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Nairobi teams end 2013 on top

Unlike previous performances in the recent past, Nairobi County asserted itself on the sporting scene in 2013.

In the Kenyan Premier League, city-based teams claimed the top four spots after 10 months of competitive football.

Champions Gor Mahia lifted the coveted title after an 18-year-wait. Consequently, they booked a place in the CAF Champions League that begins in February.

K’Ogalo’s bitter rivals AFC Leopards claimed second spot as Sofapaka came third while Kenya Commercial Bank were fourth. Former bankers’ striker Jcob Keli, who has since joined AFC Leopards, was the top scorer and the Footballer of the Year.

Ingwe won the Gotv Shield and qualified for next month’s CAF Confederations Cup.

AFC and Gor were humiliated during the better part of the 2000’s as the teams were relegated but are now steadily rising from the ashes.

In rugby, despite the Kenya Cup League being won by a team from outside Nairobi – Nakuru RFC – for the first time since inception in 1970, all was not lost.

Mwamba RFC saved Nairobi blushes by beating Nakuru to clinch the Enterprise Cup at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa Grounds last April.

KCB won the National Sevens Circuit as Kenya Harlequins, Strathmore Leos and Mwamba gave chase.

The bankers had a lukewarm performance in the opening two rounds during the Kisumu and Kabeberi Sevens. They, however, recovered to win the Nakuru, Mombasa and Christie Sevens legs to claim the overall title.

Oldest club

Nondescripts turned 90 last year and became one of Africa’s oldest rugby clubs. Nondies is the most successful club in Kenya, having won 17 Kenya Cup titles and 25 Enterprise Cup crowns. Wales’ legend Leuan Evans was the chief guest during the club’s 90th anniversary dinner.

In basketball, Eagle Wings and United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) Flames represented Kenya at the Fiba Zone 5 Africa Championships.

Wings clinched bronze after beating Nigeria’s First Deepwater 67-64 in the third place play-off. This was the best performance by a Kenyan team at the championship.

Flames were fifth after defeating hosts Club Omnisports de Meknes during their play-off match. The team was the first University side in Africa to qualify for the tournament.

In the basketball league, Flames put up a spirited fight but lost the women’s title to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). In the men’s contest, Nairobi’s Co-operative Bank beat KPA to retain the title.

In the Zuku University Basketball League, University of Nairobi men’s team bagged the crown after holding off Mount Kenya University Nakuru Campus, while USIU Flames scooped the women’s title after shrugging off Maseno University.

In chess, Equity Bank won the national title during their debut season. The bankers shocked defending champions KCB, and Checkmates club when they won the league on the last day of competition after tying on points.

Nairobi hosted two ‘unusual’ international events last year – the Rollball World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations for Amputees.

The rollballers finished second and fourth in the women and men’s categories after losing out to India and Denmark.

In the Africa Cup of Nations for amputees, Kenya was bundled out in the group stages after falling to Nigeria 1-2, and eventual winners Liberia 2-3.

The tournament was marred by logistical hitches after the Amputee Football Federation of Africa failed to foot bills.

Federation of Kenya Amputee Football chairman Ibrahim Wafula alongside treasurer Charity Kamau and secretary Peter Oloo were detained at the Sportsview Hotel in Kasarani where ther six participating teams had stayed for 10 days.

The Government declined to step in, maintaining the federation had been advised to postpone the tournament because of lack of funds.