Kenyanstar Of The Week - Ambrose Rachier

Lawyer Ambrose Rachier has been Gor-Mahia football Club's chairman for  close to 10 years, since 2008 and was given fresh mandate by the 'Green Army' in December 2016 to steer Kenya's most successful football club for another four years a period he believes will be his last term at the helm of the club. During his 10 years at Gor-mahia, and in particularly the last six seasons, Rachier has won the League three times and finished second in the other three making him the Kenya Premier League Limited Chairman for three straight years and Vice Chairman for the other three. Rachier has also tried on two occasions to ascend to football's top most office in the country but both attempts were unsuccessful. Ambrose Rachier gave an Interview for the Kenyanstar of the week column incidentally on the morning he was slapped with a ban by FKF for 'bringing the game to disrepute' ...

KS: In Brief for those who do not know you, who is Ambrose Rachier? 

I'm a loyal Kenyan Citizen, 68 years old, a family man, a lawyer, Scholar, Teacher, Sports enthusiast, A fan of Gor-Mahia but most above all a leader... Of-course i tried my hand in politics but swore never to go back there after the lessons i learnt.    

KS: How long have you been in football administration?

Since i took over Gor-Mahia leadership in 2008

KS:  Let's talk about Gor-Mahia, You've been at the helm for a long time now, This is the 10th year i believe... Has it been a success story for you. 

Gor-Mahia has had tremendous improvement! I Insist Tremendous improvement under my chairmanship and i can outline various areas where these improvements are there for all to see.

 When i took over the club had just a handful of active fans and no funds at all. We now have a phenomenal return of the fans or what we like to call the green army and you can see, this in itself is a source of income for the club. We've also had a number of sponsors come on board since then, We've had Tuzo, Sportpesa and Crown Larger.  

I took over when the club was narrowly escaping relegation, Our performance on the field of play has since improved and in the last six years we have either won the league or unluckily finished second. One of these league wins has been unbeaten the entire season.

We have improved corporate governance and introduced structures, we now have a fully fledged secretariat with a CEO running the club and we now hold well organized elections. 

We have been steadily improving player welfare through better pay and simple things like a club bus to ease movement. We are also acting like a spring board, providing young players with opportunities to play in better leagues out of the country. You will remember George Odhiambo, Aucho, Olunga and most recently Erick Ouma. 

Last but probably very key is that i helped in founding and setting up of the Gor-Mahia Sacco which is very key to the Gor-Mahia Family. The Fans, players and even officials can save funds and access credit facilities via the Sacco.  

KS: Some people... most people agree and are happy with your record but they think you have steadied the ship and should allow someone else to sail it to harbor. 

Of-course Samuel I'll not be Gor-Mahia Chairman forever, this is probably my last term and i still have a lot to offer a lot to offer especially if i get the tranquility in the last four years...

KS: What do you have up your sleeve? Say a five year plan...? 

Three main things that need to be done... 

For starters we plan to develop an academy and run a very solid youth team. Our football will go nowhere without investment in academies.  There is no country in the world that has done well in football without investment in academies, even the much talked about Ghana National team they have been playing together from a very young age. The big players you hear about, the likes of Mesut Ozil and his Germany Teammates have been in academies from the age of five years.   

Secondly i plan to launch a Gor-Mahia stadium project... And this is not just a stadium but a soccer village that will also include a residential area for our players and staff. So a player signing for Gor-Mahia would mean that among other things they get a house for the entire duration of their contract. Infrastructure is another very important necessity in football and unless we invest in Infrastructure we are headed nowhere. 

Lastly i intended to put a lot of effort into player welfare at Gor-Mahia. Things like insurance cover should be include on the sign-up package for Gor-Mahia. Football is largely about the players so if we don't invest in them then we will have no football to enjoy. 

All these are achievable and i intend to go forth with them, they are not just pipe dreams. 

KS: When you say solid youth team, what does it mean with regard to what you currently have? The one that takes part in the KPL youth Tournament.  

That is an Ad-hoc youth team that we recruit mainly from the schools and largely on a need basis. Most of the other times they are on their own. I talk of a youth team that will be part of the club with a substantial budget to run it. This will also lower our cost of recruitment because it is expensive to recruit players. 

KS: Gor has done well locally over the past six years, twice near champions, then champions three times in a row, unlucky not to make it four but then, What is the secret? What ensures you stay at the top level? 

I think it's good leadership, and not just from me but most of the people elected into office with me over the last years have shown great leadership so credit to all of us and also to those who have been electing. 

KS: Having said that, Why isn't this performance not replicated in continental competitions? Fair to say not just by Gor-Mahia but by most Kenyan teams with few exemptions?

Thank you, that is a very important question and there are two reasons for it ... 

First is our calendar. We need to align our calendar with all other major leagues. The thing is when continental competitions begin, most other leagues have been ongoing and are probably halfway while for us we haven't even started, we are just getting off pre-season. our teams are therefore playing teams that have already jelled and worked out functional formations. While not impossible, it is very difficult to win against a team that is already in rhythm while you are only starting. 

Second, is lack of support from the federation. It is very expensive to compete in the continental competitions and support from the federation would go a long way. Federations in other countries support their clubs. 

KS: You have been KPL Chair for three years, Vice Chair for another two and this year is your third as Vice Chair. The other chairmen on the council must also appreciate the challenge our calendar poses with regards to continental competitions, why hasn't this been fixed once and for all?   

Because this is the responsibility of the federation. 

KS: Mr. Rachier, What challenges do you face as the Chairman of Gor-mahia? What challenges does Gor-Mahia as a club face  

There are three main challenges; 

For starters finances are still a major challenge as we try to implement our programs and still compete effectively. 

Secondly hooliganism is a big challenge for us in two ways. One because it endangers the lives players and peace loving fans and two because it hinders the growth of our fan base in terms of the actual fans who would like to come and support the team at the stadia. 

The third challenge is the tendency by our fans to try and micromanage people they have elected into office. This is a big drawback to our corporate governance practices. Our fans need to be educated and to understand that  when you give someone a job you have to allow them to do the judge them on the Results, Do not give someone a job and show them how to do it at every stage.... Why then did you give him or her the job in the first place? 

KS: You mention Hooliganism, who does the back stop with?   

The law enforcers. The police need to provide security, arrest the few hooligans masquerading as fans and have them pay with their time. Unfortunately even when these people are arrested they are allowed to walk the next day. The clubs don't own the stadium so it is difficult to task them with security.  

KS: Most clubs only fire a non performing coach. A coach who can't win trophies for them. Gor-Mahia has parted ways with a few title winning coaches, One who won it unbeaten .....

Samuel, the circumstances are different for all of them for those we have fired over the last few years. I can mention a few cases without names. One, sometimes back we fired simply because he wasn't performing, Another one we lost to the National team so there was very little we could do and another one we fired on grounds of indiscipline mainly because in Cohort with a few fans he held the club at ransom with outrageous demands contrary to our agreement and contract. These kind of acts undermine our corporate governance efforts and we had to act promptly. 

KS: In addition to not winning the league, does losing all three pre-season friendly matches so far pass as underperformance for Ze Maria? Should we expect to see him fired soon?       

No you can't fire a coach because he's lost in pre-season friendly matches. Nonetheless I have had an elaborate meeting with the coach and he explained all these losses. He is still getting to understand our new players. In the first match he had just jetted in and very little training had taken place, In the second match it wasn't about winning, he actually played all the 26 players in that single match and in the third match, the one against the Ugandan side like i said this is a team playing in an ongoing league while we are still in preseason. We have however set target for the coach and we can only judge him or take action based on these targets. 

KS: Is it a good or bad thing when Erick Ouma leaves Gor-Mahia for Georgia? 

While i wish Erick all the best at his new club i still believe that this move is ill advised. In my opinion the best for him would have been to stick around, even if not at Gor-Mahia then locally for another one or two seasons to assert his game and probably attract better opportunities. One problem with our football is that we have people calling themselves agents who are not even registered and they are miss-advising these young boys. Sometimes you engage a player and the moment you invite him to take his sign-on fee he arrives with a bunch of people claiming to be his agents. 

KS: Gor-Mahia has won the league three times in a row... We still see your matches with a stadium only quarter full, what will it take to have more people attending Gor Matches? 

 The main issues here are our calendar again and the hooliganism. We cannot ignore the fact that we are competing against elite leagues like the EPL, Bundesliga, Laliga and others. By the time our league starts all these league have gained momentum and it becomes very difficult to convince someone to forget about chelsea and come watch Gor-Mahia even if you get everything else right. It would be much fairer competition if our league started at the same time with all the others. And like i said with hooliganism still an issue then most would be fans would rather stay away from the stadium. 

KS: AFC Leopards Vs Gor Mahia, is this rivalry just a fans conception? As the chairman of Gor-Mahia does it give you more pleasure when you win against Leopards than when you win against any other team? 

Football cannot be sweet without a derby so yes there is a lot of Joy in winning against Leopards and a lot of sadness when they win against us. 

KS:  Talking of AFC Leopards, they are one of the biggest clubs in the country, why do you think they have been struggling in the past few years? 

I think it goes back to lack of tranquility and not allowing elected officials to do their job. Every fan cannot be the club chairman so we have to allow elected officials do their job and replace them when the right time comes.   

KS: Talk to us about you FKF Presidency bid. What did you want to achieve as FKF president that you couldn't achieve as KPL Chairman. 

To answer this you have to understand the different roles of the two organizations. KPL is only the league manager... 

KS: So what did you have in store as FKF President? 

A lot of things and i hope they can still be done. Unfortunately i'm past my sell-by date because i don't think i'll run again but  my agenda revolved around four issues; Development of youth football, Development of Infrastructure, development of women football and Transparency in management. 

KS: Has you being past your sell-by date has anything to do with the ban you've been slapped with? 

No it's  a personal decision i made after my second unsuccessful bid. The ban does not benefit our football in anyway. It is not about individuals, If you ban me today and someone else takes my position tomorrow he will find the same same issues on the table. So the correct thing to do as a leader is to have a discussion with all involved parties and solve outstanding issues. 

KS: So would these same issues be on the table today had you been elected president? 

Not necessarily because what we are seeing today is lack of leadership. It is important that we emulate best practice as it is done elsewhere globally. We need to be very clear in interpreting roles  of KPL and the federation and we need to respect existing agreements because we have been discussing these issues with the federation for some time now. So if i were the president i would offer leadership and will not engage in this discussions with a fixed mind.

KS: Why is CAF licensing an issue for some KPL clubs?  

It is not an issue. The issue is it's execution. The rules are very clear on what should happen to clubs that fail to obtain this license. There are sanctions, penalties but relegation is not one of them! Relegation and promotion should be purely on sporting merit so we have to question the integrity of some of these decisions. Why for instance should a club that hasn't played in the league for all these years suddenly being fronted for promotion at all costs immediately someone becomes president? 

KS: What are the arguments against an 18 team league?  

The federation is in no position to set the number of teams to play in the league, it needs to take advise from the league manager and when deciding who gets promoted and relegated it has to be on sporting merit and not political expediency. We are not opposed to an 18 team league but we have shared with the federation the impact of the expansion  starting with the additional 66 matches. 

KS: So what would be your message to the FKF President when he reads this? 

I plead with the all powerful leader of football in this country to rethink his decision. We are powerless and do not want to defy him. We also do not wish to engage in a fight with him. We are getting late for the commencement of the league and any further delays will make it difficult for us to have a successful season. The constant wrangles are not good for football. We need leadership from the top. As a leader, you cannot be crying foul always. What is the problem? Good leaders bring harmony and find solution to problems

KS: These issues around sports administration across all sports federations and organizations in Kenya seem familiar. What do you think is the major problem? 

Samuel, There is someone who is the overall in charge of the Industry and answerable to the president, what has been his input so far? ..

KS: What has been the impact of the sports act on our sports and football in particular? 

I think there has been no impact and i also think most people do not understand it. I think there should be a complete overhaul of the sports act and simplify it for the benefits of our sports organization. 

KS: Thank you for your time Mr. Rachier ... 

After weeks of uncertainty about his future with AFC Leopards, midfielder Allan Kateregga has finally completed a loan switch to Ugandan side KCCA until the end of the season.

Kateregga, who joined Leopards in 2016 on a one-year deal, made 13 appearances for the club this season clocking 873 minutes scoring 2 goals.

The Ugandan international fell out with head coach Robert Matano during his side's 1-0 loss to Bandari FC after he was withdrawn just minutes after being introduced as a substitute. The 23-year old then headed straight to Matano to question his substitution and sensing that the situation might turn ugly, reserve goalkeeper Ian Otieno stepped in to calm the situation.

``CLUB UPDATE: We have today completed a loan transfer for Allan Kateregga to join KCCA of Uganda until the end of season. We wish him well at his new club,'' announced Leopards on their official social media account. 

 

The Kenya Rugby Union and Samurai have extended their kit deal for another three years, from 2017 to 2020.

Kenya Rugby Union CEO, Ronald Bukusi said “We are pleased to extend this important relationship with Samurai who are not just a sponsor but a real partner of the Kenya Rugby Union.”

 “Samurai are delighted that Kenya Rugby Union have decided to extend their contract with us and can’t wait to bring new and exciting designs to this well-respected union,”commented Samurai’s Executive Director Terry Sands.

The Multisport Teamwear brand's first partnership with the Kenya 7's team was signed back in November 2012.

Four catch-up matches of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) will be played on Wednesday September 20 in different stadiums around the country.

Kariobangi Sharks vs Posta Rangers (Moi International Sports Center Kasarani, 15:00)

On-form debutants Kariobangi Sharks will be seeking an entry into the top three positions of the league table when they face Posta Rangers on Wednesday afternoon.

The match will pit two sides who have of late been recording contrasting results. Sharks are currently enjoying a five-match unbeaten run, having won three and drawn two. Rangers on the other hand have gone for seven matches without a single win, dropping to 7th place on the log with 37 points.

AFC Leopards vs Thika United (Thika Sub-County Stadium, 15:00)

 AFC Leopards entertain Thika United on Wednesday, with both sides on the lookout for better results than what they posted during the weekend. Leopards were held to a barren draw by Kakamega Homeboyz while Thika United shared spoils with leaders Gor Mahia for the second time this season.

Bandari vs Tusker FC (Mbaraki Sports Club, 15:00)

Fresh from disciplining Zoo Kericho 3-0 at the same venue, Bandari welcome defending champions Tusker FC hoping for similar results. They will however have to dig deep to overcome the Brewers who are currently on the up- rise with two consecutive victories. Both sides are following each other on the table, Tusker in position eight and Bandari at 9th.  

The Dockers recorded a 1-0 victory in the first leg meeting.

Muhoroni Youth vs Nakumatt FC (Muhoroni Sports Complex, 15:00)

Bottom-placed Muhoroni Youth will be eyeing an exit from the relegation spots when they host cash-strapped Nakumatt FC at the Muhoroni Sports Complex.

Both sides lost their respective games during the weekend, Muhoroni falling 3-1 to Nzoia United while Nakumatt lost 2-0 to Chemelil Sugar.

 

Sofapaka head coach Sam Ssimbwa has showered Kariobangi Sharks with praise after they held them to a barren draw on Saturday September 16 at the Kenyatta stadium.

Sofapaka were eager to reduce the gap between them and leaders Gor Mahia but unfortunately could not break the Sharks defense, settling for one point as they did in the first leg encounter.

Even as he praised Sharks' resiliency, Ssimbwa was not happy with losing two points but insisted that they will continue fighting as the title race is still far from over.

``Sharks are a good. They have talented players, at times tricky to beat, but the draw was not my wish because I wanted to reduce the gap between us and Gor Mahia. We created more chances in the second half but we were just unlucky. We still have nine matches to go. We have to continue fighting until the end. The title race is far from over,” said Ssimbwa.

Having not won in their last two matches, Sofapaka will be hungry for three points when they visit Kakamega Homeboyz on Saturday September 23, 2017. The 2009 league champions are currently second on the log with 42 points while Kakamega Homeboyz trail them closely behind with 39 points.

 

Zoo Kericho head coach Sammy Okoth has blamed Sunday's 3-0 loss to Bandari to hot weather and the absence of Nicholas Kipkirui. 

Fred Cosmas' first half brace and substitute Noah Abich's goal in the 91st minute secured the vital win for Nkata's men, which took Zoo's losing streak to three consecutive games.

Speaking after the match, Okoth said that the hot weather at the Mbaraki Stadium negatively affected his players. He also attributed the lack of goals to the absence of Nicholas Kipkirui. Kipkirui is the club's joint top scorer with seven goals and has also managed four assists.

 “We played in very hot weather and this affected my players .That is why we conceded two simple goals early in the match, and this forced the players to use even more energy as they struggled to correct the mistake. We were also missing one key player, Nicholas Kipkurui. Kipkurui is a playmaker who is also very good with dead balls, and his absence was really felt in the game.”

Zoo Kericho have only picked four points in their last seven fixtures, dropping to 14th place in the table standings as a result. They however have a chance to make amends when they face a high flying Nzoia United side in their next match.

 

Nzoia United head coach Bernard Mwalala has set his sight on Zoo Kericho after guiding his side to a 3-1 win over Muhoroni Youth on Sunday September 17 at the Sudi Stadium.

Luke Namanda capitalized on keeper Salim Sowedi's poor punch early on in the game to tap the ball home his third goal of the season. The goal scorer's time on the pitch was however forcefully cut short seven minutes after suffering an injury, with his spot being filled by Victor Omondi.

From the edge of the opponent's box, Lawrence Juma then doubled Nzoia's lead with a sublime free kick that not even Sowedi could stop. Muhoroni reduced the deficit in the 78th minute courtesy of Maxwell Onyango but substitute Victor Omondi  restored Nzoia's two goal-cushion three minutes to secure a 3-1 victory for the Millers.

Back to the drawing board

Despite the win, Mwalala says that his side did not play very well but got the win due to well-taken chances. He however stated that they will head back into the drawing board in readiness for their next match which is against Zoo Kericho.

“We may have won, but we did not play well. I am not sure if it is exhaustion after also playing on Wednesday but they looked quite lethargic. The good thing is that we made use of the chances we created but generally our performance wasn’t the best. I am, however, happy that we managed the three points. We shall now recover and re-strategize ahead of our next match against Zoo Kericho,” said Mwalala.

Nzoia are currently placed 6th on the log, joint in points with Ulinzi Stars and Posta Rangers who all have 37 points.

 

After sealing their place in the semifinals of the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championships with a 1-0 win over Swaziland on Monday September 18, Kenya will now face  hosts Zimbabwe in the semifinals of the competition.

Bandari FC head coach Paul Nkata has applauded his players for their seriousness and determination following Sunday's 3-0 victory over Zoo Kericho at the Mbaraki Stadium.

East African guest nation Kenya proved the big winners on the day as they thumped Mauritius 11-0 in their Group B clash at the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship at the Luveve Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday.

The result leaves Kenya top of the pool on goal-difference from Swaziland, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Mozambique, with those two sides to meet in their final match on Monday

Neddy Okoth was the hero again for the guests as she netted four goals to go with her hat-trick in Kenya’s 5-2 opener against Mozambique on Thursday, and now leads the scoring charts in the tournament with seven goals. Lucy Mukhwana and Jereko Adam were also on the scoresheet for the Kenyans as they grabbed a brace each.

Mozambique battled back for a point as Betinha struck late in their 2-2 draw with Swaziland, who had led twice via Celiwe Nkambule and Nqobile Dlamini. Lucia had also earlier netted for Mozambique, who have kept their hopes alive of finishing as one of the best placed runners-up.

Botswana also kept themselves in contention for a semifinal spot with a 3-0 victory over Lesotho.

All of their goals came in the opening 26 minutes through Boitumelo Gammu and Bonang Otlhagile (two) as the Lady Zebras picked up a first ever victory in the COSAFA Women’s Championship.

Sunday will see the conclusion of two pools as hosts Zimbabwe look to secure top spot in Group A when they take on Malawi (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT), who have been Jekyll and Hyde in this tournament both winning and losing by 6-3 scorelines in their last two games.

Malawi have it all to play for as a win could take them top of the pool if Zambia don’t win their final match against Madagascar at the same time. Zimbabwe and Zambia both have four points, while Malawi have three and the Malagasy zero.

In Group C, South Africa will hope to seal top spot when they take on Botswana at the Luveve Stadium (16h30 local; 14h30 GMT), but will also be wary of their opponents.   Namibia will be waiting for any slip-ups as they take on Lesotho at the same time, who are now out of contention for a place in the semifinals.

South Africa have a full haul of six points from their two games, while Namibia and Botswana have three and Lesotho none.

Only the top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals, along with the best-placed runner-up.

 

 SATURDAY’S RESULTS

All at Luveve Stadium

Kenya 11 (Adam 9’, 85’, Okoth 25?, 32?, 45?, 51’, Mukhwana 34?, 49’, Salano 54’, Nixon 79’, Rassoie 90og) Mauritius 0

Lesotho 0 Botswana 3 (Gammu 3’, Otlhagile 22?, 26’)

Mozambique 2 (Lucia 74’, Betinha 90’) Swaziland 2 (Nkambule 49’, Nq. Dlamini 75’)

SUNDAY’S FIXTURES

All at Barbourfields Stadium

Zambia vs Madagascar (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT) – Barbourfields Stadium

Zimbabwe vs Malawi (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT) – Luveve Stadium

Namibia vs Lesotho (16h30 local; 14h30 GMT) – Barbourfields Stadium

South Africa vs Botswana (16h30 local; 14h30 GMT) – Luveve Stadium

 

 GROUP A                    P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

Zimbabwe                 2          1          1          0          5          1          +4        4

Zambia                      2          1          1          0          7          4          +3        4

Malawi                      2          1          0          1          9          9          0          3

Madagascar              2          0          0          2          3          10        -7         0

GROUP B                    P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

Kenya                        2          2          0          0          16        2          +14      6

Swaziland                   2          1          1          0          5          2          +3        4

Mozambique               2          0          1          1          4          7          -3         1

Mauritius                    2          0          0          2          0          14        -14       0

GROUP C                    P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

South Africa                2          2          0          0          6          1          +5        6

Namibia                      2          1          0          1          5          3          +2        3

Botswana                    2          1          0          1          3          4          -1         3

Lesotho                       2          0          0          2          0          6          -6         0

 

 TOURNAMENT STATS

Matches Played: 12

Goals scored: 63

Biggest victory: Kenya 11 Mauritius 0 (Group B, September 16)

Most goals in a game: 11 – Kenya 11 Mauritius 0 (Group B, September 16)

The Spanish LaLiga continues this weekend, with a total of ten fixtures scheduled to be played between Friday September 15 and Monday September 18.

Below is a full list of fixtures (All times are local)

FRIDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER

Eibar 22:00 Leganés

SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER

Levante 14:00 Valencia

Getafe 75:15 Barcelona

Real Betis 19:30 Deportivo La Coruña

Atlético Madrid 21:45 Malaga

SUNDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER

Alavés 13:00 Villarreal

Girona 17:15 Sevilla

Las Palmas 19:30 Athletic Bilbao

Real Sociedad 21:45 Real Madrid

MONDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER

Espanyol 22:00 Celta Vigo

 

The Barclays Premier League continues this weekend with a total of ten fixtures line up from Friday September 15 to Sunday September 17.

On Friday, AFC Bournemouth will hunt for their first points this season when they host Brighton & Hove Albion from 22:00.

On Saturday, second placed Manchester City take a trip to Watford while Liverpool who lost 5-0 to City invite Burnley to Anfield.

Chelsea will seek revenge of Community Shield's defeat against Arsenal when the two sides clash at the Stamford Bridge from 15:00. Manchester United's unbeaten run will then be tested by a visiting Everton side at 17:00. 

Below is a full list of this weeken'd fixtures:

FRIDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER 

AFC Bournemouth 22:00 Brighton & Hove Albion

SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER

Crystal Palace 14:30 Southampton

Huddersfield Town 17:00 Leicester City

Liverpool 17:00 Burnley

Newcastle United 17:00 Stoke City

Watford 17:00 Manchester City

West Bromwich Albion 17:00 West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur 19:30 Swansea City

SUNDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER

Chelsea 15:30 Arsenal

Manchester United 17:00 Everton

 

The UEFA Champions League action resumes on Tuesday September 12, 2017 and eight matches are on the card across Europe.

In Group A, Benfica will open their campaign against CSKA Moscow at the Estádio da Luz while Manchester United make a comeback to the annual continental club football competition with a match against FC Basel at Old Trafford.

After taking the transfer market by storm,  Paris Saint Germain will seek to justify when they visit Celtic in a Group B match, with Bayern Munich hosting Anderlecht from 21:45.

The other big match will see last year's finalists Juventus lock horns with FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

Below are all Tuesday's fixtures:

GROUP A

Benfica 21:45 CSKA Moscow

Manchester United 21:45 FC Basel

GROUP B

Celtic 21:45 Paris Saint Germain

Bayern Munich 21:45 RSC Anderlecht

GROUP C

Chelsea 21:45 FK Qarabag

Roma 21:45 Atlético Madrid

GROUP D

Barcelona 21:45 Juventus

Olympiakos 21:45 Sporting Lisbon

 

Rayon Sports Club have confirmed that former Sofapaka and Amavubi goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana is no more. Unconfirmed reports claim that a heart attack on Tuesday September 12 at his home was the cause of his death.

Mutuyimana started professional football with Rwandese side Kiyovu Sport before joining Police Kibungo in 2011.The 26-year old then moved to Kenyan side Sofapaka in June 2014 where he played for three seasons. He later moved to Rayon SC, where he was the reserve goalkeeper until his demise.

Mutuyimana has also featured for the Rwanda national team, his most notable appearance being in a 5-1 loss to Tunisia in an International Friendly back in May 2012.

“As Rayon Sports officials, we want convey our message of condolences to all the club fans and family following the death of goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana this Tuesday morning.” his club posted on social media.

 

After one-week FIFA international break, the German Bundesliga resumes this weekend, with a total of nine matches scheduled to be played between Friday 8- Sunday 10 September.

Below are all fixtures (Times are in EAT)

Friday 8th September

Hamburger SV 21:30 RB Leipzig

Saturday 9th September 

Mainz 05 16:30 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Borussia Mönchengladbach 14:30 Eintracht Frankfurt

FC Augsburg 16:30 FC Köln

SC Freiburg 16:30 Borussia Dortmund

VfL Wolfsburg 16:30 Hannover 96

1899 Hoffenheim 19:30 Bayern Munich

Sunday 10th September 

Hertha BSC 16:30 Werder Bremen

FC Schalke 04 19:00 VfB Stuttgart

 

 

After a one week FIFA international break, the LaLiga resumes this weekend, with a total of ten fixtures scheduled to be played between Friday 8-Monday 11 September, 2017.

Below are the full fixtures (The time is EAT)

FRIDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER

Leganés 22:00 Getafe

SATURDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER

Real Madrid 14:00 Levante

Valencia 17:15 Atlético Madrid

Sevilla 19:30 Eibar

Barcelona 21:45 Espanyol

SUNDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER

Deportivo La Coruña 13:00 Real Sociedad

Athletic Bilbao 17:15 Girona

Celta Vigo 19:30 Alavés

Villarreal 21:45 Real Betis

MONDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER

Malaga 22:00 Las Palmas

 

After one week FIFA international break, the Barclays Premier League resumes this weekend with a total of ten matches scheduled to be played from 9-11 September.

Below are the full fixtures (All Times are in EAT)

Saturday September 9

14:30- Man City vs Liverpool

17:00- Arsenal vs AFC Bournemouth

17:00- Brighton vs West Brom

17:00- Everton vs Spurs

17:00- Leicester vs Chelsea

17:00- Southampton vs Watford

19:30- Stoke vs Man Utd

 

Sunday September 10

15:30- Burnley vs C Palace

18:00- Swansea vs Newcastle

 

Monday September 11

22:00- West Ham vs Huddersfield

 

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The gambling industry is growing rapidly in Kenya. We could be competing with the West African nations. Since last year, the country has witnessed over 10 bookmakers join the industry with each contesting for a piece of the pie.

Those who love him, love him with so much passion. Those who hate him, also do so with the same gusto. If a book on ‘The most hated footballers’ were ever to be written, several chapters would be dedicated to him.

Matatu culture is part of living in Nairobi City and the transport means used by all. Soccer fans use their own cars, buses and matatus for traveling to away matches.

Eric Ochieng' aka Cantona is one of most iconic soccer athletes to grace Kenya Premier League in the 1990s.

He is the Kenyan version of Portuguese super agent Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes. He is many things to many people, and recently added another feather to his cap by venturing into player and coaches representation. Starting off as a journalist, he grew through the ranks to become a Television producer, took the big risk and ventured into football administration, before jumping ship to start what has been a largely successful venture of talent management.

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

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has landed 0.75 billion shillings from FIFA in a grant that is aimed to make the federation set up and manage their inhouse media activities.

Kenyanstar has learnt from sources privy to the deal that the world governing body has agreed to hand the Federation a grant of USD 7.5M to set up their own media production for the league matches.

The news coming barely weeks after Supersport suspended their broadcast deal with Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and later on laying off staff earlier on this week, will be welcome to the soccer industry.

FKF president has been in the news saying how FKF and the KPL would be produced in-house and availed for free to air (FTA) TV channels.

To reduce pressure in starting up, our sources say, FKF will absorb the staff that were working for Supersport to do the production and there is likelihood they may buy the studio Supersport had set up in Nairobi.

A terrific dribbler with an eye for goal. His skills and potential on the pitch have always left fans ecstatic. His dazzling runs and fantastic crosses have raised his profile in the local scene. He slowly grew through the ranks both at club and national level. He recently added to the statistics of players who have made the bold move from AFC Leopards to bitter rivals Gor Mahia where he penned a long term contract. 

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.

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."

Rayon Sports Club have confirmed that former Sofapaka and Amavubi goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana is no more. Unconfirmed reports claim that a heart attack on Tuesday September 12 at his home was the cause of his death.

Mutuyimana started professional football with Rwandese side Kiyovu Sport before joining Police Kibungo in 2011.The 26-year old then moved to Kenyan side Sofapaka in June 2014 where he played for three seasons. He later moved to Rayon SC, where he was the reserve goalkeeper until his demise.

Mutuyimana has also featured for the Rwanda national team, his most notable appearance being in a 5-1 loss to Tunisia in an International Friendly back in May 2012.

“As Rayon Sports officials, we want convey our message of condolences to all the club fans and family following the death of goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana this Tuesday morning.” his club posted on social media.

 

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."

Africa champions Cameroon were thumped 4-0 in Tuesday's international friendly against Colombia only five days before their Confederations Cup opener.

The Indomitable Lions beat Egypt to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon earlier this year, but despite downing Morocco at the weekend, they were thoroughly outclassed by Jose Pekerman's side at Getafe's Coliseum Alfonso Perez Stadium

James Rodriguez opened the scoring with a fine effort from a narrow angle after 16 minutes when he beat Andre Onana with a thunderous effort, before Yerry Mina doubled the South Americans' lead 15 minutes later with a header. Mina added a second in the 52nd minute when he converted a fine delivery from Giovanni Moreno, but not before Spartak Trnava's Ndip Tambe had been sent off after tangling with Wilmar Barrios.

Substitute Jose Izquierdo completed the rout five minutes before time when he broke his international duck with a powerful strike.

The result adds to a troubled Confederations Cup build-up for Cameroon, who have lost first-choice left-back Ambroise Oyongo ahead of the tournament after he ruptured his patellar tendon against Morocco.

Similarly, FIFA has acknowledged the internal problems within the country's football administration, with some within the nation convinced that Tombi A Roko Sidiki's current regime has no authority to run the football federation.

Cameroon are competing in their first Confederations Cup since 2003, and have been drawn alongside Germany, Chile and Australia.