Roseline Odhiambo: The best female Luo volleyballer speaks on her heart condition and love for music

Her illustrious career on the volleyball court was abruptly cut short by a deadly heart condition which has seen her survive three major hear operations. Despite the numerous health challenges punctuated by several trips to the hospital, Roseline Odhiambo, a former National team centre blocker and 2010 and 2012  Africa’s best blocker and server still has a big heart of helping the needy with the little resources she should ordinary be sharing with her two young sons.

Odhiambo, the former Kenya Pipeline player and a mother of two runs an annual sports tournament- Kanyanam memorial Cup at her village home every December, bringing together idle youth most of whom she tries to link up with various High schools and negotiate for scholarships, her best way of giving back to the society.


Kenyanstar sat down with the now Community Development student at Africa Nazarene University who played volleyball for only ten years before she was forced into early retirement due to a health related issue, on her journey in volleyball, her music career as well as her fight with a heart condition.

KS: Hallo Roseline? Thank you for welcoming us to your house. Just to begin us off, who is Roseline Odhiambo?
Odhiambo: I like associating myself with my tribe. Roseline is a Luo lady. The only Luo who played for both national team and club during her time as an active player. I was actually the only Luo lady in the entire Kenya Volleyball Federation league. I played for my club, Kenya Pipeline and National team. I joined Pipeline in 2003 directly from School. I was first called to the national team in 2008 until 2012 then abruptly retired  from active volleyball the following year.

I started as a strong player (left attacker) in school but I was converted to a centre player by my club coach because of my good blocks. When I was in school I was the strongest player but when I joined the club, I was told that they needed very strong players on the left, the masculine type which I was not so I had to move to the centre.

KS: How did you get to volleyball considering that you went to a village school in Nyanza where volleyball is not that well spread out?
Odhiambo: I went to Jera Girls. My passion all along,while growing up had been singing. I loved singing. I was a very good singer but i was forced to join volleyball just because of my height. I was very tall and slender otherwise my passion was singing. In fact, my first tournament in volleyball, I was voted the best player in Siaya District. From there on, I was spotted by coach Gilbert Ohanya who happens to come from my place. That’s how I joined Kenya Pipeline.


The national women's volleyball team during the world cup in Japan

KS: Unlike many Kenyans, you like identifying yourself with your tribe. I remember during your time as an active player, you were the only Luo lady in the entire Kenya Volleyball Federation league. Currently, there are only two. How was life then and what do you think is ailing Nyanza volleyball?
Odhiambo: Being the only Luo lady in the team then wasn’t easy. You know Volleyball is dominated by Luhyas and Kalenjins. They have the best schools in Volleyball and so by default they produce so many players.

Being the only Luo in the team, sometimes you’ll find these groupings sitting together and speaking in their mother tongues and you get to be isolated. Some people even wanted me to be chased because immediately after school, unfortunately, I got a baby, my first son, Eugene. I was  only 19.

When I came back, some of the players felt that it was unfair because they’ve been playing for long while I was a way and some even said that I’ve done something very wrong, an abomination for giving birth.There were also some tribal discrimination of sort from coaches but that never bothered me. Fortunately, I had two good friends, Esther Jepkosgei who loved me right from day one. She was like a mother to me.  At least nowadays I can talk, before; I was a very silent lady, polite and stuff. I have never known how to fight and whenever people would offend or even mock me, Esther was there for me.

And then I had a very rough friend. My best friend is a very rough lady –Asha Makuto. She could even fight other people just because of me.  I passed through so much but I thank God for the two ladies.

KS: Your career, especially at club level was punctuated by a lot of success. What are these achievements?
Odhiambo: Well, for national team, I never won any individual award but we lifted the Africa Nations Championship, finished third in the 2010 All African Games and several world championship qualifiers. I also took part in World Cup in Japan and World Championship in Doha Qatar.?

With the club, I was among the Kenya Pipeline squad that won the club its last Africa Club Championship title in 2005. Actually I made my debut at the Africa Club championship in 2003, when I had just joined Pipeline from high school. The following year (2004), I had my first kid at 19 years, took one year leave then came back the following year and made the team which won the African title in 2005.  Thereafter, I took part in almost all the editions which we honored until I retired in 2013.
I also had a couple of league titles with my last coming in 2011 when we beat Kenya Prisons at Nyayo stadium. That was nostalgic.I was voted the best serves, in Africa (Club Championship) in 2012, best blocker 2010 at the same championship.


Roseline Odhiambo (in light blue) with friends, Esther Jepkosgei, far left,  Ruth Jepngetich, David Lung'aho and Asha Makuto at JKIA during Kenya Pipeline team arrival from Tunisia.
 

KS: How was life when you got your first kid, at that very early age

Odhiambo: Life was tough. It was very tough. I went through a lot, single-handed. My village had seen me as a role model, I resorted to being indoors most of the time. People didn’t know that I existed. And also at the team, I was the ‘good one’. People took that chance to mock me but my parent were very supportive. I remember when I got the labour pains, I was rushed to the hospital by my dad. In fact, the doctors addressed him as my husband. They thought that we were a couple until I told them that he is my dad. After that I came back to Nairobi with a young baby. I really struggled but I thank God his grace is sufficient, here I am today.

KS: That must have been quiet tough on you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the end of your struggle. Your career took a nose dive about seven years later at the prime of your career. Can you just take us through that?
Odhiambo: About my health? Where do I start from? It’s a long story.  It was during the national team assignment. We were training for some championship. In the course of the drill,my heart started beating too fast but I never knew that I had a problem. I never thought it was serous.  So a round 2010 when we were preparing for World Championship in Doha, we had a Japanese coach, Sadatoshi Sugawara. On this day, he took me through a marathon drill and during the break, I took some cold water. Immediately, my heart started pumping. I went and hide somewhere at the back of the court then I started shaking.

The team doctor came where I was and asked if I was okay. There was tension in the team and the Team Doctor at that point was torn between calling Kioni (Waithaka), chairman Kenya Volleyball Federation or the Ambulance?

To me, I never took him seriously because all along, I would get such attacks, take some rest then life continues. But later that day, when the doctor asked me that question, I thought to myself, something must be wrong somewhere. But still, I didn’t give it that much attention.

Later that year, 2010, we were playing in Kisumu (league matches) against Kenya Prisons when I felt something. I stepped on the line and told the doctor that my heart was beating fast and the coach took me off. After some time, I returned to the court. After the match, the team doctor advised me to go see a cardiologist. I did that. I was tested but the result was negative. So they had to implant a reveal device, to try and detect the problem. I was given something like a remote control of which I would ‘press’ once I get the attack to record what is going on in my body.

I then returned to the game and immediately I got the palpitation. But you see, we players, take a lot of things for granted. Players would make fun about my ‘remote’ and we would laugh about it. So we recorded the whole thing and I returned back to the hospital and that’s when the doctors realized that I had a false pathway in my heart. A hole of sort. The doctors told me that that thing couldn’t have just occurred at that time in my life. Maybe it’s something I had lived with only that it was never detected early enough. In fact they were wondering how I managed to play with an ‘open heart’ (laughs). I count myself one of the lucky people.

The doctors recommended for an open heart surgery but our doctor (Dr.  Stephen Bore) was not for the idea. He said I was still very active player and the team needed me so they had to seek for another solution. That’s when I was taken to SanningHil Hospital, in South Africa and they did a minor surgery to fill the false pathway through the groins. It wasn’t open surgery.  The surgery took eight hours. After that I was taken to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) where I stayed for a week. I recovered very fast and came back and resumed training. That year I made the team for Africa Club Championship in Madagascar. When I came back, I got my second born.

Things were just ‘normal’ and one day, while in class, I suffered a mild attack. Unfortunately, I didn’t even know that it was a heart attack. I just felt some unbearable chest pain and I couldn’t walk afterward but again I assumed it. I came back home but I couldn’t walk the following day. That was on a Friday.

The following day, I was taking my kids to the hospital. All of them are asthmatic. I drove to the hospital with the kids in the car. When I got there, I made a phone call to my mum, told her that I was not feeling well. She advised me to go and see a doctor.

I didn’t see the need but sometimes you just do things because you’ve been told by your mother. It is not easy challenging moms. So I did that. They did some random test – body pressure, pulse rate and all that and the next thing I saw was people running up and down in the hospital corridors. I heard them make calls to my Doctor (Dr. Charles Kariuki) that I’m in a very serious condition. Remember I drove to the hospital with kids and my sister in the car.

Within a very short time the doctor arrived and he was comforting me –saying that I was in a very critical condition and that things will be well and all that. He then asked if I had anybody and if I came via public transport. I told him I came driving and he was so surprised.

I was told I was in a very critical condition - my heart rate was very low, below 30 and that I shouldn’t move. I was advised to call someoneto come for the kids. That, my life was in great danger.

I was transferred to Nairobi Hospital and immediately taken to the HDU for a surgery the next Monday. Unfortunately, my blood pressure was very low due to the mild heart attack I suffered the previous week had caused complete heart block. The electrical heart system could not work and so they had to implant a pace maker. With the pace maker, they (doctors) had to do ‘settings’ which I used to go for all the time because I had just got the implant.

I returned home but surprisingly, everything was blurry. By then I used to live with my sisters. I remember telling them not to go to bed that night because I knew I was going to die if I sleep but they thought I was joking. They laughed, stayed with me till late in the night then they retired at some point in the night.

The following day at around midnight, I experienced a breathing problem and I was rushed to the hospital . At this moment, I was still walking but the moment I got to the hospital,my heart stopped beating. The heart rate was around 390. It was literally vibrating.

The problem was with my pace-maker. This thing (Pace-Maker) has two leads: on the upper and lower chambers and it uses a battery. One of the lead was touching the valve and they had to remove it again and another planted.

That year I was in and out of the hospital, but I started improving. Last year I was admitted twice, this year, I haven’t gone to the hospital though I take drugs. I can say that I’ve improved because I know God and I just want to thank him for walking with me.



KS:Tell us more about your love for music. I’m also aware that you are a gospel musician. Is that true?
Odhiambo: The journey to music I think is genetic. My dad was a very great musician. There are so many Catholic songs which were composed by my late dad. In fact in his funeral, almost three quarters of songs which were played were his original compositions. So music, I would say is something in us. I just love singing and I am very religious. I can confess, I’ve never stepped in a club. I hate secular music. The loud secularmusic but interestingly, if you play gospel song - even full blast, I don’t feel anything. I love it.
I released a one album and if you listen to those songs, I used to sing about ‘my heart’. Somebody may think that I sang those songs because I had heart problem or something, the truth is, I wrote those songs way before I was diagnosed with heart problem.
I put a break on music to concentrate with my class work. Music is demanding in terms of time and money but it’s something in me. I intend to take it further when am done with my school course. I will be graduating this October (2017)

KS: You’ve talked about some nerve wrecking incidences like driving yourself to the hospital, sometimes at a very critical state even though you may have not been aware of the gravity of your situation. Does it worry you that maybe someday you may experience the attack in some risk places? And if so, what are some of the safety measures you put in place to get out of danger is case of an attack?

Odhiambo: To be sincere, I live my life one day at time. I live today and tomorrow will take care if itself. What I know is that the Lord is my strength. I’m never worried. I know I will not die soon. In fact I was telling some of my volleyball colleagues that they will die before me (laughs).

At one point my heart rate was below 30 and the doctor told me that I survived it because I was a player. Players naturally have low heart rate. A normal person couldn’t have survived though at one point I knew I was going to die and I was ready. I was imagining myself in a Church, lying in a casket with people coming to view my body. I was imagining being buried.  I think when you’ve gone through a lot; death is the last thing you can fear. But I always believe that as long as you have that faith, you’ll always pull through.But I know the symptoms. When I feel like I’m getting weak or breathing becomes a bit of a problem, I rush to the hospital. By now, I know almost all the danger signs of the heart, the ones to ignore and those to take seriously.
One thing I hate is when people look at me like this sick person. That, I can’t do anything. Okay, there are some tasks I can’t do like lifting heavy stuff but I don’t like it one bit when others sees me as a sick person.


Roseline Odhiambo (9) with members of the national team during the world cup in Japan.

KS: Do you think you’d be alive today if you took up singing and not sports?
Odhiambo:I think this was God's plan. Sometimes I would say to myself that this could be a punishment from God because he called me to sing and serve him but I took up volleyball. Maybe God is trying to destabilize me so that I stop playing to go back to him. But again maybe this was his plan too, to prolong my life. He took me to volleyball. Sports people have low heart rates and he took me there to give me a low heart rate, something that has helped me survive severe attacks. Sports has really helped me. Naturally, in my family we are big (bodied) but as a sports lady especially a volleyball player, there is recommended weight. You can imagine if I had this condition and above 100?Kg.  If it wasn’t for sports, I think I would have been long gone. My heart rate used to go low, were it not for sports, I don’t think I would have made it. Sport has helped me a lot.

Anytime I am stressed or distressed, I have to spend the night in a hospital but being in the field where I laugh and make jokes with players, I am always very happy and lively. Sport has greatly contributed to my health. Also, I was employed because of volleyball and to afford the medical services at the best hospital it’s purely because of sports. If it were not for volleyball, maybe my dad could have sold some piece of land to take care of my hospital bills which I don’t think would have been enough.

But my life in sports was cut short. This is like a marathon, a race its only that mine was a fault start. I just started the race and I was shown the red card. I had to step out of the track but life has to continue. I’m still going strong.

KS: What made you enroll for a course in Community Development especially at a time when you were not at the best state of health and the future wasn’t that bright for you-health wise?
Odhiambo: (laughs) …Imagine I’ve never know why...studying Community Development has really helped me to grow. I looked at my village and saw so many people who need help. I’ve always wanted to help. If I had the resources, I would be having an orphanage modeled into a sports academy for needy children – as we speak.

There are a lot of people who need help, starting from my village. People like the disabled, the orphans, those living with HIV and the old. So I put myself in that category, the sick and so I said that, because I have a story to tell, I also wanted to encourage the community. You don’t have to be sleeping the whole day just because you are sick. I wanted to encourage guys who are positive that there is life after the infection. HIV is not life sentence. After all, my condition is even worse than AIDS because there you just need to take your drugs unlike me who depends on a battery to survive.

This is why I shopped around for a course that will allow me to serve humanity. Also I considered the fact that I can’t do technical courses like electrical engineering because there are some tasks which I can’t perform. That’s how and why I settled for community development.To serve the vulnerable in the society.

KS: You have a great story and a big heart. Thank you so much for your time.

Odhiambo:You are welcome.


Rewind, briefly, to the point when GorMahia suffered their first loss of the season against a resilient Western Stima. Marcelo Ze Maria’s initial reaction to that slim defeat in April had been one of fury. He was livid, humiliated, crushed and looked helpless in finding a solution in what might have hit him and the boys that day. 

It took a while for those emotions to simmer down and rational thought to return but then, as he gave his back to the Moi Stadium pitch, reality seems to have sank in; the 2017 season was never going to be easy.

“We gave our all today but the goal couldn’t just go in. They (Stima) gave us a good game but we have to keep on working to ensure we win our next games. We know there are no easy games in this league but ours is not to lose focus,” Ze Maria said then

Now return to the present. Gor Mahia are currently a top of the log despite having been not at their best for the better part of the first leg but margins point to a title race that will be the tightest in recent years.

Adaptability

The same group of players who failed to find a way past Western Stima and later past a young Mathare United side have achieved eight wins; the most in the division. If there had been initial doubts in the demands being placed upon them by a coach who insists upon total commitment, then they have been  allayed. 

Plenty has been made of the switch in formation since his arrival, instigated in the latter stages of their game against Ushuru Fc. Adopting three at the back has clearly been a masterstroke and a tactical tweak that has hurt opposition.

“The change of formation must suit the players I have at my disposal. It will be a gradual process but I am happy that the team is willing to learn and implement my style of play,” Ze Maria’s sentiments months after replacing Frank Nuttal in the GorMahia hot seat last season.

Trust

Ze Maria inherited a filtrated environment after the unceremonious departure of Nuttal but despite the pressure that comes with coaching one of the biggest teams in the region, he has managed to keep his charges on toes; building trust and transforming some of his fringe players to beaters; Kenneth Muguna, Oliver Maloba, Wellington Ochieng and Timothy Otieno to mention a few.

“Tuyisenge will be out for some time but we believe we have players who can fill his void. GorMahia is made of more than one player and I believe those at my disposal would do the job,” Ze Maria prior to the derby match against AFC Leopards.

Trend Setting and Title duel

The quite celebrations conducted in front of the club’s own fans in the Mashemeji derby were a show of unity and reflected a remarkable transformation. “The boys deserve a pat on the back for the good performance. Considering the magnitude of the game, they gave their best but we have a lot of games between now and the end of the season so I can only urge them to maintain focus and replicate the same show in our forthcoming assignments.

His sentiments were however different when his side was held by Tusker FC and Thika United respectively; the Brazilian claiming that teams always came in their duels with a negative approach something he termed as a backward idea. His notion was, his side always set the style of play for his opponents who had a special plan they execute in only games involving his team.

“Every team comes to play GorMahia with a negative tactic. All they do is to waste time and the officials help this by not adding the appropriate time,” his sentiments after the Tusker stalemate. “I think our opponents today played for less than 30 minutes in the second half and the referee ought to have added more time." He added.

“It is still too early to say who will win the title because we are a head with a small margin. All we know is we have to concentrate on our games and take them as they come if we are to win the title,” Ze Maria said after their week 12 1-1 draw against Thika United.

The end to the first leg of the season is just a game away but one feels Ze Maria has tasted all the ingredients that he feels will help him wrestle the title. His team seem unstoppable on a good day, their conviction swollen and the manager a man inspired. 

READ: 

Ze Maria: When You Are At Gor Mahia, The Expectation Is A Win In Every Match

Simbas 15s Team Manager Simiyu Wangila has urged his side to proceed to Saturday’s match against Germany with utmost caution, as the German side is very strong and should not be underrated. Simbas face Germany on Saturday 27 May, 2017 at the RFUEA Grounds, with the two sides placed 23rd and 24th respectively in the rankings.


``We have to go into the match with a lot of caution….we respect the Germans quite a lot. If you look at their games during the European circuit, they have actually been featuring very well and it is a team that is not to be taken for granted. That is why we had to go down to South Africa and fine-tune ourselves,’’ said the team manager.


Wangila also talked on the importance of Wilson Kopondo and Biko Adema coming back into the team. Kopondo was out for a long period due to injury while Biko Adema was representing the country with the 7s team. ``If you have been looking at the Kenya Cup, Kopondo’s return has been quite a wonderful thing for us. He has also missed playing on the pitch with the national team and now he is back. For Biko Adema, the exposure he has got playing with the 7s team has been awesome and using him at the position that he has been playing, we want to give him a chance and see what he can give us after going through the sevens circuit. He is now back here and we are sure that on Saturday, he will put in a very good performance.’’


Wangila summed up by expressing what it means for the Simbas to win Saturday’s match against Germany. ``Winning that game is very important for us so that the confidence level of the team can be up there as we go into the African Cup and Elgon Cup.’’

 

Kenya 15s captain Wilson Kopondo conveyed his joy in returning to the Simbas squad after a two-year absence. Kopondo was named the captain for the 15s side and will be assisted by Darwin Mukidza.


Speaking to Kenyanstar during the team naming event on Thursday, Kopondo said that he is happy to be back in the team and to represent the country. ``It feels great to be back, that is for sure. I love the game a lot and being involved in it to represent my country is something that always makes me happy. I am also glad to be part of a team which has put in so much effort in recent months.’’


On the team selection, Kopondo was satisfied with the assortment of new and experienced players. ``I like the blend a lot; blending experienced players, returnees and the new talents who have been standing out regardless of the situation is a very good thing. Bringing together fresh new talent, experience and the Cape Town vibe is very nice.’’


The captain also detailed what they need to do to beat a strong Germany side, who are only one position below them in the rankings. ``Technically, they (Germany) are very sound so we have to be strict defensively and also quick on our feet. They are a technical team so we will try and disturb their rhythm…we will also try to run them a lot and see if they can be able to keep up with our high altitude.’’


Simbas face Germany on Saturday 27 May, 2017 at the RFUEA Grounds.

Kakamega Homeboyz coach Mike Mururi believes that his players have recently gained momentum and can match any team’s competition in the Kenyan Premier League. Homeboyz have not lost in three of their last league fixtures, winning two and registering a draw. Their most recent win was against a struggling AFC Leopards side.
The good run has seen them rise to 7th position in the table with seventeen points, and Mururi’s thought is that the players have now come together as a team and understand each other more. ``I must say the boys have picked up form. We want to maintain the same form in our next match, and the next. We are capable of competing with any opposition in the league and just need to be consistent. I think we have finally gelled together as a team, and the players understand each other more.’’
Kakamega Homeboyz next match is away to Bandari on Saturday.

5 debutants are lined up to make their debut this weekend, as Kenya 15’s Simba takes on Germany in a Test match on Saturday at the RFUEA Grounds.

Speaking during the naming of the squad, team manager Wangila Simiyu said, “We have a pool of 36 players and those who have been selected have merited to be in the team. With young players like Ikambili and Mayaka coming in, it shows that Kenya Cup is becoming a competitive league.”

Led by captain Sean Armstrong, the German side arrived in the country Tuesday, and will be looking to get things going over Kenya. The European nation is also in contention for the World Cup in 2019, and the match will be as key to them as it will be for Kenya.

Here are the squads for both sides.

Germany:

Sean Armstrong, Raynor Parkinson, Timo Vollenkemper, Kehoma Brenner, Jaco Otto, Jarrid Els, Harris Aounallah, Dale Garner, Michael Poppmeier, Jörn Schröder, Pirmin Stöhr, Luis Ball, Antony Dickinson, Chris Howells, Ben Ellermann, Daniel Cook, Jamie Murphy, Marcel Coetzee, Erik Marks, Damien Tussac, Tim Menzel, Mikael Tyumenev, Julius Nostadt, Christopher Hilsenbeck, Dasch Barber, Samy Füchsel, Mathieu Ducau, Felicien Vergnon, Marcel Henn.

Kenya Simbas

15. Tony Onyango (Homeboyz), 14. Darwin Mukidza (KCB, Vice Captain), 13. David Ambunya (Quins), 12. Patrice Agunda (Quins), 11. Jacob Ojee (KCB), 10. Biko Adema (Nondescripts), 9. Samson Onsomu (Impala), 1. Moses Amusala (KCB), 2. Peter Karia (KCB), 3. Dennis Karani (Impala), 4. Wilson Kopondo (Quins, Captain), 5. Simon Muniafu (Impala), 6. Eric Kerre (Impala), 7. Davis Chenge (KCB), 8. Martin Owila (KCB).

Replacements:  16. Philip Ikambili (Homeboyz)17. Oscar Simiyu (KCB), 18. Bramwell Mayaka (Homeboyz), 19. Oliver Mang’eni ( KCB), 20. George Nyambua (Kabras Sugar), 21. Kelvin Masai (Homeboyz), 22. Leo Seje Owade (Impala), 23. Dennis Muhanji (Quins).

AFC Leopards SC have made a clear intent to improve their fortunes in the league, first by replacing the departing coach Stewart Hall with Dorian Marin, but now have gone a step higher by a signing highly-rated striker.

Taxes on online betting firms will be lowered if recommendations of a House committee to reduce levies introduced in March by Treasury secretary Henry Rotich are adopted,  reports the Business Daily.

“The committee further adopted amendments to clauses… maintaining the status quo on taxation of betting, gaming and lotteries and having the proceeds go to sports fund,” noted the report from the committee.

Mr Rotich proposed in March to raise the tax rate for betting firms to 50 per cent of gross profits from 7.5 per cent.

The tax would fund sports, culture and the arts, he said.

This prompted an uproar from gaming firms which warned that the seven-fold tax hike would suffocate the fledgling industry and hurt supporting businesses including telecomms and media companies.

If adopted, sports betting firms will continue to enjoy lower taxes of between five and 15 per cent.

The companies have been paying five per cent tax on lottery, 7.5 per cent on betting, 12 per cent for gaming and 15 per cent for prize competition.
Apart from this, players in the gaming industry pay 30 per cent corporate tax.

Gaming industry executives said about seven million Kenyans have registered for betting services.

Dorian Marin will be the new AFC Leopards tactician replacing Briton Stewart Hall who has decided to part ways with the club. 

The Romanian, Marin, has had stints in Uganda and also Ghana at club level. Besides that, the 56 year old tactician has overseen a number of national football teams among them Eritrea. 

Kenyanstar has exclusively learnt that Stewart Hall had a hand in the appointment of the Romanian who was a front runner for the Sofapaka FC job in 2012. Besides that he was also one of 4 finalists who were set to take over the Egyptian national team job. 

Marin is expected to continue with Stewart Hall's project at the club and hence the transition should be smooth. 

Marin is further expected into the country anytime this week. 

Multiple reliable sources within the club have told Kenyanstar that AFC Leopards is in the process of finalizing its transfer business that include among others Wesley Onguso and two highly rated internationals.

Porto coach Nuno Espirito Santo has left the club by mutual consent after one season in charge in which they finished runners-up, the former European champions said on Monday.

Usually known simply as Nuno, the Sao Tome and Principe-born coach was halfway through his contract when he departed one day after his team suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at Moreirense in their last league game of the season.

Porto finished second in the league, six points behind champions and arch-rivals Benfica. They kept up the chase for most of the season until their challenge faltered with home draws against Feirense and Vitoria Setubal.

They also reached the last 16 of the Champions League before losing to Juventus and suffered a shock elimination on penalties at the hands of Chaves in the Portuguese Cup.

"Porto and Nuno Espirito Santo reached an agreement on this Monday afternoon to end the coach's contract by mutual consent," said the club in a statement.

Porto won the Portuguese league nine times in 11 seasons from 2002/03 to 2012/13 but their dominance came to an abrupt halt, with arch-rivals Benfica winning the last four.

Since 2013, they have appointed Paulo Fonseca, Julen Lopetegui, Jose Peseiro and Nuno as coaches, while Luis Castro and Rui Barros have also been in charge on an interim basis.

Goalkeeper Nuno's playing career took him to Vitoria Guimaraes, Deportivo La Coruna, Merida, Osasuna, Dynamo Moscow and Aves, though he spent much of his time as second-choice.

He had two stints at Porto, the first from 2002-04 when he played second fiddle to Vitor Baia and the second from 2007 to 2010, when Brazilian Helton stood in his way.

Nevertheless, Nuno won a Champions League, Intercontinental Cup and UEFA Cup, four Portuguese league titles and three Portuguese Cup winners medals during those two spells.

His coaching career began as assistant to Jesualdo Ferreira at Malaga. He was named Valencia coach in July 2014 but was fired one year and four months later.

Chelsea's Antonio Conte was named Manager of the Year at a League Managers Association awards ceremony on Monday after leading his side to the Premier League title and FA Cup final.

The 47-year-old Italian, whose team finished seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, will lead Chelsea out against Arsenal in the Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

Chelsea's 93 points was the second highest total since the Premier League began in 1992 and they became the first Premier League team to register 30 victories in one season.

"I think I've had a lot of incredible emotions in my first season here in England. I want to say thank you to all the people who voted for me. It's great to receive this award. I hope I deserved this," Conte said.

"It's fantastic to read all the names that won this trophy and to stay with these managers is a great achievement for me. I hope to continue in the best way," he added after receiving the award from former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Chris Hughton, 58, was named Championship (second-tier) manager of the year after guiding Brighton & Hove Albion into the Premier League as runners-up to Newcastle United.

Angel Maria Villar was re-elected as the Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) president for the eighth consecutive time on Monday after he stood unopposed. The term of office for the 67-year-old, who got 112 votes with 11 abstentions and six spoiled ballots, will run until 2020, with Villar having been first elected in 1988.

The former Athletic Bilbao and Spain midfielder has presided over the most successful era in the history of the Spanish national team, who won successive European Championships in 2008 and 2012 and their first World Cup in 2010.

"We have received huge endorsement which has brought us an undeniable victory. We have worked and won cleanly, it is a legitimate triumph, ratified by a strong majority," Villar told reporters.

The president is elected by an absolute majority of the members of the assembly which includes 120 members representing the clubs, players, referees and managers/coaches, who in turn are elected by the federation's ordinary members.

The president's former secretary general, Jorge Perez, had said he would run against him for the post but instead brought a case against Villar to Spain's highest sports court over alleged irregularities in the election of the RFEF assembly.

Perez withdrew from the election in protest, deciding not to present his candidacy on May 5, and asked the Spanish Sports Tribunal (TAD) and Sports Council (CSD) to annul the election of the RFEF general assembly, which they did not do.

In response to Perez's accusations, the RFEF published a statement saying the assembly election process had been conducted with "absolute honesty and transparency" and that the criticism was "completely untrue and biased".

Inter Milan forward Gabriel Barbosa has apologised for storming off the substitutes' bench when he realised he was not going to be used during Sunday's Serie A match at Lazio.

The 20-year-old Brazilian has had a frustrating first season at Inter, making just nine appearances, all as a substitute, and playing a total of only 111 minutes since his 30 million euros ($33.71 million) move from Santos last August.

He has managed one goal and picked up three yellow cards in that short period on the pitch.

His frustration boiled over during the 3-1 win at Lazio after he was not among the three substitutes brought on by coach Stefano Vecchi in the closing minutes of the game.

Television pictures showed him angrily leaving the bench before the final whistle.

"Inter supporters and team mates, during yesterday's game I suddenly adopted a thoughtless and inadequate attitude by leaving the pitch before the end of the game," he said on his Facebook page.

"Once the heat of the moment had died down, I realised, in calmness and with the support of my family, that the incident was unsporting and contradicted my professional values.

"I recognise my mistake and would like to register my sincere apologies to all the Inter fans who always supported me and to my team mates."

Gabriel, whose made his professional debut as a 16-year-old in 2013, emerged as one of Brazil's great hopes during three seasons at Pele's former club as he scored 57 goals and impressed with his pace, trickery, skill and clinical finishing.

He scored on his Brazil debut against Panama last year, went on to play at the Copa Centenario and won Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro with the under-23 team.

Vecchi said after the game that he expected the club to take action, although Inter have not commented since.

James Davison said it will be bittersweet to fill in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday but plans to do his best despite limited preparation time.

Davison completed 88 laps on the sprawling 2.5 mile oval speedway on Monday, with a best speed of 223.670 mph. It was the first time in two years the 30-year-old Australian, who has two previous starts in the race, was in the cockpit of an Indy car.

"It's certainly mixed emotions," Davison told IndyCar of replacing Bourdais. "No racing driver ever wants to secure an opportunity under these circumstances.

"I got to know Sebastien a little better when I was living in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago, and we were teammates together at KV Racing in 2014 when I was a rookie. He was very good to me there."

The 38-year-old Bourdais slammed head-on into the safety barriers when his Honda-powered car lost control on Saturday during qualifying.

Bourdais, who drives for Dale Coyne Racing, underwent surgery for pelvic fractures, officials said on Sunday.

Team owner Dale Coyne told IndyCar that Bourdais may not race again this year.

"He's got a plate, screws in his hip bone and plate on his pelvis. ... So it's at least 12 weeks, which may get him ready for Sonoma (in September), but why run one race?" he said.

"Let him rehab for the other four months and get ready to go for next year. Have him out and in January start testing with him and go at it."

Sunderland manager David Moyes has resigned after the team's relegation from the English Premier League. The former Manchester United coach announced his decision at a meeting with the club hierarchy in London on Monday.

Owner chairman Ellis Short says "having worked tirelessly throughout the campaign to avoid relegation from the Premier League, David has chosen to leave the club without compensation, which is testament to his character."

Moyes lasted only one season at Sunderland.

The Scot says, "I wish the players and my successor well in their efforts towards promotion back to the Premier League."

The team line-ups for the Under-17 World Cup (17th edition) to be held in India between 6 and 28 October 2017 are now complete, after the CAF (African Confederation) qualifiers were over on Monday.

Victories in their final group matches ensured Mali and Niger progressed to the tournament joining Ghana and Guinea, who had already sealed their qualification.

Niger made history by qualifying for a first-ever FIFA tournament after defeating Tanzania 1-0.

The 2016 AFC U-16 Championship held last year ensured Iraq, Iran, Japan and North Korea qualified for the tournament from Asia. Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States of America recently qualified from the CONCACAF (Central, North American and the Caribbean) region.

England, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey recently sealed their places for the FIFA event after finishing as the best 5 teams from the 2017 UEFA European Championship.

Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay are the final CONMEBOL nations that will participate from South America while New Caledonia and New Zealand have qualified from the OFC (Oceania) region. Hosts India qualified for the tournament directly.

Welcoming the 24 countries, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee Javier Ceppi said, "It is very exciting to know the 24 teams that will be playing the World Cup. The line-up is superb, with established powerhouses in the category (such as former World Champions Brazil, Ghana and Mexico) and teams making their debut, among them the hosts India. Having seen the teams and knowing of their quality, football fans are in for a real treat in October and it is key that they can start getting their tickets now and book their place in history before is too late".

With the 24 teams in place, the attention now turns to the official draw, which will take place on July 7 and determine the fixtures for each team.

The 24 teams are:  India, England, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Japan, North Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, United States of America, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand

Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid lift their 33rd La Liga title on Sunday as he scored his 40th goal of the season within two minutes against Malaga to put Real in the driver's seat in their bid of dethroning FC Barcelona.

Real Madrid were three points ahead of Barcelona on the La Liga table and needed a draw or win against Malaga to win the 2016-17 title. Madrid beat Malaga 2-0, thanks to goals from Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, while Barcelona won 4-2 against Eibar. It was Madrid's consistency throughout the season that eventually proved to be the difference.

Despite the happiness of winning the domestic title, Ronaldo slammed the media for projecting him what he's not, saying he's "not a devil."

Post the match, Ronaldo was asked about a gesture he made to Celta Vigo players midweek during Madrid's 4-1 win over the Galicians insinuating that Celta had been offered bonuses to damage Madrid's title charge.

Ronaldo hit back at the press for making a mountain out of a molehill.

"People say things about me without knowing a thing and it bothers me. You (the media) say things about Cris without knowing the truth," Ronaldo retaliated.

"I am not a saint, but I am also not a devil like many people think I am," Ronaldo added.

Ronaldo further said that he has a family and such negativity about him in public affects them.

"I don't like this type of thing because I have a family, I have a mother, a son, and I don't like that they say stupid things about me."

The smile was back on Ronaldo's face when he was asked about his form lately. With the goal against Malaga, Ronaldo scored his 14th goal in the last nine games.

"I've prepared to be in top shape for the end of the season," he said.

Ronaldo said he was glad to be of help to his team that won Madrid's first title in five years.

"I've helped the team with my goals, my decisions and for that I am happy," Ronaldo added.

Real Madrid have their eyes set for a European double now as they prepare to face Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final on June 3 in Cardiff.

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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.

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.

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 figure of Ksh. 600,000 released by Gor Mahia today, as the total gate collections for the Gor Mahia vs Zoo Kericho match in Kisumu are ‘stupid figures’,  Gor Mahia Organizing Secretary Judith Anyango has told Kenyanstar in a long ranging Interview.

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”.

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."

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.

Bale and Ronaldo both played as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 yesterday. Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro strengthened their grip on the La Liga title.

However, despite the victory, all is not well at the Santiago Bernabeu. Spanish outlet Diario Gol claimed yesterday that Ronaldo was fuming with Zinedine Zidane for substituting him late on.

The former Manchester United star provided the assist for Benzema's goal but was replaced by Isco in the 79th minute. It was said that Ronaldo believed Bale should have been substituted instead after an abject display.

But Diario Gol claim Bale was also angry after the game. The former Tottenham star's stock is rising in Spain after helping Madrid win the Champions League twice in the past three years. And the Wales international reportedly believes Ronaldo is preventing him from becoming the club's main man.

Bale has to play on the left wing due to Ronaldo's desire to play further up the field. He feels that Zidane is making a mistake by deploying him in that position as he prefers to play on the right, where he can cut inside.

Club chief Florentino Perez is now monitoring the situation as Madrid's two biggest stars aim to do outdo the other. 

Ireland and Everton defender Seamus Coleman faces up to a year on the sidelines after breaking his leg during a World Cup qualifier against Wales.

The ever-present risk of serious leg injuries in football was unfortunately realised once again as Wales’ Neil Taylor was shown a red card for a poor tackle during the 0-0 draw.

Once he realised what had happened, Coleman held onto his damaged leg while waiting for help.

Coleman was given oxygen on the field as medical staff attempted to immobilise his leg before taking to and ambulance and then hospital.

The final score took a back seat to Coleman’s well-being  after the match.

“It’s a bad break. Seamus is a fantastic player and character - it’s a major blow for the lad, for his club and for us,’’ Ireland manager Martin O’Neill told the UK’s Sky Sports.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world - I haven’t seen it back - but naturally disappointed. He’s gone to hospital and I think it’s broken.

“I saw Seamus’ reaction - he was holding his leg up and it didn’t look good.”

The length of Taylor’s suspension is yet to the decided but one this is for sure – Coleman is facing a lengthy stint of rehab before his professional career resumes.