Kenyan sports men and women were spoilt for choice at home and abroad, with milestone celebration of the nation’s sporting glory continuing. The year 2014 was an epoch; the country took part in the Africa Youth Games in, Gaborone, Botswana in May, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in July, the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China and capped it all with the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing.
As the curtain fell on 2013, national men’s soccer team, Harambee Stars, won the coveted Cecafa (Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations) Challenge Cup after 11 years of misery. As hosts with venues in Machakos, Nakuru, Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya won the final on Jamhuri Day, December 12, beating Sudan 2-0 at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Allan Wanga, then of AFC Leopards, before his move to El Merreikh of Sudan the following season, scored both goals. The team’s super stars did not go unnoticed, and apart from Wanga, those who found themselves attracting the signatures of clubs abroad were Gor Mahia defensive midfielder Anthony “Teddy” Akumu, who joined Khartoum National of Sudan in mid-2014 and David “Calabar” Owino also of Gor Mahia, who would be snapped up by Zambia top club Zesco United. Francis Kahata the Thika United playmaker caught the eye of Azam of Dar es Salaam and an offer of a Sh1 million personal signing fee, another Sh1.5m to Thika and a monthly salary of Sh135,000 (board provided) to sweaten the deal. But as a pointer to the type of offers at hand, he snubbed the Tanzanians and instead moved to Europe to ply his trade at Albanian club, Tirana.
The year ended on a high and eased into 2014 full of expectation with athletes and teams returning promising results in a variety of fields. The achievements for some of the teams are briefly outlined here and thrashed out in detail in later pagers.
But at the close of 2013, and attention switching to the dawn of a new season, achievers stood out.
Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards win places in Africa soccer competition
Gor Mahia, newly-crowned 2013 champions of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), for the first time in 19 years (last previous victory 1985) earned the right to fly Kenya flag at the CAF (African Football Confederation) Champions League.
Gor’s perpetual rivals, AFC Leopards were also enjoying a good tidings winning a home knockout cup competition, and booking a place in the continental soccer theatre by entering the CAF Confederations Cup.