Sep 29, 2012 13:45:00

By David Bonuke

Just a week after football fans all over the world were treated to a ‘Super Sunday’, filled with so much entertainment and drama in equal measure, another game week rolls in. The actions starts even earlier this time round as the London derby is scheduled for an early Kick-off. Arsenal play host to their London rivals Chelsea at the emirates. Bearing in mind John Terry’s ongoing saga, much of the pre-much build-up will most likely revolve around it. Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn’t but for the sake of the good game, a more worthy cause should take centre stage. That of Arsenal’s main man, Arsene Wenger, he just can’t stop reaching those notable landmarks. This time round, the Professor will achieve his 16th anniversary in charge of the Gunners come Monday. What a better way to crown that achievement than to win on Saturday’s early Kick off. A win will surely guarantee Wenger his 350th win in the premier league as arsenal’s Boss.

   Image Curtesy of carefree.com

Much is at stake in this match, I know it’s a bit early in the season but both teams would want to maintain their unbeaten record, their pride as well as the three points that are up for grabs. In the previous season, this fixture ended in a barren draw, and with both teams boasting with the joint best defensive record in the league, it’s possible to expect a low scoring event. But then again it being a derby, you just don’t know what to expect. This is probably Chelsea’s sternest test in the domestic league. As for Arsenal, say something like a litmus test to their title challenge surge. Varmaelen is expected back in the starting eleven after missing out in last week’s encounter with Manchester City due to illness; Jack Wilshere is also expected to play some part in the duel after a long time out due to injury. Another notable appearance would be that of former ‘Three lions’ skipper John Terry, who missed the midweek trainings due to FA Hearings.

Prediction: Arsenal 1:2 Chelsea

  Curtesy of whoscored.com

Manchester United seems to be that team that every other football fan, apart from its own fans love to hate. The team not only has lady luck on its side, but also the referees, don’t get me wrong, United is a good team, but it seem to get it easy when it comes to crucial game changing decisions. Whether it’s a mark of true champions or not, time will tell.  Away with that rant, Manchester United faces a familiar opposition in the name of Tottenham, a team that United seem to enjoy playing. Statistics show that out of the 40 games played between these two sides, Tottenham have only managed three wins and none at Old Trafford in their previous twenty attempts. Is it karma, or will the new Tottenham Boss disregard statistics and history in order to defy the odds. Tottenham have so far shown some promise with their quick attacking style of football while the once impenetrable United’s defence seem to be a leaking one too many goals this campaign. Ferguson will be glad to welcome back Rooney, who will most likely play in the middle of the pack to inject the much needed creativity. Valencia is a doubt as well as Rafael through injury. If only Dembele could repeat his heroics and Bale to attack down the left, then they might just give United some food for thought.

Prediction: Manchester United 3:1 Tottenham

Curtesy of whoscored.com

Everton have really shown what working as a team can produce. They can take on any team on their day. Could that day be now? Moyes would certainly hope so. They have certainly orchestrated some of the most thrilling football in this campaign thrashing the high and mighty United on their way. This weekend they play Southampton at home hoping to keep the momentum going. It won’t be easy though as they face a team that is full of confidence after recording their first win in the top flight against Aston Villa. Though the Saints will be hoping to get some points, Goodison Park is definitely not the place to get them, *ask United.

Prediction: Everton 2:1 Southampton

Curtesy of whoscored.com

Elsewhere, the defending Champions will be hoping to put aside their dismal start of the season with a win against Fulham. Both teams come into this game full of unpredictability. Though Manchester City remains unbeaten so far, they have only managed to get 9 pts on their five opening games from a possible 15pts. Manchester City just like the other Manchester club seems to be struggling with defense. Being a shrewd manager, Mancini will be hoping to tighten the defence since he knows that defence wins you titles, a good example is Chelsea on their road to Munich. Manchester city though are unbeaten in their last seven games against Fulham, and will be hoping to make that eight.

Prediction Fulham 0:3 Manchester City

Curtesy of whoscored.com

Follow on twitter @Quenton53 and @@Mugera_H

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Sep 26, 2012 20:48:20

By Howard Mugera

That Musonye, CECAFA secretary general, has come out hitting at newly appointed Stars coach was quite predictable. Our participation in CECAFA is somewhat important for Harambee stars’ shine.  That said, Musonye, a Kenyan, doesn’t feel our participation in the tournament is of any consequence.

“Their absence will be inconsequential because they do not add any value to us” courtesy of goal.com Kenya

 

Nicholas Musonye (left) addressing a press conference, curtesy of CECAFA

That right there doesn’t sit well with me. To be ruled out by your own kind as of being “non-grata” goes a long way in reflecting our current FIFA standing. It’s appalling. Imagine the negative vibe that resonates across East Africa with these utterances. Perhaps Michel should have used this as a chance to test drive this broke machine we call our national team. Maybe give a shot to the players that have left a print on the 2011-2012 TPL season. Anyway, this is why he is boss. The decision is his to make, leave it to the experts. Quit the fussing for a minute.  I’d volunteer to give Sam Nyamweya the number to Ndung’u- Central Bank‘s governor, but before that, I pray he stumbles on a duffle bag stacked with a cool 80 M Kshs for Michel’s pay, on his way home.

In other not so pleasant news, Sofapaka‘s new boss has axed four players from his squad asking they be released “without any conditions”. Reason? Collins Okoth alias ‘Gattusso’, Kanamuli Kapilima, Hashim Mukhwana  and Hakim Ssekumba were taking e-courses from the Joey Barton academy (sic). Poor form and indiscipline. Then again, what’s with AFC, Weche and Koops? Strange. They keep that up and  its sayonara to the league.

Matters English, Arsenal showed they are packed with some steel after a late equalizer against City. League leaders Chelsea come calling next. Maybe then, we will tell the elasticity of the Gunners’ pressure points. Questions are being raised about the defensive lines of both Manchester sides. Not to mention Vidic’s injury and City’s crumbling against Villa in the Capital One cup. As for Liverpool, well… Oh, and what do we have here? John George Terry quit the national team. Joy for Chelsea, blow for Hodgson

Arsenal players celebrating Laurent Koscielny’s equaliser against Manchester City, curtesy of Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Chelsea’s no. 26 is the only English player to make the team in the all star squad for the 2006 FIFA world cup, has been UEFA’s club defender of the year in ’05, ’08 and ’09 and PFA Players’ player of the year in ’05. Sufficient reasons to understand Hodgson’s anguish. JT has managed 76 appearances for the Three Lions with 6 goals serving as skipper. Admittedly he has lost a bit of his old self in recent times, but you all know what it is that is said about class and form. Even then, for whatever reason, one Wayne Bridge must be smiling goofily within himself.

  Former Club and National Team mates, Wayne Bridge and Captain John Terry,Curtesy of http://www.anorak.co.uk

Juventus should run away with the Serie A “bride” after an unbeaten run of 43 games. It’s no mean feat given that they are making light work of seasoned champions-the Milan clubs. Add to that the lengthy ban their manager is serving then digest their potential and mental strength. Barca are still the team to beat in La Liga. Bayern Munich seem to have learnt that Dortmund are here to stay, and are taking no chances with the Bundesliga. It’s a wrap. Shukrani.

    Juventus Celebrating their magnificent comeback against the defending Champions of Europe, Chelsea fc. curtesy of Adam Digby

Follow on twitter @Mugera_H and visit goal.com Kenya and futaa.com for extensive local news coverage.

NEXT IN ACTION….

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 Saturday, 22nd September two pm, East African time- the duel begins. If you’ve missed them before don’t miss them again. I’m talking the famed Kenyan derby.  AFC Leopards (Ingwe) take on Gor Mahia (K’ogalo). In a blockbuster weekend, it’s probably for the best, that the clash epitomizing the intrigues of the newly branded Tusker Premier League was moved to Saturday. FKF played their hand. Well done I say. Ticketing starts Friday with Bob Morgan outlets in Nairobi charging 200 bob for the terraces and a manageable 500 for VIP. This clash will witness the greatest match attendance for the season and Supersport must be smirking their lips. Maximum viewership. Undoubtedly- the silver lining that sponsors have been blowing candles over cake for. On a good day, security will see to it the fight remains within the green area. For the goons out to spoil the party…a quick word. There are taxpayers working their butts off, to spend that money on things they won’t regret. Like Saturday’s derby.

                                          AFC Leopards fan’s supporting their team ( courtesy of Goal.com )

Okay now, while Gor have been busy building momentum, AFC sat back to admire the leopard spots they have printed on the league this year. While Gor were busy cutting down the 17 point difference from their arch rivals, AFC blessed log leaders Tusker by letting go their seven point advantage. Understand that this is the ultimate title decider, especially with Tusker edging AFC on goal difference. A trophy-less 13 year wait is in the balance. As the derby’s hitherto and pomp paint the city in the next few hours, Gor’s preparation comes to mind. Logarusic, the Croat took a sunset trip home. Who would have thought? A trip? At least not now. Not when the league decider is playing to your hands. Even with the all-time, best FCB team, Guardiola had his sabbatical after slugging it out with the Special One to the last minute. The kind of franchise player who needs no water breaks. Not till it’s done. Now Vilanova might get into eye-poking feuds without “compadre” Pep on his side! Black belt lessons perhaps?

The K’ogalo faithful saluting their stars  ( Courtesy of  Kenya forum )

Unlike Koops, who is burning the midnight oil through the week in search of inspiration for his side, Dravko is playing a different ballgame. In his wake (a week’s absence), Gor is under the close watch of fitness trainer, Igenda, and second in command Ogolla. The effects of this remain unknown, but in football…well??  Maybe that’s just a result of me paying unnecessary attention. The Gor camp is in high spirits, and rightly so. SSerunkuma can’t wait to get going; George Bwana just organized a motivation dinner for the squad, while Solomon Nasio, Moses Odhiambo and Chris Wekesa made the cut for Michel’s squad in the upcoming Stars’ CECAFA challenge in November.  That’s a morale booster. Leopards, on the other hand have kept their poker face. Considering the quagmire they are in, it’s in their best interests to keep the surroundings of Mumias Complex serene.

That said, the management board at AFC does not lack in inspiring and marshalling belief in staff- qualities of an effective HRM. Leopards squad have been assured a cool 50,000 Kshs on beating Gor, and pissing on their pride and title hopes. Time for the players to give the title a second shot of adrenaline? Indeed! In sweetening the deal, AFC players might land another 250, 000 Ksh. for winning the league. Configure that alongside the gross benefits from sponsors for winning the league… not bad.

Well, last time out, this derby faded to a paltry, goalless draw. Odds for another? Unlikely. I’d go all in for a counter-wager at Gaming International. 8 games to go and all sides are gunning for points. Hunting season. Keep it Chengafunga for more.

TPL 2012 log (top 10)

Rank

Team

Played

Wins

Draws

Loss

Scored for

Scored against

+/-

Points

1 AFC Leopards 24 13 6 5 33 19 14 45
2 Gor Mahia 24 12 7 5 26 15 11 43
3 Tusker 23 11 9 3 27 12 15 42
4 Thika United 24 12 6 6 33 26 7 42
5 Sofapaka 24 11 7 6 26 17 9 40
6 Ulinzi Stars 24 12 4 8 30 23 7 40
7 Western Stima 25 10 6 9 25 18 7 36
8 Chemelil Sugar 24 7 10 7 14 15 -1 31
9 Karuturi Sports 25 7 8 10 17 24 -7 29
10 Mathare United 24 6 10 8 26 29 -3 28

(Tusker won their game in hand)

THE RULE OF KNOWNS

Posted: August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A 3 way dilemma. That’s what has led FKF to Henri. Michel Simply put, would you rather the known-known, known unknown or unknown unknowns? After witnessing the Harambee stars struggle to strike lustre in the beautiful game, stakeholders have been touting names foreign to the Kenyan tongue for the national team’s top job. The dilemma therein. Others have been tried and tested in the recent past, and not many have impressed: Francis Kimanzi, “Ghost” Mulee, Antoine Hey and Zico, didn’t quite cut it. So Sam Nyamweya and Football Kenya Federation opted to chance with the known-unknowns, Raymond Domenech (yes, him), Claude Leroy, Oto Pfister, Adel Amrouche and Frenchman Michel from a more extensive shortlist. Many boast noteworthy success under their managerial careers and therefore felt equal to the task. Put in mind our football team is a wild card. Has been for a while now. In a minute way, VERY MINUTE, our position is similar to England’s, currently bossed by Roy Hodgson. Bags of potential, no actual results. Admittedly, we should be thankful for the national coaches we have had, but life goes on, and it has, with Frenchman Henri Michel. Our known unknown.

 You wonder how most of us have our noses in English football, and yet know kaput of our own. Tidbits of Gor-Mahia- Ingwe knowledge don’t apply. Not by a long shot and Chengafunga isn’t any different. Guilty as charged! So, possibly, we all need something new. Different.  A learning process.  A known unknown. The prospect of a new tactician within our ranks is refreshing. Someone with a different experience but open to new challenges, a Kenyan challenge. ” What’s in store for us?” you might think. Give it time. It’s worth a try but whether it is wise to let go of local instructors for foreign, remains our unknown-unknown. So we wait with bated breath on what our new man has in store. But hold! Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman. And what with the new constitution on matters gender? Hmmm… imagine the feel, a female manager as boss?

 In happier days, not long ago, Reinhard Fabisch (rest his soul) was alright. Antoine Hey ??… Hey, I don’t know, but in faith with keeping up to the learning process, did you know, Kenya has appeared in five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and has never secured a second round berth? The team entered its first FIFA World Cup qualificationin 1974 and as of 2012, has never qualified to the final tournament. Even then, the bad comes with the good. Ying and yang. The team has been 5 Times, Cecafa  Champion (1975, 1981, 1982, 1983, 2002) and 4 times Runners-up. Point in hand, these historical football treasures of ours can be realized with planned change.

 Correcting our fatal mistakes and rediscovering paths to these previous successes are doubtlessly, ways to upgrade our football. The new tactician, Michel, should be a man who knows some things can change, others can’t. Like getting old and dying. Mind you, integrating change is no mean feat. Therefore 64 year old Michel should be allowed his choice for a backroom staff, but integrated with a couple of local, old school tacticians. Michel has the African experience managing Cameroon (‘94), Morocco (’95-2000, 2007), Tunisia (2001-02) and Cote D’Ivoire (04-06). With blue, dreamy eyes and a pinch of naivety, most would go for the more familiar Domenech…Well only imagine what hefty pay the former Les Bleus boss would command and take back to France? The kind of money you’d by a fishing boat with in your 60’s. Not many Kenyans do that in their 60’s. Perhaps the young, technical Belgian Tom Saintfiet (39) is a better pick vis a vis the experienced Oto Pfister (74)? Or the man with big African names under his belt-Leroy? All in the unknown-unknowns basket, so leave it.

 Transition is key; stakeholders need a moment to let it all sink in before any rabbits start hopping out of the hat. Maybe Michel needs either Kimanzi, Ghost and Zico as a consultant and whether that should be financially worked, is of concern. No, not concern, but advisable if brought in the fold. In similar fashion to athletics, proper preparation is required, and since football is more technical than running or sprinting, even more is necessary. Successful football nations invest heavily in intensive coaching for their young players, relying on football associations to effectively coordinate the training of several thousand coaches. So in retrospect, this job isn’t necessarily a one man show. The contribution of local premier clubs, trainers and school competitions should direct more wind to the smooth sailing of our football ship.

Football needs to be run like an organization, and we can look no further than Ghana for governance lessons. It is no coincidence that Africa’s best performing team at the last World Cup was Ghana, a country which has some of the highest scores in Africa on world governance indicators. In organizations’ management, firms are at fault for complete changes and overhaul of their internal systems e.g. marketing strategies, machinery and equipment, all the while expecting improved, better output. However, they forget that transforming their current employees’ mindset, skills and cultures to suit those new changes is most important. Michel should be willing to learn as well as teach and realize that there are already decent players here: Celtic’s Wanyama, Oliech, Mariga, Mugalia, Blackberry, Oboya, Asike and others in the local premier league.

Change is welcome, but like it’s often asked, would you rather the devil you know or the devil you don’t? Answer-you never know but start with the rule of knowns.  

 

 

WAR IS COMING!

Posted: August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Having heard it all, from newly dropped albums ( liquor involved), getting a job, growing an afro to marrying a florist or a wedding planner, we decided to let you in on casual talk that Chengafunga and his gang of scallywags ( Kim, Frank-Einstein, Ali, Ras and Shaddie)  had to say on the premier league’s first game week. The setting, chill spot, Play Station on-FIFA 2012. Ali takes on Kim. It’s Arsenal vs. Chelsea. Meanwhile, the other goons are fooling around.

“Check out this Miguna video”  Shaddie tells Frank, as he passes him the laptop.

“Come baby, come!” Kim directs it at Ali, after scoring in the first five minutes already!

“Fala (fool)… shut up! Ntakusot..(I’ll still beat you)” Ali quips.

Ras, the Chelsea fan finally gets going.  “Eden Hazardous!”

“Oh he’s baaad!” Shaddie retorts. “He’s a wild one.” Chengafunga  continues.

Hazard starred in Chelsea’s 7 minute quick fire against Wigan that ensured Roman’s boys grabbed the first three points of the season. The Belgian put Ivanovic through for the opener and won a penalty that Lampard registered home with aplomb. Ras then takes a look at Ali vs. Kim’s game and rips into Ali.

“You are much better doing laundry than playing FIFA. We huchapwa! (You always lose) I don’t know why we even let you play.”

“Peleka  ujinga  mbali!”  Ali tells Ras to take his load of bunkum elsewhere. Ali is two goals down. He looks frustrated and everybody knows it.

“Cazorla!” Shaddie lets out minutes later after some good play by Ali. Like everyone else he’s following that game. Ali is putting up a fight as his effort from Cazorla rolls just wide.

“I had that covered. With JT…my defence is MEEAAN” Kim says even though deep down he barely survived.  Meanwhile, Ali is all business. He’s not losing this one. Not to Kim.

Cazorla put in a decent debut against a resolute Black Cats defence. The Spaniard almost grabbed one  and delightfully teed up Giroud only for the forward to blast wide.  So Just like Monsieur Wenger said, he could be one to look out for.

“Today, the Devil lurks” Kim a ManUtd fan casually states referring to tonight’s game. Ali has pulled one back in their game, but Kim isn’t one to be easily shaken.

Having seen City struggle to grab a winner, Kim’s confidence in United’s chances might just be true. Rightly so. Who would completely negate that, after the recent shocking capture of the Flying Dutch Man? Coincidentally, he scored the winning goals in all of Arsenal’s games against Everton.

“Everton nil-United 3.” Kim continues “With RVP and Rooney…war is coming!” he adds.

‘RVP is just another Na$ri…a football mercenary.” Ali quickly jumps in. The RVP hangover still agonizes him. Understandable for an Arsenal fan.

“Left footed bastard!” he mumbles on as he tries to seek an equalizer in the game. Time is running out.  

“Sour grapes dude.” Frank laughs off Ali. He and Kim enjoy troubling Ali. It’s double ecstasy for them, since Ali is losing.

Ali tries to make late subs in his team hoping for a comeback.  Arshavin , Gervinho and Ramsey for Walcott, Diaby and Mertesacker. He can’t stand being the whipping boy in the crew, so he tries everything . Anything!

United could send an emphatic message with a stylish win to their local rivals tonight. Considering that City stuttered against Southampton, The Red Devils will be keen to atone for the goal difference that cost them the league. Silva seemed to be on holiday but lucky for him, Nasri reported for duty and was very meticulous in yesterdays’ office work.

Meanwhile, Ali just lost the game to Kim and he’s already demanding for a rematch as Chengafunga and Shaddie try to wrestle him off the pad. They know Ali all too well to grant him his rematch.

 “Nipe rematch( I need a rematch)!” Ali keeps on.

“Ha ha.In your dreams…I’ll still beat you because you lack confidence, and ate bacon for breakfast.” Kim retorts.

“ Instead of a rematch, how about we lend you some self esteem?” Chengafunga tells Ali as everyone bursts out laughing.

“ Uko na ( You got )some Quan-chi skills though,” Frank offers Ali (Quan-chi meaning mad dribbling skills) “and potential too.” He adds.

“But we don’t deal with potential here. We deal with credentials!” Frank finishes off, and Ali can afford a wry smile.

Shaddie then goes on and on about the Tottenham game and how he fancies Ben Arfa for big things this season amidst interruption from the other guys. Names such as RvP, Podolski, Oscar, Vidic, Dempsey and Suarez are floated around before Kim points to the other pad and yells…

“Who’s next?” (referring to the next challenger) “He better show some skills. I don’t want to win easy like I did. Child play!”

That’s when it hits us, the new season is on, and if you look closely, every team has their war paint on. Indeed, war  is coming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

ONLY AT ARSENAL

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Bosman ruling was an important decision on the free movement of labor and had a profound effect on the transfers of football players within the EU. It banned the existing restrictions of foreign EU members within their football leagues allowing professional footballers to move freely to another club at the end of their terms of contract with their present team. This was after a protracted legal tussle between Jean-Marc Bosman and his club at the time- RFC Liege and prospective buyer Dunkerque. While that was a significant highlight of transformation in football, lately, the Bosman ruling has ghosted player power, unchallenged, over the roof to not so honorable heights. Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri and now Robin van Persie. Arsenal are in the same melee that occasioned their calamitous start to the season in 58 years. However, understand that Arsenal are seasoned in the art of churning raw dynamite potential to world beaters, and certainly the Dutchman isn’t the last. Not at all. Departures of Henry, Cesc, Nasri left a void that the likes of RVP himself, Wilshere and Song have filled.  Even Koscielny has made a sizeable number of people eat humble pie with regard to his overall improvement. So, would it be wise if Arsenal let go their star striker? Is The Flying Dutchman expendable at the Emirates? Yes, he is, and in matters football, it’s generally accepted that “Strikers win you games, defenders win you titles.”  Let me indulge you in random but valid viewpoints.

Arsene can be-grudgingly let RVP go, albeit not to either Manchester clubs.  Why? You might ask. Well, aren’t both sides lethal in front of goal already? RVP was immense last season but that doesn’t mean he made dazzling Messi-esque runs to land him the PFA’s player of the season. Clubs of Arsenal and United’s stature have the necessary infrastructure to replace exiting stars-Beckham, Ronaldo, Henry et cetera. Even without RVP’s contribution in past seasons due to perennial niggling injuries, Arsenal have always swung it with the big boys. Adebayor did well, Eduardo likewise before the Birmingham-fatale and not so long ago, when Chamakh couldn’t find his feet, Cesc Fabregas was unstoppable-19 goals, 19 assists. Not to undermine the skill ingrained in both his ‘cultured-left and right-chocolate feet’, but unlike Messi, the Dutchman wholesomely relied on cumulative team effort (Walcott, Song, Gervinho, Ramsey)  unlike Leo who many at times single handedly lands the Blaugrana their victories. Undeniably, losing the Flying Dutchman will be costly but only to an extent that Prince Poldi, Cazorla and Giroud will allow. Podolski is more than a proven goal threat, and is at his prime and with bags of experience. The promotion of Steve Bould and Neil Banfield to first team coaches might see change in tact, especially in defense where Bould is a thorough bred and perhaps an indicator for a step up in the Gunners’ kamikaze defending. Certainly, with TV5 as skipper in waiting, more responsibilities fall to Arsenal’s defensive numbers who should be Arsene’s cornerstone for forging a title-contending team. Rather than pre-occupy ourselves with the RVP trivia, why not ask, “What if the Verminator was in a similar situation, or Sagna?”  Bearing in mind their good run of form only happened with a fully fit back four. So, in comparison, it would definitely be a bigger blow as Arsenal’s Achilles’ heel (defense) would be at the mercy of the likes of City, United and Chelsea, yet it needs its consistent performers for sanity .So yes, RVP is expendable.

The Invincibles record for AFC is largely credited with a mean defense (back four), Cole, Lauren, Toure and Campbell (Lehmann, Viera and Gilberto). Whereas the likes of Pires, Bergkamp, Ljunberg and Henry lit up the league with exquisite finishing and forming a potent attacking fulcrum, Arsenals defensive line was fullproof. With Lauren, Cole and Campbell and Viera making it to the team of the season after conceding 26 goals is sufficient testament even with Arsenal’s impressive return of 73 goals.  In 05-06 season, Chelsea were champions winning 29, drawing 4 and losing 5, scoring 72 and conceding 22, and amassing 91 points. These numbers were slightly better than United’s (runners up) who won 25 drew 8, and lost 5, scored 72 and conceded 34 totaling 83 points.

With an equal tally of goals scored, United’s undoing was the number of goals conceded. In a scenario where Chelsea, encapsulate a similar performance and United leak fewer goals, therefore winning an extra 4 games, with say 1-0 margins, the Red Devils would be “scenario champions” with 29 won, 4 lost, 5 drawn and 30 conceded. The significance shows from the games drawn.  Even Liverpool snatched a top three finish over Arsenal, despite the latter’s superior goal difference on account of goals scored! Similarly, in the 08-09 season United beat Liverpool to the title despite The Red’s superior goal difference of +6, after scoring 9 more, courtesy to a one time, red hot El Ninho. Surprisingly, United lost more games, 4, compared to Liverpool’s 2, yet they were crowned champions. So the latter’s undoing was in the number of games drawn, which most likely were not goalless. Point in case-the 4-4 classic against Arshavin…umm Arsenal.  In the same season, Chelsea equaled United’s number of goals scored, conceded and consequently, goal difference, yet they ranked third. How so? In the three games that won United the league, Chelsea drew 2 and lost 1.  Further, United had more clean sheets at home, 13, compared to Chelsea’s 10. They even bettered this by keeping 2 more clean sheets, 11, to Chelsea’s 9 in away games. Runners up, Liverpool had fewer clean sheets compared to United 11- home, 8-away.

Even with Messi clinching the pichichi after an astonishing 73 goals last season, Madrid lifted the trophy. You would point out that Madrid scored goals galore. True. I insist that Barca’s lack of good defending particularly in away games ( Sociedad, Espanyol, Valencia, Bilbao) cost them the title. True again. For emphasis, what really won Chelsea their maiden Champions league? Is it Mata’s exquisite passes? Lampard’s deft through balls? Or the backline that put their lives on the line for 180 minutes? And what won City their maiden Premiership? Goal difference. United would have won the league had they not gifted bizarre goals to Everton (in a 4-4 encounter), Newcastle and (Phil Jones). The Terry-Carvalho, Vidic-Rio and Campbell-Lauren pairings are what title-winning sides are made of. The same way the Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci and Caceres backline earned The Old Lady her unbeaten scudetto. Arsenal are arguably the most creative side in the premiership, and Podolski assuming Wenger prefers him to Giroud, could well handle RVP’s duties, if chances come his way.  So, RVP is expendable at a cost that can be covered and if Wenger refurbishes his back line adequately, a Vermaelen-Metesacker/Koscielny partnership could be one for the future. So all Gooners should stop asking themselves where Van Persie’s loyalty dissipated to and channel their energy to players ready to end the trophy doubt in red North London.    

LAISSEZ NOUS FAIRE!

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

A broken record…synonyms (corruption, mismanagement e.t.c) associated with matters (Kenyan) football are way past sounding like a broken record. So much so, that I am bold and inclined to say I’d rather listen to Hon. Kajwang belt his famed “mapambano” tune any time. Worse still, I’d pay for a V.I.P ticket in a live performance, if a red-eyed Atwoli (mic in hand) and his COTU band (rocking bougainvillea-colored shirts and lesos) were to light up Carnivore all night long with their own composition of their equally famous “Ni nani atakayekomboa Kenya” tune. Anything, anything, anything but the broken record of KFF-this FKL-that bla-bla-bla!

Like a hard headed student who hated all science and mathematics teachers, KFF and FKL have with minimal effort and supervision, steered Kenyan football at neck break speed toward oblivion. No one really has the gist of how it came to pass but in the hullabaloo of football elections, the African Cup, KPL melee, World Cup qualifiers and protracted battles with Oliech and Mariga, FIFA’s latest ranking leaves us at a devastating 125 index! No thanks to Sholei and gang! There’s too much trouble in our football that even the CIA intelligence and US-SEAL team that sniffed out Bin Laden would find it difficult in uncovering the eye of this “mismanagement storm”.

Losses in all of Stars’ outings and a draw in our home games saw us bow out of WC qualifiers even after FIFA handed African countries the same lifeline. You realize that this reflects in our CAF rankings, I dread to think that maybe Somalia, Rwanda or Mozambique top us in the log. Nevertheless, in keeping touch with the Kenyan spirit, it’s best to remind ourselves of what Kenyan football can really be. After all, we’ve heard all about our cons, it’s time we focus on our pros… and other possibilities. Scottish philosopher Adam Smith is credited with championing capitalism and free markets by advocating for “the free hand” in markets. In France, the then powerful finance minister Jean Baptiste Colback in a meeting with a Monsieur Le Gendre,   agreed that the French government had no business in doing business.

Thus the coining of the phrase “laissez faire” or in the Queen’s language “let us be”. This new shift of ideology has been credited with the development of most European economies, and thus a blueprint for development. I am no Adam Smith,no finance minister nor Monsieur Le Gendre, however, I will borrow a leaf then tell all and sundry associated with football wrangling in our nation, “LAISSEZ NOUS FAIRE!”

Consequently, Chengafunga is keen on laying out propositions for giving our football a new face lift and extreme makeover in our weekly Monday and Tuesday edition of “The Retrospect”. Your suggestions, opinions and comments are welcome. Then,maybe then, game itabamba.

 

KENYA Vs MALAWI PREVIEW

Posted: June 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

The stage is set for the clash between Kenya and Malawi in what could be an explosive world cup qualifier match. If history is anything to go by, then the two sides have got a score to settle. In all their previous meetings, Malawi have managed to win 15 games against Kenya’s six with 13 games ending with a draw. Malawi who have managed to record wins in their last three encounters with Kenya seem to be the clear favourites to get results, but football being football, anything can happen.
The game will be played at Moi International Sports Centre providing the much needed home advantage to Kenya whose team is composed of new talent. Kenya have so far kept 100% home record in the 2016 world cup and 2013 African cup of Nations qualifiers, beating Seychelles 4-1 and Togo 2-1 respectively. Kenya coach Francis Kimanzi will be banking on the home support as well as sticking to his game plan which he has so far held close to his chest. Kenya will also receive a boost in the form of former captain Dennis Oliech, who ended his international exile only three days ago.
Malawi is also a formidable team, full of talent. It is no wonder their head coach managed to leave behind four key players including the skipper Peter Mponda and top scorer Chiukepo Msowoya, Elvis Kafoteka and Fischer Kondowe while keeping faith with youngsters. The Malawi team actually has ten foreign based professionals as well as up and coming local based players. Kimanzi will surely be up for a huge test, considering the talent gap and the statistics that favour Malawi. The positive though is that even if Kenya have fewer talent compared to Malawi, they sure have better players in key positions, like the forward and midfield positions which may change or influence the results of the game.
Probable players to be in action may include Paul Were who might partner Dennis Oliech in the forward position; Patrick Oboya might play the supporting role. A midfield of Victor Wanyama and Patrick Osiako should also be expected, both playing key roles. Pascal Ochieng will also be expected to lead the defence in front of goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng. Malawi will probably field an experienced team with the following stand out players in various positions. Defender James Sangala, midfielder and Captain Joseph Kamwendo and forwards Jimmy Zakazaka and Robin Ngalande. I predict a very close call with Kenya emerging tops and defying the statistics 2-1 win for Kenya.
Follow us on Twitter, @Quenton53 and @Skwalizzy. Sayonara!

Gameweek 38

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 GAMEWEEK 38

Nec vi, nec clam, nec precario…Latin. Someone once translated it for me to mean having it all out in the open, at least… If I remember correctly. Every team has it all out, the 38 game run-ins come to a close and after it all heroes, villains, relegation survivors, title chasers and ambitions for Europe are determined. It all boils down to this. End game-it opens now.

Mind games have been a recent sign of nerves in Manchester. Taunts here, comments there, predictions everywhere but the football, will set it all square. Defending champions, United, seem to have thrown in the towel against Mancini’s men. This all with a game to play.  They take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light with slim hopes for a cricket score line when it’s all said and done. O’Neill’s charges will be fully aware of the ruthlessness MUFC will want to dish out. Never the less, this is a much improved Sunderland side. It’s well known, United’s strong mentality. Lately, that has been put to the test. The question now is…Will United do it again? Or is the blue moon prime in its lunar?

Mancini’s well worked schematics seem to be stealing the rag from United’s feet. With S.A.F sounding to former United man, current QPR and former City boss, Mark Hughes, a hue and cry for one last twist in the league. Whether ‘Spiky’ responds is anyone’s guess but the shrewd Italian will know this goes a long way in defining City’s future glories. The likes of Aguero, Hart, Kompany and Silva should be biting their nails to get the job done. One QPR apple (good or bad), Djibril Cisse, might have an aftertaste in Mancini’s pudding tomorrow. The question here….Can City go all the way?

With one and two in the balance, three and four couldn’t get even better. Arsenal will be thanking Lady Luck for her grace last time when they all but shoed in Tottenham and Newcastle to the Champions League. The French man was devastated but glad that his side’s topsy turvy season will have a high to it. He takes the trip to the Hawthorn’s with RVP-PFA and FWA winner hoping to topple TH14’s club record. The Baggies will be missing Irishman and captain Brunt but this one ought to be spicy. Factor in Arsenal’s kamikaze defending against Norwich, Sagna’s leg break, Walcott’s return and well…who knows.  Arsenal win??3-1??

Tottenham will be ruing the bad mojo that hit them in the run in. Failing to capitalize on their arch rivals slip up and so have to stick it out to Jol’s Fulham. A London derby…not easy. Injuries to midfield dynamo, Parker, and rife speculation of losing their star men might do a number on Redknapp’s crew though matters such as Hodgson’s appointment to the hot seat and reportedly Vertonghen’s signing ought to work some positives. Never the less Fulham have Dempsey…and on his day, who knows? Roll the dice, take a pick. A one-all draw.

Mersey side’s Everton will be be smirking at the chance of topping Liverpool in the log. However, their dreams face a stern taste. Newcastle. The season’s surprise package. Pappis Cisse, Jelavic, Ben Arfa, Pienaar, Collocini, Jagielka summarize this encounter. Throw in Krul, lest I forget. The ex factor- Goodison. So I’m backing for an Everton win. 2-1. Besides, Moyes is a damn good gaffer, Pardew isn’t all that bad…but, Moyes is a damn good gaffer! Far be it from me, in any way, to be pipping Arsenal for third. Admittedly, I’d welcome such a result but objectivity is prime on my agenda.

Norwich have been thrilling to watch lately and therefore you’d back them to give Villa a real scare. McLeish is fighting a survival battle. Recipe for an unpredictable 90 minutes. The Villans are struggling but perhaps the return of Bent or Agbonlahor could play a major role in it all. You should be advised however that Grant Holt is one hell of an uncapped troublemaker in front of goal. In addition, being at Carrow road will be a huge decider in this one. I fancy a draw never the less. Villa have never looked to face the chop. But maybe, the chop has finally come. Norwich 2- Villa 2.

Stoke entertain Bolton at the Brittania. Bolton have looked relegation candidates the season through, except for their first game.  Crouch has led the Brittania front line pretty well. In particular capitalizing on their trademark throw ins and time to time (against City) pure skill. He is bound to torment Bolton’s backline who have had dismall performances turn disastrous after Cahill’s January move to Chelsea. Bolton have potential goal threats, Davies, Petrov  and Klasnic. Owen Coyle will be hoping for to survive this one but it doesn’t look good at all. No sir. Not for the Trotters. 2-0 Stoke City.

Chelsea endured a midweek thrashing to Liverpool to summarize what has been an uncharacteristic season. Not that it has been all gloom at StamfordBridge. An FA trophy and a plausible but extremely tricky maiden Champions League title have it to prove. Di Matteo has a chance to inject some much needed confidence with an encounter against Blackburn. A win will remarkedly boost morale at Cobham before taking on the Bavarian giants in Munich, Allianz Arena. I must say, the 19th is a tall order for Roman’s boys…but, there you have it, its football. Unpredictable. Steve Keane has felt the pressure all season long and it’s a wonder how he has survived the kerb. However I expect Chelsea to lend him no favours in this one. Chelsea 2- Blackburn 0.

Liverpool have been another unpredictable side. But perhaps a future seems bright after the young Liverpool lads treated Chelsea to a heavy beating, just days after their FA cup encounter that ended in a loss. Good response, just what Dalglish demanded. With that saw the continued emergence of Andy Caroll the tricky pony and farewells from the never tiring Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez. They take on another season surprise- Swansea. The Swans are definitely a good side. Even better when playing at home. So this is a match. An even match. Probable result, a 2-all draw.

Wigan have been phenomenal I the recent month. Fighting and scrapping their way out of relegation and deservedly so. A match with already relegated Wolves could have with the toss of a coin been the reverse. Martinez and Victor Moses have been crucial in the late Wigan revival. Wolves might want to go out in fashion and therefore saving face to their fans might be a good incentive. Never the less Wigan have looked better with every game and this looks to be the moment for the Latic’s peakin. Another 2-0 win in favor of Wigan for whom I have two words….Well done!

Whoever your favoured side… all the success. Follow us @Quenton53 and @Skwalizzy. Sayonara!

EPL GAMEWEEK 25 PREDICTIONS

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

       HANDSHAKES, RIVALRIES AND MAKING AMMENDS

When United take on Liverpool, certainly no love would have been lost, and none found this weekend. Arguably among the fiercest top flight rivalries has the kettle simmering already. Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra have set the ball rolling. Add Wayne Rooney to the orchestra after he tweeted dismissal opinions about Suarez in the Spurs game and you can smell what’s cooking. Tempers flaring, fans chanting and tackles biting, there is everything to play for. Liverpool have lesser injury concerns compared to United. Never the less, Cleverly is anticipated from injury while Nani is still a doubt. Not many changes are expected from the team sheets. One thing though, with De Gea’s troubles in dealing with long balls one Andy Caroll might well feature at some point. A midfield battle is in the offing even withboth sides being good on the counter. Being the home side, I’d slightly pip United for the win though a draw is agood possibilty. Full time 2-1.

Arsenal take the long trip to Wearside for what should be an interesting duel. The Gunners are fresh from a 7-1 drubbing of Blackburn. Their injury list seems to be waning out as Wenger’s fullbacks slowly edge their ways to fitness while Sunderland make the most of their injury ravaged squad. Oxlade- Chamberlain, Van Persie and Walcott are reasons for concern for the brilliant 0’neill though his opposite number will look to put out Sessegnon and Co. The Black Cats are in formidable form but the London side will offer tougher opposition and certainly look the more odds on to win it. After a mid week encounter with Middlesbrough Oneill’s side could be caught out with fatigue when Theo or Chamberlain is let loose on either wing. However, this is a much improved Sunderland so an upset is possible. That said I’m gunning for Arsenal 3- S’land 1.

After being put to the sword, Blackburn take on QPR at the Reebok stadium. The hosts were turned over by Arsenal and will therefore be looking to embark on a recouperation phase. QPR are no pushovers and one Mark Hughes will love a win under his belt when all the football is done. Samba is settling his differences with the club and could make a much needed appearance at the back. Givet remains suspended after earning a straight red card though Naija boy Yakubu will certainly feature. Dunn is another doubt whereas QPR have no new injury concerns. Camera’s rolling, Barton’s troops could capitalize on a Blackburn camp short of confidence and bag the three points in a 2-1 away win.

Bolton and Wigan lock horns later with both sides struggling to find their feet. Both gaffers will want to take this one by the collar and win it giving a platform for football to take course. Arsenal loanee Ryo Miyaichi could feature for Bolton from the bench and The Latics could have Rodallega back in the starting 11.No major changes are expected to be laid out so team sheets will probably be the same. Awin could see either side crawl out of the relegation zone momentarily. As it is points in the league are hide to come by so a draw 1-1 draw is likely to pan out even though winning is equally probable.

EUROPA CLIQUE AND… ROMAN’S AT THE BRIDGE

Russian oligarch, Abrahmovic, has made to’s and fro’s at the Bridge and even attended training sessions at Cobham. Usually, in seasons passed, this has been an indication of change in management, though I feel Roman is learning to take classes in patience. Everton have new signings flickering for game time. Pienaar is back and the midfielder should be dying to hit his former Evertonian form that saw him sign for Spurs. Chelsea comfortably gave away a three goal lead to United last time. Being one of the Blue’s bogey teams, the same could be an eventuality considering Everton managed to slay City at Goodison. Chelsea will be missing inspirational but controversial captain JT, Drogba, Cole and Lampard. I’m backing Everton for the win in another 2-1 scoreline, with Baines, Howard and the likes of Fellaini doing the damage.

Europa League contenders Fulham and Stoke take the stage in London at the Craven Cottage. Fulham are playing well currently and Stoke aren’t too far off. Being the home side I expect Fulham to emerge victors in this one in a 1-0 win. American, Clint Dempsey is hitting full form and even without Bobby Z, Fulham presumably won’t struggle here. Stoke will be hoping Crouch will have a go at Schwazer’s goal with long balls whooped in and out the 18 yard box. Fulham will boss the centre of the pack so Stoke ought to resort to their old tricks for results.

Brendan Rodgers just signed a three year deal with the Swans. That should be sufficient motivation for a win when they host fellow promoted side Norwich. The Swans have been good at home with much success coming from the flanks operated by Sinclair and Dyer. Norwich have clearly missed Helgusson as a front man though Pilkington, Morrrison and Hoolahan have been pleasing to watch. The Swans home strength should overwhelm their guests which leads me to believe a 2-0 score line will do. Michel Vorm will be vital to ensuring the clean sheet due to his rich vein in form.

ENGLAND, TOTTENHAM AND HARRY REDKNAPP

Tottenham host the Magpies at White hart Lane which if the billings match should be an explosive encounter. The Magpies are playing extremely well with Senegalese hit men, Ba and Cisse striking gold early on in their partnership. Tottenham have Bale and Modric for some terrific performances and results. Harry Redknapp managed to escape the taxman’s noose and will be relieved to have overcome his trial. Never the less the English manager is being courted for the England managerial role. This is sure to unsettle Spurs fans since their most successful manager seems to be entertaining the English job and his opposite number, Pardew has echoed views of Redknapp being the man for the job. Both sides are evenly matched and lapses in concentration may tilt the result sharply. Newcastle should manage a draw,likely, a one-all draw.

Mancini will have learnt the importance of preparation when Villa come calling. The visiting side put in a spirited performance against Newcastle even though they lost. Mancity are the best of them all so they are naturally favourirtes to win this game. The Toure brothers made it to the finals of the Afcon and will miss this game. Vincent Kompany is however back in the line-up for City who apart from the Toure brothers should feature. Agbonlahor might be having troubles with McLeish and so could not feature. Striker Bent should be available and so goals should envisage the 90 minutes. Aguero should make the home side tick and so the win is duly Manchester’s for the taking. Full time, City 3- Villa 1.

Westbrom and Wolves sum up our weekend’s fixture analysis. Westbrom have been doing fine at home against lower sides. Roy Hodgson might not be hitting heights associated with him in terms of results though Mick McCarthy would say the same. Wolves have lost Emmanuel Frimpong for the whole season to a cruciate injury. It comes as a blow to the boss especially after the combative midfielder started making a good impression of himself with the Wolves faithful.  Otherwise no new injury concerns have arisen so consistency in team sheets is highly possible. Predicting a draw is the sanest verdict in my opinion so a one all draw is on the books.

Follow us @skwalizzy and @Quenton53 .Sayonara.