Kenya were anxious to start 2014 and pit their dwindling playing capabilities against the quest for a place in the 2015 ICC (International Cricket Council) World Cup to take place in Australia and New Zealand. Kenya’s ambitions were low, not convinced they would beat nine teams in the qualifiers between January 13 and February 12014 that would also be held in New Zealand. It was left to short term coaches such as Mudassar Nazar of Pakistan who said at the close of 2013 that Kenya stood a chance.
Cricket Kenya then brought in as interim coach/player for the qualifiers, Steve Tikolo, a previous Kenya captain. Another former Kenya all-rounder Thomas Odoyo was drafted in as well as several other semi-retired players to bolster a largely inexperienced young team. The veterans included Jimmy Kamande, Lameck Onyango and Maurice Ouma. A former opening bowler, Martin Suji, was recruited as technical advisor.
But Kenya were to discover that their standards had plummet when they finished a dismal seventh in the World Cup qualifiers. Kenya were in Pool ‘B’ alongside The Netherlands, Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Uganda. Pool ‘A’ had United Arab Emirates [UAE], Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong, and Nepal. Only the top two of the 10 teams would proceed to the World Cup.
One of the highlights to close 2014 was the rare opportunity (these days) of Kenya playing against a top class friendly cricket match. The team toured Karachi to play Pakistan ‘A’ at the Gaddafi Stadium in December. However, Kenya lost 0-5 in the One Day International series.
Safaricom Stadium, sponsorship of SOYA fete and sprints and relays
In December 2013, Safaricom Limited gave the Sports Stadia Management Board Sh250 million in return for the naming and branding rights to two key facilities at the Moi International Sports Centre. The 60,000-seater stadium would carry the colours of the mobile giant as well as be referred to as Safaricom “Home of Heroes” Stadium. An adjacent, 3,000 plus auditorium would be named the “Safaricom Indoor Arena”.
Safaricom added a boost to sports in the country by affirming their continued support of the annual Sportsman/woman Of the Year Award fete (which took place on January 16, 2015). The company also stayed with their declared theme of friendliness and cooperation with Kenya sport when they launched the support of sprints (athletics) running in the country. Safaricom was to financially support special annual meets organised by Athletics Kenya, solely aimed at improving sprints in Kenya.
Through the Safaricom sprints programme, by February 2014, AK were able to launch top class sprints and relays trial series to select a Kenya team to take part in the Relays World Championship in Nassau, Bahamas in May, 2014. The trials for the Bahamas trip were staged at the Safaricom Stadium on April 26.
2014 SOYA winners:
- Sports personality of the year: Caleb Mwangangi – (athletics)
- Sports personality (male): Caleb Mwangangi – (athletics)
- Sports Personality (female): Eunice Sum – (athletics)
- Sports team (men): Kenya Commercial Bank – (rugby)
- Sports team (women): Orange Telkom – (hockey)
- School team (boys): Friends High School, Kamusinga – (hockey)
- School team (girls): Shimba Hills High School – (basketball)
- Sports personality (disabled – male): Nikhil Sachania – (motor sport)
- Sports personality (disabled – female): Joyce Wambui – (power lifting)
- Most outstanding performance: Julius Yego – (javelin); Dennis Kimetto – (marathon)
- Comeback award: Innocent Simiyu – (rugby)
- Most promising (male): Ronald Kwemoi – (athletics)
- Most promising (female): Channelle Wangari – (golf)
- Coach of the year: Jos Openda – (Orange Telkom – hockey)
- Sports federation: Kenya Volleyball Federation – (volleyball)
- Hall of Fame: Jasmer Singh – (cricket)
- Community hero: Samuel Kimiti