It’s amazing how so many football fans in this country and abroad are fast seeking for information about the Kenyan game. Our decisions and actions are sometimes dependent on what history says about our teams, the players and even the management. It’s white cotton truth that you will never find a fan who supports a club because he/she knows the future; the football game believes in ‘now’ and the pride history beholds.
How do we know about our history?
Well, traditional Africa believed in storytelling, something which in as much we might want to assume doesn’t exist anymore for sure still does. Some of us support certain clubs because our parents told us it’s the best they had in their time, it’s the one their friends played for and such. Another way of knowing history of cause would be through reading.
Reading books? Hahaha you must be kidding me- how many people read books? Many as we may want to deceive ourselves though; not much about our game is documented in books The very few that are documented though are hard to come by and even if you came across them- you would have to dig deep in your pockets for a copy.
Generations have changed and now it’s much simpler to have information on the internet rather than on hard copy should you expect it to reach a wide audience. On that same breadth; I hereby take a look at the Kenyan Football game on the Web with bias to club football which is fast gaining popularity among the tech savvy football fan.
Information, Information, Information
An informed person is always a curious person. Knowing a little bit of something leads them to the next, the next and finally to a point where they can actually be in a position to relate what they know and pass it to the next generation.
Football is no different; Knowing a little bit about a club helps generate interest and with more interest you are able to influence the people around you and with a proper feed of information a much broader audience is built.
When speaking about information though; I’m mainly going to explore the following; Websites, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and even for some Youtube accounts and Mobile applications.
I got a silly pack of friends; they never cease to amaze me in as much as they at times annoy me. Apart from the obvious thing that unites us, they never miss a chance to spread some hate.
Did you know, the only time AFC Leopards are number one on the log is when the season starts and no match is yet to be played. Ouch, that hurts but its true- it’s been a while now since AFC Leopards last lifted the Kenyan Premier League title. But take nothing away from their website. (www.afcleopards.net)
I must admit some good work was put into producing such a master class. The AFC Leopards crest of cause draws your attention to the site and it’s exciting to note that the Twitter Handle plugin and Facebook page plugin are clearly shown on the home page of the site.
The home page is not a crowded one and this gives the reader an easy time to get the information he/she wants. Results, News, Match, Downloads and even membership access are all available albeit without no hassle.
I’m never going to preview the whole site; of cause so that you may visit it for yourself but it’s worth noting too; that at the bottom of the home page, the contacts of the club are clearly spelt out and an address.
I was a little bit disappointed though when I checked the Gallery section; surely nothing exists. No video’s, no Images- a little bit more needs to be done to make it complete.
AFC Leopards is a big club; much was going to be written about it any day. A crosscheck on Facebook shocked me; the official Facebook fan page according to the site has slightly over 3800 fans. Should be doing a little bit better but blame it on the rise of several parody pages. Fans are lost for choices when it comes to fan pages. So many exist, I’m not going to mention any of them but they need to learn what is official and what is not.
I tried a small search on Twitter; I probably landed on around five parody accounts but just following the link given on the official site I landed on this @afcleopards_SC. Not so regularly updated as one would expect but one update each day does no harm all the same. The account currently boasts of around 1100 followers- probably should get better with the start of the new season.
Chemelil Sugar Football Club
For a club started during the reigns of the first president of this country very little can be written on an official club phone number leave alone a website. The closest I came to something of the sort is this http://www.chemsugar.co.ke/chemelil/chemelilsugarcompany.xhtml/?u=cs&mnu=Sports#!chemelil. The official sponsors Chemelil Sugar sure have a website www.chemsugar.co.ke in which the club, Chemelil Sugar FC has a slot under the sports category. Do you need any further information? Well- I got to congratulate the club that even under the small segment they were able to get on the website they managed to mention some of the great players who have passed through the club over time.
Facebook and Twitter; It’s sad; the club has no official Facebook page. I came across one page I though belonged to them, Alas- it’s the default facebook page Wikipedia sets up for its bank of information on a club. On Twitter; the message is short and clear, this club doesn’t exist.
For those who don’t know. This football club is based in Naivasha. The club formed in 1994 is owned by Sher Karuturi Limited, the largest flower producer in Kenya, a subsidiary of Karuturi Global Limited, an Indian company.
Another of the many clubs that lack a website, a facebook page (save for the Wikipedia one) and absolutely no presence on Twitter as well.
KCB Football Club
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) is a multisport club based in the Capital, Nairobi. Its football team has played for several years in the Kenyan Premier League.
Apart from the Football Club, KCB has other sporting ventures they support including Rugby, Volleyball just to mention a few.
The club too has no official website. A little information though can be found on their site http://www.kcbbankgroup.com/ke/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=425&Itemid=341but compared to what content they have given the other sports; you feel the bank is not doing enough for the football club on the internet circles and the social circles. The bank is really doing well on its twitter handle; it’s high time now the sporting entities too had their own twitter handles and facebook pages.
The story behind how Mathare United came into existence is breathtakingly exciting; it’s website is just another magnificent piece of work too. Originally Mathare United had a website www.mathareunited.co.kebut it’s since been shut down and for information visiting the site www.mysakenya.org would be of help.
Mathare Youth Sports Association doesn’t just deal in football but seeks to be the leading association in terms of sports development and the empowerment of young men.
A quick look at the site you’ll realise Mathare United FC is listed under the projects section. Actually it is a project for which I think most readers would be grateful. Not much is actually listed but trying to save you the hustle jump onto this (http://www.mysakenya.org/Sports/professional-teams.html) .
Several parody accounts for sure exist on Facebook but looking at the bottom right of the homepage; MYSA too has gone a step further and embedded their social media plugins to the site. Some facebook pages exist too but according to information on the site this is the Official Facebook Fan page
On twitter two accounts exist; One run by a footballing site and another one which I wasn’t able to locate the owner. The official account though through which information on the club can be sought is @mysakenya. Despite lots of information being posted belonging to the MYSA Kenya; they too strive to post results, fixtures and even information about Mathare United from time to time.
Lastly, the MYSA website provides us with something extra; something not many sites have embraced; Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/shootback/and YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/MYSAKenya?feature=mhum With such amazing social media roots it’s no surprise MYSA/Mathare United has remained relevant over the years.
Not the newest boys in the Tusker Premier League having taken one full season and are now looking forward to their second season in top flight football. The club has no official website and constantly football fans have to rely on information from the Local football sites.
Again on Facebook, apart from several parody accounts that exists, some being rarely updated it’s hard to get current information about the club on Facebook. Muhoroni Youth has not so many fans and expecting them to have a large following on Twitter leave alone an official account is treason.
Nairobi City Stars
The Kawangware based club hasn’t really enjoyed memorable times in the recent past. They have constantly been fighting relegation and though lucky to survive they need to also make sure their website doesn’t suffer the same.
On the day of writing this piece, it’s a pity the site is down and you’re redirected to the host’s website. www.nairobicitystars.com
On Facebook apart from the default Wikipedia page; it’s another shame- no official fan page of the club exists. I thought twitter would at least provide some light but again it’s shocking; came across a twitter handle @nairobicitystar and boy, guess the last time it was updated- 2011.
Another club with some massive following on social media; let’s take a look at what the club has been able to do for itself in the web arena.
A little search lands me onto the official club website www.sofapaka.com . One thing that first strikes you when you log onto the page is the blue background, of cause the club’s colours. The latest news on the club, it’s activities are clearly spelt out on the home page and even a full log of the Tusker Premier League. This is an example of one club that is constantly updating its website and looking at the traffic statistics displayed at the bottom of the page it’s only fair to congratulate Sofapaka for passing the 1Million milestone.
An Impressive 700+ fans have liked the page Sofapaka Football Cluband even though their sister page , Sofapaka Familia Branch is doing better at over 1000 fans, it should be noted that it’s due to their inability to constantly update their official facebook page and fans from time to time have resorted to the Familia page.
One missing plugin from the Sofapaka site though is the twitter access button. For those who are interested though; Familia branch has gone ahead and even created a Twitter handle @FCSofapaka_Live where fans can get news as it trickles in, results amongst others.
Sony Sugar FC
Personally I supported this club as a kid and all I can say is some clubs just never want to explore the world all around them. Sponsored and supported by Sony Sugar Company, the one-time champions of the Tusker Premier League even have no functioning website, no official facebook fan page but it’s funny they got a presence on twitter. @sonysugarFC surely is still a small force on twitter but there updates albeit not constant portrays the real image of the club, what goes around it and even expectations.
Why would you need Wikipedia when you have sites like these? http://www.thikaunitedfc.com/is one in a million I must say. It’s not just their presence on the pitch that has been felt in recent time but even across the social circles more and more people now know of Thika United.
A website that is updated regularly will sure attract more and more readership and even guessing by their rankings on Google search you are amazed at what this small club located in the heart of Thika has been able to do. A quick look at the site, you’ll realise some images on the slide are not to the expected quality but kudos to them; each image seems to come with a water mark.
The news archive comes in monthly issues and one is able to simply log on to the site and select what month’s issue he/she wants to read.
Just like the other sites too; a button reading to the twitter handle and Facebook page does exist. The Facebookpage with slightly more than 300 fans and a twitter presence of slightly more than 100 fans is commendable I must say.
I want you to try this; type www.tuskerfc.com . That should be the official website of the club but as indicated, it’s surely coming soon. What soon means is not something I can predict but let’s hope it’s that soon.
On facebook and twitter it’s a similar story. Lots of parody accounts on both platforms and surely it’s time Tusker FC thought about building a social media platform. Mostly fans have to rely on friends who support the club or the football sites who try to keep us informed.
You’re not going to type Ulinzi Stars on google and expect this site www.ulinzistarsfc.comto appear amongst the first results but it’s worth the hustle when you finally get to it.
Looking at this site it’s clear again the difference between the ‘big’ clubs and the ‘small’ clubs and why the big continue to grow in greater leaps compared to the others.
Not a lot exists when you look at the site but one thing clearly draws everyone’s attention; there’s a DOCTOR’S REPORT’ section amongst the headers of the site. How many clubs do that, even abroad? Of cause very few and this gives the fans a sense of responsibility and concern from the army outfit on the health of its players.
On the far left though is an RSS feed button should you want to be constantly updated on the happenings at the club, a Facebook page button and even a Twitter handle plugin as well. But wait; did you realise they both don’t function, they actually just lead you to the home pages of the said social network platform- something that might have taken the spark away from the whole excitement of owning a website.
I finally was able to track the Facebook fan page though; thoroughly impressed by the Facebook Ulinzi Stars FC numbers, 4100 and counting you can only expect them to even get better. Not so active on Twitter @UlinziStarsFC but commendably having 500 plus followers and averaging a tweet per day keeps them going.
For a club owned by one of the leading companies in this region what more can be said; no official website exists for the club and it’s shameful. Whereas the owner company has a very beautiful website, constantly updated and even planning to roll out a website for the Charity Cup event they launched in partnership with other corporates a few months ago it’s no surprise now that even the team is sometimes poorly kitted.
A quick search on Facebook landed me into even more trouble and just got me lost more and more. While Kenya Power seem to have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, the club has no official Facebook page and even the twitter handle @stimafc should it happen to belong to them, a sham.
The newest boys in the league; probably not much is expected but surely a year in top flight football should come with some lessons. Can’t wait to see what they have for the online person at the end of the year but I guess with the coming in of TV; they will be more exposed.
They have been here, they should for sure know better and having in mind they are owned by the Kenya Ports Authority it’s a shame the club has no official website. The KPA website itself is a big joke; wonder why you have to go to the port to have your stuff cleared?
On Facebook and Twitter it’s the same story once again. No official Facebook page, No twitter handle and you need to hear the clubs complain the fans don’t get involved in the club. Well it’s simple, they don’t get involved in the fan’s lives- will the fans really get involved?
Gor Mahia FC
I had to include the two websites; One is clearly calling itself the official, the other just Gor Mahia. Some may want to argue I am biased in my opinion on the websites owned by clubs but these are two websites that offer good information regarding the club.
Let us Rebuild Gor Mahia (http://www.gormahia.net/ ) and http://www.gormahiafc.co.ke/ both seem to excite me. The latter though seems to have much more content and is updated so often. Whereas the .net prides itself in being the history kingpin the .co.ke has a lot to do with current affairs and opens your world to a whole new Gor Mahia not many know of.
From selling merchandise to even showing highlights of some recent matches, it’s much more sophisticated and gives more room for the sponsor to send a message to the visitor. It boasts of brilliant columns by some of the fans, a live game cast button that complements a Live Chat button at the bottom of the page where fans can join in and talk about their favourite club.
The co.ke website compared to the .net website is socially friendly and even though it’s hard to see the buttons (Disguised in the green colour) it’s commendable it does exist.
Since I don’t want to get involved into conflict with all the social pages that seem to want a share of the Gor Mahia fame; I will go with the official Facebook page and Twitter handle.
The Official face book page Gor Mahia FC boasts of around 5897 though rival accounts claim even higher numbers. On twitter it’s more of the same story again, Parody accounts boast the lion share of followers while the official twitter handle has 675 followers to its name. @OfficialGMFC
One thing though before I wrap this up; when you check the ‘Official’ website; you’ll realise there’s an official YouTube channel, of cause known as GorTv. I seem to love the idea of it all but the videos and the commentators clearly don’t belong to Gor Mahia Football Club. It’s more of a Supersport video shown in a Gor Mahia YouTube platform, something I’m not against but doesn’t bring out the authenticity required.
Some amazing things happen on the Internet generally that spotlight the beautiful game in this side of the world that might not be ranked under the clubs but I see to address a few of them here.
Amazing mobile Apps with a bias for football updates, live feed, Blogs just to mention a few in the past but so far in Kenya I’m yet to come across one. But still on the same breadth; I must commend Supersport and Operamini- not many know this but the default Operamini browser on your phone now comes with a pre-installed Supersport.mobi tab. Out of curiosity some may click it, who knows what happens after that; so many people get to know about the game.
One also that excites me a lot is the introduction of the statistical world to our game. While we enjoy and awe at some of the football stats we come across on Opta; The TPL too has its own version which is 89;59. This stats guru seeks to address the need of the fan and arouse interest by constantly updating on the number of goals, number of cards, events in the game, off the game and even jokes. Check it out on twitter at @89_59Football and on Facebook at 89:59Football