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:


Martin Musalia, Duncan Oluoch



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



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



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.

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