Kenyan Star of The Week - Mathews 'Ottomax' Owino

As Ken Odero asks on his blog,  Was Mathew Ottamax’s career a case of bloated ego, unfulfilled potential or was he just misunderstood? The story of Mathew Ottomax is about a man who played for the 2 biggest clubs in Kenya, won a league title with each of them,  played for the national team and left at his peak.' Mathews Owino ‘Ottamax’, who is currently a goalkeeper trainer, is our Kenyanstar of the week. 

KS: Mathews to start us off, to which club do you swear your allegiance between the two Kenyan giants Gor-Mahia and AFC leopards? 

Well first of all it is important to state that I'm currently a goalkeeper trainer at Nakumatt FC even though we are yet to formalize this engagement. That having been said, Nakumatt played Leopards in a friendly match the other day and it was evident from the reception i got that the leopards still have a lot of love for me. This feeling is mutual because tribal factors aside, even my friends at Gor-Mahia know i have always had AFC at heart so yes, AFC Leopards it is. 

KS: How easy  or difficult was it to make the switch from Gor-Mahia to AFC leopards?  

I wouldn't say it was a difficult decision because at the time there were wrangles at Gor-Mahia and when Leopards came knocking even my core support agreed that for the sake of my career I'd be much better off at The Den. 

KS: Tell us how your story began, and how you rose to these heights? 

How i started was more accidental. I had been sent to the shops by my mum so on my way back i found two teams just about to start playing football. One of the teams didn't have a goalkeeper so they asked me to hold brief for them in goal. I was going to decline but they went ahead to take my 'slippers' and use them as makeshift goal posts.  So then it seemed reasonable to me that being the temporary goalkeeper would also be an opportunity for me to guard my slippers so no one would steal them. That was the beginning. 

KS: So you became a goalkeeper for this team...

I enjoyed the match that day and hence forth I would make a point to go play in the goal whenever there was one of those matches in the neighborhood. I thought it was a good break from spending most of my time in the house. I joined MYSA in its early years of foundation and I developed well through the ranks. I even had a chance to represent Kenya at the Under 14 level but missed as the match would be played when we were travelling with MYSA to our first Norway Cup. 

KS: When was your big break?  

Joining Re-Union 

KS: How did it happen? 

I was in high school, in form one and i had trouble paying my school fees so i was sent home. I opted to pass time by joining the Re-Union training Camp. At that time Peter Kenneth was the Chairman. He came to me and asked why i wasn't in school and i explained. He asked me who pays my school fees and i told him it was my mum.  He then took up my school fees from then till when i finished schooling. In return i would play for Re-Union. 

KS: Did playing opportunities come at Re-Union? 

It looked like i would have to wait for a long time. The first choice goalkeeper for Re-Union then was the legendary Mohamud Abbas who also doubled as the team manager. His number two in goal was one Charles Bushira.  But there was this one time senior players went on strike due to unpaid allowances so the team officials had to quickly assemble a team that would honor the weekend matches. Like many of the players for that weekend, i was picked up in school on Thursday and told i would be playing over the weekend. Those days we played two matches every weekend. I soaked in six goals in my first two matches for Re-Union that weekend. We played Bata Bullets on Saturday and lost 3-2, on Sunday we played AFC Leopards and lost 3-0. But from then on we stabilized and that is how i started playing regular football. 

KS: Mathews, you were in the AFC Leopards team that last won the league in 1998. What do you think Leopards need to do to bring back their glory days? 

I think they need to cut down on politics or probably get one strong leader. Our days we had one Peter Onalo who ran the club with an iron fist. Over the past few seasons including 2016, AFC leopards have been assembling some of the best squads in the league but the politics at the club does not give them a chance to compete on the pitch.  

KS: What is the difference between your days and now? 

Of course there was a bit of stability, but the biggest difference is the money factor. During our days there wasn't a lot of money. 

KS: Let us talk about Kenya vs Djibouti...  

I saw this coming...

KS: Kenya won the tie 9-1 on aggregate. But that one goal, did you intentionally allow it to go in? 

No, it was just a combination of genuine mistake and bad luck. We dominated Djibouti and as a way of keeping me in the game the defenders kept playing back passes to me. The goal moment was bad luck and a miss kick because my shoe got a bit held by the tall grass at the stadium. 

KS: Who is that one striker that always gave you sleepless nights during your playing days? 

Allow me to name several please. There is Nick Yakhama, The late Steve Okumu and Elkana Swaka

KS: Which do you consider your most memorable match?

When we played Nigeria Under-23. Most Kenyans didn't watch that match. It ended in a goalless draw and i was named man of the match. I think I was the first and among very few Kenyan goalkeepers who have gone to Nigeria and Kept a clean sheet. 

KS:  What do you make of the current status of football in Kenya? 

It is in shambles. See we don't even know when the league will kick off. I think football administrators have no consideration of players who are a key component of the game. 

KS: Compared to your playing days do you think we are making progress? 

Yes! There is progress. We have seen some of our top players play for top European clubs and this is something that will open doors for other Kenyans. We also saw the other day KPL players get some exposure in a match against Hull City FC courtesy of Sportpesa and yes there is increasing inflow of corporates sponsoring football in various categories. All this i think is progress. 

KS: Tell us about your time at Gor-Mahia as Goalkeeper trainer. 

Basically i joined Gor-Mahia technical bench at around the same time Frank Nuttal was hired. I understand, or was made to believe that the club was going through some financial difficulties at this time and there was a lot of pressure on us to deliver, and we did deliver including winning the league in 2015 unbeaten. Coincidentally, that same year I went the entire season with no pay. Once in a while i would be given small amounts of money and requested to be understanding since the club had no money. Lastly it is important to say that i didn't leave Gor-Mahia, I was forced out. I was told the coach had said he didn't want to work with me. 

KS: How could you work with no pay? Was it just you or all other members of the technical bench? 

Mostly me and the assistant coach. I think our services were abused and not appreciated but personally for me i do this for the love of the game and for the players I train.   

KS: Because of careful management of their image rights sports people earn from product endorsements during and long after their playing time. How have you faired in this regard? 

I got endorsements with Guinness beer in my playing days and I’m glad to say this has been picking up in the industry for instance we have the case of Oliech and Betways. 

KS:  Who do you think are the top three Kenyan goalkeepers currently? 

Arnold Origi, Boniface Oluoch and Patrick Matasi in that order. I particularly think Origi has been very disciplined and hard working. 

KS:  Some people say you are arrogant with a bloated ego. Do you feel the same way about yourself? 

My character is that I'm always myself and I'm not a Yes man. It lands me in trouble a lot of times but i don't shy away from airing my views. 

KS: Your social media outbursts, aren't they doing some harm to your image? 

Probably yes but i do not intend to stop. It is who I am. If i feel pinched i need to find a way to say I have been pinched and with technology, social media is one of those avenues. 

KS: There have been accusations that you have a drinking problem... 

The accusations have been that i go to training drunk which i can tell you today it's not possible. I respect my job and sometimes i leave the house at 5am to arrive at the training ground on time especially the days we start off at 8. Those are rumors maliciously spread by my detractors. I'm an adult and yes i indulge but responsibly, mostly after the training sessions. 

KS: What was your Relationship with coach Ze Maria?

Largely we had a good relationship save for a few instances which is normal. Ze-maria is a very good coach and i respect him but he is the one with a bad ego compared to what they say i have. In my opinion he does not respect Kenyans football wise.   

KS: Tell us about the 2010 derby match that you tried to stop...

What happened at that match was very unfortunate. I wasn't trying to stop it in bad faith, I was just trying to get some attention from everyone to what really mattered; people's lives. That was the first floodlight derby match if I'm not wrong and it had rained the entire afternoon. People had over indulged. I had come with my family and i pre-warned them the scenes weren't so good.  The match had just started when i gained entry into the stadium via the VIP area but i could see fans struggling at the first terrace gate, others being stumbled on. It looked really bad. I tried to bring it to the attention of the police officers but they didn't seem bothered. I requested the Gor-Mahia bus driver to ferry some of those fans to hospital but he said he would need permission from his employers. I approached Carol Radul but i saw she was on set so there was little i could do. In that moment Gor-Mahia had been awarded a free kick so i decided i would go have the referee stop the match until the victims of the stampede had been taken care of.  I was already on the pitch but before the referee could spot me the stewards were all over me with blows. It was a sad day. 

KS: Why don't we have more Kenyan goalkeepers going to play professional say in Europe?    

I think we do not believe in ourselves then we find an excuse in form of the perception that European clubs do not sign African goalkeepers but look at Idrissa Kameni (from Cameroon) and tell me if that is true. 

KS: Did you ever get a chance to play in Europe yourself? 

Yes i had an invitation to play in Sweden but had a hitch in my Visa application process so it did not materialize. 

KS: Why did you leave the Harambee Stars technical bench? 

What i saw at Harambee Stars was very disheartening. It wasn't good for football. Football is much more than what I saw in the national team. Mental preparedness and facilities are very key if we are to be competitive in our football. 

KS: What is your parting shot to your fans and readers of Kenyanstar? 

I just want to thank them for staying true to the game and always supporting the players and teams in general. 

 

* - The Interview was conducted a few days before the release of KPL 2017 season fixtures. The fixtures are now out and we know the first matches will be played on the 11th of March.  

 

An underwhelming second half summarized KPL AllStars’ huge 4-0 loss to LaLiga 123 side Cordoba CF on Wednesday July 19, 2017 at the El Mauli Stadium in Spain.

Kenyans will now have the ease of watching the KPL Allstars match from the comfort of their homes after team sponsors SportPesa confirmed that the match will be aired live on Bamba Sports. KBC, K24 and SuperSport will also be airing the match live.

The KPL AllStar select team is set to take on  Spanish side Cordoba CF who play in the second division LaLiga 123 on Wednseday July 19, 2017. The match will be played at 10:00pm Kenyan time at the Estadio El Mauli in Antequera City, Spain.

The Kenyan team will be seeking good results that will motivate them in preparing for their second match which will be against Sevilla Atletico on Saturday July 22.

 

Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi who also doubles up as the KPL AllStars coach has named the starting lineup that will face Cordoba CF on Wednesday July 19, 2017. The match is a friendly and is set to kick off at 22:00 Kenyan time.

A team of 30 students from different schools have been selected to represent the country in the East Africa Secondary School Games in the swimming category. This year's edition of the regional games are set to be held in Gulu, Uganda from August 14 to August 27.

Agah Khan Academy is the school that is most represented with five swimmers followed by Oshwal and Jaffery Academies who both have two. 

BOYS

NAME SCHOOL COUNTY

1. Emmanuel Ndonga Agah Khan Accademy Nairobi 

2. Atuhare Ambala Agah Khan Academy Nairobi 

3. SmitMalde Oshwal Academy Nairobi 

4. Andrew Wamarema Strathmore Nairobi 

5. Kevin Adede Makini Nairobi 

6. Kunyiha Kirundi Agah Khan Academy Nairobi 

7. Nabil Shikely Jaffery Academy Mombasa 

8. Rushabh Shah Oshwal Academy Mombasa 

9. Abdalla H. Mazrui Agah khan High Mombasa

10. Jono Opande Braeburn Kisumu 

11. Joseph Okal Kisumu Academy Kisumu 

12. Adrian Ngweno Laiser Hill Kajiado 

13. Nigel Amos Akala Brookhouse Nairobi 

14. Larson Agade Kamusinga Bungoma 

15. Osama Mohamoud Serani Mombasa

GIRLS

NAME SCHOOL COUNTY 

1. Hadassa Gichovi Loreto Valley Road Nairobi 

2. Joy Ndonga Rusinga School Nairobi 

3. Samantha Hawala Loreto Valley Road Nairobi 

4. Kemunto Ongera Agah Khan Academy Nairobi 

5. Aisha Nasser Agah Khan Academy Nairobi 

6. Alexandra Kranck Hillcrest Nairobi

7. Tatyana Kiruthi Brookhouse Nairobi 

8. Tanam Mohata Hillcrest Nairobi

9. Nabiha Shikely Jaffery Mombasa 

10. Nikita Kassandra Juja Academy Kiambu 

11. Michelle Osiro Alliance High Kiambu 

12. Stephanie Machuka Limuru Girls Kiambu 

13. Felicia Tanzer Greensteds Nakuru 

14. Ivy Mayende Kabarak Nakuru 

15. Nicole Kowido St. Mary’s Lwak Siaya

 

Haambee Starlets head coach Anne Aluoch has named the final squad of 20 players that will depart for Botswana for the 2018 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup qualifier. Starlets will play Botswana on Friday 21 July at the Lobatse Sports Complex, Botswana and the teams jets out of the country on Wednesday July 19.

Of the 20 players selected, 15 players are from high schools and participated in the recently concluded National Secondary School Ball Games that were held in Nyeri. In the tournament, Wiyeta Girls'  were crowned champions and have been recognized handsomely with seven of their players in the travelling contingent to Botswana.

Corazone Aquino who plies her trade with Soccer Queens has been tasked with captaining the team as they seek a slot in the 2018 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup which will take place in France.  

Travelling Squad

Goalkeepers: Lilian Awuor, Judith Osimbo (both Nyakach Girls), Dinah Tembesi (Wiyeta Girls)

Defenders: Lucy Akoth (St Paul’s Abwao), Wincate Kaari (Thika Queens), Vivian Nasaka (Ibinzo Girls), Maureen Khakasa (Wiyeta Girls), Robai Khamusa, Leah Cherotich (Wiyeta Girls),

Midfielders: Lilian Mmboga, Corazone Aquino (Soccer Queens), Sheril Angachi (Olympic High School), Cynthia Shilwatso (Ibinzo Girls), Marjolen Nekesa, Cynthia Atieno.

Strikers: Martha Amunyolete (Wiyeta Girls), Mercy Akinyi (Nyakach Girls), Rachel Muema, Jentrix Shikangwa (Wiyeta Girls), Diana Wacera (Mathare United)

 

Kakamega High School's Green Commandos and Wiyeta Girls are among the five teams that have been named to represent Kenya in the East Afrcia Secondary School Games that are set to be held in Uganda from August 14 to August 27.

Girls

In the girls' category, Kenya will be represented by Wiyeta and Ibinzo Secondary School. The two teams earned the spots after reaching the finals of the recently concluded National Secondary School Games which were held in Nyeri. In the finals, Wiyeta thrashed Ibinzo 3-1 on post-match penalties following a 1-1 draw in normal time.

Boys

Upper Hill, St Anthony's and Kakamega High School are the three teams that will represent Kenya in the boys' category. Upper Hill were crowned this year's national champions following a 3-1 win over St Anthony's on post-match penalties after the two sides had drawn 1-1 in normal time. St Anthony's therefore qualified as runners-up, with the Green Commandos going as number three.

Kenya's Representatives

Wiyeta Girls.

Ibinzo Secondary School.

Upper Hill.

St Anthony's.

Kakamega High School.

 

National Super League side Wazito FC proved as heavy as Gor Mahia by holding them to a barren draw in a friendly on Wednesday July 19, 2017 at the Camp Toyoyo Grounds.

Gor Mahia under coach Dylan Kerr opted to use young players in the friendly, starting the likes of Oliver Maloba and John Ndirangu. The back three was covered by Joash Onyango Joachim Oluoch and Mike Simiyu.

Wazito

Wazito had probably the most and best chances in the game but could not get a goal even with the likes of Bob Mugalia and John Mabia in attack. Mugalia was teed up by Mabia early in the first half but wasted the chance from a goal-clear position.

The woodwork prevented Dennis Gicheru from taking the NSL side ahead in the second half after his spinning header hit the bar and went out of play. Joachim Oluoch then almost scored in his own net  after deflecting a Marilu Ihaji free kick but seems luck was on his side. Wazito went on to summarize their wasteful trend in the match with a squandered chance from substitute Peter Karuri's attack late in the match.

Gor Mahia

With pace on the flanks through Maloba and Ndirangu, Gor Mahia sought to break on counter attacks but were unfruitful in their quest. Softie's first effort on goal was deflected for a corner, with Jeconia being denied a goal by Zachary Onyango after some exchange of passes with Maloba.

Zachary Onyango would then go on to stop John Ndirangu and Innocent Wafula's long range efforts to preserve the draw for Wazito.

 Gor, who will not be involved in this weekend's matches used the match to keep themselves fit for their next league assignment which is against Muhoroni Youth. Wazito on the other hand were using the friendly to prepare for their weekend GoTV Shield encounter with GFE 105 at the Kipchoge Stadium on Sunday 23.

Kaya Tiwi Girls and Laiser Hill are among the four teams that will represent Kenya in this year's East Africa Secondary School Games which are set to be held in Uganda from August 14 to August 27.

Girls

In the girls' category, Kaya Tiwi and St Brigid Girls made the cut after facing off in a hotly contested finals. Kaya Tiwi eventually emerged winners, retaining their national title with a 48-35 win over their opponents. St Brigid qualify by virtue of being runners-up with former basketball powerhouse BuruBuru Girls failing to make it to the regional games after finishing fourth behind Tigoi who were third.

Boys

In the boys' category, Laiser Hill and Upper Hill are the ones tasked with flying the country's flag. Laiser Hill defeated their arch rivals Upper Hill 51-43 in the boys’ basketball finals to clinch the national trophy.

Basketball Representatives

Kaya Tiwi Girls.

St Brigid Girls.

Upper Hill School.

Laiser Hill School.

 

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.

 

FIFA Vice President and head of the Spanish Football Association Angel Maria Villar has been arrested in Spain in an anti-corruption operation. 

Other people reportedly arrested include his son Gorka, secretary of the Tenerife Federation Ramón Hernández Baussou and Finance Vice President at the RFEF and member of Uefa's Finance Commission Juan Padrón.

Maria Villar was arrested for alleged misuse of the federation's finances including to support his re-election to the role for an eighth consecutive term. He has been the President of the Spanish Football Federation for 29 years and was re-elected less than two months ago for another term in the office.

In 2015, Villar was fined more than 20,000 Euros by Fifa for failing to co-operate with an investigation into the awarding of the controversial 2018 World Cup.

 

Francesco Totti has confirmed that he will be staying put with AS Roma, but this time as the Director.

Totti retired from football at the end of the 2016-17 season after 24 years with AS Roma and there were rumours that he has received offers to play in Japan from next season. The Italian international has however quelled those stories after confirming that he is indeed Roma’s next Director.

“The first part of my life as football player is finished, now a second part begins as director, and I am hoping to do well as on the pitch. Now begins a new phase and a new adventure.” Totti told Roma TV

“It will take time, step by step, to understand the role most suitable for me, and I will try to help all, from the youth team to the chairman. I don’t know how long it will take. There are people who think about their new role outside the field while they play; until 28 May I thought only about the field, he added.

The Italian international further revealed his eagerness to work with the entire Roma fraternity, stressing that he is confident that he will thrive in that position.

“Now I have the opportunity to work with AS Roma, with the sports director Monchi, the president [James] Pallotta and the coach [Eusebio] Di Francesco. I am lucky to know this club so well, I just have to understand what I want to do, and find the right role. At the moment I want to be everything and anything, an important character for Roma. I think that my future will be beautiful; I will choose a perfect role for me. Di Francesco? I have a great relationship with him.’’

During his 24-year spell with Roma, Totti made over 786 appearances for the clubs where he scored a club-record 307 goals and lifted the Serie A title twice. The 40-year old also also made 58 appearances for Italy with his most successful moment with his country being 2006 where they won the World Cup

Arsenal continued with their impressive pre-season with a 3-1 win in a friendly agaisbt Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday July 15, 2017.

Unsettled striker Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the Gunners in the 32nd minute from close range before Ramsey making the scores 2-0 from a well-timed run to connect with Nacho Monreal’s cross from the back.

Egypt international Mohammed Elneny made it three for Arsenal three minutes before the break after his deflected shot went into the net. Lustica pulled one back for the Ausrtralian team in the second half from an indirect free kick after Ramsey had been adjudged to have passed the ball back to keeper Emiliano Martinez.

The match ended 3-1 in favour of Arsenal. The Gunners are engaging in pre- season to gain fitness after the summer holidays. It is also an opportunity for new players like Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac to gel in with the team before the 2017-18 season starts.

Former Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu is now a Barcelona after completing his move back to the LaLiga giants.

Everton FC striker Wayne Rooney is a happy man after scoring for the toffees in his first match since his return t the club.

Rooney made a return to his boyhood club from Manchester United and needed only 34 minutes to announce his arrival with a goal. Picking the ball from 30 yards, the England international unleashed a superb strike that went into the top-left corner past Gor Mahia keeper Boniface Oluoch. 

Rooney's goal was instrumental in Thursday's match, with Everton registering a narrow 2-1 win over KPL league leaders Gor Mahia. Two minutes after the former Manchester United man's goal, Jacques Tuyisenge equalized for Gor Before Kieran Dowle's late strike sealed the win for Everton.

“To score for Everton again is a great feeling. It’s something I’ve been thinking of for the last couple of weeks, once I knew [the move] was happening. Thankfully, I’ve done it in today’s game and that 45 minutes will only help,'' Rooney told Evertontv.

“I just received the ball from out wide and I was in a bit of space so I took my chance and thankfully it went in. I was pleased with it. It’s a good start but I think we have to improve still. It’s early days and we knew it would be a tough game in tough conditions but I thought we did well,” added the 30-year old.

Rooney will be instrumental for Ronald Koeman's side this season as they try to challenge for the EPL title and the Europa League.

 

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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.