Cajetan: Bravo Nairobi Water
Cajetan: Bravo Nairobi Water
The year 1997 was a great turning point to most of our young careers at Cereals Board, when we emerged victorious, for the first time at the East and Central Africa club championships. The games, being held at the Nyayo National stadium, attracted local teams like Ulinzi and Black Mamba and regional teams like Jeshi la KujengaTaifa (JKT) and Ngome from Tanzania and Kampala City Council from Uganda.
Cereals lined up top class players like Georgiadis Madegwa (now in Germany), Vincent Mrimba (in Norway), Armstrong Omolo (in South Africa), Henry Savulane, Isaac Odhiambo, Dennis Mwangi, Steve Karuma and many more.
After this victory, we oozed with so much confidence growing from strength to strength every year.I have been and would still be always thankful to Georgiadis for his never ending motivation. He always pushed us a notch higher in our trainings and games, which helped us even after his exit, when he went to pursue his successful professional career in Germany.
Team Cereals has since gone ahead and won 14 consecutive regional titles with the next generation of players: Charles Kisilu, Maxwel Zange, Paul Pudo, Victor Siero, James Sagala and the rest. It is a shame that nobody ever made an attempt of taking the team to the next level as we remained stagnant at the regional championships level. Back home, we beat Ulinzi at will while across the border we thrashed Magereza, JKT and Ngome during our good and bad days in the office. We needed to taste some losses, so someone ought to have taken us to some more competitive tournaments in order to improve our game. Many skillful players quit along the way, as the monotony was just too unbearable to them. What a great loss it was to the country to lose such classy players.
On the other hand, the emergence of the Nairobi Water women handball team has added some competition to the National women league, as Cereals had no real opposition before. Nairobi Water women have since proved themselves as a force to reckon with. In the year of their formation, they made their maiden appearance at the regional championships where they were the runners-up. As they celebrate their second year, they are bracing themselves for another appearance at the same games being held in Nairobi.
What bewilders me is the speed at which events have transpired at the Water camp. The ladies are,currently, Morocco bound for the 34th Africa Club Championships to be held in Tanger from 14th to 25th November, 2012. Kudos to their management led by the team manager, Mary Musau, for their assiduousness, burning the midnight oil, to ensure that their ladies put their dexterity to full usage. They have succeeded where our big teams did not and we hope they will represent us well at the championships. They have, hence, set a benchmark for other local clubs to equal.
The club championships are highly competitive and they require maximum preparedness, as this is about the continent as a whole, as opposed to a specified region.
Having been pooled against tough opposition, in defending champions Petro Atlético de Luanda (Angola), FAP (Cameroon), HC Héritage (Democratic Republic of Congo), Abo Sport (Congo) and HHB Saida (Algeria) the water queens must break loads of sweat to win games there. All is possible with confidence and team work. They have an advantage in Caroline Kusa, Mary Musau, Merina Andala and Gladys Chilo who have played against some individual players from the opposition, at the national team level. At the just concluded regional competition in Nairobi (4th to 10th November) I hope they managed to analyze their strength and weakness and sharpen where necessary.
We hope that other teams will follow suit and compete in subsequent continental competitions, in order to raise the standards of our game in the country. All the best Nairobi Water women Handball club as you make your debut at the Africa club championships. Long live Kenya handball.
The writer is Kenya International handball Goalkeeper based in Finland where he turns out for TEAM handball club.