In the run up to 2016 Gor Mahia elections, someone shared with me that Luo politicians were afraid to fund candidates opposed to the incumbent AmbroseRachier. Their main fear was to go against the Luo political kingpin and Gor Mahia patron, RailaOdinga who was behind Rachier. This meant that an economically endowed Rachier was up against candidates with lean financial muscle, he won.
On 29th June 2013, AFC Leopards’ went to the polls at Kasarani. Businessman Alan Kasavuli was elected Chairman and Nairobi politician George Aladwa won the Secretary General seat. The election was peaceful but the intrigues that preceded it were typical of elections in the two clubs with biggest following, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.
The results were expected because Aladwa was emerging as the leading Luhya politician in Nairobi and Leopards’ is typically a Luhya club. He had lost the Makadara parliamentary elections in March of that year so here is a man of limited education looking for soft landing. In February was the Mayor of Nairobi and by June was a citizen. I often bumped into Aladwa with a host of hangers on in the streets of Nairobi. Kasavuli beat financial expert Dr. Walter Onyino.
After the elections I saw Aladwa in the streets with an Ingwe fan I knew. I approached him and proposed to him that I had a wonderful idea I wanted to share with him. He quickly noted that I knew one of his aides and asked him to organize a meeting later for us to discuss it in detail; I am still following up to meet Aladwa to date. That is not the reason for writing this; my take is that Kenyan politics is behind the underdevelopment of Kenyan clubs, unfortunately the solution lies with our politicians.
I can share what I wanted to share with Aladwa now that he is back swimming in his waters of Makadara parliamentary elections. I first met Georgie, as Aladwa is known, in Makongeni area back in my days as a political activist and noted his mobilization skills. To rise from a school dropout, to a tout and end up as Mayor is no mean feat. I knew if I sold to him the idea that he can rise to the Luhya kingpin position through Ingwe, he will buy into the idea. He only needed to let Kasavuli the businessman run the day to day matters of the club then he does what he does best, mobilize Luhyas into club structures.
I knew his heart was elsewhere, he was just cooling his heels in Ingwe to remain in the limelight. This was going to be a win-win situation. He just needed to set up Ingwe branches in every constituency and determine the officials. Once that was set, he would return to Nairobi and sit pretty knowing that he had point men from Nairobi down to the villages in Western Kenya. These branches then had to submit annual subscription to Ingwe which would lead to the club having a steady stream of cash. Aladwa would then walk out at the right time with a network across the Luhya nation, which never happened.
Today, Leopards are in the same position with Gor Mahia. That place where a Tanzanian TFF official was heard saying about Gor during the 2015 Kagame Cup in Daresalaam; these are just noisemakers without money. The problem never seems to go even with a change of guard. Currently Daniel Mule is the chairman of Ingwe while Lawyer Ambrose Rachier is at K’ogallo elected in June and December last year respectively.
Romours have it that Ambrose Rachier paid for the ODM ticket for Gem parliamentary seat but lost it to Raila’s cousin Jakoyo Midiwo. So Raila always has a political debt he owes Rachier which Gor Mahia unknowingly picks the tab. Rachier is the A to Z at Gor Mahia, the other officials are flower girls (and page boys). When the club is stuck and money is required, Rachier foots the bill only to pocket the gate collections without consulting anyone. No one will know how much was raised because no one knows the amount of money he chipped into the club the last time cash was needed. That is how he justifies his position at the club and fans, including progressive Luos have bought into it. Meanwhile the club is run from his Mayfair Court offices at Ralph Bunche Road even when the decoy office was open at Nyayo Stadium.
Until Sportpesa came along, both clubs were struggling financially. The money Sportpesa pays seems to have taken the officials back to comfort zone.To date, both clubs do not have operational offices or official merchandise vendors. Even the CAF Club Licensing rules could not bring out the best of the two giants. Like the rest of the clubs, FKF looked the other way on many requirements. Meanwhile, the online pages of the two clubs are as active like bee hives. The problem is no honey flows from the fans to the clubs.
It is difficult to separate the Luo and Luhya politics from Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards’ respectively. This means that the only hope these clubs have lies in the networks and influence the politicians from the two communities have over their people. The problem is our politicians are selfish and myopic. Somehow when the clubs stretch out begging bowls once in a while, the politicians reach out to their pockets to massage their egos and feel relevant and not to help the clubs become self-sustaining.
In our tribal based politics, the best place Luos and Luhyas can show this country that they are fit to lead is in football. The biggest irony of our times is that Kenyan football is dominated by the two communities yet they don’t call the shots where it matters. Even in areas where they enjoy near monopoly dominance, other communities including foreigners call the shots. Politics is diminishing the stature of our two big clubs but in there lies a way out as well. It boils down to more leadership and less ujuaji. Mutajua Hamujui!
Gor Mahia coach Marcelo `Ze Maria’ Ferreira has criticized Thika United for their time wasting tactics in the second half of their match which ended in a 1-1 draw on Sunday 21 May at the Stadium. Thika were leading for a better part of the game until the final minutes when Godfrey Walusimbi earned a point for Ko’galo with a sublime free kick.
In Ze Maria’s view, Thika United wasted a lot of time in the second half and he felt that the referee should have added more than five minutes at the end of the match. ``I feel that the referee should have added more than just five minutes at the end of regular time. Thika were always on the ground during the second half. They didn’t play at all, just wasting time. I think we played only 35 minutes in the second half.’’
Ze Maria also believed that his team should have killed the match in the first half but his strikers were unlucky to get a goal. ``We created many chances and should have won the match in the first half, but the strikers were not lucky.’’
Gor Mahia are at the summit of the table standings with twenty six points, two more than second-placed Ulinzi Stars. They have so far won eight, drawn and lost two apiece in the twelve matches that they have played.
I am averse to betting for personal reasons but I will confess that the recent Ksh. 221 million jackpot win almost made me reconsider my stand. Kenyans have taken up betting like fish into water which has led to overnight growth of betting firms like Sportpesa. This has also attracted other global players in the industry into the local market. Betting has its negative effects which ended up in parliament. Even before parliament passed the bill, the government proposed severe tax measures beginning next financial year.
The government recently announced plans to tax 50% of betting firms gross profit and a further 30% on net profit. It can never get worse than this for any industry. The truth is, betting firms cannot survive these measures after enjoying great profits in the past. Sportpesa- the biggest player in the local industry – has reacted by threatening to withdraw sponsorship to football, boxing and rugby outfits. Is this sabotage or a genuine distress call?
Amidst all this, Sportpesa was reported to have signed a shirt sponsorship deal with EPL side Everton worth Ksh. 3 billion. This could have been prompted by the relegation of Hull City FC who have athree year deal worth about Ksh. 400 million with Sportpesa. The cry from local fans has been that Sportpesa makes the bulk of its money locally, gives local clubs peanuts but rewards foreign clubs well.
Recently Sportpesa spread across the border into Tanzania where they got into partnerships with local sports outfits. They are renovating the artificial turf in a local stadium while they are now the shirt sponsors of local football giants Yanga and Simba. I waited for the details of the two deals to shed light on the cry of KPL fans but it did not yield any juice for this article.
Sportpesa is giving Simba and Yanga about TSh. 5 billion each which is in the tune of Ksh. 250 million over five years. This is in the range of what Gor Mahia receives though slightly higher than what AFC Leopards earns which is Ksh. 225 million over a similar period. May be the outcry from local fans pushed them to set their ceiling around the amounts they have with Kenyan clubs.
Sponsorship is not charity. A firm goes into a sponsorship or branding deal with a football club for purposes of brand visibility. Sportpesa is going to get more visibility in Tanzania through the two local clubs than they are getting in Kenya. Tanzanians love their football and they show up for matches in big numbers. The league is also well featured in the local press. Tanzania Breweries Limited the shirt sponsor of the two clubs pulled out of football after it changed hands which meant Sportpesa got the two giants in financial straits. This could be the reason why they may have given in to not so good deals.
Kenyans should build the brand equity of local football in general but most important KPL clubs in particular. Sportpesa will only pay what the brand they are partnering with is worth. There is a big difference between their deal with Everton and what they signed with Hull City yet both clubs played in EPL. If brand equity is a measure of sponsorship then Sportpesa has been good to Kenyan football, especially clubs. Look at their perks for Kenya Rugby Union, Ksh. 607 million over five years and purported Ksh. 360 million over four and a half years as KPL title sponsors.
The term ‘purported’ comes before the KPL deal because unlike KRU, KPL did not reveal the actual value of their deal. That is a big pointer of where brand equity tilts; Kenyan rugby is a better brand than football despite having fewer followers. To attract more funds, clubs must package themselves as institutions worth of any amount they feel they are worth. People do not buy products or brands; they buy emotions associated with them. We must make our clubs and league attractive.
As Sportpesa and other betting firms prepare to fight it out with the government over the new tax regime, clubs must prepare for any eventuality. If the government’s stands its ground, Sportpesa is justified in transferring about Ksh. 400 million annual budget for local sports institutions into part of the tax that the government collects. Only two things are certain in life, taxes and death. Either way, we must play football.
AFC Leopards head coach Stewart Hall blamed his side’s missed chances in their 1-0 defeat to Kakamega Homeboyz on Saturday 20 May. A solitary goal by former Leopards striker Mohammed Dialo was enough to condemn Hall’s charges to their fifth loss of the season.
The loss also took Ingwe’s winless streak to six matches, one of the worst runs from any team this season. Speaking after the match, Hall said that his side did not deserve to lose and blamed it on the numerous goal-scoring chances that were missed.
``We played well, but as usual, we missed many scoring chances. We deserved to have scored at least a goal, maybe more. We did not deserve to lose.’’
Leopards had started the season remarkably, winning four of their first six league fixtures and were widely seen as this year’s title competitors. A dip in form has however seen Stewart Hall linked with an exit from the club, with numerous clubs said to be interested in the former Azam tactician. Ingwe are currently 11th on the log with fifteen points from twelve matches.
Nzoia United coach Bernard Mwalala was elated that his boys finally got a much-needed win after thrashing Muhoroni Youth 3-0 on Saturday 20 May.
The win comes a week after the coach had lamented on his side’s 1-0 loss to Gor Mahia, alleging that they had lost unfairly to the league leaders. ``Against Gor Mahia we lost unfairly and the players were very disheartened by that, which is why I am very happy that they won this time.’’
Mwalala also praised his team’s overall performance in their match against Muhoroni, particularly the strikers who he termed as exceptional. ``Every department played according to instructions and the strikers were exceptional.
Although he was satisfied by the number of goals that they scored, he noted that they had the chance and capability to score even more goals. ``I think we could easily have scored five goals but the 3-0 result is still satisfactory.’’
Nzoia United are currently in 9th position after gathering sixteen points from twelve matches and their next match is against Sofapaka.
Mathare United coach Francis Kimanzi had mixed reactions after seeing his side fall 2-0 to Tusker on Saturday 20 May. Although he expressed his frustration from losing three consecutive matches, he believed that they created a number of chances but it was just not their day.
``This is the third consecutive loss and it is not good at all. The players created chances…It was just not our day,’’ said the former Tusker tactician.
Mathare United have actually lost four matches in a row and have only registered two wins in the twelve matches they have played since the start of the season. They sit 17th on the table with nine points, one place above the last position of the league.
Tusker FC coach George Nsimbe has appreciated his players’ efforts and commitment in their recent games, which has seen them rise rapidly in the table standings of the Kenyan Premier League. The Brewers started this season unexpectedly, losing two of their first league matches including a 5-2 thumping by new boys Nzoia United.
They however picked up from there and have not lost a match since, winning all six of their last matches. They have also moved from the bottom positions to 3rd in the table, locked on points with second place Ulinzi Stars and two adrift of leaders Gor Mahia.
``We are in a good place right now. The players have been very dedicated and the results are there to be seen. We kept a clean sheet today…Good,’’ said Nsimbe after their 2-0 win against Mathare United. Up next for them is a match against a struggling AFC Leopards side, who have not won six matches.
Posta Rangers tasted defeat for the first time this season after going down 1-0 in the hands of Ulinzi Stars on Saturday 20 May. Rangers coach Sammy `Pamzo’ Omollo was however not fazed at all by the defeat, saying that he knew that their unbeaten run would obviously come to an end along the road.
``I don’t know why people are surprised (by Ulinzi’s 1-0 loss). I knew that our unbeaten run would come to an end at one point this season.’’
Pamzo however chose to dwell on the positives from the match and look forward to their next assignment, which is a game against league leaders Gor Mahia.
``It has happened but it is not the end of the road. Infact, the defeat may be a blessing in disguise because it has exposed our weaknesses and mistakes, which we will work on before we meet Gor Mahia in our next match.”
Rangers weekend’s loss means that they have now gone three matches without a win, having drawn two matches prior to the defeat. They are currently in 4th position in the league table with twenty three points.
Thika United coach Nicholas Muyoti is delighted with the recent performance of his side’s defense. Speaking after the match against Gor Mahia, Muyoti was quick to note improvements in Thika United’s backline especially in the last two games, where they drew 0-0 with Kakamega Homeboyz before a 1-1 draw with league leaders Gor Mahia.
``We are doing very well in defense. We have conceded just one goal in two games and it was from a free kick (against Gor Mahia). We are now becoming hard to break down.’’
The coach, who has only been at the helm for three matches since being promoted to the head coach role, was also satisfied with his team’s draw against Gor Mahia on Sunday 21 May.
`` I don’t think we have dropped two points today. While we had a good chance to win the game, it is also important to note that we were away from home and coming out with a point is good. All the players did extremely well today.’’ Muyoti also singled out Mwinyi Kibwana for his contribution and goal, and even went on to name him as his man-of-the-match. ``Mwinyi Kibwana was my man-of-the-match and I admire the confidence he had when he was scoring our goal.’’
Thika United are currently on an eight-game winless run, the most of any team in the Premier League this season. In the eight matches, they have drawn three and lost a massive five. Since Muyoti took charge, the team has lost once and recorded two consecutive draws.
They currently lie 16th on the table after collecting nine points from twelve games and up next for them is a game against Muhoroni Youth.
Kenya Rugby Union Chairman, Richard Omwela, has told off the government for their intent to set up a Sports, Arts and Culture Fund, saying that the money placed there is likely to be embezzled.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday at the Sarova Hotel where several sports bodies’ officials had convened to issue a statement on the government’s proposal to slap a 50% tax regulation on the gaming industry, Omwela said that they[Sports people] receive very little funding from the government.
"From a rugby perspective, we have checked our records from five years ago and seen that we have received less than twenty Million in funding directly from the government."
" I have no fault in asking about the setting up of a fund. Yes it is nice to set up a fund, but this country is full of funds that have been set up and money has been embezzled. What happened to the Youth Fund? What happened to NSSF? What happened to NHIF? What happened to Women’s Fund? What has happened to the Maize Fund?"
"Let us face reality. Reality is that even if we were to set up a fund, the management of that fund is so critical that we don’t trust if they[Government] will do the right thing.’’
Omwela did not stop there, The Rugby Boss highlighted how SportPesa have massively helped the Kenyan Rugby team in their day-to-day activities.
"When SportPesa came on board, we agreed on a five-year program of funding with them. This means that for the next five years, we are not sitting every day to find who is going to sponsor us. Right now our team is in London and if it is not for SportPesa, we don’t know how we would be able to fund the team’s expenses."
"We have ten assignments every year around the whole world and I can tell you that the government just hears that we went and came back. They have no clue how we went , how we got to the airport and how we came back. We go and come back thanks to companies like SportPesa who are able to support us.’’
Despite being critical of the Government, Omwela called for dialogue between various parties to come up with a symphonic solution.
"Let us reason and discuss, …. Rotich talk to Wario, Wario talk to other members of Parliament and let us make sure that this Bill does not see light of the day or if it does, at a more reduced level."
Omwela completed his address with a challenge to the Government to fund sports through the Consolidated Fund.
"Why aren’t sports being funded from the consolidated Fund? Is it that we are a different breed of Kenyans? Aren’t we paying taxes like everybody else?", Posed Omwela.
Kenya Hockey Union is the latest sport to hit the news for all the wrong reasons after reports that some matches are played without medical readiness.The latest incidence took place over the weekend as panic rent the air after a player was hit on the forehead suffering a cut with lack of a proper emergency plan clearly showing.
Pauline Naise scored ['a much needed'] Chase Amira's second goal in a 2-0 win over Kenyatta University in Women's Hockey Premier League Match played at City Park on Sunday May 21.
Naise's goal came just a week after she was part of a horror show that saw her football team, Vihiga Leeds, suffer an 8-1 humiliating defeat to defending champions Vihiga Queens in the FKF Women's Zone B Premier League. This was Naise's first football match of the season having spend most of her time in Hockey with Amira.
Her goal on Sunday maintained her position as the Hockey Women's premier league top scorer with 9 goals to her name so far this season. Speaking to Kenyanstar shortly after the Hockey Match, Naise insisted she would continue playing in both sports and was looking forward to another football match to help turn the fortunes of Vihiga Leeds.
"I definitely needed this goal. The result last weekend when i played football for Vihiga leeds got to me a little bit so this goal will definitely up my spirits."
However while Pauline made headlines in Hockey over the Weekend, Her football team recorded their first victory of the season after three straight defeats[one being a walkover]. Vihiga Leeds won 6-2 against Bulemia on Sunday(21 May), a match Naise missed due to her Hockey duties for Amira.
Kenya Police on Sunday (21 May ) made it 9 wins out of 9 matches played with a 3-1 win over Sikh Union in a Men's Premier League match played at the City Park Stadium.
Shabaz Shah of Sikh Union scored the first goal of the Match in the fifth minute but that was all they would get. Police would equalize in the 19th minute through Samuel Oungo, a goal resulting from a short corner. Police got their second through Samuel Wokila in the 22nd minute and a the final one through Edmond Mabona in the 29th Minute.
Elsewhere, Butali sugar kept the chase alive with two more wins over the weekend also maintaining their 100% win record in the season so far. Butali on Friday (19 May) won 3-0 against USIU-A before winning again 7-0 against Kenyatta University on Saturday(20 May).
Full Weekend Results
Men's Premier League
Butali Sugar 3-0 USIU-A
Strathmore University 0-0 Chase Sailors
Butali Sugar 7-0 Kenyatta University
Kenya Police 3-1 Sikh Union, Nairobi
Green Sharks 2-1 Nakuru 1
Multimedia University 3-3 JKUAT
Youngstars 1-0 Kabarak University
Mvita XI 3-1 Gorilla ;
Bay Club 1-1 Kabarak University
Park Road Tigers 1-3 Impala
Premier League Women
Vikings 0-1 USIU-A
Chase Amira 2-0 Kenyatta University
USIU-A 2-1 Sliders
Both course records fell at the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon as Kenyan duo Wilfred Kimitei and Yvonne Jelagat triumphed at the IAAF Gold Label Race on Saturday (20).
A group of eight men passed through 10km in 28:59. Kenya’s Peter Lemuya and Morocco’s Moussab Hadout fell back from the pack before the leaders passed through 15 kilometres in 43:22, paced by Timothy Kimeli.
But Kimeli decided to stay in the race and ran alongside Kimitei, Edwin Kiplagat and Evans Cheruiyot for the final few kilometres. Kimitei proved to have the stronger finish and stormed home to win in 1:00:54 as just five seconds separated the first four men to cross the finish.
Kimitei’s winning time took seven seconds off the race record with compatriots Edwin Kimutai Kiplagat and Timothy Kimeli following closely behind, sharing a time of 1:00:57.
“The race wasn’t at all easy,” said Kimitei, the African 10,000m silver medallist. “The hills were pretty tough but I kept enough strength for the finish.”
Just two athletes remained in contention before the half-way point of the women’s race as Sutume Asefa and Yvonne Jelagat reached 10km in 32:04, more than 20 seconds ahead of their nearest pursuers.
Asefa then gradually pulled away from Jelagat and the Ethiopian looked as though she was on her way to victory. But Jelagat found another gear in the final kilometre and reeled in Asefa, winning in 1:08:19 to take 48 seconds off the race record.
Asefa was second in 1:08:40, also finishing well inside the previous race record, while Kenya’s Marion Limo took third in 1:11:21.
“I’m pleased that I pulled it off and made my coach happy,” said Jelagat, whose previous best of 1:09:04 was set on her debut at the distance in Prague last month. “I had quite a lot of energy left at the end which meant I was able to speed up. When I saw Sutume was struggling, I seized the opportunity and it paid off.”
Jelagat broke the race record of Joyciline Jepkosgei who debuted here in 2016 with 1:09:07. Jepkosgei is now the world record-holder with her 1:04:52 run in Prague last month.
Although the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon course is pretty rugged, the ‘city of colonnades’ offers plenty of opportunities to run fast. “Today we got to see just how fast Karlovy Vary can be,” said RunCzech Running League President Carlo Capalbo. “I’m delighted that the men and women have met our expectations and ran so competitively and fast.”
1 Wilfred Kimitei (KEN) 1:00:54
2 Edwin Kimutai Kiplagat (KEN) 1:00:57
3 Timothy Kimeli (KEN) 1:00:57
4 Evans Cheruiyot (KEN) 1:00:59
5 Shadrack Korir Kimining (KEN) 1:01:37
6 Donald Mitei (KEN) 1:02:11
7 Moussab Hadout (MAR) 1:02:20
1 Yvonne Jelagat (KEN) 1:08:19
2 Sutume Asefa (ETH) 1:08:40
3 Marion Jepkirui Limo (KEN) 1:11:21
4 Ayantu Gemechu (ETH) 1:11:49
5 Mercy Jerotich Kibarus (KEN) 1:13:44
6 Polline Wanjiku Njeru (KEN) 1:13:51
7 Olga Kotovska (UKR) 1:14:18
Alex Korio and Irene Cheptai made it a Kenyan double at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2017 race, winning at the 10th edition of this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in 28:12 and 31:51 respectively, on Sunday.
Cheptai caught the eye in particular with an impressive performance that will confirm her rising status in the world of distance running and reinforce the belief that she can be among the medallists over the same distance on the track at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 this coming August.
She continued her unbeaten year, which includes a win at the World Cross Country Championships in March, with the second fastest time ever seen in the Bengaluru women’s race.
A conservative first half saw nine women pass three kilometres in 9:51 and five runners – Cheptai and her Kenyan compatriots Gladys Chesir, Helah Kiprop and Magdalyne Masai as well as Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa – were still together as the halfway point was reached in 16:19, at this stage well outside course-record pace.
However, Cheptai was looking comfortable and always to the fore during the first five kilometres and soon took matters into her own hands.
She gradually went through the gears in the seventh and eighth kilometres as her rivals one-by-one slipped away as they struggled to stay with the race favourite.
Despite being on her own at the front, her tempo didn’t drop over the final two kilometres and she crossed the line in the Sree Kanteerava Stadium just three seconds outside the course record of 31:48, set by another Kenyan runner Lucy Kabuu in 2014, after running the second half of the course in 15:32.
“I wasn’t confident at the start,” said Cheptai, partially explaining why she had not pushed the pace harder during the opening kilometres. “But from eight kilometres I grew in confidence and knew that I was going to win, and I was trying for the course record from seven kilometres.”
Degefa, the last of Cheptai’s opponents to succumb, hung on to take second place in 32:00 while the 2012 women’s winner Kiprop closed the gap on Degefa in the closing stages of the race but was third on this occasion in 32:02.
Korio, another former champion of the TCS World 10K, regained the title he won in 2013 with a strong second half of the race which also saw the winner run a negative split.
New Zealand’s Zane Robertson pushed the pace along with designated pacemaker Stephen Kissa, from Uganda, during the early part of the race as a nine-man pack went through three kilometres in 8:30 and then the midway point in 14:09.
However, a sharp increase in pace from the halfway point, initially instigated by Kenya’s Edwin Kiptoo and then Korio, saw the leading pack quickly disintegrate.
Korio then threw down the gauntlet midway through the seventh kilometre and no one could stay with him.
Even though pain seemed to be etched across his face for the final third of the race, Korio didn’t falter and the gap between himself and his nearest challengers – Kiptoo and Kissa having a duel for the other places on the podium – kept on gently growing.
Korio won in 28:12 with Kiptoo winning the battle for second in 28:26 with Kissa – who later said he’d decided to finish the race around the halfway point – taking third on his debut over the distance in 28:28.
“My experience after winning the race in 2013 certainly helped me today. I knew the course and I knew where would be a good place to push,” reflected Korio.
“I realised I could win the race at around six kilometres. I was watching Zane until the 6km mark and when Zane dropped, I knew I could push it even more,” he added.
Robertson, highly favoured after his outstanding 2016 which saw him lead the world over 10km on the roads with his 27:28, struggled during the second half of the race and finished down in seventh in 28:49.
Kenya’s world record holder Leonard Komon and Ethiopia’s defending champion Mosinet Geremew were off the back of the leading group by the fifth kilometre and eventually finished eighth and 10th in 28:55 and 29:31 respectively.
An estimated 24,000 runners took to the roads of Bengaluru on Sunday for the five different races in Asia’s leading run over distance. Korio and Cheptai each took home a winner’s cheque for US$ 26,000.
Fancy Chemutai enhanced her reputation as one of the rising stars of the road racing circuit with a course record on a warm and blustery day in the Gothenburg Half Marathon on Saturday (20) in 1:07:58.
Chemutai has only raced twice internationally but the 22-year-old excelled in both races. She finished third at the Prague Half Marathon on 1 April, clocking 1:06:58 on her debut at the distance before claiming her first overseas win in Gothenburg ahead of one of the in-form athletes on the roads this year.
After a steady opening 5km split of 15:51, defending champion and course record-holder Violah Jepchumba asserted the pressure on Chemutai with a 15:32 split through 10km in 31:23. Chemutai lost contact for the first time in the eighth kilometre but fought back to level terms with her fellow Kenyan, who finished one place ahead of Chemutai at the Prague Half Marathon last month in 1:05:22.
Rocking from side to side, Jepchumba was visibly working hard and her front-running efforts seemed to be reaping their reward. She eked out another small gap just before the 15km checkpoint in 47:48 but Chemutai countered it again on the gradual incline over the Gota Alv Bridge, one of two bridges on the course.
Despite slowing markedly after an aggressive start, the course record – and the event’s first ever sub-68-minute winning time – were still in touch as they raced back through the city centre and out towards the finish-line in the Slottsskogen Stadium.
Chemutai opened up a small gap on Jepchumba through the 20km checkpoint in 1:04:31 which she duly extended on the series of small undulations in the last two kilometres to ensure her first ever international win. Chemutai broke the tape in 1:07:58 to eclipse the course record by three seconds and take the scalp of Jepchumba, who had to settle for second in 1:08:10.
Margaret Agai made it a Kenyan clean sweep in 1:09:43 with Beatrice Mutai, the older sister of Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, fourth in 1:10:14.
Geoffrey Yegon provided the first half of the Kenyan double in Gothenburg with victory in 1:00:19.
Three athletes were still in contention heading into the last kilometre but the runner-up from last year went one better this time, defeating Seoul Marathon winner Amos Kipruto (1:00:24) and Leonard Langat (1:00:33) while 2013 world cross-country champion Japheth Korir finished fifth in 1:01:39.
Defending champion and course record-holder Richard Mengich dropped out before the 15km checkpoint.
Nakumatt FC registered their fourth win of the Kenyan Premier League after overcoming Chemelil Sugar 2-1 on Sunday 21 May in Ruaraka.
Nakumatt had the first chance in the 10th minute, Aswani setting up Kiasavuki but the latter was already in an offside position. Ten minutes later, Kepha Aswani gave Nakumatt the lead after he headed home a corner. Chemelil then had two corners in quick succession shortly afterwards but were futile.
Just one minute into the second half, Eugene Ambulwa doubled the lead for Nakumatt, heading home a Nzuki free kick. In the 65th minute, Chemelil got a consolation goal, Mwita and Echesa combining very well for Mwita to tap in the ball. Chemelil then pressed hard in search of an equalizer but were unable to find one. The result takes Chemelil’s number of losses this season to four and they now sit 12th in the table standings while Nakumatt move to 10th with sixteen points.
Sony Sugar vs Western Stima
At the Awendo Stadium, Sony Sugar made the most out their home advantage to thrash Western Stima 2-0. Sony lost a good chance in the 14th minute, Marwa shooting into the hands of the goalkeeper after receiving a good pass from Boniface Muchiri. He however compensated for the miss in the 26th minute to give Sony the lead.
Sony were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute after Muchiri was broth down by Victor Oduor and Amos Asambeka duly converted from the spot to duple the hosts’ lead. Western Stima were unable to pressure Sony Sugar and the match ended 2-0. Sony Sugar are now in 13th place with fourteen points Western Stima now occupy thre last place of the table with nine points
Gor Mahia missed the chance to go four points clear at the top of the table after they were forced to a 1-1 draw by Thika United on Sunday 21 May at the Nyayo Stadium.
Gor Mahia was confident coming into the match following three consecutive wins while Thika United were hungry to get something out of the clash. Gor Mahia started the match on a high note and Wellington Ochiend had a chance inside the box in the 12th minute but his shot was blocked by Christopher Oruchum. For minutes later, Thika had their first chance of the game through Shami Kibwana but his shot was forced out of play by Boniface Oluoch. Gor Mahia were dominating the game but it is Thika who were first to find the back of the net in the 28th minute, Shami Kibwana racind down the left flank and beating two Gor defenders to finish the ball into an empty net with Oluoch out of his line. The goal took Thika to the break leading 1-0.
Ze Maria was forced to ring changes early in the second half, bringing in Jacques Tuyisenge, Anthony Mbugua and Godfrey Walusimbi for Francis Kahata, Meddie Kagere and Jean Baptiste respectively. Tuyisenge almost made an immediate impact in the 50th minute but his shot was way over the bar. Gor were now dominating the game, Oruchum and Anthony Mbugua having chances in quick succession. Saad Musa had the chance to double Thika’s lead shortly before the hour mark after being teed up by Kibwana who had beaten several defenders but Musa shot directly at goal.
Gor Mahia were given a penalty in the 63rd minute after a foul on Timothy Otieno inside the box but he was denied by the goalkeeper, maintaining the scores at 1-0. Ko’galo finally got an equalizer in the 83rd minute, substitute Walusimbi curling in a beautiful free kick from the right flank. There was drama in the 87th minute after the game was stopped following protests from both teams, with Wellington Ochiendg and Sammy Mejja earning yellow cards for their scuffle. After resumption, Boniface produced a good save once again to deny Shamiwinyi a goal.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw and the result takes Gor Mahia’s point tally to twenty six, maintain the top spot of the table. Thika United on the other hand move from bottom place to 16th with nine points.
Stephen Wauru’s lone goal was enough to condemn Posta Rangers to their first loss of the season in a match played on Sunday 21 May at the Afraha Stadium.
Ulinzi had come into on a good run, having won three back to back fixtures while Rangers had drawn in two of their last league matches. Ulinzi had intent from the first minutes of the game, with Rangers defense being forced to clear the danger off the line after Samwel Onyango had headed Kipruto’s cross. In the 42nd minute, Mike Otieno picked the ball from a weak Matasi punch but could only manage to shoot over the bar. Ulinzi keeper Jacktone Odhiambo produced a superb save to deny the mailmen a goal after Obwoge’s shot was deflected. The two teams went into the break level.
Five minutes into the second half, Stephen Waruru was the man to give Ulinzi the lead once again after Rangers defended an Ulinzi corner very poorly. The cleared ball found Kokoyo, whose effort hit the upright and found Waruru to nod home his seventh goal of the season. Rangers were almost on the receiving end once again in the 55th minute after Daniel Waweru’s free kick found Kokoyo, who wasted no time in heading the ball towards Waruru but the latter was adjudged to be offside.
Waweru had the chance to get Ulinzi’s second goal in the 70th minute but his shot went wide. After that, none of the teams produced a clear chance and after the final whistle, Ulinzi went home with three crucial points. They now move to 2nd position in the Premier league table with twenty four points while Posta Rangers slide to 4th with twenty three points.
Gor Mahia and Thika United clash on Sunday 21 May, 2017 at the Nyayo Stadium from 16:00 . The league leaders will be eyeing the three points at stake so as to cement the top spot.
The two teams have had contrasting fortunes this season, Gor Mahia sitting at the summit of the Premier League table while Thika United are languishing in bottom place. Ko’glao have won all three of their last fixtures while Thika United are winless in their last six matches. Thika United will however give all in their power as they try finding a way to get out of the last position.
Speaking to the club, Gor Mahia coach Ze Maria said that they are going into the match with only one aim as always; bag all the three points. He however noted that Thika will not be an easy side especially given the uncomfortable position they are in, but insisted that Ko’galo is very ready for them. The two sides have met six times in the last year, Gor winning four of them and drawing twice. Gor Mahia have scored a massive twenty one goals this season, conceding nine in the process. Thika on the other hand have recorded the exact opposite, scoring nine and conceding twenty one goals.
Ulinzi Stars welcome unbeaten Posta Rangers at the Afraha Stadium on Sunday 21 May 2017, and will seek nothing short of a win from the tricky fixture. Ulinzi will however be without Brian Birgen, who was red carded in their last match.
A win for the Soldiers will see them leapfrog Posta to second place, which is momentarily held by Tusker. The win will also inflict the first loss of the season to Posta, who have not lost since the start of the season. It will however be one of the toughest fixture they have played in this season, as scoring against Rangers has been a rare thing to do. Rangers have only conceded three goals in eleven matches. Ulinzi are however up to the task and are one of the high scoring teams so far, having netted an impressive seventeen goals. They also have the league’s current top scorer Stephen Waruru, who has six goals to his name and will be looking to add to his tally today.
Both teams have recorded six wins so far, Rangers with five draws and Ulinzi with three draws and two losses. Both teams have also equally shared the wins, three victories coming at home while the other three have been won away. The teams have met six times in the last five years, with Ulinzi coming out on top on three occasions while Rangers have only won once. Two matches have ended in a draw.
Ulinzi Starting XI: Jacktone Odhiambo, Cyrus Shitote, Geofrey Kokoyo, Hassan Mohammed, Oliver Ruto, Boniface Onyango, Churchill Muloma, Daniel Waweru, Mike Otieno, Stephen Waruru, Samuel Onyango
Subs: James Saruni, Alex Masinde, Hamisi Abdalla, John Kago, Evans Amwoka, Enosh Ochieng Oscar Wamalwa
Sofapaka were held to a goalless draw by Kariobangi Sharks on Saturday May 20 at the Narok Stadium. This was their first match in the stadium, which they intend on using it for their home games.
Michael Bado saved Sharks from going down in the 12th minute by clearing a Sofapaka corner that seemed to be going in and in the 43rd minute, Sofapaka’s free kick on goal was punched to safety by Oyiemba. None of the teams were able to hit the target in the second half and the result leaves Sofapaka in 6th place with nineteen points while Sharks are 5th with twenty points.
At the Kericho Green Stadium, Zoo Kericho striker Bernard Odhiambo produced a stellar performance to ensure a 3-2 victory against Bandari.
Odhiambo got his first goal of the day on the 20th minute, before netting his second five minutes later with a well taken strike. Enock Agwanda pulled one back for the visitors to make the scores 2-1 at half time. Three minutes into the second half, Odhiambo all but confirmed his hat-trick with a third goal for Zoo to make the scores 3-1. Shaban Kenga reduced the deficit for Bandari with a goal in the 73rd minute, but the visitors were unable to find an equalizer. This is Zoo’s third win of the campaign which takes them to 13th position with twelve points. The loss is Bandaris second in a row and they go to 7th place with seventeen points.
Mohammed Dialo’s second half goal was enough to hand Leopards their fifth loss of the season on Saturday May 20 at the Mumias Sports Complex.
Homeboyz showed that they meant business from the start of the game, Meshack Karani trying from long range in the 2nd minute but his effort was off target. The hosts had a clear chance to go ahead in the 21st minute after a mix up in the Leopards defense but Bai shot the ball over the bar.
Hall then made a huge decision four minutes later to take off Kiongera and brought in Marcellus Ingotsi. Karani was on the wasteful end again at the half hour mark shooting over the bar and three minutes later, Leopards had their first chance but Isuza and Fiamenyo made very little out of it.
Ingwe started settling into the game and in the 35th minute, Mangoli’s free kick was saved by Juma. Shortly afterwards, Robinson Kamura unleashed a long range strike but Juma was equal to the task, punching it out for a corner.
Two minutes into the second half, Leopards almost went ahead but Isuza’s header hit the crossbar, with Homeboyz keeper well beaten. Mohammed Dialo came in for Wycliffe Ochomo in the 57th minute and showed the coach that he had made the right choice by scoring the all-important goal in the 79th minute.
The goal was enough to give the hosts all three points and enable Homeboyz leapfrog their rivals in the Premier league table, going to 8th position with seventeen points while Leopards slide to 10th with fifteen points. They however could go further down depending on Sunday’s results. The loss takes Leopards’ winless streak to six matches.
Nzoia United downed Muhoroni Youth by three goals in Round 12 of the Kenyan Premier League on Saturday 20 May at the Muhoroni Sports Complex.
Muhoroni’s problems started in the 23rd minute after keeper Gradus Ochieng was booked for handling the ball outside the penalty box, with Nzoia being given the free kick.
Boniface Omondi had the first chance for Nzoia in the 28th minute but his attempt went over the bar. Eight minutes later, the visitors went ahead courtesy of an own goal from Tom Adwar who directed Omondi’s e=shot into his own net.
Nzoia got their second goal of the day at the half hour mark after Masita Masuta beat the off-side trap set by Muhoroni’s defenders to put the ball past Gradus. Ten minutes later, play was stopped briefly after the fans were involved in a scuffle.
After match resumption, Boniface O mondi all but sealed the win for Nzoia with a goal in the 87th minute. The result takes Nzoia’s point tally to sixteen, while
A senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) official has criticised the decision to postpone the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) elections and called for them to be held as soon as possible.
The Extraordinary General Assembly at which the elections were due to be held was called off by NOCK chairman Kipchoge Keino minutes before it was due to start on Friday (May 5) after he was served with a writ.
It had been obtained by the Kenya Taekwondo Association (KTA) after they were banned from taking part in the elections due to a leadership row at the organisation.
The case is now due to be heard on June 21, when all the parties in the dispute will be heard.
Writing in a letter address to the current NOCK leadership, IOC deputy secretary general Pere Miró also called on the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) to intervene and mediate the dispute.
He also expressed his scepticism that this was the real motivation for the postponement.
"This legal action initiated before the High Court for an internal matter that is under the jurisdiction of your NOC and the Electoral Board, in accordance with your NOC Constitution and the Olympic Charter, is very surprising and highly questionable coming from an individual/federation claiming to belong to the Olympic Movement," Miró wrote in a letter, copied to the WTF and other NOCK members, seen by insidethegames.
"Indeed, this goes against the rules and dispute-resolution mechanisms clearly established in your NOC Constitution and in the electoral regulations drafted by the Electoral Board and accepted by all."
NOCK has been facing the threat of suspension from the IOC since Rio 2016.
They only passed constitutional changes requested by the IOC in March.
Former marathon world record holder and IOC member Paul Tergat will stand unopposed at the election to replace Keino.
The decision to bar both the KTA and the Kenyan Cycling Federation (KCF), also suspended because of a row over who is leading it, was taken by the Centre for Multiparty Democracy-Kenya, an independent organisation brought in by NOCK to oversee the election.
It meant that Stephen Kiptanui arap Soi and James Chacha were unable to be nominated for the roles of the deputy secretary general and deputy treasurer respectively.
Soi and Chacha are among four Kenyan officials facing charges of theft and embezzlement following the disappearance of cash and equipment meant to help Kenya's athletes prepare for Rio 2016.
Soi was the team's Chef de Mission.
Miró wrote that the High Court order was "also contrary to the generally accepted practice within the Olympic Movement" for resolving such disputes.
The IOC had supposedly mediated a solution to ensure that the KTA and KCF would be able to participate.
"As this satisfactory and fair solution (fully compliant with your NOC Constitution) was agreed upon between all concerned parties, there was absolutely no objective reason to initiate any recourse before any court," Miró wrote.
"Therefore, it would be interesting to know the real intentions behind this action, the regrettable consequence of which is to delay, once more, the completion of the process.
"Whatever the real motivations may be, this action is clearly a lack of respect for your NOC (and the jurisdiction of your NOC General Assembly), the roadmap agreed upon in September in Lausanne between your NOC, the Ministry of Sport and the IOC/Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, and the numerous calls from the IOC over the past few months to finalise this process.
"More importantly, this goes against the general interest of the Olympic and Sports Movement in Kenya and the athletes, which is to have this process (that has already suffered numerous delays) completed quickly and smoothly."
All payments of subsidies from the IOC to the NOCK will remain suspended until the IOC is "satisfied" that the whole process is "successfully completed".
The IOC also reserve the right to suspend the NOCK if there is no progress, although they have so far appeared reluctant to do this.
Miró concluded: "In view of all of the above, we hereby request that your NOC take immediate and appropriate steps to remedy this regrettable situation with all concerned parties and find a quick solution that will allow the meeting of the Elective General Assembly to resume, and the elections to be completed, as planned initially.
"As far as the specific situation of the Taekwondo Federation is concerned, we understand that, in addition to the above-mentioned legal action against your NOC and the Electoral Board, there is an internal dispute involving different 'groups' claiming to be the legitimate and legally established Taekwondo Federation in Kenya.
"In view of this, and as per the usual procedure in these circumstances, we are copying the WTF into this letter and kindly request that the WTF examine the situation as a whole and further investigate, clarify and confirm the real status of the Taekwondo Federation in Kenya and their office-bearers vis-à-vis the WTF."
Keino, President of NOCK since 1999, was ruled ineligible from standing after proving unable to find a National Federation to propose him.
AFC Leopards will undoubtedly have to work extra hard in match day twelve to turn around the bad results they have been registering in their last five matches. They face rivals Kakamega Homeboyz on Saturday 20 May 2017, at the Mumias Sports Complex from 15:00.
AFC Leopards have only picked two out of a possible fifteen points from their last five matches, an outcome that has not been taken well by their supporters. They hope to pick all three points in Mumias but it will not be a walk in the park, judging from their last visit there where they were thumped 4-1 by Homeboyz. They are currently placed eighth on the table standings and their previous form has seen coach Stewart Hall linked to an exit from the club, having been in charge for less than six months.
On the Premier League table, Kakamega Homeboyz follow Ingwe closely behind in tenth place. They have amassed fourteen points, one less than Leopards. They have recently been registering mixed results, picking a win, a draw and a loss in their last three league fixtures. They are however well known for upsetting `big’ teams and if Leopards are not cautious enough, they will be the next victims.
The two sides have met four times over the last three years, Homeboyz recording one win while Leopards boast of three victories. That is however the past and only Saturday’s performance will determine who goes home with the last smile.
Sofapaka are set to entertain Kariobangi Sharks on Saturday 20 May, 2017 at the Narok Stadium. This will be the first Kenyan Premier League match to be staged in this stadium.
The hosts will miss the services of Charles Okwemba, who was ruled out after developing abdominal pains earlier in the week. Also missing is forward Dennis Wafula. The two teams have never met in the top-tier league before, and both have posted an almost similar performance this season. Kariobangi Sharks is 5th on the table with nineteen points while Sofapaka trails closely behind with eighteen points, placing them in sixth place.
Kariobangi Sharks however have the most impressive run in recent matches, having won three of their last league games and are unbeaten in five. Sofapaka on the other hand bounced back from two consecutive losses to register a 1-0 win over Chemelil Sugar last weekend. The match kick off time is 15:00.
Squad 1. Mathias Kigonya (GK) 2. Juma Reuben (GK) 3. Edmond Kwanya 4. George Maelo 5. Ezekiel Okare 6. Johnson Bagoole 7. Mike Odour 8. Brian Dayo Magonya 9. James Kasibante 10. Samuel Mutiria 11. Jonathan Mugabi 12. Mohammed Kilume 13. Maurice Odipo 14. Salim Jaffari Gichuki 15. Wanok Pate 16. Charles Pilipili Melubo 17. Paul Odhiambo 18. Kennedy Odour
AFC Leopards head coach Stewart Hall is on his way out of the Club, Kenyanstar can confirm.
AFC Leopards head coach Stewart Hall will be leaving AFC Leopards SC less than four months in the season and less than a year after he took reigns at the Club.
Reliable source at the Club told Kenyanstar that the English coach is leaving the Club, a fact they have to content with even as the side seeks stability on the pitch.
Hall will be heading to Canada to join his family and will only see the side through the Kakamega Homeboyz and Tusker matches.
The Club has already settled on a replacement but our quest to get the details were futile after the source told us that he is someone vast with African leagues and they will be revealing who it is soon.
Stewart Hall had signed a two year contract with AFC Leopards late last year and had intimated that he was keen on building a lasting project at the Club and went on to restructure the playing unit to fit his philosophy.
The Kenyan Premier League together with other stakeholders in the sports industry have pleaded with the government to review the proposed 50% tax on the gaming industry as stipulated in the Finance Bill 2017, which is currently before Parliament.
In a Press Conference held at the Sarova Stanley Hotel, various heads of Sports bodies outlined the effects of implementation of the proposed Bill, while also giving their suggestions. Among those in attendance were Head of Operations at Extreme Sports Athanas Obala, Chief Executive Officer of Football Kenya Federation Robert Muthomi, Chief of Operations at Kenya Premier League Frank Okoth, Chief Executive Officer at the Kenya Rugby Union Richard Omwela among others.
``If the proposal is enacted, it will wipe off huge investments in infrastructure, marketing, sports sponsorships, investments and other effects,’’ said Muthomi. He also confirmed that FKF is engaging the government to find a lasting solution that will result in a win-win situation for both parties.
Frank Okoth echoed Muthomi’s sentiments, saying that it would cause a collapse in the league. ``It (the Bill) is going to mean total collapse in the league because clubs will have no money to pay their players. The league is less one sponsor and if the betting firms go, it is the players who will widely suffer and that is why we are pleading with the government to protect investors.’’
AFC Leopards Chairman Dan Mule was also in attendance, and urged for more discussions to try and find an amicable solution. ``As a club, we want to encourage more discussions to allow a better oversight and encourage local investors.’’
``We came together to plead with the government to reconsider the matter because it is going to negatively affect our community clubs which have benefited from sponsorships by these companies,’’ said Isaac Kones, who was representing Nakuru All Stars.
It is waited to see how the government will react to this huge statement from the sports bodies.
Kenya's Nicholas Bor was all set to defend his 2015 title and set a new course record at the 2016 Ottawa 10K, when an injury forced him to forego the race. But with just over two weeks to go before the 2017 Ottawa 10K on 27 May, Bor believes he is in the right form to do what he was hoping to do last year at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
"My body is responding well to training now, just like it was in 2015," said Bor. "Ottawa is a big race, being an IAAF gold label, and doing well there builds a good profile for my running career. It did that in 2015 when I won the race. My aim this time will still be what I wanted to do last year: to run a personal best time and if the weather conditions will be good, then I will also try to go for the course record."
Bor's 10K personal best time is 27:38, 14 seconds from the Ottawa 10K course record of 27:24 set by Deriba Merga in 2009.
It was a last minute decision to run the Hamburg marathon just two months before the Ottawa 10K last year that ended up sidelining Bor. Just 10 kilometres into the race, Bor started to feel discomfort in his feet. He pushed on with the leading pack, hoping the pain would subside, but it kept worsening until he had to pull out at around 25 kilometres.
"It was a very hard moment in my life having to miss races after all the hard training that I had done early in the year, but I am glad my management and family understood and encouraged me not to lose hope," he said.
"After having to drop out of the Hamburg Marathon, I still had some hope of recovering fast from my injury and making it to the Ottawa 10K race. I was beginning to feel better and other friends were even advising me that I should just go and see what happens in the race, but I did not want to take the risk and end up not finishing the race."
Bor thinks his injury might have resulted from trying to move up to the marathon distance too quickly since he had to change his training program to include more long runs and generally increased his weekly mileage. It was a learning experience for him.
"I won't be in any hurry again to run the marathon. Perhaps, I should first get used to pacing up to 30-35 kilometres first. That is how many other runners are transitioning successfully to the marathon distance," Bor said.
For now, Bor's main focus for this year is the Ottawa 10K and it will be exciting to watch him try and make up for what he missed last year.
Both the men's and women’s race records will be the targets at the fifth edition of the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Saturday (20).
The men’s field boasts four runners with personal bests faster than the race record of 1:01:01 that Elijah Tirop set in 2015. Of those one, Gilbert Masai, has sub-60 minute credentials. The 35-year-old has broken one hour on three occasions, most recently in Berlin on 2 April, winning in 59:17. His set his lifetime best of 59:31 in Copenhagen last September.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Shadrack Korir brings solid recent consistency to the west Bohemian spa town. He opened the year by landing on the doorstep of the 60-minute barrier, clocking 1:00:07 for seventh in Ras Al Khaimah in February. More recently he 1:01:17 in Yangzhou, finishing fifth.
Their compatriot Mark Korir is also expected in the mix for a top finish. With a 2:05:49 lifetime best from 2015 in the marathon --and more recently, a 2:06:05 run for third in Seoul-- the 32-year-old brings stronger credentials over the longer distance to the start line. But with a 1:00.48 personal best, he can't be ruled out.
Eritrea's Dawit Weldesilasie, 22, could also be a factor but he'll have to regain his form from two years ago when he produced his 1:00:26 best.
The women's record of 1:09:07 was set last year by Joyciline Jepkosgei in her international debut. Less than one year later, the 23-year-old Kenyan, who races on the RunCzech team, went on to become the first woman to crack the 65-minute barrier with her 1:04:52 performance in Prague. Jepkosgei broke four world records* in that historic run in the Czech capital on 1 April, smashing the 10km, 15km and 20km marks en route to her half marathon victory.
Organisers hope that Kenyans Mercy Kibarus and Yvonne Jelagat, who boast performances faster than Jepkosgei's 2016 run, can set out to make the race record assault a strong possibility.
Kibarus, 33, is the most experienced of the three. She owns a 1:08:18 lifetime best from 2013, finished a creditable fifth at the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon championships, and more recently, improved her marathon best to 2:26:52 in Seoul in March.
Yvone Jelagat, a relative newcomer on the international scene, made notable progress in the Prague race, where she clocked a lifetime best of 1:09:04 to finish seventh, with a 31:46 10km time en route, also a personal best.
In all, 4000 runners are expected to take part.
Pre-season Men's League favourites, Butali Sugar Warriors, will be seeking to cut the gap between them and leaders, Kenya Police, when they play two back to back matches this weekend at the City Park Stadium.
Butali's party begins on Friday 6pm when they play 12th placed USIU-A and will continue same time on Saturday when they play 6th placed Kenyatta University. Currently in 3rd place, Butali has so far won all their four league matches of the season and could leapfrog Green sharks to go second by Saturday evening should they collect maximum points from these two fixtures.
Butali goes to the weekend fixtures without two of their key players; Zack Aura, who will be away for three months due to work related issues and Emmanuel Simiyu who remains suspended by the Kenya Hockey Union on disciplinary grounds following a scuffle in a previous match when he was carded.
This could be a pinch of good news for their two opponents who have both struggled to find their footings. USIU-A are in 12th position having played four and won only one match so far this season. Kenyatta University on the other Hand are 5th on the table having played six matches and won just three so far this season.
In the meanwhile defending Champions and League leaders, Kenya Police, will seek to extend their 100% win record this season when they play Sikh Union on Sunday at the City Park Stadium. Police has played seven and won all of their league matches so far this season conceding only three goals along the way. 7th placed Sikh Union on the other side has played seven and won only two of their league matches.
In the women's league, 4th placed Chase Amira could go second on the league should they win on Sunday against 7th Placed Kenyatta University. Chase has played six league matches so far this season winning three of those and losing only one. 7th placed Kenyatta university on the other hand has played four, won only one and lost two league matches so far this season.
Premier League Men
Friday: USIU-A v Butali Sugar (6 p.m.)
Saturday: Strathmore University v Chase Sailors (4 p.m.), Butali Sugar v Kenyatta University (6 p.m.)
Sunday: Kenya Police v Sikh Union, Nairobi (1 p.m.), Green Sharks v Nakuru (3 p.m.)
Saturday: Multimedia University v Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (12 p.m.), Youngstars v Kabarak University (3 p.m., Kisumu), Mvita XI v Gorilla (4 p.m, Mombasa)
Sunday: Bay Club v Kabarak University (9 a.m., Kisumu), Park Road Tigers v Impala (11 a.m.)
Premier League Women
Saturday: Vikings v USIU-A (2 p.m.)
Sunday: Chase Amira v Kenyatta University (9 a.m.), USIU-A v Sliders (5 a.m.) -
AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia sponsorships are at risk following reports that their shirt sponsor Sportpesa plans to review their engagement with the two sides among them a possible termination of their sponsorships.
Kenyanstar has learnt that betting giants will reduce or withdraw their sponsorship with AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia if the government goes ahead to implement the 50% tax regulation.
During the 2017/18 budget presentation in March, the government proposed a sharp hike in taxation on betting, lottery and gambling from the current 7.5% to 50%. Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, two of the biggest clubs in Kenya, are now at risk of losing sponsors which might lead to very many problems including lack of payment of player wages, lack of transport and training facilities, losing players to other clubs among other things.
SportPesa has been sponsoring the two teams since 2016 and prior to that sponsorship, both clubs had no sponsors and were enduring a lot of difficulties.
SportPesa have in the past shown seriousness in their words, having suspended its sponsorship of Gor Mahia aqnd AFC Leopards in mid-last year due to hooliganism. After some time, they re-instated the sponsorship deals following a reduction in the vice.
Other sports bodies at risk include KPL and Rugby Union.
Fukuoka marathon silver medallist Patrick Makau is hopeful his early return to fitness will push him forward to stage a fast race at the Berlin Marathon in September. The Kenyan, whose last competitive race was in December in Japan, says he still has enough strength to chase the world title, reports Xinhua news agency.
Makua set a world record in Berlin in 2011, posting a time of 2:03:38, but has been helpless because of nagging injuries, as his mark has been shattered twice by compatriots Wilson Kipsang (2:03:02) and Dennis Kimetto (2:02:57).
However, commenting on Nike Corporation’s attempt to break the two-hour mark with a controlled race in Monza, Italy, Makau said it was not right to stage a race like that and marathon running is all about altitude and focus and that to win in a controlled event is not good.
Kipchoge, the Rio Olympics marathon champion, narrowly missed out the target of becoming the first man to run the marathon distance in under two hours with a time of 2:00:24.
Makau is not impressed and wants the Olympic champion to try and break the world record in a fast course like Berlin.
On his plans for the season, Makau was happy to be back fit and said he eyes to win in Berlin in another fast time.
Current Kenyan Premier League top scorer Stephen Waruru is back to the national team fold after being included in the 26-man list named by coach Stanley Okumbi to face Angola in an International friendly set for Sunday 4 June, 2017 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Waruru has so far scored six goals to place himself on the top of scorers chart and will be joined by teammate Daniel Waweru, who earned his maiden call-up to the national team. Other new players called to Harambee Stars are Tusker defender Marlon Tangauzi, who has displayed good performances this season and Wazito FC striker Joseph Waithera. The players are expected to report to camp on May 28.
Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers)
Bolton Omwenga (Kariobangi Sharks), Haron Shakava (Gor Mahia), Titus Achesa (Posta Rangers), Jockins Otieno Atudo (Posta Rangers), Mayeko Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Pascal Ogweno (Kariobangi Sharks), Robinson Mwangi Kamura (AFC Leopards), Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Wilkison Marlon Tangauzi (Tusker)
Ovella Ochieng (Kariobangi Sharks), Daniel Waweru (Ulinzi Stars), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Jackson Macharia (Tusker), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars), Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars), Victor Majid (Chemelil Sugar)
Boniface Muchiri (Sony Sugar), Daniel Mwaura (Mathare United), Joseph Waithera (Wazito FC), Masita Masuta (Nzoia Sugar), Masoud Musa (Kariobangi Sharks)
Germany head coach Kobus Potgieter has named a strong squad for a test match against Kenya on Saturday 26 May, 2017 in Nairobi. The team is a balanced combination of youth and experience, with the coach retaining a majority of players that participated in the recently concluded 2017 Rugby Europe Championships where Germany finished fifth overall.
Speaking to the Official German Rugby Union Website, Potgieter gave reasons for selecting such a strong side. ``We will travel to Nairobi with a strong squad because we know that Kenya is by no means an easy opponent. They are competing for a place in the World Cup, they have already defeated Spain and Portugal in the recent past...So we must be very well prepared if we want to survive.''
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