Injuries and Bad Luck: The Story of Paul Were

The day is September 26th 2010. Kenya U-20 coach Vince Ombiji brought on a young and promising player as the national junior side took on Lesotho. The rookie had an almost immediate impact, as he ran down the Lesotho defense rugged. Fleet foot works, pacy and pin point crosses made him a darling to the fans instantly. Kenya’s next big thing was alive.

He went on and made a name for himself in the topflight league, and set the league ablaze with his sensational runs and pace. His contribution to both Tusker and AFC Leopards was certainly unmatched. While he ran riot on the pitch and dominated sports headlines with goals and assists, he also made headlines in the wrong areas, always rubbing shoulders the wrong way with coaches and fans, thanks to claims of indiscipline. That, never slowed him. Like many talented locals, he became ripe, and packed for greener pastures across borders.

Things did not really work out. Not once. Not twice. A meteoric rise to the top was suddenly suffering an unexpected slowdown. He is back into the country.

Kenyanstar brings you an exclusive and candid interview with Paul Were where he speaks about his career that has suffered major injury blows, discipline and why he is on a break.


Kenyanstar: Thank you for taking time to talk to us Paul. Kindly give us a brief on your career so far?

Paul Were: My career has been  shaky and wavy since I left Kenya but I thank God for the opportunities.I have always given my best and still hope for the best.

KS: You have been in at least three clubs in recent  years. What has influenced your movement?

PW: I have had really tough and hard decisions to make in my moves. No one understands what people go through. Unfortunately most of them believe what is only said in the press. We get judged by our decisions and our past. However, whenever I make a move, I consider what impact it will have in my career and what I will achieve.

KS: You have added to the statistics of Kenyan players who have left South Africa in just a couple of months. What could be the reason for these fast departures?

PW: My move  to South Africa was quite interesting. I had a problem with my work permit which made me miss like 8 games. Nonetheless, my coach then did believe in me and things went well. Unfortunately, he got sacked months in. A new coach was hired and as you are aware, he comes in with a new philosophy and his prefered players. I guess this somewhat affected me. Things got worse for the club and myself when we got relegated.

For the case of Kenyan footballers, it is not about departures. Football is what we love to do and what we call our life, and career. So if you're not comfortable and happy where you are, you certainly will move. The South African League is great and one of Africa’s best. If I get a chance to go back there, I will go back. 

KS: You left Greece recently and claimed that the club had failed to pay your salary.   How true is this?  Also is this the sole reason that caused you to leave?

PW: I moved to Greece and suffered a similar fate as was the case in South Africa. I came to play for the national team against Zambia and suffered a very serious injury.  God gave me the strength nonetheless and I had my contract back from Greece. When I went to apply for my visa to go back to Greece, the embassy had changed its systems because of the Syrian refugee issues. This complicated the visa application process, and things got tough for me. Recall, I was battling the injury issues, and now my documents were not right. While this was happening, I had missed up to 10 games for my club Kalloni. Nonetheless, Kalloni was neither a weak nor strong team, but due to my travel issues, they opted to sign other players in my place. I finally managed to go to Greece. I pushed myself hard, and thought that I was fit enough. I started a Greek Cup game, and few minutes in, I pulled a hamstring, and this forced me out for a month or so. I now missed almost 12 matches. I recovered though, and when I got back to the pitch, Greece had been hit by a serious economic crisis. I guess some clubs took advantage of this and myself and other players were not paid. We had an agreement with the club to sort out my dues but they did not honour their part of the bargain. This prompted my lawyer to take up the issue with FIFA.  Trust me I went through hell while there.You just can't post your problems to prove you are suffering. I however, thank my friends who supported me during the tough time in Greece.

KS: You aren't the first Kenyan player to lament about Greece...Is there anything that affects foreign players there?

PW: As I have already explained, Greek clubs don't pay. For instance, my previous club Acharnaikos offered what I thought was a good deal that could help me grow and support my family. When I signed for them, most transfer windows had been shut and I had litle options. I hence trusted my agent when he brought the deal to the table. We were offered a deal together with Ismael Salim and we thought we could give our best there, since statistics count the most. But again it never was. We endured a torrid 5 months without salaries, and being foreigners, it just got worse. The only thing I got was money for food from my agent. I couldnt hold in there any longer. I left the club and declined to return. We had a serious push and pull with the club, but I could not return as the club had failed to honour its contractual obligations. I preffered to suffer with my family here, rather than staying abroad, suffering and also not being able to support my family here. It’s tpugh and we suffered so much while there.

KS: About two seasons back, you were close to making a move to Gor Mahia. How was it like?

PW: At one point when I had come back to Kenya, I decided to join Gor Mahia.I knew it was a  great move but it didn't go through because of my ITC. I sincerely do not know what happened but was totally upset that I did not sign for them, since it would have been a perfect time to clear my mind, play well and settle with my daughter and family. After Gor Mahia fell through, I waited and talked with friends and agents to get a deal, Turkey came. It however, didn't go through again because of many reasons which I can't say here.

KS: Are you considering any return to the KPL?

PW: Yes.I was considering coming back to the KPL, I am still young and can still make a great move. You see in football, you  can't just continue to satisfy people and  sacrifice because you need to be famous, or have people call your name yet you have nothing to show for it. As a player, you need to live and football is a short career.

KS: Discipline- Or lack of it. Is it still an issue in your career? If not, how did you overcome it?

PW: I don not know why  people always say that we(footballers) are ill disciplined. Is it bad for me to go out or to go catch a drink with my friends? For as long as I do my best and give my best in training and on the pitch, what is the big issue here?  My past and all my indiscipline issues have largely been a creation of the media, and this creates a negative perception. The media will write great stuff about you when you are doing well. A small flip and the negativity will flow. The fans will then  criticize and judge you very harshly.  Interestingly, some of the fans you meet out in social places will always praise you and even buy you a drink. However, when something negative comes up, the same people will be flooding the social media saying how you were drinking and doing all bad things. I never overcame anything, I am just grateful to all my previous coaches as they understood and supported me.  My daughter and getting mature helped me.

KS:  Where are we likely to see you next? Have you received any offers?

PW: I don't know for now because I am a free agent. I am waiting for my agent to see what is coming through.

KS: Any closing words to your fans?

PW: I wish to  just thank each and every fan who has always been there for me, supported me, and wished me the best, because sometimes in life not everyone will love you or like u. As fans of Kenyan football we just need to support our own football and support our leaders. We need to try to make our game to be the best in Africa because we have talents and great players. We should stop accusing players and see the best in them and try to help and make them better. We players are human beings and to be in the spotlight is not easy. We face lots of temptations but we thank God as He always guides us. I urge everyone to support football and love this game.

Menengai Cream Homeboyz and KCB secured home semifinal qualification at the close of the Kenya Cup’s league phase on Saturday 25 March 2017.

Kenya has improved tremendously in the past year posting positive results that has seen them rise in rankings into the top 90 in the World.

Serial satellite tour winner Matt Wallace will look to continue the habit tomorrow on the European Challenge Tour as he takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Barclays Kenya Open after an impressive Moving Day at Muthaiga Golf Club.

The Englishman was four shots behind overnight leader Adrien Saddier but his four under par third round of 67 took him to 12 under par, with Saddier and Aaron Rai his closest rivals.

The 26 year old was unstoppable on the Alps Tour last year, winning on five successive appearances before sealing a dominant top spot in the Order of Merit by also triumphing at the Grand Final.

Top ten finishes on the Challenge Tour in Spain and Italy last season also suggested he was ready to compete at this level and he was understandably delighted with his day’s work in Nairobi as he goes in search of the biggest victory of his young career.

“I played really nicely today,” he said. “Not actually as well as the last two days, but I gave myself a lot of chances today and managed to get through a scruffy patch in the middle and finish nicely again.

“I birdied the last two holes and did the same yesterday – I had a really nice yardage into 17 and decided to really attack it and stuffed it in there really close and 18 is always a really good birdie chance.

“I really approached today the same as all week, I was obviously four shots behind Adrien so I was trying to shoot as low as I could and post a good score, but I didn’t think I’d be leading – I’m there though and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“I’m hoping to learn from this experience because this is definitely the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of, especially the last few holes there, with a lot of people coming down. They really appreciate the good shots so hopefully I can give them something to cheer again tomorrow.

“I’ve got a local caddie on the bag this week who’s been doing the job here for 26 years – as long as I’ve been living! I talk to him a lot because I find if I go quiet I lose confidence.

“He’s been very good so far because obviously he knows the course very, very well – there’s been a few club decisions where I’ve gone ‘really?’ and it’s turned out perfect, so he knows his stuff and he knows my game well, given we’ve only been together for three or four days.

“Last year’s success was massive for me. I try to dumb it down as much as possible and say it’s just golf, and it is, but hopefully I can take the performances from last year into tomorrow.

“Jordan Smith showed last year how possible it is to move quickly to the top of the Challenge Tour from the satellite tours. I play with guys on the European Tour, Callum Shinkwin in particular, a lot and I think if I can compete with him, I know I can do it out here too.”

Three bogeys on the front nine cost France’s Saddier his lead while Englishman Rai birdied three of his final four holes for a round of 69 and a share of second place.

Welshman Rhys Davies, four times a winner on the Challenge Tour, momentarily topped the leaderboard before a scrappy back nine left him one shot further back on ten under par.

Also well within striking distance going into the final day are South Africans Jaco Ahlers and Louis De Jager and Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, all of whom share fifth place on nine under par, just three behind Wallace.

Source -- European Tour

Lots of matches for World Cup qualifiers today. We have some betting tips for you

The Hockey and Rugby teams of Upper Hill School have registered positive results as this year's Nairobi region Term One A School games got underway at State House Girls and Nairobi School.

Upper Hill won 2-0 against Nairobi School in boys' Hockey and humiliated Jamhuri School 31-0 in Boys' Rugby.

But while Nairobi school salvaged their day beating Aquinas 38-0 in Rugby, Jamhuri's bad day continued suffering yet another humiliating 34-3 defeat against Muhuri Muvhiri  in Boys' Rugby.

In Other results Parklands Arya won 2-0 against Hillcrest in Girls Hockey and proceeded to 3-0 against Kianda while still in boys' Hockey, Starehe won 2-1 against Makongeni.

The games will continue on Sunday the 26th with the regional winners proceeding to the finals to be played in April. 

National Hockey Champions Friends School Kamusinga from Bungoma County were eliminated from this year's competition after a 1-0 loss to Kakamega County's Musingu High School in the finals of the Western region Term one A school Games. Musingu will now represent the region at the Nationals to be played in April.

In basketball Boys finals, Busia County's Sigalame High School white washed Vihiga's Chavakali 107-34 to seal to book a ticket for the finals. The games were played at St. Peters High School in Mumias. 

The Western Region will be represented at the finals by the following schools;

Hockey

Musingu High School - Boys 

Misikhu High School - Girls 

BasketBall 

Sigalame High School - Boys

Tigoi High School - Gils 

 

Good news for the Blues! Eden Hazard is reportedly set to return to training next week as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

Liverpool will welcome back Steven Gerrard this Saturday as the adored son of the Kop makes a return to his boyhood Club.

Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart has spoken about his life at Italian side Torino and where he wants to be next.

Aussie gun Daniel Ricciardo has crashed out during qualifying for the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel beat his own lap record at Albert Park as he topped the time-sheet in the final free practice before the Australian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

The four-times champion Germans lap of one minute 23.380 seconds eclipsed his pole record of 1:23.529 set at the lakeside circuit in 2011, and was nearly half a second faster than both the Mercedes cars.

New Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who replaced retired champion Nico Rosberg, was second fastest, just edging three-times champion teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg fifth in his Renault.

Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, with his teammate Max Verstappen 12th.

Williams rookie driver Lance Stroll skidded into a barrier and blew a tyre, causing the red flag to be raised with 10 minutes left in the session.

The session was then called off, leaving constructors champions Mercedes unable to improve upon their times and adding spice to the qualifying session later on Saturday.

Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.

Ireland and Everton defender Seamus Coleman faces up to a year on the sidelines after breaking his leg during a World Cup qualifier against Wales.

The ever-present risk of serious leg injuries in football was unfortunately realised once again as Wales’ Neil Taylor was shown a red card for a poor tackle during the 0-0 draw.

Once he realised what had happened, Coleman held onto his damaged leg while waiting for help.

Coleman was given oxygen on the field as medical staff attempted to immobilise his leg before taking to and ambulance and then hospital.

The final score took a back seat to Coleman’s well-being  after the match.

“It’s a bad break. Seamus is a fantastic player and character - it’s a major blow for the lad, for his club and for us,’’ Ireland manager Martin O’Neill told the UK’s Sky Sports.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world - I haven’t seen it back - but naturally disappointed. He’s gone to hospital and I think it’s broken.

“I saw Seamus’ reaction - he was holding his leg up and it didn’t look good.”

The length of Taylor’s suspension is yet to the decided but one this is for sure – Coleman is facing a lengthy stint of rehab before his professional career resumes.

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Bale and Ronaldo both played as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 yesterday. Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro strengthened their grip on the La Liga title.

However, despite the victory, all is not well at the Santiago Bernabeu. Spanish outlet Diario Gol claimed yesterday that Ronaldo was fuming with Zinedine Zidane for substituting him late on.

The former Manchester United star provided the assist for Benzema's goal but was replaced by Isco in the 79th minute. It was said that Ronaldo believed Bale should have been substituted instead after an abject display.

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France’s national railway company, SNCF, and professional and financial services group Deloitte have signed up as official supporters of France’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

SNCF will advise the French Rugby Federation (FFR) on transport and sustainable mobility options, and support the implementation of a ticketing strategy for the World Cup.

The company will also provide logistical support to the FFR during different stages of the application process while promoting the bid both nationally and internationally.

Deloitte’s French division will work with the FFR on drafting budgets and financing plans for the event.

FFR president Bernard Laporte said: “(We are) very pleased to be able to count on the expertise of these two companies with world-renowned know-how to help us in our application. This support again illustrates the strong mobilisation of the economic world behind #France2023.”

France faces competition from Ireland and South Africa in its bid to stage the 2023 World Cup. The World Rugby Council will select the winning bid on November 15.

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