The Twins of FC Sofapaka Midfield

Sofapaka’s good run in the 2014 KPL season is not complete without mentioning Anthony Ekaliane Ndolo and Maurice Odipo; the twins of Sofapaka midfield. They form the twin piston engine at the centre of the club’s good run despite financial constraints. The exit of Humphery Mieno to AFC Leopards’ meant that the two players had more playing time together, and sooner they formed a partnership that won matches for Batoto ba Mungu.

Anthony Ekaliane Ndolo

Acquired from Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA- FC) this season, Ndolo has not disappointed Sofapaka for their trust in him. No one knew of the central midfielder who entered his space his new club so seamlessly you would think Sofapaka was formed with him in mind. He has scored nine goals this season, and offered many assists.

The twenty six year old was born in Nairobi to a military officer father, his mother died when he was young. He spent a few years at Makongeni Primary then transferred to live with his aunty in Bungoma where he attended Bungoma DEB Primary then Friends School Bugembe. 

Ndolo hails from Machakos; however he owes is name Ekaliane to his mother’s Teso community, something that I realized he mentioned with a tinge of pride and nostalgia. It is AFC Leopards’ legend Noah Wanyama, the father to Sofapaka defender Heskey Wanyama and Southampton’s Victor Mugubi who spotted him. He introduced him to Mbale Heroes FC Academy in Eastern Uganda in 2005.

He left for the capital Kampala to join the junior side of SC Villa in 2006 then graduated to the senior team the following season until 2010. He then had a short stint with Tanzania side Yanga before flying out to Sweden in search of greener pastures but nothing concrete came out of it. He went back to Uganda and joined KCCA FC where Sofapaka plucked him from at the end of Ugandan season last year.

Going by his performance this season, Kenya has just unearthed a great talent. The diminutive midfielder has a powerful jump, eye for the ball and rotating eye for the defense splitting pass. He is good at intercepting passes, and his work rate has been phenomenal.  He was called up to the national team for the friendly with Morocco but missed out on the final squad. A sign of good things to come.

Ndolo attributes the good run in Sofapaka to team work and the brotherhood in the squad. On average, Uganda has more players who are technically superior compared to Kenya, but he says KPL is well organized. 

Ndolo is dating, but leaves the details for people to speculate. He believes Sofapaka will clinch KPL next season. What went wrong? “When we failed to beat Chemelil Sugar FC at home, that’s what cost us.”  Is all he could say.

Maurice Odipo

Maurice Who? Is what someone would ask of a player who spent three seasons at Tusker FC under Sammy Omollo and Robert Matano. He left mid last season to join Bandari where he stayed for six months before joining Sofapaka. This season Odipo has been behind the donkey work in front of Sofapaks’s defense where he missed only one match in the second leg, against SoNy Sugar in Awendo.

The Buruburu High School graduate has been outstanding that Sam Timbe made him central to his plans this season. The twenty six year old Nairobi born defensive midfielder was inspired by his elder brother who played unprofessional football for Maziwa FC in Kariobangi South. His brother introduced him to Leonard Odipo’s Daring Club Academy in Kariobangi South.

He had a brief stint at Ugandan side KCCA FC before joining Tusker in 2009 where he stayed until last season when he joined Bandari. He enjoyed good playing time under Sammy Omollo but this changed slightly under Robert Matano thus his dip in form. As a surplus to requirement he always played out of position many times to fill for an absent player, and this affected his performance.

When he joined Sofapaka, Sam Timbe insisted on playing him as a defensive midfielder. With the exit of Mieno, Anthony Ndolo moved into central midfield and he soon became a regular. He matured into an efficient and tactful player. Odipo became the spoiler responsible curtailing the opponents moves as Ndolo initiated attacks.

At the end of every match, his shirt would be the dirtiest in the team, proof of a player going all out to make life hard for the opponents. As the man tasked to do the dirty job, he has been good at it that he got his fifth yellow card on the last day of the season. He has an eye for the ball, and full match work rate that can impress any coach in the world.

He attributes his good performance to the team work in the team and the simplified role his coach Sam Timbe has consistently given him. Ironically, though defensive midfielders are devoid of flair, Odipo admires Brazillian ‘football wizard’ Ronaldinho for his fancy footworks. The father of one will be happy to land a lucrative deal in the near future; meanwhile he has to help Sofapaka clinch the title next season.

AFC Leopards SC coaching job is one that needs guts and b***s  of steel for any soccer coach with intent to take over the Club. Apart from the over expecting fans, the Club has bizzare working environment that has always seemed to work against it. Many coaches who have left have feigned all sorts of excuses from family commitments to new offers on their exit.Here's a list of all the AFC Leopards coaches since 2013.

1. Tom Olaba:
3 months: Jan - Mar 2013

2. Luc Eymael:
5½ months: Apr - Sep 2013

3. James Nandwa
6½ months: Sep - Apr  2014

4. Pieter De Jongh
7½ months: May - Dec 2014

5. Zdravko Logarusic
9 months: Feb - Oct 2015

6. Jan Koops
2 months: Jan - Feb 2016

7. Ivan Minnaert
6 months: Mar - Aug 2016

8. Ezekiel Akwana
2 months: Sep - Oct 2016

9. Stewart Hall
8 months: Nov 2016 - May 2017

Stats by IngweFan

Chemelil Sugar condemned Ulinzi Stars to their first loss in five matches after overcoming them 2-1 on Saturday 27 May at the Chemelil Sports Complex. This was the 13th game for both teams in the Kenyan Premier League this season.

Ulinzi Stars produced a swift counter attack three minutes into the match but Smith Ouko was there to stop the progression. In the 8th minute, Cylus Shitote put Stephen Waruru through but the latter was unable to find the target, his effort going wide. Ulinzi were on the attacking end once again in the 19th minute but Benjamin Oketch did well to block Samwel Onyango’s cross. Two minutes from the break, Chemelil got their first goal of the match through Jaffary Odeny who nodded in a rebound after Jacktone Odhiambo had blocked Neto’s effort.

In the second half, Ulinzi made two early changes in the drizzling encounter, bringing in Enosh Ochieng and Evans Amwoka for Waruru and Michael Otieno. Victor Majid doubled the lead for the hosts in the 74th minute from the spot after Geoffrey Kokoyo had handled the ball in the area. Oscar Wamalwa pulled one back for the Soldiers in 83rd minute, also from the spot after a careless challenge by Benjamin Oketch. His effort was however not enough to salvage anything for Ulinzi Stars as the game ended 2-1 in favour of Chemelil Sugar.


A Benjamin Muchuma late goal rescued a point for Nzoia United against a visiting Sofapaka side at the Sudi Stadium on Saturday 27 May, 2017. Nzoia had gone into the match fresh from a 3-0 win over Muhoroni Youth and were looking to repeat the same feat, but that was not to be.

Nzoia started the match as the stronger team, pressing hard from the start for an early opener. In the 13th minute, they had their first chance after a Lawrence Juma corner found Luke Namanda who executed a superb volley but was unable to find the target. Masita Masuta wasted a glorious chance for the hosts in the 20th minute, shooting wide after Festus Okiring had floated in a good free kick. Nzoia found themselves trailing four minutes later courtesy of Maurice Odipo who headed in a cross from Charles Okwemba. Luke Namanda was on the wasteful end once again in the 25th minute, failing to tap in a free ball. Sofapaka decided to make an early change, Ezekiel Okare coming in for Wonok Pate in the 27th minute.

In the second half, Nzoia decided to ring changes in search of an equalizer; Victor Omondi, Brian Yakhama and Benjamin Muchuma coming in for Geoffrey Kariuki , Patrick Kwitonda and Luke Lamanda respectively. Benjamin Muchumi proved to be a worthy substitute in the 86th minute, tapping in a cross from Masuta to secure a point for the hosts. The result takes Nzoia’s point tally to seventeen points while Sofapaka now have twenty points from thirteen games, putting them in 5th place of the league table.

Muhoroni Youth chairman Moses Adagala has said that he will expose FKF CEO Robert Muthomi a move likely to spark off a new round of debate between the two parties, Muhoroni Youth and Football Kenya Federation(FKF).

Speaking to Mulembe FM on Saturday afternoon during the station's sports show, Adagala spared no words in faulting the Federation on how they treat his Club.

" I will soon be exposing him. He has no success to show with his Club(Nakuru Allstars) but he is always seeking to fight me."

" Muhoroni Youth means a lot to the community and we have no apologies despite the fights we have been through."

Adagala lashed at the FKF CEO for unilaterally banning the Club's homeground without receiving the referee's report.

" Our ground is not banned. This is pure witch-hunt by someone in the federation and I will expose him soon."

Muhoroni Youth’s squad that will clash with Thika United on Saturday May 27 at the Thika Sub-County Stadium from 15:00 has been released. Muhoroni will be pursuing a reversal in last week’s performance where they were humiliated 3-0 by Nzoia United. Prior to that, they had also lost 2-1 to Ulinzi Stars.

Salim Sowedi reclaims his starting role in between the sticks, taking over from Gradius Ochieng who played in the Nzoia match. The two sides have met six times in the last three years, with Muhoroni coming out victorious on four occasions compared to Thika’s one. They have drawn once. Thika United have won twice, drawn thrice and lost seven times this season and are placed 16th with nine points. Muhoroni Youth sit one place above them in the table standings in 15th with ten points after recording two wins, four draws and six losses.

Starting XI:Salim Sowedi, Robert Mudenyu, Walter Ouma , Jacob Faina, Paul Muchika Muchika , Collins Agade , Ambrose Ayoyi , Onyango Maxwell, Walter Omanga, Bliss Kityo, Daniel Otieno.
Subs: Gradus Ochieng, Eric Baki, Fred Otieno, Tom Adwar, Mboya,  Mohamed Mwachiponi, Thomas Venval.


Former Homeboyz back-row Joshua Chisanga will not be available for selection for Simbas friendly against Germany on Saturday 27 May, 2017 at the RFUEA. Chisanga, who plays for the Falcons in England, will however feature for the Kenya 15s team in their upcoming matches.

Speaking to Kenyan-star, Team Manager Simiyu Wangila confirmed that Chisanga will not be in the team for Saturday, but might play as soon as Uganda’s match. ``He (Chisanga) has only trained from Wednesday. It’s only fair that we give other guys who have been training in the same position… So he will be given his chance as the training goes on. Don’t be shocked to see him for Uganda or other games that are coming up because he’ll now have gelled into our system and seen what it takes to be in the Kenyan sorroundings.’’

Simbas match against Germany kicks off at 16:00. Here are the squads for both sides.

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).


Ulinzi Stars coach Benjamin Nyangweso targets a fifth straight win when the boys take on Chemelil Sugar on Saturday away in Awasi. Ulinzi has won four matches on the trot, results that take the team to second on the log with 24 points, two shy of leaders Gor Mahia.

“It is a very tough match because Chemelil at home are not an easy opponent. For us our target is to keep on playing how we have been playing and doing even better. So far we have done well especially winning four games in a row. It is not an easy feat,” Coach Nyangweso said.

He has also praised the team’s collective responsibility for the improved performance, saying the boys have shown great attitude in training hence the result.

Ulinzi Stars take on Chemelil Sugar in Round 13 of the Kenyan Premier League on Saturday 27 May, 2017 in Awasi from 15:00.The Soldiers will draw their motivation from their impressive run of matches that has seen them win four matches in a row.

Although head coach Benjamin Nyangweso acknowledged that the match against Chemelil will be difficult, he insists that their target is to come out with a win. “It is a very tough match because Chemelil at home are not an easy opponent. For us our target is to keep on playing how we have been playing and doing even better. So far we have done well especially winning four games in a row. It is not an easy feat.’’

Head to Head

The two teams have met six times in the last three years, Ulinzi winning three times while Chemelil has won only once. The two teams have settled for a draw twice. In recent matches, the teams have also recorded different results. While Ulinzi have won all their last four matches, Chemelil are winless in their last six and have lost three consecutive matches.
Ulinzi are 2nd on the league table after picking up seven wins, three draws and two losses. On the other hand, Chemelil are in 12th place after registering three wins, five draws and four losses.

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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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.

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