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Time for Kenyans to be counted

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OMBACHI-AUSTRALIANAIROBI, Kenya, March 22- After the March 4 General Elections that are still being contested at the Supreme Court, it’s time Kenyans united in common accord as their sons and daughters seek to hoist the national flag high in Hong Kong, Poland and Nigeria.

They could be no better release of the tensions that have gripped the nation following the landmark polls that have polarised the feelings of the country despite the fact that unlike the 2007 elections, violence is yet to erupt.

The national rugby sevens team and in particular, Dennis Ombachi who went over twice to add to Andrew Amonde’s opener to sink stubborn USA 17-14 in their HSBC World Series Hong Kong Sevens opener on Friday set the tone for a bumper sporting weekend.

On Saturday, Mike Friday’s outfit will be engaged in a stern battle to make the Main Cup quarters even without their dependable flying winger, Collins Injera, who was dropped from the side on disciplinary grounds.

To his credit, Injera tweeted his best wishes to the team moments before they kicked off against USA demonstrating the magnanimity he has taken the bitter decision to axe him from the side that he was a star player.

Next up for Shujaa as they are known is the might of New Zealand All Blacks, a team smarting from their Main Cup semis defeat when the HSBC Series toured Wellington before closing their Pool B assignment against France.

MUGUBI-LAGOSOn the same day, Kenyans will follow developments in the Nigerian port city of Calabar as the national football side, Harambee Stars at the U. J. Esuene Stadium.

With Kenya trailing in Group F with a solitary point, odds are stuck against Harambee Stars who have not beaten the Super Eagles in their previous 13 encounters although this fixture has acquired a whole different complexion.

It will be interesting to establish how the crowd will react to the Kenyans after supporters of both nations went on a full blown cyber war on Twitter with the hash tags #SomeonetellNigeria and #SomeonetellKenya trending worldwide on Thursday and Friday.

A referee from Botswana, another country that incurred the wrath of Kenyans on Twitter (#KOT) when their Foreign Minister at first said President-elect, Uhuru Kenyatta, was not welcome in the country before a later retraction, Bondo Joshua, will be at the centre throwing another intrigue to the fixture.

Getting the opportunity to vent on the social network site gave most Kenyans the chance for a perfect release as their nation faces the country that was crowned African champions last month.

Algerian born Belgian national, Adel Amrouche, will make his competitive debut as head coach and together with his squad; he must also overcome the harsh reception accorded the team when they landed in Lagos on Wednesday.

To wrap the super weekend for Kenya, 24 athletes will take on others from 46 nations at the 40th World Cross Country in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Sunday.

When the red, green and black stripped team rolled to Poland three years ago, they managed to collect all eight- four individual and four team- gold medals on offer in a performance never witnessed before at the now biennial global collection of the distance running medley.

Like Stars, the class of Bydgoszcz 2013 have Sammy Rono at the helm for the first time as head coach with only seven of the 24 in the squad boasting of prior World Cross experience.

Five, defending junior women champion, Faith Chepng’etich, the 2010 senior women crown holder, Emily Chebet, team captains Japheth Korir and Margaret Wangari and the veteran Hosea Macharinyang will be returning to Poland after representing their nation in 2010.

WXC-SQUADMacharinyang who is yet to medal at the event will make a national record eighth appearance, out lasting the legendary John Ngugi and Paul Tergat who won five senior men titles each.

The Kenyans will test their prowess in the junior women 6km, junior men 8km, senior women 8km and the senior men 12km races, having surrendered the individual title of the latter to Ethiopia’s Imane Merga in Punta Umbria, Spain two years ago.

Of the six athletes in each category, four are permitted to score for the team aggregate in accordance to their finishing order with the Kenyan gaze firmly fixed on their rivals from the north, Ethiopia.

So, there is no reason for all Kenyans not to stand up and get counted by casting aside their political differences to urge on their team.

DIARY IN LOCAL TIME

HONG KONG SEVENS

8:24am- Kenya vs New Zealand
12.04pm- Kenya vs France

2014 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

6pm- Kenya vs Nigeria

SUNDAY

WORLD CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

11am- Junior women 6km
11:30am- Junior men 8km
12:15am- Senior women 8km
1:10pm- Senior women 12km

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