Eric Masika: Alcohol, Fame and Laziness nearly ruined me

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.

He fanned an already scorching hot rivalry between Kenya’s biggest clubs - AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia- when he made a transfer that shook the Kenyan football world. No player in recent years in Kenya has left a more sour taste at his former club.

One of the most promising defenders at his time, his football career has been laced with not one, not two but numerous controversies that have seen his ascendancy to the top slowed down. He has made rounds around the country and across the border over the last couple of years, and he is finally back to Kenya to resuscitate his career.

Kenyanstar caught up with defender Eric Masika for an exclusive, candid and no-holds-barred interview where the defender for the first time opens up on his move from Gor Mahia to AFC Leopards, family, injuries, education, alcoholism and just why he is not giving up.

Kenyanstar: Kindly tell us about your early  football days.

Eric Masika: My journey started in Langata playing with Langata United under the helm of Jacktone Ojera and Francis Aballa. That was in 2000 while I was still studying. After that I moved to Tusker Youth in 2004 under the tutelage of coach George Maina the now assistant coach of Posta Rangers. I stayed there until 2006 when I joined Kenya Poly FC now TUK. It was during a friendly match that Gor Mahia spotted me and I made the move.

KS: You were part of a highly talented squad at gor Mahia, and you made a big name for yourself there. What specifically worked for you at Gor Mahia?

EM: Yes we had a very good team while at Gor Mahia, and what worked for me at that moment was hard work and not to forget a good friend and focused coach in Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno. He was a father figure and he always inspired us. He brought the best out of us.

KS: You are one of few Kenyan players who made that big and controversial switch from Gor Mahia to rivals  AFC Leopards. What prompted this move? 

EM: (Laughs and pauses). You see, until now people are still saying that it is money that led me to making that move. That is not true. I just wanted a new experience and a different atmosphere. My mother never wanted me to leave Gor Mahia. So certainly the decision was not down to money or any tribal affairs as it is falsely said. No one pushed me to join AFC Leopards.

KS: To date, Gor Mahia fans still haven't forgiven you. Do you have any regrets. Also, has this move ever affected you?

EM: Yes I know some of the fans have never forgiven me to date. I do not blame them since I left at a time when I was a darling to them. I understand when they castigate me or say nasty things, since this is a game of emotions and feelings.


KS: You made the move to AFC Leopards. How do you describe your time there?

EM: My first season at afc was really good. The management ,fans,technical bench plus the players really received me well and  positively. I had a sense of belonging and the club became my second family. It was a great time and that’s why to date I am always grateful to the AFC Leopards family.

KS: Things didn't blossom as much while at Leopards. Why?

EM: While at AFC Leopards,  fame got to my head and I got lazy too. Then I suffered a terrible knee injury that slowed me down big time. I lacked playtime and there was much inconsistency in my season. I could play at times while under injections or painkillers but this wasn't really working. That dealt my career a big blow.

KS: You recently had a stint in Uganda. You however, did not stay long. How was it playing there?

EM: I left AFC Leopards after we had differences with the coach. I got an offer from Express FC  in Uganda. I arrived in Kampala and met the patron/chairlady who introduced me to the team. Unfortunately while training in the second week in August I injured my knee which really made life difficult. The Express FC management saw that it was really expensive for them catering for me. In December, we parted ways on mutual consent. It was a great experience while I was there and I can say they are a good team and were very friendly.

KS: Alcoholism and high life have been said to be the two things that slowed down your career. How true is this?

EM: On alcoholism; Yes it came to a point in my career when I was stressed and depressed about my dip in form and the nasty words that people said about me. I would get abusive calls and messages that really affected me. I was depressed and wrongly sought consolation in alcohol. This worsened matters and it only helped in me missing training, not playing and eventually being a little too careless. It is something I regret to date. I however, learnt from my mistakes and I have to be thankful to my family and parents for being supportive. Allan Wanga, a close friend, also counseled me a lot on the need to focus. On money, I cannot say that it caused my career to slow down. Nonetheless, I am now mature, more focused and settled.

KS: Do you at times feel that you are judged harshly  and misunderstood?

EM: Sometimes critics are there  to either open your eyes or make you stronger. People talk, criticize, judge but I always say that people wouldn't care to talk about you if you are nothing. What people say at times may come out harshly because they misunderstand you. The criticism however, just makes me stronger.

KS: Kindly tell us about your education journey. How much is it to a footballer’s career? Do you plan to focus on education again later in life?

EM: I would advice Kenyan footballers to really consider education and use any slight opportunities to study or get training in particular courses. The career on the pitch is quite short and quite harsh. After my football career, I would wish to be a banker or human resource manager.

KS: Critics say it is a step down for you to move to Ligi Ndogo. What necessitated this move? Are you also looking to start building again from the bottom?

EM: When I recovered from my knee injury, the transfer window was already shut. The coach of Ligi Ndogo met my at my business premise and offered me a chance to train with Ligi Ndogo until the next transfer window. I do not think it's a step down since the coach is a great tactician, the club is good in its own right and there are lots of young and talented players there. I respect the game of football, and I don't consider any club ‘small.’

KS: Have you considered retirement?

EM: Retirement has never crossed my mind I love football and I feel I still have lot to offer.

KS: What’s next for Eric Masika?

EM: I just want to be focussed on where I am playing now and also on personal business. I am a family man so I also want to dedicate more time and create more happiness there. I am looking ahead to a positive 2017. I wish to thank the critics for always pushing me and keeping Eric on his feet. To my fans, I am always thankful for their prayers, support and always believing in me.

KS: Thanks Eric! All the best ahead.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Back to the drawing board

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 SATURDAY’S RESULTS

All at Luveve Stadium

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

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

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

SUNDAY’S FIXTURES

All at Barbourfields Stadium

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

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

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

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

 

 GROUP A                    P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

Zimbabwe                 2          1          1          0          5          1          +4        4

Zambia                      2          1          1          0          7          4          +3        4

Malawi                      2          1          0          1          9          9          0          3

Madagascar              2          0          0          2          3          10        -7         0

GROUP B                    P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

Kenya                        2          2          0          0          16        2          +14      6

Swaziland                   2          1          1          0          5          2          +3        4

Mozambique               2          0          1          1          4          7          -3         1

Mauritius                    2          0          0          2          0          14        -14       0

GROUP C                    P          W        D         L          GF       GA       GD       PTS

South Africa                2          2          0          0          6          1          +5        6

Namibia                      2          1          0          1          5          3          +2        3

Botswana                    2          1          0          1          3          4          -1         3

Lesotho                       2          0          0          2          0          6          -6         0

 

 TOURNAMENT STATS

Matches Played: 12

Goals scored: 63

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER

Eibar 22:00 Leganés

SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER

Levante 14:00 Valencia

Getafe 75:15 Barcelona

Real Betis 19:30 Deportivo La Coruña

Atlético Madrid 21:45 Malaga

SUNDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER

Alavés 13:00 Villarreal

Girona 17:15 Sevilla

Las Palmas 19:30 Athletic Bilbao

Real Sociedad 21:45 Real Madrid

MONDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER

Espanyol 22:00 Celta Vigo

 

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

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER 

AFC Bournemouth 22:00 Brighton & Hove Albion

SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER

Crystal Palace 14:30 Southampton

Huddersfield Town 17:00 Leicester City

Liverpool 17:00 Burnley

Newcastle United 17:00 Stoke City

Watford 17:00 Manchester City

West Bromwich Albion 17:00 West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur 19:30 Swansea City

SUNDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER

Chelsea 15:30 Arsenal

Manchester United 17:00 Everton

 

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

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

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

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

Below are all Tuesday's fixtures:

GROUP A

Benfica 21:45 CSKA Moscow

Manchester United 21:45 FC Basel

GROUP B

Celtic 21:45 Paris Saint Germain

Bayern Munich 21:45 RSC Anderlecht

GROUP C

Chelsea 21:45 FK Qarabag

Roma 21:45 Atlético Madrid

GROUP D

Barcelona 21:45 Juventus

Olympiakos 21:45 Sporting Lisbon

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Below are all fixtures (Times are in EAT)

Friday 8th September

Hamburger SV 21:30 RB Leipzig

Saturday 9th September 

Mainz 05 16:30 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Borussia Mönchengladbach 14:30 Eintracht Frankfurt

FC Augsburg 16:30 FC Köln

SC Freiburg 16:30 Borussia Dortmund

VfL Wolfsburg 16:30 Hannover 96

1899 Hoffenheim 19:30 Bayern Munich

Sunday 10th September 

Hertha BSC 16:30 Werder Bremen

FC Schalke 04 19:00 VfB Stuttgart

 

 

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

Below are the full fixtures (The time is EAT)

FRIDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER

Leganés 22:00 Getafe

SATURDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER

Real Madrid 14:00 Levante

Valencia 17:15 Atlético Madrid

Sevilla 19:30 Eibar

Barcelona 21:45 Espanyol

SUNDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER

Deportivo La Coruña 13:00 Real Sociedad

Athletic Bilbao 17:15 Girona

Celta Vigo 19:30 Alavés

Villarreal 21:45 Real Betis

MONDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER

Malaga 22:00 Las Palmas

 

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

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

Saturday September 9

14:30- Man City vs Liverpool

17:00- Arsenal vs AFC Bournemouth

17:00- Brighton vs West Brom

17:00- Everton vs Spurs

17:00- Leicester vs Chelsea

17:00- Southampton vs Watford

19:30- Stoke vs Man Utd

 

Sunday September 10

15:30- Burnley vs C Palace

18:00- Swansea vs Newcastle

 

Monday September 11

22:00- West Ham vs Huddersfield

 

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

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

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

KS: Where did this nickname Softie come from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: What exactly affected you?

JN: Lack of play time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: Any closing words? 

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

KS: Thanks for your time Softie!

 

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

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

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

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

“That’s clearly against the rules!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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