Archive for November, 2012

CECAFA COUNTDOWN -2!

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Like a comet, eons ago, destined for earth, Cecafa tourney on its destined path to East and Central Africa?

                                                                                           By Mugera Howard ,

                                                                                            22nd . Nov, 23.00pm

            Yes. True that. Little after Issa Hayatou, CAF president flags off the tourney, Harambee Stars take on arch rivals Uganda Cranes in Group A at 6 pm, November 24th local time. On paper, it’s CECAFA’s group of death but far from the Champions League group of death with ManCiteh, Madrid, Dortmund or Ajax jostling for a stage in the famed European nights. For us, on the East of Africa, many will dismiss CECAFA with just a casual laugh… Fear not! In comes “Chengafunga”, the new warrior from the East, for our football. Ahem! Ahemm… the Ugandan football scene has witnessed steady improvement. All credit to Bobby Williamson, tactician since 2008. Evidence enough, is their status as 3-time defending CECAFA champions and an impressive FIFA rank of 86. Before you say a word… just let us gets with it. All right?

Uganda Cranes during a previous Training session before a friendly match with, Image Curtesy of Google image

            Okay, class is in session and for those with attention-deficit; no “Inception” while we are at it. Understand that The Cranes, holders and host for a second consecutive time, hold the highest number of CECAFA titles. Falling just short of a baker’s dozen. Impressive! Put to mind that Kenya has nothing close to half that number…With prize money of a cool 75, 50 and 25 million for 1st, 2nd and 3rd position, that money-anticipating look, that lights the higher self should be alive in every squad. Credit to Musonye and his team.

Often from its origins as the “Gossage cup” in the 30’s and 60’s, down to 2004-05, CECAFA has largely been a Ugandan-Kenyan affair. Migingo derby. Lately though, Uganda have remained masters of the show. In our golden days, particularly 1998, Kenya boasted her finest FIFA rank of 68 but consequently punctured to a lowly 137 in 2007. That should have been the signal for the economic depression that was to come, tear down forex markets with the dollar trading at an alarming 107/= or something, later in Kenya! The last two times the Migingo derby was played resulted to disappointing goalless draws. However, this doesn’t demean the rivalry therein whatsoever. Rather, it should serve as a launch pad for a thrilling one and half hour viewing. Bob Williamson’s 20 man squad includes:

Forwards

Robert Ssentongo, Emma Okwi, Hamis Diego Kiiza and Brian Umony

 

 

Midfielders

Saidi Kyeyune, Geoffrey Baba Kizito, Joseph Mpande, Manko Kawesa, Moses Oloya and Brian Majwega.

 

Defenders

Denis Guma, Nicholas Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Joseph Ochaya, Henry Kalengi, Isaac Isinde and Wasswa Hassan.

 

Goalies

Ali Kimera, Hamza Muwonge and Abel Dhaira.

Best Case Scenario

Best case scenario for both teams is emerging group winner. Theoretically, that is as close as it gets to a gate-pass to the semi-finals. For Group A winners, the route to the quarter finals involves an encounter with 2nd or 3rd best placed team of the tournament. Runners up then have to play their opposite number in Group C.

Did you know?

  • CECAFA is the successor to the “Gossage Cup” held 37 times from 1926 to 1966? After the Uganda match, Kenya next play South Sudan and Ethiopia in that order starting at 1500hrs on 27th and 30th November.
  • Only two matches, 16 and 17, will be played at the War Memorial stadium in Nakivubo, Kampala city? It will feature Somali versus Tanzania and Malawi pitted against Zanzibar
  • Harambee stars last played in the tournament in 2009? Francis Kimanzi was in charge then but eventually lost in the final by a solitary goal to the Cranes at the Nelson Mandela stadium. Kimanzi’s assistant then was James Nandwa.
  • The Uganda Cranes, current title holders, beat Rwanda 3-2 on penalties in Dar-es-Salaam to win the tournament in 2011?
  • A total of 50 matches have been played between the two countries. Kenya has won 12, lost 16 and drawn 22? In the process, Kenya has conceded 57 and scored 55 in these games.
  •  Kenya’s biggest win over Uganda was a 4-1 win in August 2004? Alternately our biggest loss was a 1-3 result whereas the highest draw was a 3-all affair.
  • Paul Kiongera Mungai of KCB, Laurence Olum of Kansas Sporting (USA) miss out on a first appearance in national gear, after being dropped in the final 20 man list? Only Martin Imbalambala makes a debut while Anthony Kimani of Mathare returns to the fold.

 

Follow @M. Howard on twitter.

 

CECAFA COUNTDOWN 3!

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

So crystal ball, crystal ball… who will be crowned champion of them all?

                                                                                                      By Mugera Howard,

                                                                                                      22nd Nov, 1.00pm.

            Behold the season festivities!  In a fortnight, the train of thought in most Kenyan minds will be fun and adventure, parties and holiday trips and even more fun. You can only wonder how many ‘fanta’ bottles will quench that size of ‘fun-thirst’. Well, that’s the Y generation for you. As for the old folks …well, you know. No sweet tooth in their dental!  They are always fussing about the next paycheck, and the “dos” that it drags along. If it’s not about the increasing amounts of power bills, it’s probably the newly introduced premium on security fee for the estate, or how your high school brother, has had an upsurge in hormonal activity and a ravenous, wolf-like digestive tract.

Either way, that’s it. We will indulge no further. Reason why? Chengafunga is like a dog, we don’t speak, (much) but we understand. So, with four days to go, we are serving dessert. Football dessert to flag off the bandwagon of festivities even before Mr. Claus and his elves get a whiff of the festive ambience. After dropping 8 positions, to a land a round, even, three-figure 130th rank on the FIFA log, we are at it again. Taking our talents out to Kampala for the CECAFA senior challenge cup! Forget the consecutive losses to Bafana2 and Taifa Stars. Momentarily, at least. Starting November 24th, Harambee stars will do battle with the Uganda Cranes, Ethiopia and South Sudan in Group A. In four days time, it’s all or nothing. Our recent CECAFA outings with Uganda and Ethiopia haven’t been those to write home about. Whereas, South Sudan are the N.K.O.T.B (new kids on the block) and will be no push over’s, the point of concern is; Kenya isn’t well famed for putting teams to the sword. Rather, getting high off our own supply.  Better yet, we shoot ourselves in the foot.

Many a time, if we are not over enthusiastic in trying to salvage a goal after spurning myriad chances and overwhelmed with an all-out-attack-spearhead spirit, we are busy defending counter attacks and conceding daft own goals. Kamikaze style. Add to the fact that Michel’s comments on the importance of CECAFA are not your usual motivational power talks, and well… So unlike Musonye, who is disillusioned with Michel and doesn’t lose any sleep over our participation thus, we, the wananchi do. It matters least whether or not FIFA take importance in the tourney. With that in mind, let’s go to class.

 

The Harambee Stars squad to play in the tourney includes:

Goalies

Martin Musalia, Duncan Oluoch

 

Defenders

Thomas Wanyama, David Owino, Joackins Atudo, Martin Imbalambala, Joseph Shikokoti, Abraham Juma, Milton Olum and Patill Omoto

 

Midfielders

Bernard Mang’oli (deputy skipper), Humphrey Mieno, Anthony Kimani (skipper), Francis Kahata, Paul Were and Clifford Miheso.

 

Forwards

Michael Barasa, Rama Salim, Allan Wanga, Edwin Lavatsa and Enock Agwanda,.

Did you know?

  • CECAFA boasts three groups (A, B and C), of four teams each? Naturally, group winners and runners up make the next round. That goes some way in showing the magnitude of importance in our first match. On paper, qualification should be easy. After all we have Oliech, the Mariga brothers and Sserunkuma. Right… Gor Mahia fans? Wrong. Not for this tourney.
  •  The quarter finals will only slot three teams meaning semi finalists with tied points, might be decided on several criteria? Teams tied on points will be qualified on head to head results, outright goal difference or ultimately most goals scored or least conceded.
  • Former Tusker FC coach, James Nandwa who escaped the inferno that consumed Nakumatt in ’08 is now heading the Stars team to CECAFA? Sadly, then Tusker CEO-Peter Serry, former coach and player at KCB and Mathare did not make it. Nandwa’s first assignment is oddly against the Cranes.

Coach James Nandwa, Image curtesy of futaa.com

  •  Nandwa and three others; Mathare Utd goalie Duncan Ochieng, Tusker defender-Joseph Shikokoti and AFC forwardMike Baraza are the only survivors from the previous Kenyan team in the CECAFA tournament?
  • The top clubs in the 2011-2012 season Tusker, Gor, AFC and Sofapaka have contributed 16 (3, 3, 5 and 3 respectively) players to the provisional 25-man team sheet that should be whittled down to 20. No surprises there. Other KPL teams fielding players to the national side are: “The bankers”-KCB, Sony Sugar, Mathare and Thika United.
  •  Local top tier clubs have summed a total of 23 players within the Stars camp? Despite finishing 6th, 7th and 9th, Ulinzi, Chemelil and Western Stima have no representatives in the side while Azam FC (Tanzania) and Kansas (USA) are the only foreign clubs with players making the provisional squad. Kariobangi Sharks– 7th in the second tier division -has a single man in the camp as well.
  • Apart from the provisional squad of hard-nosed campaigners and recently capped players; (Rama Salim, Bernard Mang’oli, Martin Musalia, Enoch Agwanda and Clifton Miheso), only Martin Imbalambala, Edwin Lavatsa and the burgeoning Paul Mungai Kiongera are debutants for the national side?

Follow @M. Howard on twitter.