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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Eric: How did it feel losing the football match?
Erica: That’s the worst fun I’ve ever had at a football game.
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.
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!
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!
AFC Leopards held the first ever Ingwe Awards Night on Friday 2nd December at Egloos Lounge along Mombasa Road. The event was to award the players, technical bench and fans who had supported the team and brought it this far. We finished in the 5th position in the Kenya Premier League and had a second leg of unbeaten matches.
The event was glitzy. The ladies turned out in all manner of wear, from glamorous gowns to Rio Tinto(official jersey) and jeans. The men were in suits (probably straight from the work place) and some in Rio Tinto as well. The players were not to be outdone, led by one Jonas Paco who was the defender of the year!
Papa Shirandula (whose real name is Charles Bukeko) and an Ingwelet (female AFC fan) Monica were the MCs of the evening. The stage was set, the lights were ready and the live band blasted out tunes that set the festive mood of the evening. Among the invited guests were legends Joe Kadenge (who remembers the commentators of yester-years going like Kadenge na mpira..Kadenge na mpira..gooaaallll!), Harambee Stars and AFC legendary goalkeeper Mahmoud Abbas and Dr. Dan Shikanda (who also played for the national team and Gor at one time! He assured me his heart is now fully Ingwe’s!). The KFK/KFF? chairman Nyamweya was also in the house. Representing Mumias Sugar the official sponsor of AFC was one Pamela Lutta. And many more invited guests, legends, sponsors…et cetera, et cetera!
Nairobi Mayor His Worship George Aladwa presented Life Time achievement award to Kenya’s finest legend Joe Kadenge as he edged fellow nominees Josphat Murila and JJ Masiga. Pamela Lutta, Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Mumias Sugar was on point to present the player of the year award to Bernard Mangoli who walked home with a cool Kshs 30,000 just like Kadenge. To present the tactician of the year award was FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya who rewarded Jan Koops with the Kshs 20,000 prize money plus trophy and medal. Other winners of the night were Nicholas Muyoti for most disciplined player, Mike Barasa for top striker, Charles Okwemba for best midfielder,Nahimana Jonas for best defender, Patrick Matasi for best goalkeeper, Josphat Odanga for chairman’s exemplary award, Vincent Were for male fan of the year and Halima Hanii for female fan of the year.
I had to leave the event early (11pm is early when others left at 4.30am!) but I know the awards were a big success! I remember when Joe Kadenge, whose son (Oscar Kadenge) also plays for AFC, was given a moment to speak. He told us of a time when the Harambee Stars squad consisted of 9 players from AFC. Only the goalkeeper and striker were from other teams. Sadly, the current Harambee Stars squad doesn’t have a single player from AFC. I am not saying that is the reason Harambee Stars got kicked out of the CECAFA cup being played in Tanzania right now, but Kimanzi should surely consider a new squad!
My camera ran out of juice early in the night so I don’t have many pictures. However, if you can find more photos of the event on the AFC Leopards Facebook Branch group. You need to be a member to comment but you can view them even when not a member.
I look forward to the next Ingwe event! The music from Friday night is still playing in my head. (♫ Muliro wanje.. muliro wanje ♫ iiiiii iiiiiii iii iii i.. ♫ uuuuuuuu uuuuuu uuuuuu uuu u ♫)
This weekend, a lot of African football was played. Teams were battling it out for a slot in the Africa Cup of Nations (ACN) to be played in January next year, hosted jointly by both Equitorial Guinea and Gabon.
Kenya and Uganda were in the same group, and I remember sneaking out of church (well, sort of) last year so I could catch the first leg of the match at Nyayo Stadium. Click to read my summary of them match last year! I had bet heavily on the game and might have had to change my nationality to Ugandan if we had lost. It ended in a 0-0 draw.
Uganda was leading in the group which consisted of Kenya, Uganda, Guinea Bissau and Angola. Ugandans were confident, cocky, arrogant… they thought the match against Kenya was just a formality. If they beat us, as they knew they will, they would automatically qualify for the ACN. Since they were at home, and their team had an impressive run, their headlines in the newspapers were to the tune of “How to Celebrate the Cranes Win”, and clubs advertised how they will organize the winning party.
I had no idea how I was going to travel to Kampala, but luckily, Kalonzo Musyoka, our Vice President, offered to pay for football fans. I decided I was going to get on that bus somehow. Luckily for me, the VP is on twitter and he offered to pay for 200 tweeps to join the rest of the traveling fans. After hounding his account (I can be relentless he he), I finally ended up on the list of Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) who were sponsored for the trip which included free transport, 1000bob for food allowance and a free ticket. KEFOFA (KEnya FOotball Fans Association) organized the whole trip which was eventful as it was exciting!
We arrived at Nyayo Stadium on Friday afternoon where the rest of the fans were gathered. The VP was there to flag us off.. Because of the logistics of organizing, checking our luggage, briefing and finally take off, we left Nairobi at 9pm. We made a lot of noise as we cruised past the city’s highways which had been cleared of traffic for us!
The journey to the border at Malaba was long but never boring. The KOT were a source of amusement as they called for numerous stops to empty and refuel (don’t ask!) their body systems.
We finally made it to the border at 4am, where the processing of our documents by immigration on both sides would take hours! We had to wait for everyone to be cleared! In addition, we waited for the Kenyan ambassador to deliver our tickets, the Ugandan security forces to frisk us (though all they did was count us!) after which they accompanied our convoy to Kampala. We left the border at around 10am, after some fans had freshened up by taking ‘passport’ showers and brushing their teeth at the border tap/washrooms.
Onwards then to Kampala.. we were tired and hungry but that did not stop us from blowing our vuvuzelas, whistles and making plenty of noise as we waved our flags at any small townships along the way. We did stop for food at some Forest point where they sell chicken on a stick. Yummy, whether chicken or wild birds!
We made it to Kampala a little past 1pm in readiness for the match at 5pm. We drove straight to the Namboole International Stadium in Kampala, where we parked and tweeps readied themselves for the match. One @raidarmax decided to hawk popcorn so he could raise some money perhaps to buy some Nile Special… those guys had pitched tent at the stadium!
It was 3 hours to the game yet the stadium was filling up fast! We decided to freshen up (we all can’t do public freshening ups at the border!) at some hotels/cheap lodgings/guesthouses etc that surrounded the stadium. We then donned our Kenyan shirts (trademark red), carried our flags, vuvuzelas, whistles and other cheering paraphernalia and off to the stadium we went!
The place was packed to capacity! We could hardly get sitting space! The Ugandan fans were cheering and overpowering us (they had the advantage of numbers and the public address system) but we put up a show! They sang We go, we go.. and we replied you go, you go! I’ll try to upload the clip.
I will not bore you with the match’s technical details, the pictures should suffice! Uganda was desperate to score especially when they realized Angola was almost winning its match against Guinea, which meant that Angola would qualify. The first half was exciting but no goals were scored, and in the second half, with the help of the referee, they terrorized our defenders and goalkeeper.
There were so many ‘almost’ goals it’s a wonder no Kenyan fan got a heart attack! Uganda was relentless in its attack towards the dying minutes of the game and we have to give it up for the man of the match, Arnold Origi, the goalkeeper. His performance was nothing short of impressive. In the end it was a 0-0 draw which wasn’t that bad for us but was heart-breaking for Uganda. If only they had let us have Migingo, we might have let them score so they could qualify for the ACN in the spirit of the EA community! But they thought they were too good for our team!
Dining With The Stars
The Kenyan ambassador to Uganda had organized an after party on Saturday night for the players which was graced by the Vice President among other politicians. I was among the few lucky fans in attendance. I remember William Ruto coming to the table I sat at and greeting each of us, before going to sit down at the ‘high table’. I must admit I was star struck for a second there!
Arnold Origi (the goalie, rem) and Mariga with his small bro who plays for Celtic Wanderers sat at the table next to us; food and drinks was freely flowing, speeches were given; Harambee Stars’ performance acknowledged (I think the VP said he’d give the team half a million shillings and a mystery present for the goalie); and all in all we had fun! We then left in the VP’s entourage and I got a seat next to Eugene Wamalwa (at this point I feel like a groupie posting pics of me with *ahem, politicians and football stars but can’t help it for now!).
On Sunday morning we got into the bus and traveled to Nairobi. It was a long ride this time since the excitement had died, but there were some rowdy fans in the bus that kept us entertained the whole way! The discussions though, cannot be posted on this very nice and decent blog as they were X-rated, fodder for Maina’s breakfast show on Classic 105!
All in all, I had quite the time of my life! The VP should do this more often especially if/when he becomes president.
Most pictures taken by Calypso, my Galaxy S II. Others by a Nokia N8 courtesy of @kachwanya. I had to compress them so I could easily upload them and this reduced their quality but I hope you enjoy.
First of all, I would like to say ‘pole’ to masemeji… Gor Mahia lost 1-2 to Congo United. We feel your pain but we celebrate your loss! This past Saturday, both Gor and AFC had matches. AFC was playing Bandari FC at the Kenya Ports Authority Sports Club, Mbaraki. Gor played Congo United in City Stadium, Nairobi.
Match Results: Gor Mahia 1-2 Congo United; AFC Leopards 0-0 Bandari FC
The CLAWS trust sponsored air travel for four lucky fans to watch AFC Leopards play Bandari FC, and I was among the lucky winners! . Other fans had traveled by bus on Friday night. Saturday morning was a mad rush to the airport to beat the ever present traffic on Mombasa Road. We made it in time for the 10am flight on Jetlink.
At the airport, we met other fans who were flying to coast, among them Basset Buyuka (he was an NTV news anchor at one time). There were many people who saw us in our beautiful blue and white gear and wished us all the best, though they couldn’t understand why we would fly all the way to Mombasa just to see our team play!
Take off was smooth even though it was a cloudy day in Nairobi. I had a window seat so I got a number of beautiful pictures using my Samsung Galaxy S2, best phone on earth currently (but do I say!). The air hostesses served us with juice and peanuts and even before you could finish crunching them, we were landing at Moi International Airport Mombasa. The weather was agreeable and we got a cab to the hotel where most of the fans who had traveled overnight were staying.
We were at the Mbaraki sports field in time to watch the buses carrying the players of both teams drive in. They changed into training gear and started their warm-ups. The AFC cheering squad, with its hot babes in short shorts, danced around the stadium, tireless and enthusiastic, making the Bandari cheering squad look lackluster! I guess it’s not easy to match up to the Isikuti!
Some Gor fans came and sat just below us at the spectator steps, and proceeded to amuse us for the better part of the first half. They were supporting AFC, so they claimed! They had a loaf of bread that they washed with something that wasn’t water.
The match finally got underway. We AFC fans were the majority on the grounds. We did our best to cheer on our team. The players weren’t doing their best in the first half and we hoped things would change in the second half. It was still 0-0 at half time and we didn’t want to have traveled all the way and come back with no points!
In the second half, the AFC players put a lot of pressure on the Bandari team. They themselves (AFC players) had pressure to perform, to give us fans at least a goal. However, most shots went wide! A number of corners were wasted, opportunities given away, shots misfired, and by the time the final whistle blew, no goals had been scored! The match ended 0-0 and we got 1 point, which put us at number 7 on the league table as of this Sunday afternoon.
Among the notable attendees of the match was one Mahmoud Abbas, the former Harambee Stars goalkeeper. Also, Brenda Mulinya and her newly wedded husbandAllan Wanga took a break from their honeymoon at Watamu to watch the match. Wanga currently plays for Hoang Anh Gia Lai in Vietnam.
Later at the airport, we met the players at the waiting lounge also ready to fly back to Nairobi. I had the chance to talk to the coach, Jan Koops, who was explaining to me why we didn’t win. Suffice to say I shall not be explaining the reasons here, since I was told in confidence. You don’t belive me? Koops and I are best friends. I have a photo to prove it. See below.
The Stars won 2-1 back then! It was a thrilling match!
I’ve decided to blog about the latest match, which I watched on TV.
In summary: Angola won 1-0.
Harambee Stars, heart-breakers extraodinnaire, went to Angola and took on the Palancas Negras. The match results will eventually determine which between Kenya, Angola, Uganda and Guinea Bissau will make it to the Africa Cup of Nations next year (around January) that will be hosted jointly by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon
They played beautifully. It was Kenyans leading the attack in the first half but they were shooting blanks. The match was at 0-0 half time. We hoped The Stars would be encouraged to give us a goal in the second half.
And by God they scored! Rangers FC forward Kevin Ochieng scored Kenya’s first goal in the 60th minute!
Only it was offside!!
That offside rule needs to be revised, surely…
10 minutes later, Manucho equalized for Angola.
That is how we lost 1-1!
So here are the standings:
1. Uganda- 10 pts
2. Angola- x points
3. Kenya – 4pts
4. Guinea Bissau – 3 pts
Anyway, for us to qualify, we have to beat Uganda away, and GB at home by many goals. Then we stand a chance of competing for the few slots available for the number 2 teams.
If I were you, I wouldn’t start putting up the pieces of my heart together, I can feel heartbreak in the near future.
On Saturday March the 26th, Kenya’s Harambee Stars was playing against Angola’s Black Antelopes (Palancas Negras in Portuguese) at Nyayo Stadium. For the first time since 2008, I did not attend Harambee Stars’ international match played at home. The last match I watched at the stadium was in November last year against Uganda where we drew 0-0.
For the first time in a long time, Kenya won! The final score was 2-1 and the winning goal was slotted in by McDonald Mariga. He then went on to remove his shirt and was given a second yellow card which meant he had to leave the pitch. He will also not play against Angola on June 4th.
Picture courtesy of Mohammed Amin, nation.co.ke website
What does the win mean? Technically, not much. There are four teams in our group: Kenya, Uganda, Guinea and Angola. We have to play each team home and away. So far we lost to Guinea away, drew with Uganda at home and won against Angola at home. The remaining matches are Guinea, home; Uganda, away and Angola, away.
To qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations being co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year, we have to be at the top of our group. Only one team from each group will qualify, my brother tells me.
The stars now have a new kit, which I like! Below is the old kit.
I wish I had attended the match, from what I’m reading in the newspapers, it was a thrilling match.