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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Harambee Stars Shoot Up in FIFA World Rankings

PIC: Kenya striker Allan Wanga (L) controls the ball as Namibia's Jammal Mohammed looks on during their 2010 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Nairobi September 6 2008.

Guys, things could never have been better for local soccer!

Sometime mid this year when this blogger decided to publish a story on this forum highlighting on the efforts of the Minister Raila Odinga to revive soccer and sporting in general, not many people took it seriously. At that time, many saw it from a myopic political point of view.

How wrong they were, because as I type these lines, it was announced yesterday that national team Harambee Stars’ FIFA ranking has skyrocketed to an all time high position 68th globally , 14th in Africa and the best amongst the CECAFA region. Needless to say, this is the highest ranking Kenya has ever achieved in history. As it is, Kenya are the biggest African movers in the FIFA world rankings table, jumping 17 places to 68th.

Even as we celebrate this remarkable achievement, politics aside, we should not forget that were it not for the personal intervention of Raila and his one-on-one meetings with Sepp Blatter of FIFA, Kenya could in all probability be serving an indefinite suspension from world football today.

What does the new ranking mean? It means that Kenya footballers can now sign for what is arguably the most exciting professional league in world football - the English Premier League - because the British government only issues work permits to players who originate from countries that have ranked 70th and below. Not only are players highly paid at this league, the standards of the game are very competitive and English teams regularly reach the finals, semis and quarters of the European Champions League – again arguably the most prestigious soccer competition in the world after the FIFA World Cup.

All this could translate into raising standards locally, like has happened to other countries whose players turn out for the EPL. Professional football is not just big business for agents, promoters, marketers and governments, it is also in today’s world a career in itself. The news comes at a time when Harambee Stars are poised to play final qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup and also when the team have just reported to camp for the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup to be held in Uganda from December 31. From the “Russia Stand” of the stadium, bloggers please join me in yelling Oliech, Obama, Odinga!!!!

Hongera to the Harambee stars and their head Coach Francis Kimanzi. Clap Clap Clap.

View Harambee Stars FIFA World Ranking History here

View the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking Table Here

43 comments:

E-CHANGE said...

Oliech, Obama, Odinga!
Our sportsmanship is the success story of Africa and we now have football alongside athletics to show for it

Anonymous said...

Phil,

Are you trying to escape the previous post where Chris pinned you down?

Are you so blinded by your RAO song?

Sayra said...

Sports is the only thing at the moment that we pride in as kenyans with good reasons of coz. The ranking will sure raise their morale.

Things have been looking pretty good for the stars and i wish them all the best in the world cup qualifier matches. Having been put with the african giants as Nigeria in the same group they gotta be smarter. Am no soccer fan but have been to kasarani & nyayo to scream for them (and enjoy the excitement of been in a huge crowd) and they never disappointed.

Go Harambee Stars go!!!

Anonymous said...

Phil

Oliech, Obama, Odinga the song that make the LUO forget their myriad problems and put on an armour of hope works no better than MASTURBATION in kamiti indulge

Sam Okello said...

Phil,

On sports I'll follow in Sayra's footsteps and congratulate the Stars. I hope they get even better and bring home that coveted worldcup title someday.

Vikii said...

Come the fuck on dude! Get serious Phil, for once! While I am a religious soccer fan from a very young age, I am surprised at the delusional omnipotence you asociate with Raila Odinga and his little "magical" powers. We associate the victories of the last three world cup champions to the tactical geniuses of Marcello Lippi, Big Phil Scolari and Aimes Jacquet and the mental presence and skills of their players (Ronaldo, Zidane, Pirlo and their team mates) and you are here telling us of how a government minister should be credited with the success of his country. That is an insult to the players of the Kenyan team and both Ghost Mulee and Kimanzi. I mean, before your equally dangerously blinded friends come here with those little "theft, impunity and deception" nonsenses, you need to explain to me why Kenya's success story should be attributed to politicians unlike in the other countries. I have not heard anybody attribute AC Mlan's success to Prime Minister Berlusconi even though as club President, he has an identifiable role in the club. People have been talking about Carlo Ancelotti, Kaka and the team. This stuff that you guys imagine is so off-putting, it makes me sick. It is such a piss-off.

Look here Phil, the last five years or so have seeen soccer managed (at least at the political level) by George Ochillo Ayacko and Najib Balala, both very loyal flower boys of Raila odinga's. Why did he not pass the magic pill to them? Come on! Assistant Minister Alfred Sambu, a noted Raila buddy, has overseen the worst period of mediocre performances by the Stars. I still don't get it why "His Highness" Raila did not intervene with his vodoo powers to rescue the reputation of these friends of his if not that of the game.

We all celebrate the average performances that Harambee stars have been registering, don't get me wrong. If,however you want to give any credit, please give it to the players and the coaching staff. That's the sensible thing to do. Wait a minute, do we even know who Brazil's, Argentina's or Italy's sports ministers are? This is the most ridiculous thing I ave read the whole of 2008. It is just plain ridiculous.

Eiish, I am waiting for you to tell me that that was supposed to be some sort of humour. Dude!

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Stop shamelessly promoting Luo nationalism at the expense of Kenyan achievement. This is precisely why millions of Kenyans will NEVER EVER trust the leadership of Kenya to people like Raila. Soon every Kenyan achievement would be as a result of Raila's wishful thinking/idiocy, Raila's vision/blindness/ignorance, Raila's hallucinations/wet dreams etc. He would be Farmer No 1, Footballer No 1, Husband No 1 etc. No matter how much his stoned fanatics may try to elevate Raila to a demi-god, he will always remain a Yayah Jammeh(the buffoonish Gambian leader who claims he can cure aids)like African caricature to many Kenyans. Instead of pompously and self importantly calling Gordon Brown to purportedly discuss world problems(even if Brown wonders who the idiot overreaching is up to) as his deluded followers would wish, he should be meeting Yayah Jammeh of Gambia to plan how to enhance personality cults and promote witchcraft further.
You may deny it all you want, but Raila is just an ordinary, overambitious but ruthless politician with no overarching leadership ability. He has a psychotic need to be boss all the same, and his psychosis has already irreversibly infected his ignorant supporters. Poor souls.

Singa said...

Not so fast Kimi

Kwani Phil amekula Mbuzi ya nani. Phil is only trying to show you that being Obama,s cousin Raila deserves praise on all occassions irrespective of who did the work. And you can see Raila's prowess in the glittering buidings in Kibera, the well fed residents of Kisumu and the plantations of Bondo can't you? Wait till the dogs come barking with phrases like septic shock shauri yako

Taabu said...

Vikii/Kimi,
Maybe Phil is the NEW KENYAN BIG PHIL. But your fears lies elsewhere and you know it, don't you? That eloquence per excellence in delusion. Indulge guys, mouth foam is free.

Anonymous said...

Wife inheritnce, HIV carriers. That the song!!!

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Kenyan football needs to be realistic and make proper arrangements for the achievement of set goals like the Olympics, the world under 17 and under 23 youth championships etc., before thinking of the world cup. Cameroon have a football academy for 8 - 12 year olds set up by the Govt in 1991, an idea that came from the likes of Roger Milla, and is where most of the players who won the Olympic title in Sydney in 2000 came from. What has Kenya on the other hand been doing all these years since the sixties? Twiddling our thumbs, chest thumping and electing crooks to run football. How many of our football administrators REALLY understand modern soccer? How many have ever stepped on a soccer pitch, even in high school? It is ridiculous that people whose knowledge of football is gleaned on the job, run our soccer. How can such people understand players and their needs? Why do our idiotic politicians, as much as they know jack about soccer, keep interfering in the running of football just to claim all the credit when there is success, as Raila and his arse kissing followers do?
Until and unless we start planning ten years ahead by starting serious, well managed regional football academies that offer both a comprehensive education and football coaching to youngsters from the age of six to sixteen, we are just wasting time and daydreaming. We will never get to the world cup under the current status quo.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Taabu, you say:

'..But your fears lies elsewhere and you know it, don't you?..'

I ask you, fear what? What on earth are you talking about? Or you think this guy writes patriotic songs?

Phil said...

Its really pointless arguing with people who, for instance, do not know how the inside of Nyayo or City Stadium looks like, and cannot even name for you any three Harambee Stars players without first doing a google search. You see, anyone who has attended a Harambee Stars match lately knows that what I posted above is common knowledge in the the stadium and in football circles in Kenya.

If I start to argue with people who have been outside Kenya half their lives, let alone ever having been into a Kenyan stadium, ii will be doing disservice tho this blog. I can actually count the number of comments that express some sort of congratulations or happiness at the progress of the national team in the same period the Grand Coalition Government has been in place.

I know some people would rather we bury the tenures of the Kariukis and the Kenneths at the helm of KFF because they apparently did a good job while they were at it.

It also appears it is only some bloggers are completely ignorant of the fact that Raila Odinga and Sepp Baltter are indeed personal friends and it is this friendship that made Kenya escape a FIFA ban mid this year due the mess that was created by none other than Maina Kamanda - another minister who was more keen on mungiki recruitment than paying attention importance of developing sports in society. That friendship is also responsible for the formation of Kenya Football Limited, and the disbandment of Kenya Football federation, not to mention that various civil servants from the sports ministry are working with FIFA officials down in South Africa who are making preparations to host the world cup in 2010.

I am not responsible for composing stadium chants....and if Harambee Stars supporters deemed it fit to chant Oliech, Obama, Odinga rather than out-of-tune Kibaki, Kalonzo, Kenyatta.....that is it. The bottom line is Kenya were not banned by KFF, Harambee Stars are on course to qualifying to the World Cup and their ranking is the best we have ever had in history.

Taabu said...

Kimi,
The problem runs deeper than the rosy waves above the surface. Ours is a fundamental LACK of leadership and focus. Look at athletics where we are a POWER HOUSE. The athletes are left to their own devices and we only see them being handed flags and then garladed after hauling medals. What do we put in it?

Now soccer as we know it is the beautifual game and we can only scrap the surface. We can only share in the real ELITE fottball by investing immensely in the same. But you see INDUSTRY demands quick results sio kupanda. And we are an industrious nation wired to immediate rewards. There lies the malady bro. All the sports administrators are there for selfish ends. The dearth of instituional leadership is chronic.

Kwale said...

"….It means that Kenya footballers can now sign for what is arguably the most exciting professional league in world football - the English Premier League - because the British government only issues work permits to players who originate from countries that have ranked 70th and below. Not only are players highly paid at this league…."


What an irony for someone who spent last 2 days discrediting Kenyans in Diaspora. Now you want your footballers to go and work abroad?! I wonder will they bring nil cents to Kenyan exchequers as well?

Can I also say, it is the same British government that issue work permits to high migrant workers from all over the world including Kenyans who meet their criteria.

Btw, Spanish liga is the most expensive and exciting professional football league in the world, followed by Italian series A!

Taabu said...

Kwale,
Are you mistaking CLUB and league? Just curious for I fear YOU ARE NOT RIGHT. Please correct me if you can.

Phil said...

Blogger Kwale said.....What an irony for someone who spent last 2 days discrediting Kenyans in Diaspora.

Kwale, I did not realise I was talking about you when I was classifying diapora as economic refugees.Pole Ndungu.

Could you by chance be trying to intimate that these dishonest diasporans are EXPATRIATES?

PKW said...

Delusional Person of the Year: Phil

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Taabu, Harambee stars won't make it to the world cup this time, take it from me.
Apart from High school, I have also played club soccer in stadiums from Kisumu to Eldoret to Mombasa, and people like Dino Kitavi, Neville Pudo and Douglas Mutua are my personal friends. These are my drinking pals when in Nairobi and with Dougi in Mombasa where i run my own business. These are guys who have played for Harambee Stars many times right up to the African cup of Nations finals. When i say i know Kenyan soccer, these are guys WHO KNOW what ails it, NOT RAILA. That is rubbish.
When i say Harambee stars won't make it to the World cup, it is not because i am unpatriotic, but because i am realistic and unemotional. Most Africans can't think when they are emotional, which is the African man's most vulnerable weakness, and why it is constantly taken advantage of by less impersonal people. If we want to get somewhere with Harambee Stars, we must jettison the emotional crap and examine the unpleasant realities that do not support a realistic shot at the world cup for Harambee stars.
For one thing, we want to play in the world cup with a team that has a coach who has no International experience whatsoever outside of a few trips to several African countries. In other words, Kimanzi was selected on sentimental terms and not because of his prowess, much as he has had regional successes. If you want to seriously go to the world cup, you get your team a world class coach, like Guus Hiddink, AND MAKE SURE YOU PAY HIM, MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT INTERFERE, AND THEN MAKE SURE THE GOVT SUPPORTS HIM. Then you leave him and his team alone!! You can get Kenyan companies to pay, sponsor and support the Coach and the Harambee Stars for much, much more than they do now IF they were sure their money won't be stolen by the administrators and the politicians.
Soccer is today a highly sophisticated, multinational big business activity and the kind of soccer administration mediocrity and primitivity we have in Kenya can NOT POSSIBLY be a recipe for world cup success. The greedy need of adminstrators to self satisfy mundane cravings like nice cars, nyama choma and women and to massage political egos will never take us there.
One more thing; Harambee Stars needs guys with meat on their bones, not the guys with 'magoti ya ngamia' i often see. Those guys could never stand up to a physical challenge from swift but powerful battle tanks like Nigerians or Cameroonians.

Kwale said...

Taabu, I AM ALWAYS RIGHT! I never write anything that I am not sure of and that's part of my philosophy . And yes, if you're talking about the most competitive football leagues in the world, English premier league comes third. While Egypt have the most competitive league in Africa and is among top ten leagues in the world.

Anonymous said...

...Kimi Raikkonen and his knee jerk Raila hating HISTRIONICS... They never fail to amuse.

Mimi said...

Everything on this blog has now become Raila this and that! Even when footballers play well yawa?

Well I pooped today morning. Thank goodness for the almighty Raila without his presence in the grand coalition government that small feat would have been impossible.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

6.12am. Raila is a know nothing egomaniac who just loves to be No 1, that is why he is so dangerous. He does not know when he is out of his depth, but will still insist that only he and he alone has all the answers.
That is why he thinks we can go to the world cup in 2 years time, host the Olympics in 2016 and make Nairobi look like Paris by 2012. Is that a script for a comedy or what?!
Raila does not know that teams with serious intent to go the world cup started preparations ten years ago, like Egypt. Germany started preparations immediately the last world cup ended.
What have Kenyan football and political leadership been doing in the meantime? Fighting, abusing one another, abusing everybody who isn't like them, committing adultery, going to Koinange street, impregnating school girls, selling off the country's food, refusing to pay taxes etc etc.

b-carotene said...

Honestly, I dont see why everyone's so hot and bothered with Phil's regular masturbation sessions. No need to join in--just ignore :)).
Meanwhile, rather nice pic, Phil. How long did it take your little pea-brain to figure it out?

Anonymous said...

Phil,

Before you tell us about Raila being a friend and a cousin to all leaders in the world, please, tell us why ODM leaders stole maize from our national stores and made Kibera people go hungry. We need to know where our maize was taken by those ODMite thugs.

Vikii said...

You guys amaze me. So now Sepp Blatter has been reduced to playing little corruption games with some village tyrants? Dr. Mourinho needs to see you--urgently.

Taabu did you say I have some fear? fear for what? I am fearful, you are sycophantic. And very delusional.

Anonymous said...

The color of my orange kitenge is fading. When is Jakum Molasses going to be purified and made a Kikuyu elder. My kitenge cannot wait to paint Ruring'u stadium orange. Oh Nyeri! Please accept our messiah and make him your own; bless him with your tribal titles; turn your votes into a motorcade to take him to the Big House on the hill. Oh House of Mumbi why do you withhold your love. We love your daughters and have talked to your Mungiki. Please, House of Mumbi validate our Jakum; tie a raw animal hide around his loins, that ultimate validation. Hurry with your love, I am ready with my fading orange kitenge. And Phil is ready to sing his praises!

Phil said...

Railaphobia is evident on this forum. Relax guys.

Siku ya kura bado. Hata sisi tume maliza NDC leo na chungua bado ni ile ile iko imara, na wembe ni ule ule uliomnyoa emilio.

This was a post meant to congratulate harambee stars and recognize the journey they have travelled while speculating on what the future beckons.

Vikii said...

Then keep it so. Dont try to sell us a politician we all very well know through the back door.

We are also waiting for that "siku ya kura". We are looking forward to that day.

Kwale said...

Kimi,

I just wonder, what made you change from football to F1,a High Tech sport.
Could it be the gorgeous F1 babes or the super fast cars that attracted you to this world most glamorous sport? Just curious.

Taabu said...

Kimi said:
....The greedy need of adminstrators to self satisfy mundane cravings like nice cars, nyama choma and women and to massage political egos will never take us there......

Taht summed it all Bw Kimi if only you would disabuse yourself of the venom and walk halfway the road. Opinions are free until they bandied aimlessly for slefish and personal agrandizement.

One plus Kimi, you are above the average Kenyan footballer who only knows to think upto the knee. Congrats you never let your feet think for you. No wonder you jojned KWale in F1 with the HOT BABES and not thiom smoking unsophisticated futa gals.

Kwale said...

Phil, Bad news.
It might be too late now to have any Kenyan playing at English premier league. Tonight (18/12/08), a new rule has been introduced to stop English clubs signing foreign players. Apparently they are just too many and they now want home-grown talents.

Taabu said...

Kwale,
YOU ARE WRONG again. Rationing (4/16) is not the same thing as EMBARGO on recruitment as you imply. And you just bragged that you post facts. Just chech the FA website please.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Kwale, how are you doing buddy?
I did not change from football to F1 as such, i just got fed up with Kenyan football. I have ALWAYS been an F1 fan and that will never change.
European soccer does not really interest me as i do not like the type of soccer they play. Goals are all that matter, which is utterly boring. Soccer was never meant to be about goals only, but about athletic entertainment too, and which has been thrown out of the window by the results only mentality of European soccer. That is what happens when big business takes over. In other words, European soccer has become robotic and unnatural, like watching emotionless cyborgs play.
Now, if you are talking of Argentinian or Brazilian soccer, there is a whole world of difference. Did you not notice how suddenly uninteresting the last world cup became when it became an all European final? Argentina lost on penalties in the qtr finals to Germany(the hosts), having totally outplayed them(and entertained us)in normal time.
In Argentina, soccer is part of the country's culture and just like in Brazil, it's almost a secondary religion, MASSIVE, PASSIONATE and CRAZY, as only Latinos are capable of! The only time the same passions are evoked is, you guessed it, at F1. Picture the emotion and tension in the first few seconds before an F1 start, before all five lights go green, and the race to the first chicane. That is what you get in Argentinian soccer for up to 20 times in a game.

Kwale said...

Taabu, the only reason I am wrong is because what am saying is not what you want to hear. But if you separate facts from emotions you'll get the full picture.
I don't need to check FA website, all I need is to engage the mood in the street. Of course I am aware the proposal has not gone through yet and it is likely to be vetoed by many club managers especially from the lower league, but inevitably it is going to happen. And I agree with the fans, English premier league is never the same since mid-late nineties when the contingent of foreign players started choking up the premiership. Myself I was a keen Arsenal supporter sometimes even attending matches at Highbury back in the days when there was no single foreign player in the team, by the time players like Dennis Bergakamp and Emmanuel Pettit arrived in mid 90's it was seen as something extraordinary but now the team is no longer exciting a sentiment that is shared by many. Man U had only one foreign player in those days, a fierily Frenchman called Eric Cantona and the team was still doing very well in those days.
One of the reason many clubs choose to go for foreign players is low cost, but at the same time it's hurting the game on national level very badly.

As for the best Football League in the world, you need to go to some of African footballing nations like Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon and gather who they think is the best league. E.g many Ghanaians follow Italian football while many Nigerian and Cameroonians follow Spanish football, so now you see, it depends on where you heart is.

PS: Kimi, You're better off with F1albeit is suffering a serious knock-on-effect from the global financial crisis.

Taabu said...

Kwale,
I get you loud and clear mate. But did yiou say:

....One of the reason many clubs choose to go for foreign players is low cost.........

Well, I am not sure you are a breast with what happens inside the clubs but CR's £150k a week is not low cost. And did you say you sued to enjoy Arsenal playing when they had no foeign players? So you were among the few foreign spectators in love with NATIVES playing? That is COOL, ama?

Anonymous said...

I have followed the comments on this post and it is apparent that the same phenomenon the late Wamalwa described as Railaphobia and Railamania is at play here.

If Raila is such a magician why is Gor Mahia, a club he has supported in the past languishing in near botton of the league table?

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Kwale, do you know what is ridiculous about European soccer? The fact that they have books describing how to dribble for instance, which is just hilarious! Soccer is not a game you teach with books. It is either in you or it isn't, otherwise every educated South American would be a soccer technician. What do you call a hopeless situation where some European fans(and commentators!) think giving a 'nugget' is a big deal? This is what sustained, sophisticated marketing does to those who have never been on a soccer pitch. In Europe, ball juggling is actually considered useless since you won't actually have the room or the time (some will tell you the reason) to juggle in a real match. The football philosophy of Europe is very different from African or South American soccer, and that is why a player with Okocha's sublime skills was never considered a real star. Like i said, ridiculous.

Kwale said...

Kimi,
I absolutely agree with you. But then again football was never an African game according to historians, football originated from Africa and it was imported to South America by slaves. Have you heard that before?


Taabu,
Like I said in the past you're entitled to your own opinion. When it comes to sport, fans want the best the game can offer ie. pride, entertainment, value for money, thrill etc etc, but unfortunately English Premier league is not offering none of that. It's driven by money, greed and fame. Big club football is not black and white as you think, and If you understand the nurturing, the coaching and the training of a young wannabe footballer in England, then you would know what I mean by clubs wanting to go for "low cost" foreign players.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Kwale, football was brought to Africa by the British, the inventors of the game, and the ones who have now ruined it globally for commercial gain, as you have so aptly explained in your last post @ 6.54am.
They also brought it to South America, and that is why you have many South American teams with english sounding names such as Argentina's Newells Old Boys,Arsenal de Sarandi,Banfield, etc or Brazil's Corinthians and Sao Paulo etc, all which have British origins or influence.

Taabu said...

Kwale/Kimi,
Nice to have your folks still threading along. Ever heard that football was invented by Chinese only that British guys claim credit for its modern form? Work the archives and Google folks and figure it out.

PS: You and me know it, nothing PERSONAL, ama?

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Taabuninho, thanks for the heads up. Very funny too! Anyway, lets just say the English invented modern soccer as we know it, and leave it at that.

Taabu said...

Kwale,
The PS was for you buddy. Hope you had a marvelous weekend even though your favourite team draw at the Emirates.

Kimi,
You cheeky........That Samba name of yours for me reminds me of KJ's joke that a Brazilian soccar star who suckled till late would be called NYONYINYO. hahahahah.

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