Friday, May 29, 2009

United's bad hair day

I happen to be one of those fellows who during our puberty we idolized people like Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Ole Gunnar and a myriad of other football stars who had one thing in common. They played for the one ultimate club, Man Utd. I fell in love with United's way of playing football about 12 years, when again, as I already mentioned, I was a budding teenager.

More than a decade later, I still pledge my allegiance to the Devil team. The current United squad is admirable by any standard, with the likes of CR, Rooney, Vidic (Guardiola wants that guy!), Rio etc being outstanding and having stood up to be counted on occasions I can barely count. This particular season, United, though not at its best, has produced results that have left other clubs in the English Premier League looking like minnows. Their UEFA champion League performances have been something to decipher, with mouth water football having kept them lossless for 25 games, since 2007.

Did I mention Champions League. Yes, I did. United, relentless in this campaign and out to defend the title they won in 2008, they fought their way to the finals in the eternal city, including a footballing lesson to the London boohoo boys, Arsenal in the semis. Their final huddle was now to win in Rome, and enter the history books as the only team to retain the coveted trophy. Their only Kisiki, Barcelona, Spain's newly crowned champions.

I was looking forward to a scintillating final between the two sides. Was I in for a shock.

When Ferguson, United's ultimate and glorified gaffer fielded his team, I was a little disappointed. Barca has their regular full backs suspended, and had some wonnabes to replace them. Instead of Ferguson selecting a strong team to exploit these weaknesses, he put out CR as the only attacker, while Rooney and Park were the flankers in the midfield. In the middle was Giggs, Anderson and Carrick. I knew that was it, it was going to be a really tough game for United. Fergie had put emphasis in the middle of the field (actually, not quite), while Barca is known to run a midfield that will bidazzle any player to his knees.

All in all, it was a poor show for united, as they went on to lose 2-0 to the Barca men who really did dominate the midfield, with United not really knowing to do with the ball whenever they had it. I believe that's an invaluable lesson for the now second best team in the world. Exploit the weaknesses of the opponent, especially if you are well placed to do so.

Tactics were all wrong. Playing a game of counter attack, against the usual open game that United keep playing was a mistake. Because Barca played a defensive game, at least by their standards, and once the got their first goal in the 10th minute, they were held pretty and had their offensive arsenal run united rugged, while the midfielders and defenders were very alert and scuffled any united threat.

I'm a staunch supporter, but Fergie, yenyewe, you need to be a little more tactful against attacking teams next time. You'd rather just defend completely with 10 players behind the ball, than opt for some trial team not sure how to play.

And that, my friend, I call eating humble pie.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Future is Mobile banking?

Currently, there's a conference ongoing at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies on M-Banking. While it has not been completed, one thing is very clear. M-Banking is here, and is here to stay. Banks may claim that the figures currently being shifted about in mobile phones, using the now popular MPESA (from Safaricom), and the not-so-known ZAP (from Zain), are not big enough to cause an upset, but one thing is most imminent. Mobile Banking is taking over sooner than later. A large majority of Kenyans are not banked nor insured. The cost of banking is not low. The cost, on the other hand, of pushing and receiving money using MPESA is affordable, if not negligible. Therefore, to a large percentage of Kenyans, this is certainly the way of the future.

We are currently experiencing a lot of problems with banks, because most of them are not providing for internet banking. This means that even for the high class that they are priding themselves of holding onto steady, should MPESA provide a way of making transfers over the internet in order to perform E-Commerce, then this group of people will also shift base.

I think our banks must now take up the cue and start providing services to the average Kenyan in the mashinani. Otherwise they should all brace themselves for an interesting tussle with MPESA (even though Mr. Joseph, CEO, claims that they are not in the same competition bracket) as more and more people seek convinient banking.

The Kenyan Dream

After reading the famous 1963 speech on the one Martin Luther King Jr, I was left thinking seriously about our situation in Kenya. Martin mentions many things, but among them, the fact that even after America claims to be independent, there are still many injustices being done to the Negros. That Negros are poor and uneducated in a country that is nt devoid of wealth and education systems, especially for the whites.

We as Kenyans, 46 years after independence are as enslaved as never before. To some large extent, we are worse than in days yonder, before the Colonialists came over. We have not learned to live as brothers and sisters, we allow ourselves to fight our neighbors because he is not of my tribe; we allow some monastic and nonsensical politician to incite us against our own very friends. Why, because they are not like us, thus they are the cause of our problems. And stupidly enough, we follow.

I have a dream to see a Kenya where Luo and Kikuyu join hands to learn from each other, the Luo business sublime business skills from the Kikuyu, and the Kikuyu sheer genius in class like the Luo (I know, there's some stereotype there, but you get the point). The Kalenjin to embrace the Kamba, and Maasai to respect the Mijikenda, the Luhyia to take delight in the success of the Meru, and the Meru to rejoice when the Kisiiland blossoms in productivity. We need each other.

I have a dream that we shall use our diversity in culture as a strong point instead of using it to create crevices amongst ourselves. I have a dream that ideals will drive us to vote for our leaders, not the tribe he is from. I have a dream that we shall unite to shun evils like police harassment and bribe solicitation, political tribalism, brainwashing, poor payment, under-performing public laborers, exploitative employers, corrupt dealers, broken down administrative structures, ridiculously awkward policies. All with one voice, and only one voice can we defeat these. United we stand, divided, we must be ready to embrace many scores of misery. and not complain about it.

I have a dream that Kenya will be a grand land, because it is a land of grand people.