Kenya: Storylines that will likely illuminate Football in 2014

Its a few days after New Year’s Eve; (HAPPY NEW YEAR), just like you, I feel excited. Every new year has its expectations, hopes and aspirations, someone graduating, another getting married and even further exciting, bringing a new life into the earth. Just like other aspects of life, soccer too has its hopes and storylines expected to cloud 2014.

Just like you are not sure what joy or misery 2014 will bring your way- football is stuck too in the same dilemma. While 2013 sets a base for most storylines to watch out for in 2014, 2014 in itself will have new creations we cannot predict this early. Just so it doesn’t catch you by surprise- here are a few thoughts on what storylines will define the Kenyan Football scene in 2014.

(In no particular order, kindly)

Enjoy!

Social Media

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A few years ago, online platforms like Facebook and Twitter were a preserve of very few, today the dynamics have changed a lot. You who’s reading this today most likely has one or both of the mentioned accounts that’s active- it’s even more likely that your attention to this piece has been through a social media link. But sharing just isn’t it, sharing the experience with other online fellas keeps you refreshing your mentions and notifications from time to time.

Just like in 2013, the matches will still be here. None never repeating itself in the same fashion as the last, it’s only appropriate than when not there ‘in the scene of action’- follow live updates via a social media platform or in the better case, when ‘available’- share the experience with other friends.

In 2013, it seemed so much improvement was made- a few trends regarding Kenyan Football made their way to the top but still I would say not satisfactory enough. The EPL today seems to account for at least 5 hashtags that make the top 10 every single weekend in 40/52 weeks per year in Kenya alone. The greatest propellant of TV content as has been noted in 2013 online (search engine platforms) seems to be social media.

Blogs seems to be becoming more popular in Kenya with the local public in need of local content to quench their thirst for information- it’s a shame though not so much on Kenyan football can be found online with so much detailed information. A few of the bloggers who’ve started end up quitting or being inconsistent over time but with more interest and a few online portals offering up to date information- more (if more effort is put) will spring up. A good example of one started this year is www.kandanda.co.ke (launched on 1/1/2014).

The buck doesn’t stop with that- it would be interesting to see a new venture like an app that provides updates minute by minute. YouTube won’t be easy though- KPL videos are a preserve of the TV rights holder and expect a little bit more talk on Pinterest this year!

Discontent

I think the calls got louder towards the end of last year, the tempo hasn’t picked yet from where we left it after the CECAFA debacle- as a country, we were shamed and stripped of our honour as a host country by the federation.

While we would point fingers at FKF for thorough mismanagement of the game, it should also be noted that the right channels that have been followed by Sholei and Co should surely materialize or collapse in totality this year. A federation with too much baggage pulling it back is surely not going to deliver and if going by media reports, something’s got to give before 2014 gives way to another year. I know the questions, will the president meet the national team within the frequencies promised? Will Amrouche still be coach in 2014? Will we have a new FKF president or not? among others

It would be exciting though what transpires after a conclusion is made as pending issues like Suspensions, ‘communism’ and even hooliganism seem to all bear on the same old case of mismanagement.

The Fan Count

Hallo, Kinoru FC and Machakos Fc, ooops- meant Tusker FC and Sofapaka FC will be moving to new grounds. Reasons seem to be the same here- search for a larger and bigger fan base. You’re just never sure how well this will transpire as these clubs have been here for a while and with so much success in the last few years- numbers surely shouldn’t be a problem.

We all understand that Machakos and Meru might have been starved of some Premier League action for long but is this a way round the issue of fan attraction or is it a solution to spreading the game away from Nairobi?

It’s a numbers game but with Tusker FC mostly playing it’s home matches away from their traditional ground Ruaraka, it’s only fair they give the Ruaraka people a chance to watch them before concluding Meru would provide the much numbers needed. Sofapaka’s story though is a little bit different, CECAFA alone couldn’t gauge how much MASAKU loves football- 2014 though will be such an eye opener.

Can you wait? No, I cant. A success in these two experiments might drive more teams further away from Nairobi, a backlash though (God Forbid)

World Cup Fever

56957-Happy-New-Year-2014

Kenya is not going to play the CHAN championships; neither is Kenya going to the World Cup- so you know what? Let’s do a tour and enjoy the World Cup.

From companies that will offer travel packages to Rio and back to companies that will be ready to give you a viewing of a life time somewhere in Nairobi or in Kisumu/Mombasa- the World Cup fever always seems to rock Kenya the best way it knows how. If no Supermarket is giving you an offer for buying TV brand X during the tourney’s duration then another will probably be giving away free decoders for answering a question on Facebook or for buying TV brand X 42”.

Watch out for the papers though- if you don’t have a chance to read the Mirror, ESPN, AP or even Reuteurs online- they will have it all copy pasted for you.

And then on the final day, to keep up with the trend- watch out for the President’s tweet congratulating the New World Champions as Mr Senator Photoshop’s himself helping the winning Captain hold the trophy aloft at the Maracana.

Digital Migration

IMAGE VIA www.bitangendemo.me

IMAGE VIA http://blog.bitangendemo.me

 

Proper statistics will wow us at the end of this digital migration period- the number of decoders sold and the number of Kenyans watching content that is local will hit an all-time high. 2014 will present serious competition for local content and one of them is sport (let’s be specific, football).

With a serious market and a large fan base, marketers will see football as a ripe market for products they deem local and attractive. 2013 set up a good start, Safaricom seeking to enter the TV market already have MISC Kasarani under their belt, Citizen TV seems to be all over Nyayo Stadium and who knows, someone might just be thinking about Machakos Stadium and City Stadium. (In Other News) Watch how many foreign decoders make their way into the market with more Kenyans wanting to watch the EPL at lower prices- it’s a crazy world!

All in all, 2014 despite it being still new, present lots of opportunities to football, a whole new world that if well explored can be the beginning of a defining moment for the game and all the joys it brings with it. Hope you enjoyed some of the storyline ideas I highlighted to look forward to in 2014. I think we’ll all see some major strides in these over the next year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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