked like or how the Bible was compiled, it’s about what people choose to believe. I think Christianity lets people interpret the Bible their own way, thus is a popular religion. The book is an involving read though sometimes it could drag on and on trying to prove a point!

One Day I will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina

My signed copy of One Day I Will Write About This Place

In the words of Chimamanda Adichie (this is the point where you Google her), this book is a tender memoir about growing up in middle class Kenya. I first learned of Binyavanga Wainaina from his famous essay, “How Not To Write About Africa.” He won the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story, Discovering Home, in 2002, the first Kenyan to win it.

Binyavanga has always been in my reading radar because he’s among the guys who started Kwani? Organization, where I’ve met many writers and bought a number of books they’ve published. His book was launched in Kenya recently, and I’m lucky I got a signed copy “To Harriet, with my love, Binyavanga”. He has a terrible handwriting but I’m sure that’s what he wrote!

I don’t want to give away what’s in the book, but it’s certainly worth reading. The language flows, twists this way to fit the story-line, cynical sometimes (like when he talks of Kenya’s politics), tender (when he talks of his family), funny and quirky (I love the part he talks about the new job of convincing farmers to plant cotton, and his encounter with the beaming chief of the area), and he talks of how he somehow got through what I’d call the “quarter-life” crisis, a time when you are in your 20′s, just lost, drifting, living one day at a time, isolated in your own world(room).

Here’s to a happy reading!

Now off to write my short story that might just one day win me a Caine Prize and a publishing contract! #Dreams

P.S.

Sorry you can’t borrow my hard copy books, but I can share the soft copy ones. Email me if you need one.

Orange launches second edition of the Orange African Social Venture Prize 2012

Orange last month launched the second edition of its Orange African Social Venture Prize. The goal is to promote social innovation that supports development through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The poster for the Orange social venture prize. Click to enlarge.

Last Year’s Winners

Last year, more than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of telecommunications services in Africa. Of the 634 entries, 55 projects were from Kenyan entrepreneurs; representing close to 10% of the entries drawn from the 18 Orange affiliate in Africa. One of these 55, Kuza Doctor, an agriculture oriented project, was shortlisted as one of the final 10 projects.

The three prize-winners of the first edition, announced at the AfricaCom Awards in Cape Town in November 2011, proposed the following projects:

- Horticultural Tele-Irrigation: a Nigerien project that puts mobile technology in the hands of horticulturalists;
- Agasha Business Network: a Ugandan community-based e-commerce platform that promotes small African businesses to the global market;
- Kachile: an Ivory Coast e-commerce start-up for African craft products.

The Orange African Social Venture Prize will be awarded once again this year to three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering solutions that use ICT in innovative ways to meet the needs of populations on the African continent. Projects proposed during the first edition covered a variety of fields, such as healthcare, agriculture, banking services and education.

In addition to receiving an endowment of 10,000 to 25,000 Euros, the three prize-winners will receive six months of support from entrepreneurial and ICT experts

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted from May 22, 2012 to September 21, 2012 on Orange’s pan-African web portal, www.starafrica.com

The rules can be accessed at The rules

I wish you good luck in your application. Hopefully, these ventures shall be successful in transforming Africa’s development landscape positively.

Nokia to host mobile application development competition “Nokia Hack”

Nokia East Africa will be hosting a two day mobile application development competition on 23rd and 24th June 2012. Dubbed “Nokia Hack” the competition will challenge participants to develop the best Qt apps. Qt offers a UI framework for the development of rich, compelling apps for Nokia smartphones such as those based on Nokia Belle.

Developing for Nokia with QT

“Through Nokia Hack, we want to recognize and reward local app developers by giving them a platform to create their best apps with Qt. We will also work closely with them to refine the apps for publishing on Nokia Store and have already seen great traction in East Africa and globally for downloads of these smartphone apps,” said Peter Karimi, Business Development Manager EDX, Nokia East Africa.

100 developers will gather for 48 hours to compete against each other in app development. They will be treated to a number of fun leisure activities to keep the energy high, as well as chill out zones for some downtime.

This competition comes after the recently concluded Series 40 Hackathon, dubbed “Ignite” which challenged participants to develop mobile apps for the broad base of Series 40 users, a segment that is showing tremendous growth in downloads from Nokia Store.

Peter Karimi added: “The first hackathon was very successful and saw over 80 developers participate. We hope to get well over 100 registrations for this one, and encourage developers to take advantage of this great opportunity to showcase their talent.”

So who wants a cool million?!

The overall winner will receive Ksh1 million, while the second and third runners up will receive Ksh300,000 and Ksh100,000 respectively. In addition, there will be special mention prizes where 10 apps will receive Ksh10,000 each. Judges for the competition will be trainers selected from Emobilis training school.

The event will be held at the 88MPH, Human IPO start up garage, Piedmont Plaza, 4th floor. Interested developers must be able to code in Qt and can register at: http://www.cvent.com/events/nokia-developer-hackathon-kenya/event-summary-1f032313c5fd40dab27839b434589148.aspx. Registrations close on 18th June and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

AFC Leopards Fans Fiesta

This past Sunday, AFC Leopards fans from all branches countrywide, supporters (the CLAWS Trust), officials and players, as well as random spectators and ice cream vendors were gathered at the Railways Club in Nairobi for a fun day for the fans!

The trophies on offer during the Ingwe Fan/Fun Day!

There were inter-branch competitions in football, and other games such as the sack race, egg-on-spoon-in-mouth race, tug-of-war, racing (100m dashes) etc. Some of the branches represented included Kawangware Branch, Embakasi Branch, Nakuru Branch, Ingwelets Branch (for the ladies, for which I’m a certified member), Zimmerman Branch, Facebook Branch etc. Each team assembled its best athletes and competitions went on throughout the day with fans watching.

The Facebook Branch team looking all green and mean! Unfortunately they didn't make it to the finals.

Kids were not left out of the equation: there were bouncing castles for them, and they could also get refreshments at the Ingwelets tent. The Ingwelets tent, for lack of better words, was up there (juu tu sana!) It had everything Ingwelets and Ingwe totos (kids) needed!

Ingwe totos having fun at the bouncing castle

I arrived late in the afternoon, to find the last few teams battling for the top spots. I sauntered over to the Ingwelets tent where I was admonished for being late (I profusely apologize) and perhaps next time I’ll get sporty and actually take part in a competition. I met the chairman of the Facebook Branch, Shikuku Kisaka, who finally showed us complete photos of the Ingwe Bus to be unveiled soon! Our players will not have to travel by hired buses anymore!

In the end, the Zimmerman Branch emerged the overall football winners in the men’s category, while Kawangware Branch won in women’s football.

The ZImmerman Branch members celebrating their win after a day well spent earning it!

It was a fun fan day! This was crowned by the arrival of the AFC Leopards official squad towards the end of the day, and it was encouraging and exciting to interact with them. They are proceeding to camp in Mumias for the upcoming match against SoNy Sugar in Mumias on 20th. Who is up for a road-trip?! Of course I’m attending the match and if you want to come along, you are most welcome!

Mike Baraza, start AFC striker, poses for a photo with me. Photo made better by Instagram :)

P.S.

Most of the photos above can be credited to sources on the AFC Facebook Branch group.

We are grateful to Claws Trust, the Leopards supporters’ trust that organized the event led by the organizing committee headed by Aidah Bunoro. Read more here.

Harambee Stars was defeated 1-0 by Namibia in the second match of their 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Windhoek, Namibia. Remember we drew our first match at home against Malawi. How Kimanzi and friends (that’s the composition of the national team) can make it to Rio, Brazil 2014 is a miracle. We probably need to pray.

P.P.S.

One thing we can improve on next time is to provide a programme of events. Most fans did not know what was happening at what time, so it looked a little bit disorganized. Another thing is the rules of play should have been decided before the games, taking into account all possible outcomes like ties or draws.

Also perhaps labels showing directions to places such as meal places, restrooms, etc. Looking forward to next time.

Dear Friends, Terms and Conditions for IT Advice

Disclaimer: Believe at your own risk, but I am seriously considering these guidelines that I came up with myself.

As a techie, I sometimes get asked for advice by my friends, ranging from computers, internet, phones. I decided that I will be charging for my services, I need to make that extra money on the side and after all, nothing in life is free.

So you are calling me to ask me where the ANY key is on your keyboard? Remember I'm charging. Image from ragetrolling.com

Here are the general rules, terms and conditions:

1. Before you ask me a question, ask Google. Rule number one: JFGI. Go to Google, type JFGI and click on I’m Feeling Lucky.

Image from jfgi.com

2. If you need information that Google cannot provide, such as a local phone review, search my blog first before you ask me. You might get lucky.

3. Please use proper grammar: things like “xaxa wot do i do wid dis file?” will be ignored. Also, too many typos will give me a headache so I shall sue you for physical distress

4. Ask me only those things that will benefit you, or both of us. For example don’t ask me how you can hack into your boyfriend’s account. I charge extra for these services.

5. I set the fees I want and you either take it or refer to rule 1, ask Google

6. I’m not a hardware person, so if your computer has short circuited, I am happy to refer you to an electronic repairer. At a fee.

Your computer has a problem? Call the computer doctor! Image from iconmegastore.wordpress.com

7. If you ask me too many questions regarding a subject, and I have already referred you to the book “-Said Subject- For Dummies” I shall have no choice but to drop you as a client.

8. By agreeing to take my advice, please note that I shall not be liable should anything go wrong. Mungu akuonekanie.. every man for himself, God for us all

9. Note that charges are private. I shall charge whatever I want depending on the relationship I have with you or your needs, so it may vary from person to person. The closer you are to me, the more expensive you shall be charged.

Also, a down payment is required before advice is dispensed. The rest after or I shall call the auctioneers on you!

10. If your email ends with 1100 quotes from many people, I shall trash it. If your username is kind of weird, like “whynot” or “xyz” I will probably not respond.

11. Should I sense a reluctance on your part to pay up your end of the bargain, you shall enter my list in the black book. In other words, blacklisted!

12. Get straight to the point. Please don’t give me paragraphs about the weather and what you planted over the long rains, see I charge by the hour!

13. This part I insert legal mumbo jumbo that basically means “you shall not understand this part but I own you now”

14. Your signature is required on this draft before I can consider business.

15. I shall charge you for reading 1-14

Pivot East 2012 Winners

Reblogged from the Pivot East Blog

The PivotEast competition has come to an end.

In order to understand how the judging panel came to the final decision here is a brief on how the judging was done. The finalists were awarded points by the judges, the investors and the coaches & mentors. Scoring by the judges accounted for 70% of the total points awarded and the remaining 30% was calculated from tally of points awarded by the investors and the coaches.

The overall winner was chosen by majority votes from the judging panel.

Contestants at Pivot East pitching their idea. Photo courtesy of CIO East Africa facebook page.


The Winners

(1) Financial Services Category:

Winner: SchoolBursar by Fomobi Solutions, – SchoolBursar streamlines the process of receiving and managing payments through M-Pesa. It performs real-time analysis and generation of reports for each student, sends reminders to parents and guardians who have fee deficits and alerts the administrator and principals of the same. The team is represented by Mwema Jacob, Kasomo M. Martin and Carol Muchai.

Competitors in that category were: Changamka, Pay4us, Mcollector, SchoolBursar and Chamapro

(2) Business and Resource Management Category:

Winner: EasyOrder by Afro Cyber Inc Solutions – an SMS based mobile ordering and supply chain management application developed to simplify the way customers order for goods from manufacturers and distributors. The team from Uganda consists of Billy Kaye, Gilbert Rutatiina, Damalie Muwonge, Warren Matovu and Festo Muwanguzi

Competitors in that category were: Wakili , Get-it App, Dairy Sacco App, Bei Nafuu App, Easy Order

(3) Entertainment Category:

Winner: Ma3racer by Planet Rackus- a racing game set on the busy Nairobi Highways. The team consists of Mwaura Kirore ,Duncan Aidoh Onyango, Joe Murithi Njeru, Roger Tenenmberger,Fred Kioko,Philip Ranja, Jimmy Gitonga and Kevin Maina

Competitors in that category were: TUBET, Ma3racer,Mingle, RunforAfrika, Tough Jungle

(4) Mobile Society Category:

Winner: Mprep- an sms study solution for students, teachers and schools. The team consists of Toni Maraviglia, Chris Asego, Kago Kachiri, Mike Milanya and Isaac Kosgei

Competitors in that category were: Mprep, Storyspaces, e-limu, mPoultry and Sarura

(5) Utilities Category: CrowdPesa

Winner: MafutaGo – a mobile and web application that helps users find the petrol station that best their needs. It displays a petrol stations location, the services the station offers, any special offers the station may have for its clients. The team consists of Ampaire Christine, Jjingo Kisakye, Remo Samuel, Jero Odur and Muranga James

Competitors in this category: Crowd Pesa, MafutaGo, 6ixDegrees,mTracker and M-verified

The overall winners for the competition is: Ma3racer

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos and Y Pro Duos

The problem we have been having as Kenyans is lack of a dual-SIM high end phone. Most dual-SIMs tend to be on the lower end, non-smartphones, and if you’re lucky some kind of Edge connection.

Samsung (I am now firmly #teamSamsung) has the perfect phone for you: an Android smartphone with Dual-SIM capability. If you have been wondering how to try other networks for data, voice, SMS without losing the functionality of your smartphone, you can now do that very easily; while maintaining your previous line. That’s how I got to try out Orange data, which I’m still using.

The Galaxy Y Duos and the Galaxy Y Pro Duos. Image from fonearena.com

I have used both phones, and will review both in one post so you can pick one that’s most suited for your needs. First though, here is what they have in common:

Android v2.3 Gingerbread

Both phones come installed with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which gives you good performance and a fluid user experience. It means your phone is easier to use, very responsive and looks good too! You are also likely to find a wider range of apps compatible with Android 2.3 and above.

Camera

Both phones have rear cameras with 3.15 MP producing up to 2048×1536 pixels photos. With good lighting, the photos can be of good enough quality.

You can check out some photos I took with the Galaxy Y on this post about Harambee Stars:

A view of the Kasarani Stadium during the match. Photo taken by the galaxy Y Duos

Battery Life

This is a very important feature in a smartphone; even more crucial in a smartphone that is dual-SIM. What drains your battery most is that constant communication with the network that your phone must maintain, unless you have a phone with a huge screen (like the S II) where the screen becomes the chief battery consumer.

Both phones have standard battery, Li-Ion of about 1300 mAh. They can last up two days of both networks on, and data switched on. You can survive a full-day of intensive use.

Memory

Both phones have an internal memory of 160 MB (which can be quickly filled up by apps), 512 MB ROM, 384 MB RAM.

The external memory (memory card) is expandable up to 16GB, but the phone comes with a 2GB memory card.


What Android Offers

(If you understand Android, you can skip this part.)

A lot of people, I have discovered, still don’t understand the hype around smart-phones in general and Android in particular. Here is some of what Android offers:

  • Wi-Fi

    If your office/coffee joint/hotel has (free) wireless internet, you can also connect to it on your phone and download apps, update your apps etc. This is especially important if you have applications that are big (5MB upwards), or if you require to do something with a fast internet connection. Wi-Fi networks can do up to 300Mbps (theoretically), while 3G networks offer up to 42 Mbps (theortically). Just know wi-fi offers you faster speeds than 3G networks most of the time!

  • Ability to use your phone as a modem

    With an Android phone, there is no need to get a modem. Your phone can act as your internet access point. This can be done via USB (takes less power, connects to only one computer) or via wireless hotspot. If you create a hotspot, you can support up to 8 devices on your internet (devices can be computers, other phones, or tablets).

  • Multi-tasking

    The ability to multi-task is one big advantage of smartphones. It means if you receive a text while surfing, you don’t even have to stop what you are doing to read your text. E.g. if you are surfing on facebook with opera mini and you get a text, you can pull it down from the notifications bar, read the text, press the back button and you are exactly where you were before the text. Unlike the basic phone where you have to close down opera mini completely to read the text, and may even have to log in again.

  • Gmail Backup

    In order to use an Android phone effectively, you must have a gmail account. Yes I know Google wants to “own” you and your data, but it’s worth it. You can the download apps from Google Play (formerly Android market). It also backs up all your contacts on your gmail account so if you change phones, all you have to do is “sync” your gmail account and your contacts are in your new phone. Why do you think I switch phones so easily? :)

  • Access to Millions of Apps and Games

    If you can think of any app, it’s already been done. It’s like rule 34 for porn (don’t Google that). Bible apps, apps to read and edit office documents (powerpoint, pdf, word, excel), apps to prank your friends, apps to track your phone etc. Try them out.

    One of my best Google apps is the map!!! You can navigate to anywhere in the world, check out your village via satellite, even see cars packed on the street at the time when the satellite picture was taken. You can ask for directions to anywhere, and most of Nairobi is mapped (except Liddos- don’t Google that either, but that is a story for another day!!!)

    This was a screenshot I took while I was navigating to the Railways Museum for Binyavanga Wainaina's book launch. It had very precise directions!

    You can rotate the map to navigate better, you can even get walking directions. Make sure you are oriented in the right direction and do look up so you don’t bump into people!

  • Android offers this and much more..


What Dual-SIM offers

Now imagine you have all that on Android, and now you have a DUAL-SIM phone so you don’t have to carry around two phones. You don’t need a modem since you can tether with whichever SIM card you prefer.

Both SIM cards are active at the same time. You can receive calls/texts on either simultaneously. However, for data, you have to choose which SIM card to use.

A screenshot showing which SIM card you would like to use for data.

When replying to texts or calls, you can choose which SIM card to use. This can be done by easily selecting the SIM card from the drop down, or for the Pro Duos, there is a dedicated button to switch SIMs. You easily get the hang of this phone in a short phone.

A screenshot showing how easy it is to switch between which SIM card to use for voice and SMS

You can also choose whether to use 2G networks (which saves battery life), or for one SIM card to be on 3G (I advise you keep the data SIM to be permanently on 3G, and your voice/SMS line to be on 2G). I currently use Orange for Data, which I covered in this post.

If you are running low on battery, you can turn off the data SIM, make it inactive, so you can still use voice/SMS for another two or so hours.


Recommendation

So why would you pick either phone?

The Galaxy Y Pro Duos

Check out the detailed specifications here

The Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos. Image from phonesarchive.com

This phone is both QWERTY and touch-screen enabled. It’s suitable for someone who doesn’t like touch-screens or finds it cumbersome to type on touch-screen (sausage fingers LOL! Sorry for using LOL but it warrants in this case, I always picture someone typing one letter after another on the touchscreen).

It has a front-facing camera, great for taking self-portraits! This means you can do Skype with video calls.

It has a dedicated key for quickly switching between networks.

Cost: Kshs. 18,000

The Galaxy Y Duos

Check out the full specifications here

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos and how it looks in your hand. Image from wiserbuddy.blogspot.com

Personally, I prefer an all-touch phone because it is sleek. Fits easily in my hand. Looks cooler. But that is just me.

The advantage with this phone is the screen size, it is much larger because it has no QWERTY.

I do miss the front camera though.

Cost: Kshs. 16,000

Kenya V Malawi: A Most Boring 0-0 Draw

I saw a joke in the Sunday Nation paper:

Eric: How did it feel losing the football match?
Erica: That’s the worst fun I’ve ever had at a football game.

Part of the Harambee Stars squad on Saturday's game. I see Patrick Oboya (first left), and Victor Mugabe (second right). The rest.. anyone? Image from futaa.com

Any football match is fun to be at: the atmosphere there is electric, regardless of the results. It may be boring fun, exciting fun, even the worst fun. I know it may not make sense!

This past Saturday, June 2nd, Kenya’s Harambee Stars and Malawi’s Flames were among the countries taking part in the World Cup qualification matches all over Africa. Kenya is in the same group as Malawi, Nigeria and Namibia. For us to qualify for Brazil 2014, we have to finish top of our group.

I don’t know how to explain football rules to non-football fans (yes, I’m using football because American football is mainly handsy so it should not even be called football and because football is British English which we were taught in school). Sorry I digressed. I’m saying I can’t start explaining the rules to non-football fans, but I can drag you to the next game I will attend so I can explain to you how it’s done live. Just know that when we win, we get 3 points. When we draw, we get 1 point each (the other team also gets a point.) When we lose, we get 0 points.

Fans turned up in large numbers: The match raised Kshs 6.7 million from gate collection.

A good number of fans turned up at the stadium, it was about half-full, so I'll estimate the number to be over 30,000 fans. Kasarani has a 60K capacity. Image from Lexxy2, my Galaxy Y Duos.

Some fans “tokead”:

Others “toklezead”: (I hope you now see the difference between tokea and toklezea)

This is the first round of qualification matches. Kenya will have to play Malawi away (in Malawi), Nigeria both home and away, and Namibia home and away. A home match has the advantage of fans support and familiarity with the turf. We threw two free points away when we played a shoddy game against Malawi.

The match was played at the ‘refurbished’ Kasarani Stadium along Thika Road. (Speaking of Kasarani, why do we still call it Moi International Sports Center? Can we find a more deserving hero for the only international standard stadium in Kenya?). We made our way there, where we found that even by 3pm, the gates weren’t open yet! And the game was beginning at 4pm. Police had a tough time controlling crowds, they were not very organized at Gate 2. We left and tried using another gate that was further away. At least we got settled in before the match.

The stadium does look good. It’s cleaner than the last time I was here, and the lower tier wooden benches have all been replaced with plastic (backless) seats. Which are done in some Orange, blue, yellow colours. Wonder why they didn’t do them in Kenyan colours?! The middle-tier with plastic seats that have a backrest (tickets are a bit more expensive) was looking good as well. The upper-tier is just concrete terraces but the view is still fantastic.

The match was largely boring and uninspiring, Malawi showing signs of brilliance but our goalkeeper (Tusker FC’s Boniface Oluoch) saved us from a number of shots and with some good defending, no goals were scored on either side! Trying to get any action shots from media houses of the match, but finding none as of yet!

Boniface Oluoch, Harambee Stars goalkeeper on Saturday's match

In the end, we did enjoy our time at the stadium, but we are still wondering when Kenya will start performing better? When they will ever print the names of the players on classy kit? (the uniform looks like it was picked up from Muthurwa) When Kimanzi will be removed as head coach? etc. Meanwhile, I look forward to the resuming of the Kenya Premier League, which has been on a break. That’s why I haven’t been writing football. Because AFC Leopards has not been playing!

Bonus shots:

The Kasarani Stadium after the match. It looked beautiful, though empty now. Image by Lexxy2 (Lexxy was my Galaxy Mini so this is now Lexxy2)

One good thing about the match is that I finally got a picture with AFC Leopards defender Eric Masika, who was at the stadium to watch the match.

Masika and I. Photo made horrible by Instagram.

Have a good week dear readers!