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AUG / SEPT 2016



Inside the
world of


 The master
of Kenyas




on the
of Giants














Jeff Kinyanjui
Staff Writers
Dan Ngulu,
Vincent Opiyo
Samuel Gacharira
Zachary Oguda
Additional Photography
Design and Layout
Ashish Jha
Published By
Soka Holdings Ltd
Patrick Korir
Email: patrick@soka.co.ke
Mobile: +254700123366
Suite A5, Silverpool Ofce
Suites, Jabavu Lane,
P.O. BOX 50633 - 00100,
Nairobi - Kenya
(254) 770 160 736
(254) 727 443 540
(254) 700 12 33 66

hen Erick Ouma joined Kenyan

Premier League (KPL) giant Gor
Mahia in December 2015 he was
a relatively unknown player. Fast
forward and six months later and hes attracting
interest from a top Belgian club. His journey is the
lead story for this third edition.
Football is a multi-billion industry that is yet to
be fully exploited in Kenya. There are many
opportunities in the game and managing players,
a relatively untapped field locally, is what now
puts food on the table of former Gor Mahia
Secretary General, George Bwana. I spent some
time with him and captured his inspiring story,
check it out on page 26.
Roy Gachuhi is arguably the best Kenyan
Sport Journalist. I had been trying to book an
appointment with him for an interview since
mid last year and when he finally obliged last
month, my colleague Zachary Oguda and I had to
stop whatever we were doing it prepare for the
interview. Read the amazing story on page 37.
They say football is a short career, and therefore
you have to make the most out of it while you
can. In our Life After Football Section we feature
former AFC Leopards SC and Harambee Stars
striker Boniface Ambani who now runs his own
successful business. I sincerely hope you enjoy
these and more stories that we have packaged
in the third edition.
Send those story ideas, suggestions, complaints
and general feedback to jeff@soka.co.ke


Jeff Kinyanjui




 rassroots Football:
ASEC Hurumas struggle to come
out of the gutter

Club Profile:
Palos FC

One on One interview with
Harambee Starlets Team
Manager Doreen Nabwire



 eorge Bwana: The

African Jorge Mendes


 he 4 Most Common
Football Injuries


 PL players
find safe
haven in NSL


 larming cardiac arrest

instances amongst African


after football:
The story of Boniface


The star that
never shone


I nside the world of

Roy Gachuhi:
The master of Kenyas
sports journalism


 rancis Thairu:
Standing on the
Shoulders of Giants


and puzzle










Just one year ago he was a
relatively unknown youngster
featuring for the famous Green
Commandoes of Kakamega
High School. Fast forward to
date and the youngster is a
regular starter at Gor Mahia and
has several National team caps
under his belt.
Writes Vincent Opiyo




n Wednesday 30th
December 2015,
15-time Kenyan
Premier League
champions Gor Mahia entered
into a deal with a relatively
unknown youngster Erick Ouma
Otieno. Many a fans questioned
why the club went for such an
inexperienced player but six
months down the line the former
Green Commandoes player has
answered the question with his

The 19-year-old defender was
not bothered by the doubting
Thomases and instead continued
working hard in training as the
preseason got underway. He
broke into the then Head Coach
Frank Nuttalls travelling squad
for a friendly match against St.
George FC but was an unused
substitute. Six days later, he
came on to provide the pass that
Enoch Agwanda headed home
to aid the club beat Sudanese
giants Al Hilal to the Red Sea
Festival and Tourism title in Port
Sudan Stadium.
Still, the fans on the local
scene were not convinced until
he came on to show flushes
of brilliance in the DStv Super
Cup final against Bandari FC
on Saturday 6th February his
competitive debut for KOgalo.
Ouma came on for Jacob Keli on
the 69th minute and had two
shots on target, his performance
catching the eyes of Scotsman
who preferred him on the flanks.



Ouma, nicknamed Marcelo, confesses
that indeed the Brazilian fullback is his
role model.
Marcelo has admirable techniques,
good handling of the ball and helps
the team in transition while attacking.

Erick Ouma Otieno
Left Back
27th Sept 1996
Current Club:
Gor Mahia
Previous Clubs:
Green Commandoes,
Reformed United, Future
Stars Academy

I am always working to play exactly

like he does or even better. At my
free time, I do watch his skills and try
to emulate them in training, all this
cant work out without dedication,
determination and the right attitude,
the Kakamega High School alumni
Born and bred in Kibera, Oumas
football journey started while in
primary school at Ayany Primary and
featured in the Future Stars Academys

U10, U15 and U17 categories. He

later joined Kakamega High School
in 2012 and played for the school
team in the Kenya Secondary Schools
Sports Association (KSSSA) ball games
winning the 2014 national football
title, one that earned them a ticket
to the East Africa Secondary Schools
Sports Association (EASSSA) games.
It wasnt easy in Dar es Salaam
as we had thought. We had a good
team that did well at national level
but found a much more competitive
environment Tanzania. Inexperience
cost but we picked some vital lessons
as a team and also as individuals. We
picked the positives and transformed
them to the third tier league back
home, remarks Ouma who was a
key player in Green Commandoes
promotion to the FKF National
Division One in 2016 making 62
appearances, scoring 20 goals and
providing 36 assists.

KPL debut
Ouma earned his first start for Gor
Mahia in the Kenyan Premier League
(KPL) in a two-all draw against City
Stars on Saturday 12th March and
has now become a regular, taking
over the left-back position from
Abuba Sibomana. Despite the
pressure that comes with donning
the KOgalo jersey, he has braced
himself to handle it appropriately.
It hasnt been but I always knew
I had what it takes to play for the
team. I am pleased with how I have
performed so far but I will get
The 5ft 6 inch player sees Gor as
a launching pad to greater heights
in his career, opining he wants

Marcelo made his

debut for Gor Mahia
on January 15th
2016 in a friendly
match against
Ethiopian giants St
George SC




Ouma extended his stay at K'Ogalo for

another six months and word on the
street is that he is headed to Europe for
trials at the end of the season
to see himself play in the biggest
European leagues in the near future.
I know Gor is only a start for me, a
good one for that matter. At a stage
like this when you are playing for a
such a big team, you need to have
mental strength and I believe that is
what has helped me perform well in
my six months stay at the club, states
Ouma who boasts of two appearances
in Africas elite competition - the CAF
Champions League.

National team debut

Marcelo earned his first junior cap
for the national team during the 2017
Africa U20 Cup of Nations (AFCON)

qualifier away to Sudan and months

later, recorded his first senior team
cap in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations
Group E qualifier against Congo
I believe I was born to play and
whenever I do is by the power of God
whether is for my club or the national
team. I want to use my talent to
ensure my family lives a better life.
The youngster also intends to
enroll in university soon for further
Education and football are my only
hope. Im looking forward to playing
in professional leagues like Belgium,
England or Spain, he concludes.


Youth coach
For Benjamin Kiprutto, the founder
of Future Stars Academy that
produced the youngster, his success
story is inspiring more youngsters
back in the slums of Nairobi. Seeing
the likes of Marcelo progressing now,
it makes me proud and not only him,
some others who are playing in the
premier league for instance Daniel
Otieno and Samuel Wailer (City Stars),
the former Ligi Ndogo defender utters.
It proves that we have the talent in
the grassroots that if nurtured well
can proceed to succeed at the highest
level, he concluded.

Europe Interest
Despite Gor Mahia trying so hard to
convince the youngster to sign a longterm contract, he only committed to
another six months with word on the
streets suggesting he will be heading
to Europe for a series of trials at the
end of the season.







to come
out of
The iconic Huruma
Grounds have churned
many talented players
in the past - Ezekiel
Akwana and Simon
Mulama to mention
just but a few. Asec
Huruma is working hard
to maintain the legacy,
Writes Zachary Oguda



pening the gate of the

historic Huruma Grounds
in the Eastlands part
of Nairobi City is the
beginning of a trip down the memory
lane. Initially, it does not appear
altogether welcoming. There is a
pot-holed road leading you to the
main gate and only on getting into
the pitch does the true wonder of a
footballing history really strike.
This is ASEC Hurumas training
ground, the home to hundreds of
youth trying to make it to footballing
stardom thanks to the teams
record of producing Kenyan stars.
Even in a routine training day, it is
easy to envisage their early steps
when walking into these humble
surroundings. One cramped container
recently provided by mobile phone
service providers Safaricom, so many
As 2016 cranks into action, the
Nairobi Eastlands region, known for
churning out some the best football
talents in the country, presents a face
too familiar with the good, bad and
Despite the fact that theres a
substantial rise in the number of
football academies springing up in
the region, the never-ending allure
to venture into drugs is still a major
threat to the young boys and girls in
the slums.

Football, the only hope

When we started this team, our
main aim was to wipe out the vices
that are attributed to the youth in
this side of the city. We wanted to
bring talented young youth together
in football so that they can stay

away from crime, drug abuse and

alcoholism, ASEC Hurumas Technical
Director Joseph Jagero told Soka.
Huruma has been bedrock of talent
for years and this is not about to
change. However, clubs from other
regions poach most of the youngsters
but the club officials believe they can
still challenge for top honours in the
countrys top leagues.

Saturday sessions
Saturday mornings training sessions
are more interesting at least going
by the numbers. More than 100
children aged between five and

eight engage in a kick-about as they

warm up for the days activities.
The intricacies are detailed. John
Kimani, the teams communication
director, gives us an insight into their
training programme.
We have produced a lot of players
in the country but not everyone can
make a mark in the teams we have,
he says.
We have been a feeder team to
other established clubs for so long
and we are trying to stop this by
grooming our own.




We are currently in the FKF Division

Two league and we know that with
the talent at our disposal, we can
make it into the top leagues. That
doesnt mean we will close door when
opportunities come for our talented
players, we want to produce more so
that ASEC can be here for years to
come. We just want to enjoy doing this
for the rest of our lives.
But its not been all rosy. Many
youngsters have lost their lives while
others have quit but the managers,
though lauding the efforts being put
by the kids, believe a lot still needs
to be done for them to realise their
objective of wiping out the vices that
have dogged the area for decades.
The club was formed to help fight
crime and drug abuse amongst the
unemployed youth. As much as I would
acknowledge that a lot has changed, a
lot still needs to be done. We have lost
youth to drugs, robbery and other vices
that have ruined careers, Kimani adds.
We have talented youth whose only
hope is football. As the stakeholders in
this team, we would like to see these
dreams realised.


Asec Huruma
currently plays in
the FKF Division
One League and
they hope to make
it to the Kenyan
Premier League
(KPL) in the near

Dreams of brighter days

His sentiments are echoed by
18-year-old goalkeeper Dennis
Angatia, who has climbed through the
ranks at the club to the senior team.
Fresh from completing his O-level
education, Angatia believes he is on
the path to stardom.
I wasnt the best in school but I did
my best to complete my education
because I believe that is a key factor
in life. I have found it easier to be
integrated in the senior team here. I
was part of the team that made the

cut to Norway in 2009 and I have

gained a lot in terms of exposure
since I started my career here, opines
Angatia. I want to be a professional
goalkeeper one day and with hard
work, I know anything is possible.

Talent factory
With some of the best names in


the current league having had their

foundations laid at the club, the
clubs officials said they have been an
inspiration to the upcoming crop of
We have some of our players in the
top tier. Kevin Omondi is doing well
at Sony Sugar, so is Amos Asembeka.
Sofapaka snapped Alfred Mburu
earlier this year and that shows that
we are in the right path. They are our
ambassadors and every time they join
us here for training, the boys take a lot
of inspiration and thats all we want
for this crop, says Kimani.
According to John Kimani, time and
again, financial constraints have been
threatening to cripple operations at
the club.
The facilities are no longer adequate
and questions remain over their
long-term future without significant
funding. With very little room
available, their facilities remain basic.
Apart from the countless pairs of
recycled boots passed down through
generations, there is nothing the
management can take pride in terms
of equipment
Its not easy to run a team of ASECs
stature without stable finances. I have
to thank everyone who has come to
our help every time we have asked
for assistance. I have to thank the
boys again for their perseverance.
Their efforts to make it in life have
been exemplary and what we give
them cant be enough but they are an
understanding lot.
Clearly, not everything is yet to be
done in ASECs world. One way or the
other, it would seem that the team will
be making plenty of news in seasons
to come.




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Palos FC, winning the
hearts in Kisumu one
match at a time

Palos FC


Moi Stadium Kisumu








The rise and rise of

By Fabian Odhiambo

t was a match like any other,

a typical cup game; when
after overcoming relatively
insurmountable sides; a team
finds itself at the mercy of the
most ruthless opponent in the
country. A match in which Ali Abondo,
Kisumu-born and bred, would be
remembered for being involved in
three goals and Gor Mahia - for
putting it on record that any player
that wore the green and white at
the time was capable of winning any
match. Winning was a norm, almost
adhering to the club as its second
name, and this one here was supposed
to be a piece of cake. It was a match
that had Palos FC on the other side of
the field.
The build up to the match-this
round of 16 tie that had somehow
matched 2015 Gors invincible 2015
side against Palos - created an aura
of uncertainty, and not that Palos
had any solid credentials that would
have seen them knock out Gor, no.
Just the previous year Gor had fallen
to another unknown side in the same
competition. The silenced Moi Stadium
Kisumu still haunts the KOgalo
faithful as GFE 105 slotted home their

last penalty kick against Gor. But this

was now 2015, and Gor had not known
defeat yet.
Very few people knew me before
that match, even the bodaboda guys
to whom I was a frequent client knew
nothing beyond ferrying me from
Kondele to town, recollects Palos
coach Paul Ogai.
Gor Mahia coach at the time
Mr Frank Nuttall continued in his
unrelenting quest to become the most
modest coach the local league has
seen, never belittling his opponents
and branding any match as just like
any other. His line-up for the day,
though, spoke just an ounce of respect.
For the first time in the year, highly
effective full-backs Karim Nzigiyimana
and Abouba Sibomana would both
miss from his starting eleven. The
midfield duo of Kenneth Mugambi
and Bernard Ochieng combining to
occasionally release Carlvince Omanga
upfront bore two goals for the visitors,
and earned a name for the Palos
marksman who would later move to
Muhoroni Youth at the close of the
2015 season. Ochieng and Mugambi
were both snapped up by another top
tier side Western Stima.





"Ours is
a simple
building from
behind. If you
give us the
space and the
time to do that
woe unto you!"

Gor Mahia won 4-2, Palos heaviest

defeat that season yet their biggest
break. Ironically, the scoreline at the
end of the 90 minutes was Palos
heaviest defeat yet their biggest break.
Henceforth, no one would again ask,
who is Palos?
Very few people even in Kisumu
knew about us. They know the
boys well, from seeing them in the
neighborhoods at least, but they never
knew the kind of league Palos plays
in. So when on that match day they sat
down to watch Gor Mahia play they
were stunned at the composition of
KOgallos opponents. I know that boy!
was a common phrase as the match
progressed, this I was told by friends of
the club who also followed the match
on TV, continues Ogai who has been
with the club since 2014.

Humble beginnings
''Palos Football Club is an acronym
from Dr. Pius Alloys Okello, initials
intelligently wrangled to form the
name of the fastest rising Kisumu
club.Joseph Okelo, son to the Makini


Schools proprietor saw the need to

give back to his home town and the
next available cue was to quickly
make to use the vast and already
available pool of sporting talent in the
City. The club kicked the first ball in
a competitive match in 2012 and has
never looked back, winning the District
and Provincial Leagues in successive
years before claiming second place
in the-then known as- National Super
League and eventual promotion into
the countrys second tier of football.
Ogais simple philosophy of building
from behind produced the highest
score in last seasons third tier league.
Palos-though ending up on second
place- scored for fun. From the right
wing came Alumba Francis while
Ocheing, Mugambi and Captain
Clifford Edward blasted a few from
outside the 18 area. Said Tsuma
(currently at Thika United) reserved
the most crucial goals for himself, the
most memorable ones fresh in Ogais
mind being the late winners against
GFE 105 and Nyakach United. And the
lions share of the goals, of course,
Omanga Carlvince.
Ours is a simple philosophy, football
as it was meant to be played; building
from behind. If you give us the space
and the time to do that, woe unto you.
Many clubs fancy long balls, I dont,
Ogai intimates on the reason for his
success with the team.
The club, whose initial aim was
to open doors to homegrown talent,
hasnt closed the same doors to a
few imports. Ivan Mugisha and Morris
Dukully are two first team players
reveling in the joy of wearing the red
and blue of this lakeside club.
We give local talent first priority,

thats why when at the close of the

season a few of our dependable
players left-for greener pastures of
course- we didnt go big in the transfer
market. Instead we held trials and
selected a few who are part of us
now. Mugisha and Dukullys cases
were a little different. Muhoroni Youth
chairman Moses Adagala who is a very
good friend of mine had imported the
two talents albeit late, and so they
hadnt been registered for the Kenyan
Premier League 2016 season. So he
asked me if I could have them on
loan and I obliged. They have proven
a worthy cause for us, reveals Ogai
whose joy comes in seeing Dukully
easily slot in to replace Bernard

Beyond football
Aside from playing football, the
club also enrolls the players for
teaching courses and has so far seen
two of their players in Makori Vincent
and Marvin Otinya as accomplished
Our sponsors Makini Schools under
our club Patron Mama Mary Okello and
President Joseph Okello occasionally
enroll the players in groups so that
they undertake a teaching course.
The current squad has two players
who can comfortably teach a lesson
or two in school and we also have
another group that is well on its way
to accomplishing the same. We strive
to give them an alternative to football
because it is a career you can only
be involved in for a specific period
of ones youth, continues Ogai who
outside coaching Palos, is a qualified
Marketing Officer.
From what seemed initially as long

journey, the club has labored through,

and is just one step away from playing
in the countrys top tier league. With
every match Palos wins, a fan or two
adds to the total number that will
show up the following Saturday at
the Moi Stadium in Kisumu. Its viable
prospect-a full stadium that is, and
for a club still playing in the second
most popular league in the country,
drawing as big enough a crowd as
Western Stima would is encouraging
enough. You see, the locals here-those
who love football at least-only know
of one football club; Gor Mahia. It is
KOgallos ceremonial home, but they
rarely see this club they adore so
much. It takes a couple of fortnights,
sometimes months to see Gor play
here. So with the discovery of Palos,
the locals are slowly learning to love
these local boys.

Talent hub
As much as the Cup match against
Gor brought forth a few tidings, it also
exposed the wealth of talent in Ogais
squad, Gor in fact promised to follow
up on the midfield duo of Kenneth
Mugambi and Bernard Ochieng who
would be quickly snapped up by
Western Stima as soon as season 2015
came to a close. The two have been
regulars for the Henry Omino coached
side since joining the Powermen.
Under the stewardship of club CEO
Nick Ochieng and Chairman Patrick
Imbuga, we have managed to produce
top talents most of them currently
feature in the top tier. Stima took
Mugambi and along tagged Ochieng.
Thika United roped in Tsuma Said
while Omanga Carlvince opted for
Muhoroni Youth. There are a few who

moved to the Super League ahead of

us and as much as we currently play
in the same league, they have fared
well as regards experience gained.
Our second choice goalkeeper Gad
Mathews recently got a nod from the
under 20 national team, a visibly
proud Ogai says.
One sees intent when Captain
Clifford Edward is forced to break
from creative play in the midfield
to fill up for an injured Bobby Odida
back in defense, or when Waisswa
Koffi drops deeper into his own half
just to begin a move afresh, intent to
grab something, anything from the
match; an intent to sniff the backs
of seasoned league pacesetters. Its
a challenge that may have come too
soon, but Ogais boys are keeping up
the pace, perhaps inspired be fellow
league debutants-and by far Palos
greatest rivals- Vihiga United who
have also taken to the challenge as
fish to water.

Winning the hearts of Kisumu

Palos Football Club may be the most
inexperienced side a step away from
the top league but that hasnt dimed
any hope the players have of one day
challenging for the topmost honor of
Kenyan Football. As Ogai maneuvers
his charges through the 38 fixtures
of the league, the boys and himselfthough oblivious of the fact- carry the
hopes of a football loving City, a
city thirsty for adrenaline-filled
Saturday afternoons when one of their
own finally shows up at the top level.
For Palos FC, its about winning the
hearts of Kisumu people one match at
a time.



Football runs in their

family. She became the
only Kenyan woman
footballer to play
professional in Germany.
The journey has been a
rough one from suffering
an injury and missing a
work permit to play for
new clubs in Germany.
Doreen Nabwire is back
and shares her journey
with Rebecca Magoma.



One on One

interview with
Team Manager

Doreen Nabwire
Nabwire is arguably
the most successful
Kenyan woman

orn in Ngomongo
Estate, Doreen spent
her early years here
and then moved to
Mathare North where
she spent the better
part of her childhood and youth life.

Tell us about your family in football

My father Simon Mucheni used to
play football, he was a darling to many
during his youth but was forced to
quit following a hip injury he incurred
during High school competitions.
I am a third born in a family six;
two older brothers inspired me to
start playing. I started playing in my
neighborhood at the age of 10 at that
time Felix Oucho the first born was
playing in the top tier league for Sony
sugar, chemilil FC, AFC Leopards and
Mathare United FC he also featured
in the National U17 side a couple

of times. Anthony Khadudu the

second born known to many as Gulle
nicknamed after the Dutch Superstar
Ruud Gullit, played for MYSA in the
Norway Cup.Tony later moved to
Mathare Youth FC being one of the
pioneers of the Mathare Unite FCs
youth side, he was then called up to
joined Mathare United FC and later
Tusker. Tony also featured in the
National U23.
Christine Nafula the 4th born and
Eric Johannah 5th born are both
products of MYSA, Christine has played
for Mathare United FC, and Matuu FC
where she helped her team clinch
the National Women premier league
title in 2012 that was sponsored
by UNICEF and MOYAS, Christine is
currently playing for SPEDAG FC and is
part of the team that qualified for the
AWCON (she assisted the equalizer).
Debra Akumuis our last born who
plays for the Desert Roses of Kenyatta

Share your football journey to

I started off at North Villas U12
one of the teams that made up MYSA
Mathare North zone, I later moved to
Otto Benecker U14 through which I
got a chance to try out the Norway Cup
selections and made it 3 times, thats in
1999, 2000 and 2001 and was named
the best player of the tournament
for the girls category and awarded
a golden boot. Later 2001, I got my
first call up to the national team and
featured in an international friendly
match against Ethiopia and won 4-1.
In 2002 flew to the USA with the
National Womens team for a three-





week soccer camp at YALE University.

In 2006 I was selected among eight
players that represented MYSA in the
1st edition of the Street Football World
Cup played alongside the Mens World
Cup in Berlin Germany. Kenya (MYSA)
emerged champions beating South
Africa. It is during that tournament that
I met a good friend Herbert Ostwald
a film maker who at that time lived in
Nairobi with his family. Herbert saw
me playing and he felt that I was being
wasted since we had no league and
there were no structures for women.
He then started to contact clubs in
Germany and made arrangements for
me to try out. In 2007 I was nominated
by Street Football World to launch
the FIFA Football for Hope project as
well as participate in the 2010 World
Cup draw in Durban South Africa.
Later Herbert invited me to Germany
and it is during this time that I went
for trials at various clubs in first and
second division in Bundesliga. This
was very successful as each club I
attended was interested but only one
thing stopped us the work permit this
proved challenging for all the clubs
considering women football doesnt
In August 2009 I got an opportunity
to go to the Netherlands for an
International Coaching Course. Shortly
before I left I was privileged to have
met one Mr. Wilfried Lemke, Mr. Lemke
heads the UNOSDP in Switzerland,
and he had previously served Werder
Bremen FC as a president for 17 years.
At that time he had come to Nairobi
for a UN conference. Through his office
he had the idea of identifying role
models in developing countries, who
are involved in sports for development

activities, empower them and use them

to empower others. He shared his idea
with the then German Ambassador to
Nairobi and he recommended me to
him, at the conference he shared the
same idea with Dr. Auma Obama and
she equally recommended me, at that
point Mr. Lemke asked to meet me and
I joined him for dinner in West lands.
After a couple of minutes, Mr. Lemke
was convinced that I was just what
he was looking for, he then promised
to invite me to Germany for trials at
Werder Bremen and said that if I make
it, he will make arrangements for me
to play there and if I dont make it, he
would still invite me as an intern. So

of sport to build the capacity of girls,

women and children to make informed
and healthy choices, while advocating
for a just, equitable, developing society
through sport.
Health and sanitation, advocacy
and provision of opportunities to play
sport and learn in the game is key to
our undertaking and success of our
program activities.
Our program activities are run by
capable young leaders who have been
football players from their childhood,
playing grassroots football leagues
to the international platforms and
have acquired advanced coaching and
program management skills over the

Nabwire was Werder Bremen's top scorer during

the 2009/10 season and was also named as the
second best player

when I was through with the Course

in the Netherlands I went to Bremen
and the trials was a success on the
very first appearance. The following
day I featured in a friendly match and
scored a hat trick. I returned home the
3 weeks later flew back to Bremen for
the 2009/10 season and was named
the second best player of the season
also finished as the top scorer.

last 10 years.
Our success is embedded in our
years of experience working in
underprivileged and underserved
communities as volunteers with in
and out of school children and youth
and growing in the same communities
which gives us a good understanding
of the local context, challenges and
approaches of addressing them.

What does your organization, Girls

Unlimited do?

Tell us about your coaching career

Girls Unlimited is as local nongovernmental, non-profit making

community based organization that
was founded in 2009 in Kenya with the
aim of using the values and principles


I have done basic and advance

coaching courses at MYSA, I did an
International coaching course in
the Netherlands and later the UEFA
C licence. In August 2010 I got an
opportunity to go to the Netherlands


to do a UEFA C coaching license and

so I grabbed it and signed up for the
1st Division side FC Zwolle in the
Dutch Women league for the 2010/11
season I returned home late 2011 then
joined the Ministry of Youth initiative
NYTA (National Youth Talent Academy)
coaching the girls team which later
transformed to Matuu FC where I
doubled up as an assistant coach and
player in the 2012 women league.
In 2013 I went back to Germany and
signed for 1 FC Koln (Cologne) for
2013/14 season unfortunately it wasnt
successful as I incurred a serious
injury where I ruptured my Achilles
tendon and this saw me off the pitch.
Luckily I got the best treatment and
rehabilitation. I do football clinics
under the umbrella of Girls
Unlimited, together with other G.U
coaches I also work as a guest coach
for schools, and women clubs. Girls
Unlimited is coming up with an
academy for girls in partnership with
Otto Benecker.

Shade some light on how

Bundesliga is organized
The leagues are professionally
organized from top tier to the 5th
league and grassroots as well but even
after clinching the Women World Cup
title still the women in Bundesliga or
the 2nd Bundesliga could not boast
of fat pay cheques. All women players
in clubs are sponsored in such a way
that they get an apartment, a car and
some pocket money and for this reason
its very difficult for a foreigner to be
issued a permit and so I returned home
as Herbert tried to figure out the next
possible steps to get me a chance to
play there.

Your appointment at the new

FKF womens football committee
what do we expect to see women
footballers are empowered?
Yes, women will be empowered. We
have the good will from the federation
and they are more than willing to help
support women programs from the
grassroots, we will push for coaching
courses for aspiring coaches as well.

What do you think will be done

to improve women football in the
country so that we will be at par
with other nations?
We have great potential that is
wasted away unnoticed. We need to
focus on the grassroots, partner with
primary schools and start competitions
at school level which will help us
identify junior players. Also ensure
we have a leagues in every county
so as every player gets a chance and
opportunity to expose her talent. Do a
selection of all star teams for U15, U17,
U23 that will be feeders of the Senior
National team.

what I consider the best and take pride

in it.
It was a huge milestone for me to
have landed a spot at Werder Bremen,
this put me in the spot light and many
Kenyans celebrated the 1st Kenyan
and East and Central Woman football
player who made it to the German
I realized that its a huge challenge
for African players male or female to
get a chance to play in Bundesliga,
more so for women since women
football is not professional and one
cannot live off the earnings as a player.
For many Women football players
especially those playing in Bundesliga,
the club can through sponsors offer
one an apartment, a job and a car then
on top of it some pocket money.

Do you think Harambee Starlets

have a chance of posting good
results in the Africa Cup of Nations
after qualifying for the first time?

How do you manage family and

football life?

The girls have done us proud by

qualifying for the AWCON, I know for
sure that with adequate preparation
the team will finish off in the top four

It is not easy being a mother of two

and an adopted son but I try so hard to
balance and make sure that I carry out
my duties as wife and mother to the
very best of my ability.

Do you think in the current Starlets

squad has a player that has a
potential to play professional

Tell us your experience playing

professional football in Germany
and how the country will raise more
footballers abroad?
Having played at least two seasons
in Bremen and Cologne respectively
I have been able to get a gasp of the
game the German way learnt from

Yes, we have a few players who can

impress, our challenge has always been
inconsistency, lack of competitions and
as a result most of them have been
unfit. But am positive come November
the team will surprise Kenyans.

What are your future plans?

This is a story for another day!!





George Bwanas
dream of
having the
biggest football
agency in Africa

The African
Jorge Mendes

Former Gor Mahia Secretary General has cut a niche for

himself as the leading football agent in Kenya and is working
on building the leading agency in Africa, writes Jeff Kinyanjui


hey say small

are often the
of great enterprises
and that was the case
for former Gor Mahia
Secretary General George
Bwana. David Calabar
Owino had won the
2014 Kenyan Premier
League (KPL) Defender
of the Year accolade and
was definitely seeking a
fresh challenge. In comes
George Bwana who was
now trying to venture into
talent management after
spending close to three
years with KOgalo.
Zambian giants Zesco
were eager to wrestle the
title from rivals Zanaco
FC and were therefore
keen to strengthen their
team. Bwana got wind
of this and immediately
got in contact with the
club, presenting to them
David Owino, who luckily
was a free agent, his
contract with Gor Mahia
having lapsed after the
2015 season. This marked
the beginning of a new
journey that Bwana is
now exploring player


But just who is George Bwana?

In a nutshell, Im a 38-year old Kenyan
Citizen, journalist by training. I started off as a
camera man; worked for some of the leading
media houses in Kenya including NTV for 9
years, moved on to Pay TV Sports Channel
Supersport and was part of the inaugural TV
crew that initiated local live sports production.
I worked there for two and half years and left.

Unknown to many, George Bwana is a

trained Journalist and has worked for
some of the leading media houses in
Kenya including Nation Media Group and

I had a very interesting and challenging

time at Gor Mahia. I learnt a lot in football
management. I got there as a rookie to be
honest but I was lucky that during my working
days as a journalist I had travelled a lot and
should be seen how sports is managed abroad
and that helped me a lot. Kenya was not doing
well in sports management so I learnt first
hand what it takes to run a football club. I
was handling a very sensitive role as the club
Secretary General, a quite demanding job. I
had a good time generally but also had a few
occasions that I wouldnt want to remember.
At one point I felt I was wasting my time - I
looked at my personal growth and I thought
it wasnt the right thing into the venture into
club management but I picked the pieces
and came to the conclusion it was meant to
prepare me for the next phase of my life as a
football talent manager, he says,

Memorable moment
I vied for the Secretary General position at Gor
Mahia, won and worked for another three years.
I left in 2014 and took some time off to reflect
on my life and career, Bwana intimates to Soka,
I later ventured into individual talent
management and today I scout for talent,
manage and place players and coaches
in clubs. Today I have 3 players in Zambia
playing for Zesco; David Owino, Jesse Were
and Anthony Akumu. Jacob Keli, who is also
my client, featured for Nkana for a season
and is now back playing for Gor Mahia. I
also managed to place Allan Wanga in Azam
(Tanzania) and just recently at Tusker FC. I also
have a pool of young players that I have placed
at local clubs, he adds.

Gor Mahia lessons

Bwana attributes his current success to the
period he spent at Gor Mahia as the Secretary

The most memorable moment was winning

the league in 2013 after 18 years first time
since 1995. That was a great moment for the
club and to me as an individual. The day we
were finally crowned as champions is still fresh
in my mind - the Green Army decorated the
entire city and it was a momentous moment.,
he adds.
I got to Gor Mahia when they werent doing
well, 18 years without winning the league
despite being the biggest club in the country.
I wanted to improve the stature of the club,
I wanted to prove to Kenyans that it did not
require rocket science to manage a club well.
The crowds were shrinking and this was not
representative of the club;s stature. I think I
managed to change that, I achieved what I
desired and I decided to leave a legacy. I felt
quit drained this was a fulltime job with no
pay. I had bills to pay, family to take care of and
having achieved what I wanted at Gor, I felt it
was time to seek a new challenge,





Having retired at Gor, I had a look at

what I could do with my life. I had the
option to go back quietly to the media
world but I did not want to waste
the knowledge I had gained while
working at the club. I realized there
was an untapped market in Sports
Management. Most players did not
have managers and representatives.
Kenyan Players are now slowly
beginning to appreciate that concept
but initially players would represent
themselves. Over the world players
have people who take care of their
business, you know linking them
with clubs, negotiating their terms
and this is an area I felt was greatly
underutilized in Kenya, I enrolled
myself into a few management
courses and read widely about football
management. In Kenya its a still an
area that lack personell and I urge
people interested in sports to take up
the opportunity.

Calabar influence
Bwana says he also attributes
his current success as a player
representative to former Gor Mahia
defender David Calabar Owino who
was his first client.
David Owino put me on the map
in this career. I took him to Zambia on
January 2015. I wasnt quite sure what
to expect since it was my first time
to represent a player out of Kenya.
He had just retained his 2013 best
defender award in the Kenyan Premier
League (KPL) and I thought he needed
a fresh challenge. Zambia offered a
good opportunity and Im glad he
proved himself; helping the team win
the league title, wrestling the title
from Zanaco and he helped the club

do well continentally. With his success

clubs can now trust my judgment on
the technical ability of players and the
conversations become easier when
conducting business, he confidently
says. Jesse Were, who is currently
doing well in Zambia, says Bwana
knows how to deal with players hence
his success in a field many have failed
in Kenya especially.
He is very straightforward unlike
many agents and that way players can
trust him. That is all players look out
for in representatives, Were intimated
to Soka.

Bwana has had a smooth run so
far but he says there are four main
challenges hes grappling with;
Convincing these local players
that you mean well for them is the
biggest challenge I have faced so far.
Players still have the old mentality
that a player rep reaps from where he
/ she did not sow. A good number are
beginning to appreciate, they listen to
me nowadays when I call them and
this is because they can now see the
mark I have left in the lives of the
players I have represented
so far,
The other challenge is language
barrier. There are certain leagues
even here in Africa where they speak
languages that our players and I are
not very conversant with and Im
forced to do a lot of google translate.
It becomes very difficult to even
communicate with the managers and
coaches of these clubs. For instance
when I have a very good player and
an opportunity presents itself in a
Portuguese speaking country then it


becomes a challenge on my end and

the player too.,
Finance is definitely is also a huge
challenge. In our line of business
we have to use our own resources to
travel far away with these players.
A club will tell you they have an
opportunity for a player - you have the
player but they request to have him
on trial for say two weeks and that
means I have to foot the bills, flights,
accommodation, food etc. Some clubs
will help me foot the bill but then
others will leave that to us.
Another challenge is our ranking as
the Kenyan national team. Its difficult
to convince these clubs that a good
player would come from a country that
lies in a bad position in FIFA rankings.

Mendes Inspiration
Bwana says he draws inspiration
from renowned representative, Jorge
I look upto Jorge Mendes. He has a
huge pool of world lcass coaches and
players and I hope to be like him in
future. My dream is to have the
biggest talent management firm in
Africa in the near future, he says

His parting shot

The Government needs to invest
in the game by taking care of the
infrastructure and help us identify
talent in the early stages. In Kenya we
identify talent very late, at around 15
years and yet they go to play even at
the highest level, a good example is
Victor Wanyama,
The federation should also conduct
seminars and trainings by the to
educate the players, he concludes.



landing to released KPL players, some

went for the best of the best from
the top tier to boost their chances of
A look through the 560 players
registered for the NSL at the onset of
the league reveals clubs tapped onto
players with experiences from the KPL,
with close to 56 coming directly from
the KPL.
Relegated KCB has the biggest
chunk of players with KPL experience
having retained 13 of its players from
last season.
Michael Oyando, George Omondi,
Tirus Omondi, Job Omuse, John
Odhiambo, keeper Zachary Onyango
and Chrispinus Odhiambo make up
their list of 27 players for the season.

find safe
haven in NSL
Experienced players are
streaming into the NSL,
making the league even
tougher. But just what
is driving them to the
second-tier? Find out
from Patrick Korir

Donald Mosoti

he second tier league kicked

off on Saturday 19 March
2016 with an initial list of
20 participating teams. The
league has always been considered
a competitive one in recent years
but poor management has watered
down the leagues cutting edge. It is
however expected to be exciting this
year with a more professional face put
to manage league and competitions
from 2016 onward following a new
dispensation in the ushering in of a
new football Kenya Federation office
from mid February.
Management aside, the jostling for
top positions is expected to be rife
considering the top four at the close
of the season will gain promotion to
the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) next
With the high stakes, clubs recruited
well. While some handed a soft

For shoppers Nakumatt FC, the

acquisition of players Ismail Dunga
from Mathare United and Joshua
Oyoo from Chemelil Sugar to add on
to former KPL defender of the year
Donald Mosoti and John Njoroge made
the side one to watch out for.
Perhaps the biggest signing for
Nakumatt was that of Kelvin Omondi
from Sofapaka, Mark Ochieng of KCB
and Kanamuli Kapilimba from Ushuru.
As it stands out, with the league
into the early stages of the second leg,
Dunga tops the scorers for Nakumatt
with eight goals with Omondi not too
far off with four. The signings add on
to Adisa Zamu, Wycliffe Kasaya , who
recently moved to Mathare United and
David Tevelu from Ushuru.
Kariobangi Sharks roped in six
key KPL players for the season; Elli
Asieche of KCB, Mathew Odongo, Aziz
Kemba and Dennis Ng'ang'a from





Tusker as well as forwards Boniface

Akenga and John Softie Ndirangu from
Nakuru Allstars. Softie has since moved
to AFC Leopards. Akenga is scoring
freely and has so far hit ten goals.

Patrick Kagogo
Ligi Ndogo had one of the biggest
catch from the KPL netting AFC
Leopards winger Patrick Kagogo and
re-acquiring their former keeper
Charles Young from Mathare United.
Kagogo was to leave in the transfer
window as Young joined Naumatt
Modern Coast rangers landed former
Bandari skipper Raphael Okello as
well as Sofapaka pair Rashid Benjamin
and Peter Ng'ang'a as MOSCA, formerly
MOYAS, went for City Stars Elisha
To add on to their academy players
who got an elevation, relegated
Nakuru AllStars kept on board no less
than seven players from the one than
featured in the KPL last season.
Peter Ndungu, Kennedy Ochino,
Martin Lule, Anthony Gachii, Geoffrey
Kangethe,Moses Muchimba. Added, the
team brought in Geoffrey Jobita from

Sofapaka on loan. AllStars Teddy Siwa

and Wycliffe Angoya crossed over to
County rivals St. Joseph's.

Another promoted side Wazito

captured Edwin Ombasa from Ushuru
while Bidco United absorbed former
Thika United players Anthony Gathu
and Ronny Katumaga, Chemelil's
Mohammed Mwachiponi and Sofapaka
Geoffrey Muhando.
Agro Chemicals' captured Haron
Nyakha (he has since joined AFC
Leopards) and Bryne Omondi, both on
loan from Tusker, Notikely Masasi and
Joseck Gathongo from Muhoroni Youth,
Clinton Omondi from Sony Sugar as
well as David Oriki from Chemelil
Though some clubs did not
particular sign from KPL clubs, they
have in their ranks a tested lot.

Masita Masuta

Francis Akango

One of the leading lights in the

league Nzoia United handed Muhoroni
Youth reject Masita Masuta a safe
haven, and to good effect as he is one
of their best performers this season,
with nine goals under his belt by mid
April. He joins former National team
trialist Nelson Simwa who came in to
replace Mark Bikokwa who decamped
to Ulinzi Stars. Newly promoted Palos
FC from Kisumu took up Muhoroni's
Morris Dukuly as well as Ivan Mugisha,
both on loan.
In their quest to challenge to the big
boys FC Talanta was not left behind as
they took in keeper Victor Ligingi on
loan from Sofapaka and Peter Okaro
from Mathare United.
Victor Ashinga from City Stars and
John Otieno from Bandari were part of
the catch. Otieno has however since
moved to Sweden to join fifth tier
side Dalheim while Ashinga moved to
Thika United.

Promoted Police is one not to ignore

with Edgar Waudo, Aggrey Ongoli,
Francis Akango, John Mbindyo and
Gabriel Nduru in its ranks. It is not to
say that a club must have big boys, but
to contest a big boys league, a club
needs its entire arsenal at its disposal,
and if it is from the KPL so be it.




Life after football:




Former Kenyan International Boniface Ambani

is no longer banging in the goals as he used
to do but he has no regrets. He invested the
money he earned from football and is now
living a descent life, writes Dan Ngulu

or most of our players,

suffering an Achilles tendon
injury is more like the end of
their careers; with clubs not
investing well in their players welfare
locally picking such an injury ranks
high among the most feared chapters
in a players life.
However, for Boniface Ambani, the
Achilles injury he picked early in 2011
turned out to be a big turning point in
his football life. Then aged 30, and still
with a few years to play the beautiful
game, he opted to retire early.
At that point the only regret he
had was that he could no longer play
professionally as he opted to dive into
the waters of business. For a man who

was used to being tightly marked in

his playing days and still managed
to feature in East Africas fiercest
derbies successfully, taking on tough
challenges was part of his life.

Injury setback
After suffering the injury and
knowing too well it will take
some time to heal, the striker, then
contracted to Chinese side Xian City
FC, opted for a flight back home to
continue with the recovery and on
his way back, he carried one set of
uniforms, a full kit.
His aim was to come and sell it
to a local club and on approaching
Sofapaka with the proposal, Elly

Kalekwa, the Sofapaka president did

not think twice; he bought the set and
even demanded for more. That lit a
bulb and Ambani decided to set up the
business of kitting Kenyan clubs.
By the time he delivered the second
kit, word had spread around Kenyan
football circles and it was not long
before he got requests from Karuturi
Sports Club, Chemelil Sugar FC
and Oserian. He says with his usual
boisterous laugh from that point
onwards, I have never looked back.
Today, Ambani is the proud
proprietor of Bochend Sports; a sports
kitting company that deals in sports
merchandise. He also does branding
and printing and after setting up





his firm in 2012 in Eldoret, business has been

so good that he recently opened a branch in
Nairobi, at Star Mall, along Tom Mboya Street.
When playing soccer, I knew I will still have
a life after football and I thank God for not just
the talent, but the ability to think ahead. When I
got the injury in China, I was a bit scared for my
career but I knew I could
still make a living outside active football.
So I decided to come home with one full
set of uniforms as I took a leave to heal; my
intention was to sell it and when I approached
my first client Sofapaka they liked it
immediately and gave me cash for it. It did not
end there; they requested for more and that is
when I knew I could do this business, he says.
During Ambanis playing days, he was known
for his power, quick decision-making and speed.
It happens that even in his life outside football,


he was the intelligent one. When the list of

customers started growing, he knew he could not
operate without a shop.
A stroll across the Nairobi CBD in 2012 had
him give up due to the high fees of setting up
required and he opted for Eldoret though most
of his customers were in the capital. With that
decision he knew he will need to be making
regular trips to Nairobi to supply his clients and
he was all prepared.

Business experience
For him, getting into business was not an
entirely new leap; he had already operated a
Simu ya Jamii booth and a kiosk in Nairobis
Pipeline area and he says the experience had
prepared him well.
Business has risks; not everything goes as you
plan but still you have to push on. I wasnt sure

of the risks I was getting into but at

least I knew that with the growing
list of clients, Id need a physical
address to operate from.

Having done business before,
I had the experience and the
challenges I had to face at the start
with Bochend, was that I had to wait
for about six months to break even.
It was a very trying moment for me
but I kept on pushing, motivated by
the trust from my clients and my
wife who really encouraged me, he
For the man who holds the record
for scoring the most goals in a
season in the Kenyan top flight,
Bochend Sports is his office today,
his breadwinner and a statement
that comes up severally in our
interview is I cant complain.
His investment is a blessing not
only to him and his family of five;
the father of three has as well
created employment for five young
men who with the help of his wife,
operate the two shops and his
religious side comes out vividly too
when speaking of his growth.
I thank God that today, with
the help of my wife, we are able
to create jobs for young men
around. I have five young men on
permanent employment to help in
running the business and to be able
to give them a lifeline from this
business gives me a lot of hope and
encouragement. I can provide for
my family as well as other people;
things are fine and I cant complain.
For Bochend Sports, the growth
has generated trust from many

quarters; today, his company kits

AFC Leopards, Posta Rangers and
Muhoroni Youth in the Kenyan
Premier League while he is as well,
doing business with a number of
clubs, including Chemelil Sugar, Zoo
Kericho, Nakumatt among others.
At the moment, Bochend also has
a pact with KPL giants AFC Leopards
to sell replica jerseys, from which
a quarter of the proceeds go to the
club, to help in boosting the club
structures. A jersey costs Kshs 2000,
from this amount, Kshs 500 from
each jersey goes to the club.
He is not just confined to football
teams; he has contracts with the

I decided to come
home with one full
set of uniforms as I
took leave to heal.
My intention was
to sell and when
I approached my
first client, sofapaka, they liked it and
immediately gave
me cash for it.





I thank God
that today I
have created
jobs for five
young men
who are on

GSU and Prisons volleyball teams as

well as the Police hockey team.
Ambani is a believer that sports
should be enjoyed without so much
denting the pocket and at that, gets
high quality products at affordable
My aim is to bridge that gap; if
you walk down the street to the
big sports shops you will get these
same products sold expensively. For
Bochend, our motto is very simple;
to make it affordable and of high
quality. That is how we have managed
to grow the brand thus far despite
the competition from established
competitors, he adds.
They say behind every successful
man there is a woman; for all the
growth, Bochend Sports couldnt
be where it is without the input of
Hellen Anyango, the former Kenyan
internationals wife.
She is there to provide the balance


and peace of mind for her man. While

Ambani is out meeting potential
clients, negotiating contracts or
closing deals, she takes charge of the
business and she is happy to play the
supporting role, just as it was the case
during Ambanis playing days.
I am in this full time and I am
also a mother and wife full time. I
take charge when he is out there
sourcing for clients or supplying and
seeking ways to better the business.
It is working well for us and so far
the expansion has been good. Like he
said, we cant complain. We share the
same dream for this business and God
willing, we will get to our targets, she
says with a nod.
For Ambani, the aim is to expand the
Bochend brand and have an empire
within and outside the Kenyan borders
and from the progress he has seen
the last four years, he is positive that
someday, the dream will come true.

We now have two shops and an

expanding list of clients; the aim is to
have a Bochend empire in Kenya and
outside if God gives us the capability.
Our products are affordable and
having been in this industry for some
time, we only go for high quality.
At the moment we serve Kenyan
clients and so the products and
delivery are designed for the local
market but as we continue growing
we are also engaging in research to
be able to serve outside markets, he

Advice to current footballers

Ambanis entire playing career was
spent at the point where the game
was not so well packaged as an
activity that would bring on board
advertisers and sponsors to put in
As a result, most players only took
part as a passion but had side jobs
elsewhere. He reflects with a smile
how at some points in his career
locally the team had to honour
matches even without pay.
At our time we did not have
SuperSport or Sportpesa. Not so many
corporates would put their money in
football and I think it was a matter
of poor packaging of football as a
product by the pervious federations.
Maybe the best paying club was
Breweries and you see not all players
could play there.
To play for these community clubs
especially, you only had to do it for the
passion and we would go to training,
have our side jobs and honor matches
and give our all despite going months
with no pay, he quips.
The difference with the local

football scene today is that teams, and

players, can be guaranteed of some
money at the end of the month from
No matter how little, he believes
good discipline in terms of saving can
go along way and is urging players to
not just spend blindly.
Today when I look at social media
or when I stroll around town, I see
players wine and dine, splashing the
cash. Spending what you have earned
after hard work is not bad but they
should think of the future as well.
Football is one of the most

unpredictable careers; you may be at

the top today but then pick and injury
tomorrow and see the end of it so they
should save whatever little they get.
You never know, he says.
Still, Ambani is not blind to the fact
that a number of clubs as well as
federations default on players dues
and having suffered the same in his
playing days, he is calling on football
administrators to go in with the view
to help and not enriching themselves
at players expense.
I experienced that in my playing
days and I have to say it is the worst
thing a player can go through. We
suffer a lot on the pitch and in training
then thinking someone out there is
sitting pretty waiting to feast on our
sweat is unimaginable.
The administrators should always
pay up so that when a player retires he
can have a decent life and of course it
will be satisfying to know as a society
we dont owe anyone anything, he







Inside the world of

Roy Gachuhi
the master of Kenyas
sports journalism

By Jeff Kinyanjui and Zachary Oguda

High School. That is 41 years ago and

it makes him by far one of the longest

he crop of todays

serving active sports journalist in the

young sports

country, a living legend. His first major

journalists who

international assignment was in 1982,

look up to the

that is, 34 years ago. It was covering

old master of the

the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane,

trade refer to him

as the great Roy
Gachuhi. He is too

But he is still going strong and
showing no signs of letting up. As

modest to acknowledge his greatness

of this writing, he is preparing his

but his writing style can undoubtedly

travelling bags for Rio de Janeiro for the

do justice to English novelist and

2016 Olympic Games. A post in www.

playwright Edward Bulwer-Lyttons

contenthousekenya.org, the non-profit

words centuries ago that the pen is

organization for which he writes and

mightier than the sword.

produces documentary films, is telling

His first published article was in Africa

Sports, Kenyas premier sports magazine

"Content House
Senior Writer and
Producer Roy Gachuhi
is arguably the best
Sport Journalist in
Kenya. Sharing an
afternoon with him
at his home in Ngei
Estate was one of
the best decisions I
have ever made in my
career. I learnt a lot."
- Jeff Kinyanjui,
Soka Editor

about his greatness. It reads:

Content Houses senior writer and

of the day in 1975 when he was a 16

producer, Roy Gachuhi, will be covering

year old student at the Nairobi Technical

this years Olympic Games in Rio de





The writers
listen keenly
as Roy
a point
during the

Amazing story telling techniques, superb writing

flair and research skills are what make Gachuhi's
works stand out from the rest

a sometimes gut-wrenching depiction of

the life of boxing hopefuls in the tough
slums of Nairobi and Nakuru, was given
rave reviews. Apart from his work at
The Content House, Roy is also a sports

Janeiro, for us. Roy will be a writer-in-

of applicants were Argentina with 30,

columnist and Special Projects writer with

residence with Agncia Pblica, a non-

Colombia with 20, Spain with 19 and

the Nation Media Group.

profit investigative journalism agency

Mexico with 13.

which operates the Casa Publica centre in

the Botafogo neighbourhood of Rio.
In April this year, Casa Publica sent
out a world-wide invitation to foreign
journalists to compete for five vacancies

In the end, five journalists were selected

Some of Roys most remembered stories

in his prolific output include the triumph

- one each from France, Italy, Chile, Ecuador

and tragedy of Robert Wangila, to date

and Roy Gachuhi from Kenya, the only

Africas only Olympic gold medalist and the


dying in abject poverty of some of Kenyas

Roy is the producer of the widely-

most acclaimed football stars.

in its residency programme. Casa received

acclaimed epic documentary, The Last Fight,

177 applications from 42 countries in all

which he took to Egypt for screenings

is not extra-ordinary achievement, what

five continents. Some of the countries

in March this year during the 5th Luxor

is? Gachuhi first won the Sports Journalist

which submitted the highest number

African Film Festival. The documentary,

of the Year Award in Kenya in 1979 and


One of five in the whole world! If that


that was at the age of 20. He won it again

most revealing, a gym where he told us he

at 3 or 4 a.m. For him, that is good working

in 1984 but it was the citation of his

boxes away his stress.

hour. He could also be soundly asleep at 2

Features Writer of the Year Award in 2000

Gachuhi is completely at home in his

or 3 p.m.

that makes us better understand why he

house, which doubles up as his private

What is your hobby? we asked him.

finds nothing unusual in being one of

office. He explained this to us: Nairobi is

Flower gardening, he replied, and using

five winners out of 177 competitors from

an awfully wasteful, disorderly and unsafe

spaces well. I dont waste even an inch of

around the world.

city. I cannot recognize the city I grew up

space if I can help it.

It read: Awarded for an outstanding nose

in. It has become normal to take one hour

And he desperately loves music and

for captivating stories, superb writing flair,

to drive two kilometres. I have to figure

literature. He has amassed an impressive

research skills, suspense and colour, and

out a way of saving time, my most precious

library of albums and books which span all

ability to paint pictures with words. These

commodity. That is why I leave this place

kinds of tastes. The ones that have pride

are the attributes that make Roy Gachuhi

only if I absolutely must. I can work and

of place in his study are dozens of old

truly great and which set him apart from

do my recreation, eat and sleep all within

vinyl long play and single discs. And a type

other sports journalists. They are what

a few metres of each other. It is a 24-7

writer and cassette tape recorder, too. He

makes him inspirational to the new crop of


drew our laughter when he told us that he

writers who not only express admiration

He added: I was once jogging along

was going to send us tweets and WhatsApp

for this craftsmans skills, but a wish to be

Uhuru Highway at about 7 p.m. I was

messages from the typewriter which had

like him one day.

mugged and barely escaped with my life.

been his tool of trade in the 1980s.

But this is not a man given to blowing

It scared me stiff. When I recovered from

Gachuhi describes himself as catholic in

his own trumpet. Soka Magazine chased

the trauma, I said that was it; I swore never

my music tastes and depending on mood

him for several months in an effort to write

again to compete for space with muggers

and circumstance I enjoy virtually any type

his story and we guess we only succeeded

and matatus driving on pedestrian

of music, save for rap which I dont think is

after overwhelming him with our

pavements and boda bodas weaving


persistence. But it was worth the wait and

between them. But I love fitness and yet

we never noticed the time pass once inside

the nearest gym could be up to four hours

journalism training school, the East Africa

his comfortable house in the Ngumo area

away from me because of traffic jams. The

School of Journalism, and sold it after

of Nairobi. We found the place to be an

chaos is unbearable. That is why I installed

running it for nine years. It had a good

obsessed writers world, with a multiplicity

a gym in my house.

reputation and produced many students

of flowers and flower trees and ornamental

fish in a long pond, a spacious study and

With Gachuhi, it is common to open your

email and find that he sent you something

In the year 2000, he founded a

who are in the media industry today.

Boniface Mwangi, the well-known some





say notorious photographer-turned-

from the then East African Railways and

activist, is one of his old students.


Go and ask him about me, he

Of his father, he says: He was obsessed

We asked his wife, Irene Gachuhi to

tell us the most remarkable thing about
her husband. She told us: He can be

challenged us. Gachuhi sold the school

with me pursuing the sciences, which I was

summarized in just two words family

after suffering an acute homesickness

very poor in. This frayed our relationship to

man. I guess you wont believe it when I

about his profession, journalism, which he

a point of total breakdown and this filled

tell you he started dropping and picking

says he was born to practice.

me with great sadness because I would

his daughters from school from nursery

Operating a journalism training school

have liked us to be not just father and son,

up to when they finished college! He is

is running a business, not practicing

but friends as well. My take home lesson

always there for his family. He is also

journalism, he said. And I had to make

from that was never to force my children

very passionate about his work and that

a U-turn when I realized this. It was a

into doing what I want them to do. My role

explains why he is good at what he does.

particularly difficult period of my life.

is to guide them because its their life, not

When talking to him, there is a clear

teacher of young students in the tone of

For more than four decades, Kenyas

mine. He has two children, both daughters.

newspaper readers have been familiar

The first, Lydia Wangari is pursuing film

with the great Roy Gachuhis stories in

scripting and the younger one, Charity

the sports pages. Recently, they started

the master who can get quite agitated

when discussing young people for whom
he evidently has a soft spot in his heart.
He told us: I never get tired telling the
youth that the most valuable material
thing they have available to them is time
and on no account should it be wasted.
Time is lost in the beginning, not in the
end. Every person above the age of 50 who
regrets his or her circumstances must have
lost time decades ago. Unfortunately, very
few young people realize this until it is
too late.
The remarkable thing with this genius
with words is that he never trained to
become a journalist. He does not even
have a university degree. Alright, in 2013,
he gained admittance to the prestigious
Cardiff University in Wales for a Masters
degree programme based on the
outstanding work he had done in his career
but decided to pass up the chance until
later, much later, perhaps when am 70
going 80. Lack of a degree hasnt stopped
me from being needed by the consumers of
my work. If anything, the opposite is true; I
have difficulty keeping up with demand.
After leaving Technical High School, he

Wangui, is working in Doha, Qatar, as a chef

watching his documentary films. Now

had to cut short further studies to support

specializing in French cuisine. It is a tight

stand by for his latest offerings the books

his younger siblings after his father retired

knit family.

are coming. Watch this space!


"The most
valuable thing
in life is time
and on no
account should
it be wasted."





on the
of giants

He is a legend at
his land of birth
- Kawangware,
Nairobi. And at
the age of 36,
Francis Thairu is
still banging in the
goals and shows
no sign of hanging
the boots soon ...
writes Zachary



very year they would go to the football

club at Kawangware, in the outskirts
of Nairobi City, and take the players
away. The scouts would turn up from
the professional Kenyan Premier League (KPL)
teams, and the best boys, the ones destined for
professional careers, would be taken off to their
clubs. The scouts knew that in Kwangware there
was a rich seam of players.
This norm forced Kawangware Sports club (Now
City Stars) to start again, filling the gaps in their
team. Yet Francis Thairu was never chosen. He was
always left behind in Kawangware.
I had tried to impress the scouts each and every
time they visited our team but I was told I didnt
have the physical attributes to make it as a player.
Some of them said I was not good tactically but
I never gave up, Thairu pauses to Soka in the

"Representing Kawangware
United in the SPS8 League is
not a step down as many see
it. I am happy here because I'm
representing my community."
Nairobi City Stars

Thairu now
serves as a
coach cum
player for his
boyhood club
United that
features in the
SPS8 Premier

After being deemed not fit for the higher

echelons, Thairu made it upon himself that he
was to represent City Stars for the rest of his
footballing career. At times, he was not even in the
first team but thats an area he had to work on to
make a mark.
His teammates and friends would disappear to
the best teams in the country; some went on to
have good professional careers.
I found it difficult sometimes to cope with
the demanding environment that we were in.
There were fresh talents streaming into the team
every year but I believed in myself. I have a huge
confidence in my own ability and thats why Im

still going strong to date. Ill never hide when Im

called upon to represent the team. I love football.
Thairu pauses.

Kawangware United
He might have drained in terms of speed
because his age doesnt allow him but Thairu sees
his step down to the Super 8 League, where he is
currently the top goal scorer, as a service to his
When I had failed to secure a move
outside the country in my earlier days in
football, I made a plea to represent my region
with all I would and be their ambassador.
Representing Kawangware United at the Super
8 Premier League is not a step down as many
would want to see it. Im happy here because Im
representing a community. They see me as their
leader and I cant abandon them. Mine is to instill
good virtues to the upcoming football generation
more so from the Kawangware region, Thairu
In Kawangware they are proud of their
community life and the everyday tolerance of
the kaleidoscope of cultures. And at the center of
each estate there is a square, a patch of ground
invariably marked up as a football pitch.
And as young men and boys hang around, at
almost every one there is a ball at their feet
and a game going on. Boys as young as six are
practicing their kick-ups. And in Kawangware they
remember Thairu as the boy who could be found
in the dusty pitches playing football endlessly,
sometimes well past midnight; a statement that
the part time player/Coach attributes to his love
of the game.
I had the ball at my feet all the time. I made
myself a footballer. For me, there was to be no
other job. Not many people believed in me but
I was sure of my talent. Even when the scouts
overlooked me, I kept going with football because
I loved it. I don't think I was so much disappointed
because I knew I was going to make it as a
footballer, Thairu said.





Thairu said being the eldest in his
family, he had to show his younger
siblings the way and wanted all of
them to be involved in sports and was
happy to have mixed it with the best
in the league.
I always wanted everyone
associated with me to be involved
in sports and Anthony Kimani, my
younger brother is a testimony for my
love of sports. I may not have joined
the best teams in the country but I
am happy to have come against them
in the league and thats sort of an
achievement for me, Thairu said.
Just like any other player, Thairu
wished he could have joined a bigger
club outside the country but says
its a regret that doesnt bother him
that much. He is happy to be part
of the team that formed the current
City Stars from scratches and wished
teams in the country could emulate
the former administrators of his club
towards the benefit of soccer in the
I am happy because I have been a
part of this team since its inception. I
may not have not made it to the big
stage outside the country as I wished
but I believe I served my club well. The
club management at that time gave us
almost They had a good system where
most of our players were picked from
the academy (World Hope). Everyone
was chosen on merit and we enjoyed
our football, Thairu remarked.
The dreadlocked midfielder at one
time left City Stars to join Mahakama
FC but felt he missed home terming
it as one of the mistakes he did in his
footballing career.
I dont know what I was thinking

Thairu in a past SPS8 league match.

He says he is happy to represent the
Kawangware community
at that time but I just found myself
in Mahakama colours. I immediately
realized I did a mistake and I lasted
only two months before requesting for
my release letter. I was not going to
go anywhere, I wanted to be back in
the blue colours of City Stars, Thairu

Advice to current crop

For someone who has been playing
football for close to a decade now,
Thairu feels there are a lot of things
that have changed and challenged the
upcoming players to show their worth
when opportunities come by.
For me to be a top scorer in a
league full of youths begs to ask so
many questions. The current crop are
too relaxed and dont play the game
with passion. They waste so much
time in pubs and social places instead


of working to improve their skills.

Nothing comes easy and if they are
to make it professionally they have to
give a lot, Thairu pauses.
So as the Super 8 Tournament goes
on, Thairu hopes to shine to show the
young generation how its done. He
hope one day to receive his coaching
badges so that he can nurture more
upcoming stars.
Im yet to receive any coaching
badge but its something Im working
towards. I hope Ill one day transfer my
skills to a generation in a top team. Its
every footballers dream to lead a side
from the dugout and I am no different,
He might have aged and his speed
and technical ability might not be the
same as he was some ten years back
but one thing for sure is that Thairu
will be still in the scene of football.







Harambee Stars and Mathare United
physiotherapist Wyclif Omom shares the
common injuries in football and how to
avoid them



ootball is one of the most

popular sports played
by young athletes, and
like all other sports it
involves players getting injured
at some point. In fact, football
leads in the number and nature of
injuries sustained in sport due to
the fact that it is a high impact
sport. Tackling, blocking and other
physical interactions between
players can result in contusions,
concussions and other common
Injuries occur during football games
and practice due to the combination
of high speeds and full contact. While
overuse injuries can occur, traumatic
injuries such as concussions are most
common. The force applied to either
bringing an opponent to the ground or
resisting being brought to the ground
makes football players prone to injury
anywhere on their bodies, regardless
of protective equipment.
Another reason football injuries are
so common is simply the nature of the
game. Players must frequently pivot
and change direction, increasing the
likelihood of injuries to the joints and
other tissues. Sudden bursts of speed
can cause muscle damage if the player

is not properly warmed up. Overuse

injuries are also common, particularly
for quarterbacks.
All of these factors combine to make
football a relatively high-risk sport.
Not including head injuries, the 4 most
common injuries include:

1.ACL injuries
This is the tearing of the (Anterior
Cruciate Ligament) ACL ligament
one of the major ligaments in your
knee The ligament in the knee can
become damaged or torn when a
player is impacted from the front
or rear.ACL injuries most commonly
occur during sports that involve
sudden stops, jumping or changes in
direction such as basketball, football,
tennis, downhill skiing, volleyball
and gymnastics. Many people hear
or feel a "pop" in the knee when an
ACL injury occurs. Your knee may
swell, feel unstable and become too
painful to bear weight. Depending
on the severity of your ACL injury,
treatment may include rest and
rehabilitation exercises to help you
regain strength and stability or surgery
to replace the torn ligament followed

by rehabilitation. A proper training

program may help reduce the risk of
an ACL injury.
Most ACL injuries happen during
sports and fitness activities that can
put stress on the knee:
Suddenly slowing down and
changing direction (cutting)
Pivoting with your foot firmly
Landing from a jump incorrectly
Stopping suddenly
Receiving a direct blow to the
knee or collision, such as a football
When the ligament is damaged,
there is usually a partial or complete
tear across the tissue. A mild injury
may overextend the ligament but
leave it intact.
Research suggests that training to
strengthen muscles of the legs, hips
and lower back as well as training
to improve jumping and landing
techniques may reduce the higher
ACL injury risk.
Prompt first-aid care can reduce pain
and swelling immediately after an
injury to your knee. Follow the R.I.C.E.






are one of the most

common injuries in
model of self-care at home:
Rest. General rest is necessary for
healing and limits weight bearing
on your knee.
Ice. When you're awake, try to ice
your knee at least every two hours
for 20 minutes at a time.
Compression. Wrap an elastic
bandage or compression wrap
around your knee.
Elevation. Lie down with your knee
propped up on pillows.
Medical treatment for an ACL
injury begins with several weeks
of rehabilitative therapy. A physical
therapist will teach you how to do
exercises that you will perform either
with continued supervision or at home.
You may also wear a brace to stabilize
your knee and use crutches for a while
to avoid putting weight on your knee.

The goal of rehabilitation is to

reduce pain and swelling, restore
your knee's full range of motion, and
strengthen muscles. This course of
physical therapy may successfully treat
an ACL injury for individuals who are
relatively inactive, engage in moderate
exercise and recreational activities, or
play sports that put less stress on the
knees. Surgery is often recommended
if you're an athlete and want to
continue in your sport, especially if
the sport involves jumping, cutting or
pivoting. After surgery you'll resume
another course of rehabilitative
therapy. Successful ACL reconstruction
paired with rigorous rehabilitation can
usually restore stability and function
to your knee. Athletes often can
return to their sports after eight to 12
Proper training and exercise can


help reduce the risk of ACL injury. A

physical therapist or other specialist
in sports medicine can provide
assessment, instruction and feedback
that can help you reduce risks.
Programs to reduce ACL injury include:
Exercises that strengthen leg
muscles, particularly hamstring
exercises, to ensure an overall
balance in leg muscle strength
Exercises to strengthen the core:
hips, pelvis and lower abdomen
Training and exercise for proper
techniques and knee position in
jumping and landing
Training to improve techniques for
pivoting and cutting

2. Ankle sprains
A sprained ankle is an injury that
occurs when you roll, twist or turn
your ankle in an awkward way. This


can stretch or tear the tough bands of

tissue (ligaments) that help hold your
ankle bones together. Ligaments help
stabilize joints, preventing excessive
movement. A sprained ankle occurs
when the ligaments are forced beyond
their normal range of motion. Most
sprained ankles involve injuries to
the ligaments on the outer side of the
ankle. This sprain can occur due to a
fall that causes your ankle to twist,
landing awkwardly on your foot after
jumping or pivoting and walking or
exercising on an uneven surface.
Signs and symptoms of a sprained
ankle include: Pain, especially when
you bear weight on the affected foot,
swelling and, sometimes, bruising
and finally restricted range of motion.
Some people hear or feel a "pop" at the
time of injury.
Prompt first-aid care can reduce pain
and swelling immediately after an
injury to your ankle. Follow the R.I.C.E.
model of self-care at home:
Rest. General rest is necessary for
healing and limits weight bearing
on your ankle.
Ice. When you're awake, try to ice
your ankle at least every two hours
for 20 minutes at a time.
Compression. Wrap an elastic
bandage or compression wrap
around your ankle
Elevation. Lie down with your
ankle propped up on pillows
A sprained ankle left untreated,
engaging in activities too soon after
spraining your ankle or spraining
your ankle repeatedly might lead to
complications which includes; chronic
pain, ankle joint instability and earlyonset arthritis in that joint.

Once the swelling goes down, a

physical therapist can help you with
exercises to restore your ankle's range
of motion, strength, flexibility and
balance.Balance and stability training
is especially important to retrain the
ankle muscles to work together to
support the joint. These exercises may
involve various degrees of balance
challenge, such as standing on one leg.
If you sprained your ankle while
exercising or participating in a sport,
talk to your doctor about when you
can resume your activity. You may need
to wear an ankle brace or wrap your
ankle to protect it from re-injury.
Here are some things you can do to
help prevent a sprained ankle.
Warm up before you exercise or
play sports.
Be careful when walking, running
or working on an uneven surface.
Wear shoes that fit well and are
made for your activity.
Don't wear high-heeled shoes.
Don't play sports or participate

in activities for which you are not

Maintain good muscle strength and
Practice stability training, including
balance exercises.

3. Torn hamstrings
A hamstring injury occurs when you
strain or pull one of your hamstring
muscles the group of three muscles
that run along the back of your thigh.
When any one of these muscles
stretches beyond its limit during
physical activity, injury can result. A
hamstring injury typically causes a
sudden, sharp pain in the back of your
thigh. You might also feel a "popping"
or tearing sensation. Swelling and
tenderness usually develop within a
few hours. You may also experience
bruising or discoloration along the
back of your leg, as well as muscle
weakness or an inability to put weight
on your injured leg.
Hamstring injury risk factors include:





ports participation. Sports that
require sprinting or running, or
other activities such as dancing
that might require extreme
stretching, make a hamstring injury
more likely.
Prior hamstring injury. After you've
had one hamstring injury, you're
more likely to have another one,
especially if you try to resume all
your activities at pre-injury levels
of intensity before your muscles
have time to heal and rebuild
Poor flexibility. If you have poor
flexibility, your muscles may not
be able to bear the full force of
the action required during certain
Muscle imbalance. Although not
all experts agree, some suggest
that a muscle imbalance may lead
to hamstring injury. When the
muscles along the front of your
thigh the quadriceps become
stronger and more developed
than your hamstring muscles, you
may be more likely to injure your
hamstring muscles.
Returning to strenuous activities
before your hamstring muscles are
completely healed might cause an
injury recurrence.
Prompt first-aid care can reduce pain
and swelling immediately after an
injury to your knee. Follow the R.I.C.E.
model of self-care at home:
Rest. General rest is necessary for
healing and limits weight bearing
on your muscle.
Ice. When you're awake, try to ice
your muscle at least every two
hours for 20 minutes at a time.

ompression. Wrap an elastic
bandage or compression wrap
around it.
Elevation. Lie down with your leg
propped up on pillows.
As part of an overall physical
conditioning program, regular
stretching and strengthening exercises
can help minimize your risk of
hamstring injury. Try to be in shape to
play your sport; don't play your sport
to get in shape.

4. Muscle contusions
Contusions normally occur as a
result of a direct blow or repeated
blow from an opposition player,
contact with equipment including
sticks or the ball or by falling or
jamming part of your body against
a hard surface, crushing underlying
muscle. The direct blow causes local
damage to the muscle with bleeding
occurring at the site of the blow. This
often results in a blood clot within the
muscle belly. The most common place
for a contusion to occur is in the thigh
(quadriceps). Muscle contusions are
extremely common injuries especially
in contact sports and sports that
involve collisions for example football,
hockey, basketball etc. Most contusions
are minor and heal quickly without
taking you out of the game. But severe
contusions can cause deep tissue
damage and lead to complications and
may keep you out of sports for months.
Muscle contusions can sometimes be
mistaken for muscular tears; however
they can be easily distinguished by
the mechanism of injury. A contusion
is the result of a direct blow and
a tear normally occurs from an


acceleration/deceleration event. Your

physiotherapist should also be able to
distinguish the difference by the feel
of the affected muscle.
Prompt first-aid care can reduce pain
and swelling immediately after an
injury to your knee. Follow the R.I.C.E.
model of self-care at home:
Rest. General rest is necessary for
healing and limits weight bearing
on your muscle.
Ice. When you're awake, try to ice
your muscle at least every two
hours for 20 minutes at a time.
Compression. Wrap an elastic
bandage or compression wrap
around it.
Elevation. Lie down with your leg
propped up on pillows.
You may be able to return to contact
sports when you get back your full
strength, motion and endurance.
You may need to wear a customized
protective device to prevent further
injury to the area that had a contusion.
Depending upon your sport, you may
get special padding made of firm
or semi-firm materials. The padding
spreads out the force of impact when
direct blows from blunt objects strike
your body.
As I wind up this article I would
like to emphasize on the use of the
R.I.C.E protocol as earlier indicated for
managing injuries and most important
finish by saying you should always
avoid H.A.R.M whenever injury is
susatained, H.A.R.M means you AVOID;
H-HEAT,A-alcohol,R-running and
M-massage.If you observe all these
as a player you will always be on the
right track in the unfortunate event
that an injury occurs.






instances amogst
african footballers
Sam Okwaraji, Mac Vivien Foe and most
recently Cameroonian Patrick Ekeng suffered
cardiac arrests and passed away while playing
football. Harambee Stars and Mathare United
physiotherapist Wycliffe Omom researches into
this issue.

ecently, the whole globe was shocked to see

two unfortunate events of players collapsing in
the field and passing on as a result of cardiac
arrest. It pains a lot when you see a fit looking
player in ecstatic mood getting to the field to play and
vanishing away like morning dew. After the occurrence
of the two instances I watched the footage of the late
Patrick Ekeng prior to his collapse in the field. It pained
my heart when I saw him on the touchline getting ready
to get in as a substitute for his Romanian side Bucharest,
not knowing that 7 minutes into play he would be no
more. Cardiac arrest took away yet another promising
talented African star. Just a day after his death another
African talent passes on due to cardiac arrest, this time
a female. It is shocking and worrying to realize that
all these cases involve Cameroonian players, after my
analysis I have also noticed that most of these cases have
happened to players from Cameroon and western African
countries. I think my emphatic recommendation would
be that the relevant authorities in charge of running
football in Africa should spend more resources on doing
research amongst players from this regions with a view of
establishing the component that increase their risk to get
this condition.
Cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart
function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac
arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in
your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping
blood flow to the rest of your body.
Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack,
which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart
is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes
trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden
cardiac arrest. This condition is a medical emergency, if
not treated immediately, it causes sudden cardiac death.
With fast, appropriate medical care, survival is possible.
Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR),
treating with a defibrillator or even just compressions
to the chest can improve the chances of survival until
emergency personnel arrive.
Sudden cardiac arrest symptoms are immediate
and drastic and include: Sudden collapse, no pulse,
no breathing and loss of consciousness. Sometimes
other signs and symptoms precede sudden cardiac




arrest. These may include fatigue,

fainting, blackouts, dizziness, chest
pain, shortness of breath, weakness,
palpitations or vomiting. But sudden
cardiac arrest often occurs with no
warning. If you have frequent episodes
of chest pain or discomfort, irregular
or rapid heartbeats, unexplained
wheezing or shortness of breath,
fainting or near fainting, or you're
feeling lightheaded or dizzy, see your
medical personnel promptly.
When the heart stops, the lack of
oxygenated blood can cause brain
damage in only a few minutes. Death
or permanent brain damage can
occur within four to six minutes.
Time is critical when you're helping
an unconscious person who isn't
breathing. Take immediate action.
This is achieved by performing CPR;
CPR entails Quickly checking the
unconscious person's breathing. If
he or she isn't breathing normally,
begin CPR. Push hard and fast on the
person's chest at the rate of 100 to
120 compressions a minute. If you've
been trained in CPR, check the person's
airway and deliver rescue breaths after
every 30 compressions.
If you haven't been trained, just
continue chest compressions. Allow
the chest to rise completely between
compressions. Keep doing this until
a portable defibrillator is available
or emergency personnel arrive. The
immediate cause of sudden cardiac
arrest is usually an abnormality in your
heart rhythm, the result of a problem
with your heart's electrical system.
Unlike other muscles in your body,
which rely on nerve connections to
receive the electrical stimulation
they need to function, your heart

has its own electrical stimulator

a specialized group of cells. This
generates electrical impulses that
flow in an orderly manner through
your heart to synchronize the heart
rate and coordinate the pumping of
blood from your heart to the rest of
your body. If something goes wrong
with these cells or the flow of electric
impulses through your heart, an
abnormal transmission can result,
causing your heart to beat too fast, too
slow or in an irregular fashion. Often
these interruptions in rhythm are
momentary and harmless. But some

Cardiac arrest is
different from a
heart attack which
occurs when blood
flow to a portion
of the heart is
types can be serious and lead to a
sudden stop in heart function (sudden
cardiac arrest).
A life-threatening problem usually
develops in a person with a preexisting heart condition, such as:
heart vessels disease, heartattack,
enlarged heart, narrowing of heart
valves and congenital heart disease.
Because sudden cardiac arrest is
so often linked with heart artery
disease, the same factors that put
you at risk of artery disease may also
put you at risk of sudden cardiac
arrest. These include: A family history
of heart artery disease,smoking


,high blood pressure, high blood

too much alcohol. Other factors that
may increase your risk of sudden
cardiac arrest include: aprevious
episode of cardiac arrest or a family
history of cardiac arrest,a previous
heart attack, age the incidence
of sudden cardiac arrest increases
with age, using illegal drugs, such
as cocaine or bhang and finally
nutritional imbalance, such as low
potassium or magnesium levels
There are several strategies athletes
can apply to minimise the occurrence
of this. These include; regular checkups, screening for heart disease and
living a heart-healthy lifestyle with
the following approaches: dont smoke,
and use alcohol in moderation and eat
a nutritious, balanced diet.
Shockingly, reports have it that
the ambulance used to wheel away
Ekeng had expired batteries for
the defibrillator machine further
complicating the players rescue
process. I dont know how authentic
the reports are but if anything, we
in Kenya should take lessons from
them and ensure that any ambulances
on the pitch side are inspected for
available and functional defibrillator
machines. May the Lord rest the soul
of Ekeng in eternal peace.



The star that

never shone

By Samuel Gacharira

hen he made his debut

for the National football
team Harambee Stars in
a friendly match against
the Super Eagles of Nigeria back in
2003, Hillary Lefty Omondis career was
set to take an upward trajectory.
The biggest obstacle to breaking
into Reinhardt Fabischs first eleven





was Adam Shaban, an enterprising

fullback who could attack and defend
with ease. In fact, it took Shabans
withdrawal in the second half in Lagos
for Omondi to get his maiden cameo
for the senior team against Nigeria.
Hillary was one of the best left
backs that I knew during his time.
He was tiny in size but he was big in
terms of play. He was good and he was
challenging Adam. It is just that Adam
was in another level. Adam Shaban was
in a class of his own and that is why he
edged any other left back that we had
in that period, former Harambee Stars
head coach Jacob Mulee told Soka.

Kariobangi Sports
Lefty, as he is affectionately referred
to in local football circles, is one of
the finest left backs Kenya has ever
produced but unfortunately he did not
realize his full potential. The second
born in a family of five, Omondi, just
like any other Kenyan footballer
honed his skills at the dusty fields
of Eastlands specifically Kariobangi
Grounds where he turned out for
Kariobangi Sports in the formative
stages of his career under the
watchful eye of legendary tactician
Odhi Pele.
I used to coach an estate team in
Kariobangi but after they reached a
certain age I decided to stop coaching
them because I liked coaching children.
There was a group of small boys who
were playing for fun near our training
ground. I decided to start coaching
them and that is how I first met Lefty
at the tender age of nine years.
He was disciplined and he really
had passion for the game from a young
age. He is a very good listener and he

was keen to take any advice that I gave

him, recalled Odhi Pele.

Norway Cup
At the tender age of ten, Omondi
was already showing potential of
blossoming into a top player and
three years later he dazzled a greater
audience in the Mathare Youth Sports
Association (MYSA) zonal leagues
while still featuring for his estate
team Kariobangi Sports. His exemplary
performance would later book him a
slot in Gabriel Kingi Njoroges Under
16 squad that represented MYSA in
the 1999 edition of the annual Norway
I had really caught up with football
very well because it was not always
easy to be selected into the MYSA
squad for the Norway Cup. Even though
we were beaten in the preliminary
stages, that tournament will forever
remain in my mind because it was
my first trip out of the country. It also


opened doors for me since it gave

me confidence that I would play at
the very top level, a calm Omondi
Upon his return to the country,
Omondis star continued to shine at
Kariobangi Sports where he was a
regular in the side that featured in the
Nairobi Provincial League. A normal
day for him in training would present
the opportunity for him to feature in
the top tier the same year.
KCB, who used to train at the
Aquinas High School grounds, invited
Kariobangi Sports for a friendly match
as part of their preseason programme.
Omondi was at his usual imposing
self; storming the left flank with
terrific runs despite his team losing
0-3 in that match. That barnstorming
performance caught the eye of veteran
youth tactician Rishadi Shedu the head
coach at KCB then.
When I started training the young
boys my dream was to impart basic
football skills on them to help them
scale greater heights in their careers
either at club level or in the national
team. Joseph Nyaga, Anthony Modo
Kimani and Kevin Master Ochieng and
Lefty are some of the players I could
tell would have a bright future. At his
age, Lefty was playing mature football
because his passes were accurate, his
tackling was good and his runs and
crosses from the wing caused a lot of
problems for many defenders. So when
KCB approached me there was no way
I could stand in his way simply because
I had achieved my dream, said Odhi

Topflight breakthrough
A gentleman's agreement was


reached between Odhi Pele and Shedu

and the youngster started training
with the Bankers the following week.
Interestingly, it did not take Omondi
an age to adapt to the demands of
the top tier. After only three weeks,
the on form Omondi had worked his
way into Shedus first eleven, a feat
he attributes to the draining sessions
under coach Kingi during the MYSA
selection process.
After training with Kariobangi
Sports in the morning I would train
with coach Kingi at MYSA in the
evening. He brought out the best in
me and he helped me take my game
to the next level. He shaped me into
a top player. Those sessions were
very important for my development
especially in terms of understanding
the technical aspects of the game
such as positioning and marking, said
KCB was still trying to find their
foot in the topflight after their
promotion to the league and as has
been the culture at the club they gave
youngsters a platform to showcase
their talent. Omondi took the chance
with both hands and his impressive
displays at the club earned him his
first ever National team call up where
he was part of the infamous Under 17
squad that was disbanded by Sports
Minister Najib Balala.
Omondi really impressed during the
trials and when the season started he
did very well because he wanted to
prove that he could play in the top tier.
His ball control was very good and his
decision making was great for a player
of his age. I had worked with young
players before and I could tell that he
was going to have a bright future so

I was not surprised to see him in the

national team, Shedu said.

Under 17 National team

Omondi played the full 90 minutes
in the first leg of the first round
qualifier as Kenya beat Ghana 2-0 in
Nairobi thanks to first half strikes from
George Odari and Nicodemus Anunda.
The two goal advantage was scrapped
off in the return leg until Anthony
Katana popped up at the death to

"Lefty is still
passionate about
football. He is
optimistic it will
bring his life back on
score an invaluable consolation goal
that all but ensured Kenya progressed
to the second round with a 3-2
aggregate score.
Despite Kenya playing the first leg of
the second round qualifier where they
lost 0-2 to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa,
the team was disbanded on grounds of
age cheating after a successful appeal
by Ghana at the Confederation of
African Football (CAF).
We were really disappointed
because we had done the nation proud
by beating a big team in Africa and
we felt that we stood a big chance
of qualifying for the Under 17 Africa
Cup of Nations. We were denied an
opportunity to take our careers to
another level.

Mumias Sugar stint

That setback aside, Omondis

stock had risen and he was on the

radar of top Premier League sides.
Mumias Sugar was one of the sides
that were eyeing his services and
his performance against them in
a league match played in Limuru
rubberstamped his move.
My performance in my first national
assignment was a big encouragement
that I could do well at the big
stage after we beat one of the best
footballing nations in Africa. When we
played against Mumias their coach,
Edwin Aleimba, approached me and
told me he wanted to sign me. I told
Shedu about it and he told me that
it was a good move and he agreed to
release me at the end of the season,
said Omondi.
After cutting short his two year
stay at KCB, Omondi joined Mumias
Sugar FC in 2002 as a determined
youngster who was itching to make
a name among the big boys. In a star
studded team that had the likes of
Zablon Pro Otieno (RIP), Walter Odede
and Ali Breik; Omondi broke into the
first team and went ahead to become
a regular in Aleimbas squad. Mumias
Sugar was different from KCB because
we had very experienced players in the
team. There was a lot of discrimination
in terms of fielding since some good
players like Pro were often overlooked.
After my first year there I got a call up
to the Under 23 national team,
Omondi once again featured for
Kenya as they lost 0-3 on aggregate
to South Africa over two legs to
ultimately bow out of contention for
a slot in the 2004 Athens Olympic
Games. Though he guided the side
to the final of the Moi Golden Cup
in 2004, where they lost 0-2 to





Pipeline, Omondis exit at Mumias was

unceremonious after the club was
disbanded by current Nairobi Governor
Evans Kidero who was the Managing
Director at Mumias Sugar Company.

Harambee Stars
After losing in the final, Kidero
disbanded the team citing nonperformance because the management
had invested so much in the team
yet we did not win any trophy. I had
performed very well in the run up to
the final of the Moi Golden Cup and
that earned me the first senior team
call up from Fabisch.
At that time our national team
was doing well because fielding was
done on merit. The coach did not look
down on young players. He gave me a
chance against Nigeria despite being
very young, Omondi said.

brewers emerged winners at the

height of wrangles within the Kenya
Football Federation (KFF) but they
were robbed of the title after it
emerged that they were participating
in a parallel league. Eventually Ulinzi
Stars were declared the 2005 league
champions in controversial fashion.

Wanga scored a penalty to give us

three points but it is in that match that
I suffered my career-ending injury. I
went for a 50-50 ball with Lawrence
Owino and injured my shin in the
process. I was airlifted to Nairobi
Hospital immediately after the match
where I spent two weeks undergoing

Career ending injury

treatment, Omondi painfully

Despite Tusker footing his medical
bills that included full cover for a
surgery on his left leg, Omondi never
returned to his brilliant best and
after his three year contract lapsed
at the Ruaraka based outfit, a dark
cloud hang on his future. The life of
a promising player expected to be
entering his peak was thrown into a
limbo and life or perhaps fate was
cruel to Omondi from then on.
When I used to do some light work
at the training ground my leg would
swell which made it difficult for me to

Tusker move
An unattached Omondi missed out
on the final squad for the 2004 Africa
Cup of Nations but his career at club
level continued to flourish after he
received an offer to join Tusker from
then National team head coach Jacob
Ghost Mulee.
When you are a good player,
definitely offers will come your way
and to find a left back who is naturally
left footed is not easy. When you get
such a player you are very lucky. Hillary
was a clever player whose decision
making and intelligence in terms of
crossing and defending made him
stand out as one of the best fullbacks
in the country. He did a very good job
for Tusker and also for the national
team, said Mulee.
In his first season at the club, the

Revenge is sweetest when served

cold and a year later Tusker wrestled
their way to a top of the table finish
after beating Ulinzi Stars 1-0 at their
own backyard, the Afraha Stadium
in Nakuru. Gor Mahias one all draw
with Coast Stars ultimately confirmed
Tusker as the league champions as
an injured Omondi missed out on a
chance to savour his first trophy in
local football.
We were level with Gor Mahia in
the points tally so the league had to
go down to the wire to decide who
will be crowned champions. Allan



play football again. I had already spent

the little savings that I had to build
my parents a house in Kendu Bay and
set up a posho mill business for them.
I had nothing left to cater for myself
after being dropped at Tusker, he says
as tears begin forming in his eyes.

Things turned from bad to worse
when his rental house in Kariobangi
was closed down due to failure of
paying rent and suddenly the friends
that used to hang out with the star of
tomorrow deserted him. Depression
crept in and cheap liquor became
Omondis best friend. After all, it was
loyal. It was always there to help him
to forget the harsh reality that was his
current situation.
When my house was closed, my wife
went back to her parents house with
my only kid. I turned into a drunkard
and I used to sleep in makeshift
structures (vibandas) or even in the
local bars. I had lost everything within
a very short time. My wife, my children
and my source of living were all gone.
Things had happened too fast for me
and I turned to alcohol to help me
forget about it. Days seemed too long
but whenever I was high on alcohol
they became shorter, remarks Omondi
as tears roll down his cheeks
all the way down to his unkempt
The hero of Kariobangi turned into
the laughing stock as he plunged
further into alcoholism. Then on one
night in his usual stress-relieving
drinking sprees a flicker of hope
appeared in the form of George
Onyango-the manager of the matatus
plying Route 26. Both of them were

"When I used to do some light work at the

training ground my leg would swell which
made it difficult for me to play football
again. I had already spent the little savings
that I had to build my parents a house in
Kendu Bay and set up a posho mill business
for them. I had nothing left to cater for
myself after being dropped at Tusker
not strangers to each other since
Onyango used to play for Kariobangi
All Stars when Omondi was at
Kariobangi Sports in the 90s. In fact
Onyango is only six years older than

Renewed hope
I found Omondi in a bad situation
because he was very drunk and he
was doing this because everybody had
isolated him. When he was on form
people used to hang out with him but
after the injury he was left on his own,
remembers Onyango.
Touched by Omondis story,
Onyango offered him a job as a tout
and gradually Omondis life began
to improve. His progress has been
derailed by his unending love for
cheap liquor though Onyango is a
happy man that at least Omondi no
longer calls the bar and vibandas
It took him almost three years to
accept the situation because people
would mock him that he had nothing
to show despite having made many
trips abroad as a player. He has
somewhere he can call home now
and he is now better than I found him.
The biggest problem is the people

he surrounds himself with who have

made him continue being an alcoholic.
He lives from hand to mouth, Onyango

Football return
Despite having stayed out of the
game for eight years, Omondi believes
that he still has a lot to offer in the
game a sentiment echoed by his
father figure Onyango.
Life is hard here in the matatu
industry but at least it is better than
begging and borrowing. I want to go
back to what I know best. I dont want
my football career to go to waste. I
would like to get an opportunity to
contribute to the game. I can teach
children the basics of football or even
come back in the capacity of a trainer.
There is a lot that I can do with my
experience, concludes Omondi.
Omondi is passionate about
football. He believes football will
bring his life back on track. Whenever
Kariobangi Sharks is playing he always
finds time to go and watch them
play. He just needs rehabilitation to
stop alcoholism then he can reform
because his performance at work is
very good. He can do a good job if he
is given a chance, remarks Onyango.





Soka Crossword 1

By Lenny Ruvaga




















1. Bans 3. Swims 5. Rami 7. Yoga 8. Duncan 10.Adam 11. Suarez 14. Wade
16. Jumper 19. Pant 20. Ghost Mulee 23. Pump 25. oliech 26. Messi 29.
Header 30. Aggrey 31. David 32. Origi

1. Bandari 2. Neymar 3. Stars 4. Ibaka 5. Ran 6. Innocent 8. Dre 9. Cecafa
12. Uhuru 13. Rep 15. Suspended 17. Efe18. Chelsea 19. Papi 21. Maher 22.
Lampard 24. Play 27. Sugar 28. Greg

Path Finder: Fast Footballers


Soka Crossword
1. Prohibits (4)
3. Moves through water (4)
5. Adil __ plays as central defender
for Spanish club Sevilla FC (4)
7. Hindu discipline (4)
8. He was Kenya rally champ 6
times (6)
10.__ Scott is a pro Australian
golfer who plays on the PGA tour
11. Uruguay national team striker
aka Luis (6)
14. Dwayne __ plays for the Miami
Heat of the NBA(4)
16. One who jumps (6)
19. To breathe quickly (4)
20.__ coached Tusker FC between
1999-2009 (5-5)
23. Inflate a ball (4)
25. Kenyan footballer who plays
for Dubai CSC (6)
26. Argentine forward who plays
for Barcelona (5)
29. A pass or shot made in soccer
30. Jimmy__ played for Bohemians
FC , 2004- 2005 (6)
31. __ Owino plays for the Kenya
national team as a defender (5)
32. Kenyan goalkeeper who plays
for Lillestrom (5)

1. Kenyan FC based in Mombasa (7)
2. Captain of the Brazil national
team (6)
3. Ulinzi __ FC is an association FC
based in Nakuru (5)
4. Serge __ plays for the Orlando
Magic of the NBA (5)
5. Walked swiftly (3)
6. Former Kenya 15s captain aka
Simiyu (8)
8. Lebron James was 1st to wear
Dr._ s headphones (3)
9. The __ Cup is the oldest football
tournament in Africa (6)
12. President__ sponsored
Harambee Stars to travel to
Brazil (5)
13. Repetition (3)
15. Barred for a period from a
playing a match (9)
17. Nigerian right back or centre
back for Celtic (3)
18. English FC based in Fulham,
London (7)
19. Big_ of the the Boston Red
Sox is aka David Ortiz (4)
21. Kevin __ is under-21 manager
of Southend United(5)
22. Chelsea FCs highest scorer of
all time (7)
24. Take part in a game (4)
27. Sony__ FC is an association FC
based in Awendo (5)
28. __Bernett was rankedworld no.
1 triathlete in 2002 & 2003 (4)

By Lenny Ruvaga

Athletes Path Finder

The path finder grid below contains a selection of very fast footballers, starting with
the highlighted M
The words form a continuous path, passing through each letter on the grid once. The
path always moves horizontally or vertically, and never diagonally.
There are fifteen footballers to find in total.
Moura, Cristiano, Guerron, Luciano, Theo, Vladimir, Messi, Pitroi, Patello, Jefferson,
Baleryo, Sinclair, Callejon, Jordi, Jesus


Life is like riding ataxi,

whether you are going anywhere
or not, the meter keeps ticking.