Korio And Cheptai Claim Kenyan Double At Bengalura 10KM

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.

KPL AllStars and Sevilla Atletico have released the starting lineups that will face each other in a friendly on Saturday July 22 at the El Mauli Stadium. Below are the starting lineups for both teams:

KPL AllStars Starting XI: M. Kigonya, W. Onguso, S. Mbugua, M. Mohammed, R. Kamura, V. Majid, P. Omoto, J. Macharia, V. Oburu, B. Muchiri, S. Onyango
Sevilla Atletico Starting XI: Ondoa, Carmona, Cristian, Álex Muñoz, Felipe, Fede S,  Aburjania, Boutobba, Curro, Lara, M. Gual

National Super League leaders Vihiga United bundled Kakamega Homeboyz out of the GoTV Shield with a 5-4 win on post-match penalties at the Mumias Sports Complex on Saturday 22 July, 2017.

Moments before halftime, Rashid Kyambade scored for Vihiga United to get them controlling the match as the two sides headed into the break.

Kakamega Homeboyz however leveled matters in the 80th minute courtesy of Michael Wanyika’s strike which stretched the match to penalties to decide which team will be progressing to the next round of the tournament.

Vihiga custodian Baranabas Tiema would then emerge as the hero of the match in the penalty stage after scoring a penalty and saving Andrew Kulecho’s spot kick to book a place for the NSL side in the quarters of the GoTV Shield Cup.

Sony Sugar vs Nzoia United

At the Awendo Green Stadium, Samuel Olare scored in the dying minutes of the game to send Nzoia United out of the annual tournament.
Nzoia however had their players to blame as Masita Masuta, Luke Namanda and Patrick Kwitonda wasted precious chances that would have otherwise changed the result of the match.

On their side, Sony squandered goal scoring opportunities through Marwa Chamberi, Victor Ademba, Yemi Mwana and Amos Asembeka. They nonetheless had the last laugh after defender Samuel Olare unleashed a superb shot from outside the box that went past keeper Katasi to send them through to the last eight.

A late penalty taken by Noah Abich proved the solid difference as Bandari progressed to the quarters of the GoTV Shield Cup at the expense of Nakumatt in a match played at the Mbaraki Stadium on Saturday July 22, 2017.

Bandari went ahead early in the game through Anthony Wambani who headed home Noah Abich’s wonderful free kick.

Defender Hassan Abdallah then doubled the Dockers lead in the 26th minute with a volley from the right flank which was miscalculated by Nakumatt keeper Wilson Obungu and ended up into the net.

The shoppers however managed to one pull back three minutes later through Kepha Aswani to take the scores to 2-1 before Okinda ensured an exact score line into halftime by denying Wambani with a save in the 40th minute.

In the second half, Boniface Akenga connected to a Robert Omunuk cross in the 56th minute to equalize for the visitors and take the match to a dreaded finish.

Nakumatt’s efforts to equalize though proved futile in the 90th minute, David Naftali accidentally handling a shot from Jacob Keli. Noah Abich stepped up and converted the spot kick that ensured the Dockers sail through to the last eight of the competition.

Bandari Starting XI: Obungu Wilson, Abdala Hassan, Duncan Otewa, Noah Abich, Felly Mulumba, Michael Luvutsi, Shaban Kenga, Athony Wambani, Kevin Omondi, Cosmas Lewis, Baron Oketch

Subs Joseph Okoth, Andrew Waiswa, Bernard Odhiambo, Logogo Wilberforce, Gitau Moses, Sisia Tyrone, Jacob Keli

Nakumatt Starting XI: Sammy Okinda, Nicholas Meja, John Njoroge, Ambulwa Eugene, Kennedy Onyango, Omondi Kelvin, Roanld Musana, Peter Nzuki, Kepha Aswani, Boniface Akenga, Robert Omunuk

 

Subs: Charles Ouma, Donald Mosoti, Wekesa Chris. Odula Chrispine, Gateri David, Joshua Oyoo, Naftali David

Tusker FC edged closer to defending the title they won in 2016 after thrashing second division side Butterfly FC 4-1 on Saturday July 22, 2017 at the Kinoru Stadium.

Former Mathare United defender David Mwangi opened Tusker’s account in the 20th minute with a beautiful header that was totally unstoppable by Butterfly’s goalkeeper.

Mieno took another header shortly afterwards but his effort could not find the target. Michael Khamati however doubled the lead for the Brewers in the 27th minute after putting the ball into the net to increase his team’s chances of progressing to the next round.

Butterfly reduced the deficit in the 33rd minute through a penalty awarded by the referee and the spot kick surely restored their hopes of eliminating Tusker as they started picking out precise passes in search of another goal to equal the scores.

They would however fall further behind in the 37th minute, Brian Osumba taking the scores to 3-1 in favour of the defending champions with a well taken shot.

Paul Odhiambo scored the fourth and final goal for Tusker at the hour mark from outside the 18-yard box to all but seal a place for his team in the last eight of the GoTV Shield Cup.

Tusker Starting XI: Duncan Ochieng, Collins Shivachi, David Mwangi, Marlon Tangauzi, James Situma, Hashim Sempala, Paul Odhiambo, Humphrey Mieno, Michael Khamati, Brian Osumba, Abdul Hassan

Subs: David Okello,Eugine Asike,Martin Kizza, Cercidy Okeyo, Anthony Ndolo, Clifford Alwanga, Stephen Owusu

Michael Khamati will be the man to lead Tusker's attack once again as George Nsimbe named his team to play minnows Butterfly FC on Saturday July 22 at the Kinoru Stadium.

The most notable absentee in the squad is Allan Wanga who has seen goals hard to come by this season. Duncan Ochieng gets his usual place at goal with Collins Shivachi, David Mwangi, Marlon Tangauzi and James Situma covering him in defense. Paul Odhiambo and Abdul Hassan will play in the flanks with Khamati leading the team in search of goals.

The team is also missing Jackson Macharia and Boniface Muvhiri who are away in Spain with the KPL AllStar team that is set to play Sevilla Atletico later on in the day.

Starting XI: Duncan Ochieng, Collins Shivachi, David Mwangi, Marlon Tangauzi, James Situma, Hashim Sempala, Paul Odhiambo, Humphrey Mieno, Michael Khamati, Brian Osumba, Abdul Hassan

Subs: David Okello,Eugine Asike,Martin Kizza, Cercidy Okeyo, Anthony Ndolo, Clifford Alwanga, Stephen Owusu

Bandari FC will on Saturday July 22 miss the services of two of their dependable strikers when they take on Nakumatt in GoTV Shield Cup Round of 16. The match will be staged at the Mbaraki Stadium from 15:00.

Mohamed Siraj is out of the Bandari Squad due to an injury while Darius Msagha is reportedly attending to urgent family matters. The two players have been key to the Dockers, having featured in almost all matches for them this season.

Despite the unavailability of the said players, Bandari will still eye a repeat of the 2015 finals in the competition where they beat Nakumatt to lift the trophy. In the previous round, Bandari advanced after seeing off the mighty Gor Mahia in a penalty shootout. Nakumatt on the other hand were penalty winners of Modern Coast Rangers.

Zimbabwe have named their squad to face the Kenya Simbas in a Rugby Africa Gold Cup set to be played on Saturday July 22, 2017. The clash which kicks off at 16:30 will be played at the Hartsfield Grounds in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

The Sables, who came agonizingly close to defeating Namibia, falling 26-31 in Windhoek, have in their ranks veteran lock Jacques Leitao, Fortunate Chipendo and their leading try scorer in this year’s competition, Takudzwa Kumadiro as they seek to erase the memories of last year’s 61-15 loss to the Simbas in Harare.

Zimbabwe Squad
 15. Lenience Tambwera, 14. Takudzwa Kumadiro, 13. Daniel Caspopoulous, 12. Gavin Nyawata, 11. Stephan Hunduza, 10. Tichafara Makwanya, 9. Hilton Mudariki, 1. Denford Mutamangira, 2.Tolerance Zishe, 3. Lawrence Cleminson, 4. Brian Nyaude, 5. Fortune Chipendo, 6. Jacques Leitao, 7. Connor Pritchard, 8. Njabulo Ndlovu Replacements 16. Royal Mwale, 17. Irvine Nduwa, 18. David Makanda, 19. Bisele Tshamala, 20. Takudzwa Mandiwaza, 21.Scotty Jones, 22. Ngoni Chibuwe, 23. Tadius Daznadiwanzira

The Kenya Simbas have released the squad that will face Zimbambe in their fourth Rugby Africa Gold Cup match at the Hartsfield Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday July 22,2017.

KCB's Jacob Ojee has been included in the starting lineup after being declared fit to play. There were concerns over his fitness when he was substituted the first half of last weekend’s clash against Senegal but has since recovered sufficiently to return to the team.

Bramwell Mayaka has also been reinstated into the team will cover the front row in place of Dennis Karani who is out of the squad due to academic commitments. 

Meanwhile, lock Oliver Mang’eni will link up with the side for the Namibia clash. Mang’eni missed the last two fixtures against Tunisia and Senegal due to personal and work commitments.

 

Simbas squad to face Zimbabwe

15.Tony Onyango(Menengai Cream Homeboyz), 14. Darwin Mukidza (KCB), 13. David Ambunya(SportPesa Quins), 12. Leo Seje(Resolution Impala Saracens), 11. Jacob Ojee(KCB), 10. Isaac Adimo(SportPesa Quins), 9. Samson Onsomu(Resolution Impala Saracens), 1. Moses Amusala(KCB), 2. Peter Karia(KCB), 3. Curtis Lilako(KCB), 4. Wilson Kopondo (SportPesa Quins,Captain), 5. Simon Muniafu(Resolution Impala Saracens), 6. Eric Kerre( Resolution Impala Saracens), 7. Davis Chenge (KCB), 8. Joshua Chisanga (Newcastle Falcons) Replacements 16. Philip Ikambili (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), 17. Oscar Simiyu (KCB), 18. Bramwell Mayaka (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), 19. George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), 20. Martin Owila (KCB), 21. Lyle Asiligwa (SportPesa Quins), 22. Kenny Andola (KCB), 23. Dennis Muhanji (SportPesa Quins). 

Management: Jerome Paarwater ( Head Coach), Dominique Habimana (Forwards Coach), Charles Ngovi (Backs Coach), Richard Ochieng’ (Strength & Conditioning Coach), Chris Makachia (Physio), Simiyu Wangila ( Team Manager).

 

Barcelona and Juventus kicked off their preseason in New York on Saturday. In a game that was meant to be filled with tension over Neymar's future, he lit the MetLife up in the first half with two goals and a wonderful performance that had Juventus frustrated and Barcelona delighted in equal measure.

The game was only 15 minutes old when Neymar had his first after good work involving Messi and Digne but it was all Neymar, really, as he drove past Buffon to give Valverde his first lead as a Barcelona coach. Just 11 minutes later, he topped his first goal when he skipped past no less than four Juventus defenders and drove another shot, to the other corner this time, beyond Buffon as he doubled Barcelona's lead and showed Barca's directors what they could be missing should he leave the club this summer.

He was turning on the style and Juve were not keen on being on the recieving end of a Neymar masterclass as they continued to pull him down any time he touched the ball, and even sometimes when he didn't. As half-time arrived, Barcelona were well in control of an opening 45 that saw them work extremely hard as they pressed Juventus relentlessly.

Both managers made numerous changes to their teams to start the second half but it wasn't until the 60th minutes when Cuadrado, Higuain, Sandro, Costa and Dybala were sprung from the bench that they had a fighting chance. Just three minutes after the change, Juventus had a breakthough. It came after Dybala won a corner after he forced Ortola into a wonderful save. Chiellini drove a header home from the corner and Juve had life in them yet.

It was as close as they would come to troubling Barcelona's lead, however, as Luis Suarez and Arda Turan teamed up on numerous occasions but failed to beat Szczesny in his debut for the Serie A champions. The game served as a good run-out for both teams as we will see massive improvement over the next couple of games as their preseasons kick into gear starting Saturday night in New Yor

Michy Batshuayi summed up Chelsea’s season intentions with a brace that inspired his team to a 3-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday in a pre-season clash in Beijing, China.

Before the match, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger had said that a game against Chelsea is never a friendly and the Blues took the pitch to prove him right, dominating everything over their London rivals.

Willian took Chelsea ahead in the 40th minute, driving towards the centre of the box and cutting back to his right foot before bending a fine low shot in off the right-hand post.

Batshuayi then opened his account two minutes later, curling a well-taken left-footed shot amid confused Arsenal defenders to double his team’s lead.

The Belgian international then completed his brace and sealed the win for Chelsea in the 48th minute after Marcos Alonso had left Chamberlain lying and cut the ball back to the striker who connected the ball with his first effort to put the ball past David Ospina.

Chelsea Starting XI:  Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro.

Arsenal Starting XI:  Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Mertesacker, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Bramall, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette

Several dignitaries of the CEF held a special meeting on Thursday July 20, 2017 to discuss and agree on several issues involving African football. This was in the just concluded African football symposium held in Rabat, Morocco.

Some of the attendees were CAF President Ahmad and the President of the Federation Royale Marocaine de Football, Fouzi Lekjaa. FIFA President Gianni Infantino was the chief guest at the two-day event.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick (like Lekjaa a Member of the CAF Executive Committee), Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, former NFF General Secretary Musa Amadu and Director of Communications Ademola Olajire were also in attendance.

Below are some of the key issues that were discussed and agreed upon by the CAF committee:

CAF African Football Symposium

The CAF Executive Committee, at its meeting on Thursday, 20 July 2017, in Rabat, Morocco, reviewed the resolutions of the various working groups of the 1st CAF African Football Symposium held from 18 -19 July 2017 at the Palais des Congrès in Skhirat, near Rabat.

The Committee advocated the establishment of a working group to work on the implementation of the resolutions and propose short, medium and long term implementation timetables. However, a consensus emerged on a number of issues raised by the working groups;

Working group 1: AFCON - Competition and specifications

Increasing the Africa Cup of Nations to 24 teams as of the 2019 edition, and the tournament will now be held in the months of June and July. The competition will however remain a biennial event (every two years), odd years and exclusively held on African soil with African national teams.

Working group 2: Inter-club competitions

It was agreed by the Committee to maintain the current format, but to proceed in the future to a change in timing for interclub competitions which are expected to start from August to May.

Working group 3: Football development (Coaching, Refereeing, Medical)

The principle of increasing the indemnities of referees was approved. 

The Committee expressed its determination to explore all scientific and medical solutions that could eradicate the phenomenon of age cheating, likewise a research that can help to determine the causes of sudden death among footballers, of which majority of the victims are of African origin.

Working group 4: Youth Football

The Committee decided to organize zonal qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations for the youth categories (U-17, U-20, U-23), with the flexibility offered to each zone to propose a formula. The committee also resolved to strengthen medical checks in determining the eligibility of players.

Working group 5: International Partnerships

The Committee recognizes the urgent need for improved relations between CAF, its member associations, Governments and the African Union.

Working group 6: Communication and Media

The Executive Committee was clearly in support of suggestions made for the improvement of CAF's communication tools on the digital platforms and social media, in particular the creation of a website in line with the standards of CAF. The Committee committed itself, with a view to strengthening the specifications of the competitions, taking into account the expectations of the media.

Working group 8: Football players, Roles and Perspectives

The Committee endorsed the principle of creating a framework for cooperation with legendary African footballers and their greater involvement in CAF activities.

II - COMPETITIONS.

Total CHAN Kenya 2018

A new inspection visit will be conducted at the end of August 2017 to assess progress following the June 2017 mission.

Total AFCON Cameroon 2019

Inspection will be conducted in early September.

Total U-23 AFCON

Zambia formally withdrew from the hosting of the 2019 edition. The committee called for the opening of bids for the selection of a new host country.

Beach-Soccer AFCON

The Committee decided to grant the 2018 edition to Egypt, the only country which expressed interest in the organization at the end of the deadline for the call for applications.

Interclub Competitions

The Committee noted the lifting of the suspension of Sudan by FIFA and indicated that the Sudanese clubs engaged in the Total CAF Champions League and Total CAF Confederation Cup are not disqualified, but in accordance with the regulations, are declared losers of the Day Six matches of the group stage.

As a result, Sudanese club, Hilal El Obeid is qualified for the quarterfinals of the Total CAF Confederation Cup.

 

Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced changes in the African Cup of Nations that will improve the nature of the competition. The changes were agreed upon during the just concluded African Football Symposium that was held in Rabat, Morocco.

One of the changes in AFCON is that the number of countries to participate from 2019 be increased to 24. This is up from the 16 that have been taking part in the competition since its inception.

CAF also changed the dates of the tournament and it will now be held in June and July instead of January. The change of dates will come as a huge relief especially to European teams who have from time immemorial complained of losing African players to the tournament in January when the leagues have gained full momentum. 

 

New acquisition Romelu Lukaku was the star of the night as Manchester United overpowered their noisy neighbours Manchester City 2-0 early Friday July 21, 2017. This was in the ongoing International Champions Cup (ICC) in Shanghai, China.

The powerful striker was involved in almost every moment of the match, running through City defenders and connecting beautifully with Marcus Rashford and Henrick Mkhitaryan.

The first chance of the match went to United as City’s new goalkeeper Ederson was forced to push Herrera’s powerful shot over the bar in the 3rd minute. Blind and Mkhitaryan then also had their shots blocked by the city goalkeeper who reacted superbly to United attacks.

Ederson would however go on to concede the first goal of the night in the 37th minute, Lukaku beating him to a through ball before finishing it from a tight angle to take the Reds ahead. Two minutes later, Mkhitaryan produced a wonderful run in midfield before playing in Rashford who fired into the left corner to double United’s lead.

Romel Lukaku almost notched a brace in the 78th minute after he had scored but the goal was disallowed for offside. The two goals in a span of two minutes in the first half had however sealed the win for Manchester United against their fierce rivals on foreign soil.

Manchester United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelöf, Smalling, Blind, Herrera, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Rashford, Lukaku

Manchester City XI: Ederson, Adarabioyo, Kompany, Fernandinho, Yaya Touré, Walker, Foden, De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Roberts

Juventus have officially signed Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for an initial fee in the region of  €12.2million. If certain clauses are met in his time with Juventus, the transfer fee could however rise to €15.3 Million.

Szczesny has agreed a four-year deal which will see him with the Sere A Champions until 2021 and the former Arsenal man is well pleased with joining the team.

"I'm delighted to be at Juventus. I've spoken to Gigi Buffon – a true legend of the game. When you join Juve, it's because you've been chosen. I didn't hesitate one moment before coming here and I'm ready to take on this challenge. Juventus is the best possible choice for my career. I'm 27 years old and I want to win. At this club there's the right mentality to do so," he told a news conference.

The Poland international joined Arsenal from Legia Warsaw and made 181 appearances for the Gunners before joining AS Roma on loan for two seasons.

 

Arsenal took three points after beating Bayern Munich on post-match penalties after a 1-1 draw on Wednesday July 19, 2017. This was in the ongoing ICC Cup in Shanghai, China.

Bayern Munich however dominated most of the match and played more experienced players compared to the Gunners who gave match time to almost all their young players.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Bayern in the 9th minute from the penalty spot after Maitland-Niles was adjudged to have bundled over Bernat in the box. Despite complaints from Arsenal players, the referee stuck to his decision and Lewandowski stepped up to send Petr Cech the wrong way to give Bayern the lead.

Arsenal would however equalize late in the game from a terrific counter attack, Ramsey clipping a perfect cross in for Iwobi to head into the far corner and make it 1-1 in the 93rd minute.

Arsenal then went on to win the penalties 3-2, Iwobi the man again to score the winning kick with Emiliano Martinez saving two spot kicks to hand Arsenal the win.

 

Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to inspire Borussia Dortmund to a 3-1 win over AC Milan on Tuesday July 18 in the International Champions Cup.

Nuri Sahin opened account for Dortmund in the 15th minute, driving a low shot into the left corner past Storari before Aubameyang made it 2-0 from the spot four minutes later. 

In the 23rd minute, Milan striker Carlos Bacca displayed an incredible solo moment, getting past a handful of Dortmund players from midfielders before beating Weidenfeller. In the 61st minute, Dortmund broke into a quick counter attack, with Pulisic being fed with the ball in the left flank before teeing up Aubameyang to tap the ball home and seal the win for the Bundesliga team.

BVB Statring XI: Weidenfeller, Zagadou, Bartra, Sokratis, Piszczek, Sahin, Castro, Rode, Aubameyang, Dembele, Pulisic.

AC Milan Starting XI: Storari; Abate, Paletta, Zapata, Rodriguez; Kessié, Mauri, Bonaventura; Borini, Bacca, Niang.

 

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Besides the magic on the pitch, critics have continually accused him of laziness and being a party animal. Is he? Kenyanstar sat with John ‘Softie’ Ndirangu and here is his story.

Kenyanstar: Thank you for your time. Tell us about your football journey so far.

John Ndirangu: I started playing competitive football at Nakuru AllStars when I was in form 2, by then the club was in playing in Nationwide League. I was with them all along, even when they got promoted in 2014 to the Kenya Premier League.  As a footballer, I have faced both difficult and easy times.

KS: Where did this nickname Softie come from?

JN: I rarely talk too much, and people say my face is soft. So, Softie.

KS: Please tell us about your time at Nakuru AllStars.

JN: It was a bit hard for me since there were the demands on the pitch and at the same time I was schooling. I had to carefully plan my time. However, sometimes it was difficult for me because I had to leave school for training and when I got back to class I was so tired and couldn't focus fully.  

KS: You made a name for yourself  while you were at Allstars. Tell us about your time playing there and your relationship with the players, coach, management etc.

JN: First, I would like to thank Robert Muthomi. He took me as his son, he took care of me,he used to advise me and  managed me well. I also thank everyone who coached me. During my time there, I learnt something from all coaches and this made me grow to who I am today. My teammates were also supportive, as football is a team sport and you support each other. 

KS: You would later join Bandari. However, you never stayed there for long...

JN: I would not wish to discuss about my time at Bandari. It was very difficult for me.

KS: What exactly affected you?

JN: Lack of play time.

KS: Well, you at one point joined Kariobangi Sharks. What necessitated the move?  

JN: After Bandari I went back to Nakuru Allstars to get my form back. However, at the end of the season the team got relegated and so we agreed with Robert Muthomi, the CEO,  that since I had already made my name and was still young, it wasn't proper to play in the lower tier. Therefore I joined Kariobangi Sharks. We agreed with President Nick Mwendwa that if the team won't get promoted to the top league he releases me and that's what happened when I joined AFC Leopards.

KS: Leopards - You joined the club, lots of expectations, but left. Kindly tell us about your time at Leopards.

JN: I enjoyed my time at Leopards and would like to thank the management and coaches. They believed in me and I wish them all the the best. In December, I was asked by Leopards to look for a suitable club where I would go on loan and I felt it was not good for me. Therefore I  asked them to just release me instead. As a team last season we were unlucky not to do well and meet the expectations but I personally think that I played my part and was very surprised when they suggested a loan move for me in the transfer window. 

KS: You have some serious football skills. Very good running, very good dribbles. What's the tactical secret for you?

JN: Apart from talent in me I do watch skillful players like Neymar, Ronaldinho and Cristiano and try apply what I see on the pitch. Besides, I also work very hard.  

KS: Harambee Stars: You have grown from U-23 to the senior team. Tell us about your time and experience so far at Stars

JN: Each and every coach has his style of coaching and the kind of players he wants. I think during Bob Williamson's time I was called several times to the national team. He liked my dribbling skills and speed and he would tell me to just do that in the pitch, since that is what made him like me and give me a call up.  

KS: We haven't seen you at the national team in recent days. Why?

JN: As I have said each and every coach has his style of coaching and kind of players he wants. However, while at AFC Leopards I earned a call up.  

KS: You made what many call a 'daring move' by switching from Leopards to Gor. Do you feel it was a daring move or just any other normal transfer?

JN: I believe if you have talent and you work hard everything is possible. Talent can never be hidden. Kama unajua unajua. For me I see it as a normal move. My time will come and I'll shine.

KS: Gor Mahia - How is life there. What are your targets/goals?

JN: I am enjoying life at Gor. They do things professionally and think that's what differentiates Gor with other clubs. My target is to play as many games and help the team lift the title and in future I go to Europe. 

KS: You have been accused of the following: Missing training at times intentionally, partying a little too much and alcoholism. Your response?

JN: In life you must have friends and enemies and for you to make in life you must have enemies. All these stories came up when I was at Leopards. When Ivan Minnaert left a Luhya coach took over and he only wanted Luhya players. Therefore, Ian otieno and  I decided to stay at home because no matter how hard we worked in training, we weren't being considered.  On the issue of alcohol, I even cannot tell how it tastes. Yes, I used to go to clubs and watch football while drinking Delmonte juice.  

KS: Any closing words? 

JN: I just want to thank God for the gift of life and talent. I also want to tell my fans that they should  not lose hope in me. I know they believe in me and I won't fail them. 

KS: Thanks for your time Softie!

 

READ: John 'Softie' Ndirangu: Major Transfer Or Forced Out? 

Following the news that Serena Williams was two months pregnant when she won the Grand Slam, Rev. Fred Nile MP, has called for the world champion to be stripped of the title, claiming “foetal personhood” means she was unfairly advantaged.

“She was playing doubles in a singles tournament!” Nile screamed at the ‘Day of the Unborn Child’ protest.

“I believe that ‘life at conception’ should be the law, and that clearly means two people won the Grand Slam,” said Nile, who is both an avid fan of professional tennis and aggressively campaigning to legislate how people use their uterus.

“That’s clearly against the rules!”

However, feminists argue Nile’s view that pregnancy is a sporting advantage shows ignorance to the realities facing those who are pregnant.

“Serena Williams was in control of her own body during the Grand Slam tournament, and as such has the right to her title, and the right, always, to bodily autonomy”, said Immy Grantson, an outspoken activist campaigning for progress on women’s issues.

“Williams, like all people, has the right to choose what she does with her body: whether that be powerful backhands, and/or be pregnant”, said Grantson.

This comes at a crucial time in New South Wales legislation. Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi’s End12 Campaign hopes to make it legal for world class athletes to choose whether or not they are pregnant.

When asked for comment by The Garter Press, Venus Williams, who lost to Serena Williams under the now contentious circumstances, said she was “excited to be an aunt”.

Tanzanian government have informed SportPesa Limited that they also want to see a Tanzanian team play against Everton on July 12 at the National Stadium. Gor Mahia are the ones with the opportunity after winning the SportPesa Super Cup finals.

Director of Sports Development in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Yusuph Singo confirmed that they have asked the betting firm to organize a friendly match between Everton and one of Tanzania's bigwigs.

``We have asked them (SportPesa) to organse a special friendly match between Yanga and Simba later this month,'' said Singo.

``If all goes well, the winner of the match will confront Everton at the National Stadium. I am sure many local soccer fans would like to see the English Premier League team face one of the top teams in the country,'' he added.

 

Former Inter Milan midfielder McDonald Mariga has come out to praise the Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino for the key role he has paid in developing the career of his brother Victor Wanyama.  

The Kenyan International skipper has been a vital part of the Spurs midfield, prove of just how much Pochettino trusts Wanyama. Big Vic first played under the Argentine gaffer at Southampton and were later reunited at Tottenham last summer.

“He (Wanyama) said Pochettino is the coach who has made him. He’s the one who, when Victor came to Southampton, he taught him what to do and how to play, all the things. He’s the one who taught him everything and made even more qualities for Victor. He gave him exposure and confidence. If you don’t have confidence from the coach, you cannot perform well. He’s helped him a lot,” Mariga told ESPN.

Pochettino’s favorite 3-4-2-1 formation has suited Wanyama perfectly as he provides cover to the wing backs when they move forward to attack, something that has put Wanyama in favor with both the manager and the Spurs supporters.

The midfielder will be expected to take his spot back in the starting XI for the FA Cup semi-final meeting with Chelsea at Wembley this Saturday evening after a minor injury.

As the title race stiffens and Spurs still on track for the cup glory, Wanyama may just be the rock Tottenham needs to win the first trophy in over years.

Everton are considering a pre-season friendly in Tanzania as part of their expected new sponsorship deal with SportPesa.

Drogba had been without a club since leaving MLS outfit Montreal Impact in November, after rejecting a move to Brazilian giants Corinthians in February.

However, the 39-year-old Ivorian striker has finally found a home in Phoenix, where he will also be part of their "MLS expansion franchise ownership group."

Phoenix are in their fourth season in the USL, 12th in the Western Conference with one win after three games.

"I have taken my time in deciding what I wanted to do next and am really excited about the opportunity at Phoenix Rising FC," said Drogba.

"After seeing firsthand the potential for expansion of the sport in North America and getting to know the ownership group in Phoenix, I am convinced that I can help them develop their organization on and off the pitch.

"I look forward to their continued success in the USL, and no city is better positioned than Phoenix for expansion into the MLS."

Drogba - a two-time African Footballer of the Year – scored 23 goals in 41 competitive appearances for the Impact, having won four Premier League titles and the Champions League among other trophies with Chelsea.

"We want our club and our city to be synonymous with international excellence, and Didier Drogba is a testament to Phoenix Rising FC's commitment to that mission,” said Phoenix Rising club governor Berke Bakay.

"Soccer is an international language understood by sports fans all over the world, and we want to help inspire fluency among new fans everywhere we play throughout North America."

Work has been completed on the first proposed venue for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar - the Khalifa International Stadium. More than five years before the tournament kicks off, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has confirmed extensive renovations on the 40,000-seater venue are now finished.

The renovations include the installation of revolutionary cooling technology promised during Qatar's successful bid, which will keep the pitch at an optimum 26 degrees and the stands somewhere between 24 and 28 degrees.

SC secretary general H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi said: "The completion of our first stadium more than five years before the Qatar World Cup begins is an important milestone that reflects our determination to deliver a tournament the entire Arab world is proud to be a part of.

"As we promised in our bid, our innovative stadiums offer an unrivalled experience to fans and players alike. I'm proud we can show these off to the world and welcome fans with the hospitality this World Cup will be remembered for."

The stadium, originally constructed in 1976, will first host the 2017 Emir Cup final on Friday and will also be the venue for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Qatar Football Association (QFA) president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani added: "Khalifa International Stadium is close to Qatari hearts and has seen some of Qatar's biggest sporting occasions over the years since it was first launched in 1976.

"It is therefore a fitting venue for the biggest match of Qatar's football calendar, the 2017 Emir Cup final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd, and we look forward to welcoming fans into the magnificent remodelled stadium on Friday evening."

Former Tottenham striker Souleymane Coulibaly has accused the Egyptian club of treating him “like a slave” and “traumatising” his family.

Coulibaly joined Spurs in 2011 from Siena for £1.5m but failed to make any senior appearances.

He has played for Grossto, Bari Fc, Pistoiese, Peterborough United, Newport County and later Kilmarnock where he left in January to agree a three-and-a-half year deal with Al Alhy. He later returned to England without the club’s permission, prompting the Egyptian Premier League champions to lodge a complaint with FIFA.

The 22-year-old Ivorian has now claimed his actions were because of mistreatment while in Egypt, saying his family has been left “traumatised” by the experience.
Coulibaly added that Al Ahly had confiscated his passport which prompted him and his family to “flee” back to England at the first possible opportunity, and that he is willing to accept a ban from FIFA for his actions.

He said in a statement: “I’m not crazy, I left for a reason. I’m very sorry but I could not stay in that team anymore. My passport was held hostage. I was forced to do what I was told, for example bow down and pray every time I scored. I did not feel comfortable in the team and environment. I have tried my hardest for five months but I have reached my limit.

The team wasn’t welcoming. They never passed the ball so I had to fight and struggle in order to score. The coach forced me to play how he wanted me to play. I can’t play being forced to follow orders. If I didn’t obey the orders I was taken to the office and yelled at. My wife and kids are traumatised. My family is Christian and didn’t feel comfortable practicing their religion in the country.

I’ve been playing and working hard since I started without the right to a break. I left without saying because I had to flee the first chance I had a hold of my passport. They treated me like a slave all because of money. If FIFA are going to ban me I am willing and ready to accept the ban. My peace of mind and safety are what are most important to me.”

Al Ahly president Mahmoud Taher has since denied Coulibaly’s statement. Taher believes that Coulibaly’s accusation comes in response to Al Ahly’s complaint to FIFA and insists the club will not back down.

The club president’s statement read: “We deny all of Coulibaly’s allegations. What he claims never happened and he was never mistreated or abused by the club’s coach or players. Logically, if he was being abused he should have immediately spoken about this as soon as he left us, not after we filed a complaint to FIFA.

Al Ahly will not be blackmailed and will not back down until Coulibaly pays for what he did. This is a false accusation and a lie. He thinks that by saying this we will withdraw our complaint and back down but Al Ahly will not be blackmailed.”

Wilfried Zaha has rejected Gareth Southgate’s suggestion that he had imposed a timescale to be selected again by England, effectively holding the national team to ransom, and has defended his right to instead represent the country of his birth, Ivory Coast.

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