Saturday June 4 was a boom day for Kenya-Uganda sport and Kenya-Uganda rivalry generally. Muthaiga Golf Club, buy viagra Nairobi, was hosting the inaugural Victoria Cup between the neighbours, while at Legends Rugby Club, Kampala, and the Elgon Cup rugby football tournament between the two nations was in full fling.
(Of the region’s more ‘cerebral’ sports, only cricket, tennis, squash and bowls were missing; but that is a story for another day…)
On to the golf… Great stuff, great competition, great players, but why ‘Victoria Cup’ you may ask?
After the lake, most likely, which the two countries share (along with Tanzania); but isn’t that a bit passé? No complaints; but one would have thought that after the reckless demolition of the little statue of Queen Victoria in Jeevanjee Gardens last year by vandals in a fit of anti-colonial pique there might have been second thoughts about the name…
We have heard stories, almost too numerous to mention, of people playing golf (or life) on both sides of the equator at the same time. On several Kenyan courses, a drive teed off in the southern hemisphere can land up in the northern and vice versa. The same can almost be said of Entebbe.
But playing on both sides of the road at the same time? That can only be the province of Nairobi’s Muthaiga Club. It is true that no one hole actually itself straddles the Kiambu Road: the first nine are on the eastern side; hole 10-18 on the western where the clubhouse stands, leading up to the Muthaiga Country Club.
It is tricky, though, for caddies and golf carts, and players too, as they have to negotiate a sometimes slippery metal footbridge or an awkward road crossing to get from hole nine to the 10th tee. And in double quick time too!
The Victoria Cup event, which all would unanimously agree was a great success, was nonetheless not without distractions. Besides a fierce-looking guard dog that reared its ugly head at this correspondent as he nonchalantly approached the eighth tee, there was the offer of an opportunity to ‘go sailing’ – in a slick-looking yacht moored on a lake in front of the clubhouse.
This is the SY Liaison, a natty advertising gimmick set up by the aforementioned risk and pensions consultants, whose logo is also on every tee-stone and who have an office in Lumumba Avenue, Kampala, as well as in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, Kigali and Juba.
The boat looked dinky next to the Ugandan and Kenyan flags and its message was clear: “Come sail – and play – with us!”
Waiting for a group of golfers to hove into sight at the 18th hole in the Victoria Cup, your correspondent was reading a Sunday newspaper and gently dozing on the Muthaiga Golf Club terrace before being abruptly regaled by a song from the club’s tannoy system: “Jingle bell, jingle bell rock,” it went.
The date? You’ve guessed it – June 5th! Quotable quotes: “Everyone was happy” (Bo Ciera, Kenya Victoria Cup captain). “The Ugandans really showed up well; they’ll give Kenya a run for their money on their own greens” (Larry Ngala, Daily Nation golf correspondent)
Result: Kenya 13.5 points, Uganda 12.5 points.
So over to the Elgon Cup, held by Uganda but on the day won comprehensively 48-10 by Kenya. Who, one wonders, was this Elgon who gave a name to both the mountain that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border and to the cup? He never built a castle for a faux-lover like poor Lord Egerton, but surely this was Lord Elgon and this his legacy?
Those ‘Brits’ seem to have a habit of coming back to haunt us. So, a plea which I think is in keeping. After the short-lived but much praised East African Elite Cricket League (2011-13), in which six Kenyan and Ugandan teams took part, can the powers-that-be now create a regional Queen’s Cup for the cricketers, the tennis players, the squash hounds or the bowls freaks? After all, the UK’s Queen Elizabeth became queen while in Kenya and has a national park named after her in Uganda. Just a thought, God bless her!
Postscript: I once previously went to Muthaiga Golf Club, in 1979. I was dropped off there by a taxi when I had been invited to a dinner at Muthaiga Country Club. I set off walking, in the dark, across what is now the second nine of the course, witha warning from an askari in my ears: “Beware of the hippos!”