I Gave My Best,I Have No Regrets: The Story Of Antony Kimani

 Photo: Michezoafrika.com

Leader. Inspirational. Eloquent. Those are just some of the few adjectives that describe Antony Kimani. One of the finest talents to come through the Mathare United ranks, Kimani has seen it all. His experience both at national level has earned him lots of admirers. His meteoric rise was halted by an injury and this forced him into the business world and TV punditry. After several years both in business and on the screens, Kenyanstar caught up with the well-spoken retired defender to speak about his journey.

Kenyanstar: Tell us about your football journey

Antony Kimani: I started playing a while ago at about 8 years in Korogocho, where I grew up. We formed a small team and started playing in the MYSA U-12 Zonal league in Baba Dodo. It was quite a distance but because of our passion, we would go all the way. That is where my relationship with the game and MYSA started. We slowly grew through the ranks. I was at mathare United where I won the title, and would later join AFC Leopards which was my last club. I suffered an injury in my final match and it was quite serious. When I suffered an injury, and was laid off for sometime, I did some soul- searching and asked myself a lot of questions. I settled on one thing; I have probably done my bit for the clubs I have played for and the national team and I don't feel I will come back as strong as I was. I had set my standards and I felt I wouldn't come back as strong as I was before. It was however, encouraging that after recovery, Leopards were willing to offer me two more years. That meant a lot to me. It was a good gesture not just for me, but for Kenyan football. Looking back, i would say I had a successful career. Although I never won as many titles as I would have wished, but football is about experience, friendship and making you a better person and I think I got all that.

KS: You were a skipper at 21, and lifted the KPL title. Probably one of the youngest captains then. How was this?

AK: Well, I think it's because of a couple of factors. You cannot become a skipper because of one factor alone. It was a great honour to captain one of the best sides in kenya, and at that time there were many good and experienced players. For me, that mantle with those kind of players means a lot and I had to work very hard and prove that I deserved it. I think I gave my best. As captain in my first year, we won the KPL and I also got an award for the most disciplined player. It was one of my career highlights.

KS: You became a leader very early on, and continued to become  a leader through your career? Are leaders born or made?

AK: It’s hard to put a finger to it. I think it’s hard to tell. Again I can say that a lot of who become in life depends on nature and nurture. It’s a little of both; You could be nurtured or the environment around you made you become one.

KS: How important was Mathare United to you in your career development?

AK: It was very important and it was more than just football. It was a family and the entire community. Bob Munro was a father figure and did encourage and challenge us about life beyond football. He would bring people to talk to us and encourage us. The organisation also had lots of programs like Community service and HIV awareness programs. For you to get your salary at the end of the month you were supposed to have completed 60 hours of community service. So all these helped to grow us into all-round individuals. It was a great experience, and it was more than just football.

KS: You once said in September 2010 that Edgar Ochieng’ is your role model and the best defender you have see locally. Do you still hold the same thought?

AK: Yes. I have never played with a defender of his calibre. He was everything in one package- Strong, Tall, calm under pressure.. I still maintain that. He is still one of the best I have played with.

KS: In 2010, you said, “KPL has done a tremendous job and with the SuperSport deal it's exciting to see how football has grown by big margins.

However I think the coaches and technical benches should go for refresher courses to be tactically aware as the players should also put more effort in the game. The officiating should also improve as other departments improve to make it equilibrium…”  

KS: So two questions; first, With the exit of Supersport, how much does the game suffer? Secondly, I interviewed two coaches recently- Hall and Ze Maria and they said that the football courses in Kenya teach our players one-directional football and there is little development really because everyone is playing the same football. You have been part of these courses. Do you agree with Hall and Ze Maria’s comments?

AK: I think Supersport’s exit was a big blow to the game, current players and upcoming players. Supersport gave us a platform for talented players to show the world what they are made of. That opened lots of opportunities for most of our players. The exit denies the current players that window of exposure to showcase their talent. It  was big blow, but I hope somebody else can come and give Kenyan players that window. They deserve they best.

On the second question; I differ with what the coaches said. As I said earlier, I was in a coaching course months ago and we were taught lots of systems. Its down to the coach to decide what system they want to play, and it’s also down to the type of players you have. A few teams are playing 4-4-2 in Kenya, but not all. Going back to what i said then, coaches have done a great job. They have sought more knowledge and I think we are headed to the right direction.Credit goes to the current federation as they are doing a lot of courses and training for free. As you know, knowledge is expensive and it’s a big thing for the federation to give this for free. 

KS: You suffered a very serious injury at some point in your career. Take us through this moment in your career and what does it take to come back from an injury as serious as the one you suffered?

AK: A lot of the recovery depends on the support you get from friends, family and the club. Healing is not about the physical bit, but the mental bit which is really key. If mentally you still feel weak that tends to affect the physical injury as well. Most times, the injury is totally healed but you don't believe that you can go back to the pitch and do it. Further, the quality of treatment is key.

KS: Discipline - Why do you think it’s a major issue in our game to date. Who is to blame?

AK: No One is to blame. You are the one who is on that journey. Discipline is key, not only in football, but also in other careers. Looking at the Kenyan setup, it has a lot to do with who you surround yourself with. I have seen good players join clubs, but they end up joining the wrong group of people, and here I mean basically tagging along people who don't share the same dreams as you.You might be in the same club with them, but they don't share a similar vision as you. You all might be in the same club, but for them, that is their dream club, whereas you probably had dreams to play at a bigger club. So if you don't associate yourself with people of the same vision as you, you get swayed and consumed. In football, once you can't hold your foot on the ground, you are gone. Another thing again that affects our players is they tend to get into comfort zones easily…’I was on tv...on newspapers..’ and with that most players think they are on top of the world. However, nothing is further from the truth. Once you get to the top of one hill, there is another hill to climb. 

KS: Tactically, what does it take to be a good defender?

AK: Concentration. Your consecration has to be a notch higher than the strikers than everyone else on the pitch. It's a sensitive position and a second of blinking you get punished, Second, simplicity. You have to play it simple. You are playing a few yards from your goal. A little of too much anything, the ball ends up in your own net.

KS:Footballers have often been criticized locally for failing to give education much attention. How important is it for a footballer to spend time with the books, or do the fans/media demand too much of them?

AK: I think it's a justified call. We all as human beings need that guy who is watching over you, and always ready to criticize you and encourage you. We all need that constant reminder, and so most of us concentrate a little too much on the pitch not knowing it's a short career. It's even shorter when you pick an injury. At the end of the day, what happens when the career ends? Footballers should try find a balance in academics as on the pitch.

KS: There is always talk over the years, that best footballers are from some part of the country. Do you feel some of this discussions have some truth and what's your take?

AK: Everyone has an opinion. Depending on where you sit, you could have a different opinion. However, all it takes is hard work and how much you are willing to work. Not about where you are from and how hard you work.

KS: Business - You started off with a movie shop, then computer accessories then tyres and spares. Tell us about your business so far and why it's been a success story.

AK: It's key to do your homework before venturing into an business; read, talk to people and get a mentor who is in that industry. Even after that, you still will face lots of challenges and learn a lot on the way. Always have an open mind, be prepared for any eventuality and most of all try engage in an industry where your passion is. I am passionate about cars, so it was easy for me. 

KS: TV punditry - What pushed you into TV and how is the journey to date?

AK: It wasn't planned at all. I must thank Carol Radull so much. She believed in me, and gave me the first opportunity to try out., She always encouraged me and always told me that it takes a long time before you get there. I am not there yet, but still learning. I am enjoying it, and it looks like I am playing football. I Have to study opponents, and put myself in the footballer's situation before I critique.

KS: What’s your take on the local game currently? Both the league and the national team? 

AK: I think we are getting better as country. With the national team, we are headed in the right direction. The current federation is doing a lot in terms of friendlies and preparation. Right now, we are playing several good sides and that's the only way we can get better. If we don't give our players such exposure as in the friendlies, we will really lag behind. Also, the fact that we have stayed with one coach for quite a long time, it is  a good thing. That was a major undoing for us; We would change coaches very often and things keep changing while other countries are moving forward.

KS: Do you feel you quit left a little too early? Does it pain you that you didn't achieve your maximum potential?

AK: Not at all. Looking back, the only thing I feel I didn't do, and would have loved to do was play for a club outside this country. I wanted to play in one of the best leagues and challenge myself and see what impact I would have had. I played as much as I could and for the span I could.No regrets.

KS: Are we going to see you on the touchline soon?

AK: Yes, but I am not sure at what time. In the near future, I will be there shouting instructions and imparting knowledge to young guys like someone else did to me

KS: As a player and captain, what would you want to be remembered for the most?

AK: That I was a player who gave my all for club and country. That I tried to do my best. I hope I was a joy to watch, and that I didn't disappoint and proved wrong those who didn't believe in me. It was a roller-coaster. The lowest moment was when I was captain of Harambee Stars in Uganda and scored an own goal and the highest was in 2008 when I won the KPL title. However, i gave my best. 

KS: Thanks Antony. All the best ahead.
 

A last minute goal by Leandra Smelda rallied South Africa to a 2-1 win over hosts Zimbabwe to be crowned this year's COSAFA Women's Cup winners on Sunday September 24 at the Bulawayo Stadium in Zimbabwe.

Thembi Kgatlana  has given South Africa in the 45th minute before lethal striker Rutendo Makore equalized for the hosts in the 73rd minute. Leandra Smeda then sent the South Africa's technical bench into jubilation with a goal in the 90th minute which all but sealed the title for Banyana Banyana.

South Africa have now won the tournament a record four times, having lifted it in 2002, 2006 and 2008. Losing finalists Zimbabwe are the only other team to have won the tournament having done that in 2011.

 

Bandari FC's miseries continued on Sunday September 24 after losing 1-0 to Chemelil Sugar in a Round of 27 match played at the Mbaraki Sports Club.

An 85th minute penalty converted by Alexis Kitenge was all AFC Leopards needed to get past a tough Vihiga United on Saturday September 24 at the Afraha Stadium and consequently book a date with Kariobangi Sharks in the finals of this year's Gotv Shield tournament.

In a match that Vihiga were the better side, Clyde Nevade had the first chance for thema in the 2nd minute just outside the box but his uncalculated shot went wide off target. Dennis Simiyu then saw his header saved by keeper Ian Otieno in the 17th minute after he had risen the highest to connect with Nevada's cross. 

The best chance for the National Super League leaders came in the 21st minute from a counter attack, Kevin Ichiami flinging a through ball to Rashid Kyambadde but once again Ian Otieno reacted the quickest to prevent his side from going down.

Vihiga keeper Barnabas Tiema then followed the footsteps of his equal opponent ten minutes with a brilliant save to deny Alexis Kitenge who had taken a shot at goal.

In the second half, Leopards coach Robert Matano decided to introduce Keziron Kizito and Marcelus Ingotsi for Vincent Oburu and Whyvonne Isuza respectively in a bid to spice up his attack.

Substitute Kizito almost made an impact in the 77th minute following Samuel Ndungús pass but saw his shot fail to find the target.

Just as the match seemed to be headed into post-match penalties, Leopards were awarded a penalty five minutes from time following defender Edwin Otieno's apparent hand ball inside the box. Burundian international Alexis Kitenge stepped up to take the resulting penalty, burying the ball to the far left corner to earn his team a hard fought 1-0 win over Vihiga.

Ingwe will now clash with fellow league competitors Kariobangi Sharks in the finals of the competition. Sharks eased past SoNy Sugar 2-0 in the first semifinal.

Leopards Starting XI: Ian Otieno,  Michael Kibwage, Dennis Shikhayi,  Abdallah Salim, Robinson Kamura, Samwel Ndungu,  Musa Mudde, Duncan  Otieno, Alexis Kitenge,  Whyvonne Isuza,  Vincent Oburu

Reserves: Mukolwe, Nyakha, Kizito, Majid, Wanami, Ingotsi, Yakubu

Vihiga Starting XI: 1.Tiema Barnabas (GK), 2. Edwin Mukoya , 3. Dennis Ombeva , 4. Liuva Mophat , 5. Ochieng Bernard , 6. Imbalabala Martin (C), 7. Christopher Masinza , 8. Kevin Muhanji , 9. Rashid Kyambade , 10. Clyde Senaji , 11.Dennis Wafula

Subs: Frank Mwenda (GK), David Kavaji , Soita Silicho , Okulo Patrick , Airo Godfrey , Dennis Lugalia, Gideon Abucheri

 

 

Masoud Juma's goals in either half secured a place for Kariobangi Sharks in the finals of this year's Gotv Shield tournament after overcoming SoNy Sugar 2-0 on Sunday September 24 at the Afraha Stadium.

Sharks were more determined from the start and had a chance in the 4th minute when Michael Bodo initiated a counter attack, but SoNy Sugar defenders stood firm on ground to snatch the ball from Ellie Asieche.

The Nairobi based club was then dealt a blow in the 27th minute,  Pattillah Omoto being forced out of the game with an injury and was substituted by Christopher Kimathi. They however took the lead just three minutes through dangerman Masoud Juma who showed keeper Kevin Omondi what he is capable of doing with the ball. 

SoNy then sort a reply in the 33rd minute but Wycliffe Otieno was swift to clear the ball out of danger.

In the second half, the sugar millers came back stronger in search of an equalizer but Masoud Juma put the match beyond reach for them with his second goal in the 80th minute. 

The 2-0 victoryautomatically secures Sharks' a place in the finals of the competition, where they will face the winner between AFC Leopards and Vihiga United in the other semifinal.

Kariobangi Sharks Starting XI: Jeff Oyemba, Michael Bodo, Geoffrey Shiveka (c), Wycliffe Otieno, Paul Kamau, Sven Yidah, Patilla Omoto ( Christopher Kimathi), Elli Asieche, Duke Abuya ( Francis Manoah), Mathew Odongo, Masoud Juma

Subs: Malcolm Oigo, Pascal Ogweno, Ibrahim Kitawi, Cavin Odongo, Ebrimma Sanneh.

SoNy Sugar Starting Xi: Kevin Omondi. Bernard Omondi. Dennis Junior, Joseph Omweri, Alfred Onyango, Nick Akoko, Benjamin Mosha, Fredrick Onyango, Mwana Yema, Amos Asembeka, Justin Monda,

Subs: Tom Muthomi, Samuel Otieno, Justin Omari, Clement Owino, Tobias Otieno, David Simiyu, Laban Gambareko.

 

Vihiga United head coach Edward Manoah has released hi starting lineup that will face AFC Leopards in the semifinals of the Gotv Shield tournament on Sunday September 24 at the Afraha Stadium.

The match kicks of at 14:30

Starting XI: 1.Tiema Barnabas (GK), 2. Edwin Mukoya , 3. Dennis Ombeva , 4. Liuva Mophat , 5. Ochieng Bernard , 6. Imbalabala Martin (C), 7. Christopher Masinza , 8. Kevin Muhanji , 9. Rashid Kyambade , 10. Clyde Senaji , 11.Dennis Wafula

Subs: Frank Mwenda (GK), David Kavaji , Soita Silicho , Okulo Patrick , Airo Godfrey , Dennis Lugalia, Gideon Abucheri

 

Ian Otieno has been handed a starting berth in goal as AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano unleashed a strong starting lineup that will take on Vihiga United in the semifinals of the Gotv Shield tournament on Saturday September 24 at the Afraha Stadium from 14:30.

Otieno will be covered in defense by Michael Kibwage, Dennis Shikhayi,  Abdallah Salim and Robinson Kamura. Samuel Ndungu and Musa Mudde will pull strings in midfield while the attacking trio of Alexis Kitenge,  Whyvonne Isuza and Vincent Oburulead the team upfront in search of goals that would earn them a ticket in the finals of the competition.

Starting XI: Ian Otieno,  Michael Kibwage, Dennis Shikhayi,  Abdallah Salim, Robinson Kamura, Samwel Ndungu,  Musa Mudde, Duncan  Otieno, Alexis Kitenge,  Whyvonne Isuza,  Vincent Oburu

Reserves: Mukolwe, Nyakha, Kizito, Majid, Wanami, Ingotsi, Yakubu

 

It wasn’t the race that anybody anticipated, but Eliud Kipchoge came away from the 2017 Berlin Marathon on Sunday with the win in 2:03:32 and some unanticipated late-race competition from a newcomer to the distance. 

Although the prerace hype focused on a battle between the “big three” of Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang, and Kenenisa Bekele, by 30K the competition came down to just Kipchoge and Guye Adola, a 26-year-old Ethiopian running his first marathon. Bekele lost the lead pack just past the halfway point (he eventually dropped out) and Kipsang suddenly stopped at 30K without showing any signs of distress. 

Adola came with a personal best of 59:06 for the half marathon and now is the owner of the fastest marathon debut ever, finishing second in 2:03:46, besting Dennis Kimetto's 2:04:16 previous debut record he set in 2012.

Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia was third in 2:06:09.

Although the goal was to beat Kimetto's world record time of 2:02:57, the leaders fell off that pace after 30K. They passed the halfway point in 1:01:29, putting them within reach, though it was not to be in the end. The weather conditions were not ideal and likely made such lofty objectives difficult, with rain, 97 percent humidity, and a starting temperature of 58 degrees.

Kipchoge, 32, is from Kenya and the 2016 Olympic marathon champion. He became a fan favorite following the Nike Breaking2 experiment, where he ran a 2:00:25 on a racetrack in Monza, Italy. Though it remains the fastest time ever for 26.2 miles, it didn’t count as an official record because of the tactics used, such as the team of rotating pacesetters who aided his attempt to break two hours.

With his race on Sunday, Kipchoge now owns three of the fastest marathons in history, not including his Breaking attempt.

In the women's race, Kenya's Gladys Cherono claimed the win in a time of 2:20:21. Ethiopia's Ruti Aga finished second in 2:20:41 with Kenya's Valary Ayabei claiming third in 2:20:53.

 

On Saturday September 24, The CAF Executive Committee under the chairmanship of CAF President Ahmad held a special meeting in Accra, Ghana where they deliberated on several issues regarding African football.

A last minute goal by Leandra Smelda rallied South Africa to a 2-1 win over hosts Zimbabwe to be crowned this year's COSAFA Women's Cup winners on Sunday September 24 at the Bulawayo Stadium in Zimbabwe.

Thembi Kgatlana  has given South Africa in the 45th minute before lethal striker Rutendo Makore equalized for the hosts in the 73rd minute. Leandra Smeda then sent the South Africa's technical bench into jubilation with a goal in the 90th minute which all but sealed the title for Banyana Banyana.

South Africa have now won the tournament a record four times, having lifted it in 2002, 2006 and 2008. Losing finalists Zimbabwe are the only other team to have won the tournament having done that in 2011.

 

On Saturday September 24, The CAF Executive Committee under the chairmanship of CAF President Ahmad held a special meeting in Accra, Ghana where they deliberated on several issues regarding African football.

The German Bundesliga continues this weekend with nine matches on the cards from Friday September 22 to Sunday September 24.

Below are all weekend fixtures (All times are in EAT)

FRIDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER

Bayern Munich 21:30 VfL Wolfsburg

SATURDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER

Mainz 05 16:30 Hertha BSC

RB Leipzig 16:30 Eintracht Frankfurt

Werder Bremen 16:30 SC Freiburg

1899 Hoffenheim 16:30 FC Schalke 04

VfB Stuttgart 16:30 FC Augsburg

Borussia Dortmund 19:30 Borussia Mönchengladbach

SUNDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER

Hannover 96 16:30 FC Köln

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 19:00 Hamburger SV

 

Round six of the Spanish LaLiga takes place this weekend, with ten fixtures expected to be played between Saturday September 23 and Monday September 25.

Below are all weekend LaLiga fixtures (All times are in EAT)

 

SATURDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER

Atlético Madrid 14:00 Sevilla

Alavés 17:15 Real Madrid

Malaga 19:30 Athletic Bilbao

Girona 21:45 Barcelona

SUNDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER

Espanyol 13:00 Deportivo La Coruña

Getafe 17:15 Villarreal

Eibar 19:30 Celta Vigo

Las Palmas 19:30 Leganés

Real Sociedad 21:45 Valencia

MONDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER

Real Betis 22:00 Levante

 

The Barclays Premier League continues this weekend with a total of ten matches programmed to be played between Saturday September 23 and Monday September 25.

Below are all weekend matches (All times are in EAT)

SATURDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER

         West Ham United 14:30 Tottenham Hotspur

                       Burnley 17:00 Huddersfield Town

                       Everton 17:00 AFC Bournemouth

           Manchester City 17:00 Crystal Palace

              Southampton 17:00 Manchester United

                   Stoke City 17:00 Chelsea

              Swansea City 17:00 Watford

              Leicester City 19:30 Liverpool

SUNDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER

Brighton & Hove Albion 18:00 Newcastle United

MONDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER

                      Arsenal 22:00 West Bromwich Albion

 

Chelsea are loaning Diego Costa to Atlético Madrid for the rest of the season and the Spanish club have committed to buy him for €65 million (£57.1m) at the end of that arrangement.

The deal for Costa to leave was finally struck after it was agreed that Chelsea would not subsidise his wages, even though he cannot play for Atlético until January because of their transfer ban, or pay him any loyalty bonus.

The terms of the agreement mean that Costa is no longer Chelsea’s concern and can now travel to Madrid to complete his medical and agree personal terms  – and is expected to be presented to the supporters before the home game against Sevilla on Saturday.

 After that, of course, Atlético face Chelsea at their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium in the Champions League and it will be fascinating to see whether Costa is in the stands for that eagerly-anticipated encounter.

Given Costa has gone AWOL for 11 weeks, spending the entire summer in Brazil, and has refused to return to Chelsea this season, then the notion of a loyalty payment would seem remarkable although contractually it related to a percentage of any transfer fee agreed being due to him under his contract.

Chelsea have repeatedly fined Costa during his absence, insisting that he is an employee in breach of contract. The Professional Footballers’ Association blocks players being fined more than two weeks' wages but that is only in the case of them making themselves available to play. Costa has not done that and given he earns £150,000-a-week then he may well be £1.5m out of pocket.

To do this Chelsea have adhered to a four-point plan – that Costa, despite his desire to go, needed to return to England, train, get fit and get himself in contention – despite, also, manager Antonio Conte having texted the 28-year-old to tell him he was not part of his plans.

Chelsea were always prepared to sell Costa but the message from owner Roman Abramovich was clear: he would not be allowed to force his way out on the cheap. It almost became a point of principle at the club. Atlético, whose coach Diego Simeone has driven the deal, had initially offered as little as £26m for Chelsea’s top-scorer last season in the belief that the Stamford Bridge hierarchy would simply want rid of him. There was a fear at Chelsea that Atlético may make a similarly low offer in January.

Costa is not allowed to play until then because of the transfer ban on Atlético which may, actually, have helped him to secure his move given the club were close to signing Alexandre Lacazette before he agreed a deal to join Arsenal. Costa has been determined to return to his former club, three years after left in July 2014 when his £32m release clause was triggered, since summer 2016. Indeed he told Conte on the preseason tour of the United States 14 months ago, soon after the Italian was appointed, that he wanted  to go back to Madrid. But, at that time, Atlético bought the French striker Kevin Gameiro instead.

Costa has always been a firm favourite of Simeone who wanted him back at the club and even demanded it as part of his recent contract negotiations. The Spanish international will be allowed to train with Atlético but he cannot be registered to play for them until the ban is lifted on January 1 2018

 

Trailing 3-0in the 70th minute, South Africa offered perfect response to Zambia by equalizing and overcoming them on post-match penalties to reach the finals of the continuing COSAFA Women's Cup.

Barbara Banda had given Zambia the lead in the 21st minute before Chanda's 45th minute goal doubled their lead heading into halftime. Chileshe had the chance to make it 3-0 six minutes after the restart from the spot but saw her effort go wide off target. Zulu however made it three for Zambia in the 75th minute to double their hopes of storming into the finals.

The turn over started two minutes later when Leandra Smelda scored two quick goals, one from the penalty spot before Rafiloe Jane's 84th minute strike restored parity for Banyana Banyana.

With the scores tied at 3-3 after the final whistle, the two teams went into a penalty shootout where South Africa won 5-3 to book their spot into the finals of the competition.

They will now face the winner of the second semifinal clash between Kenya and hosts Zimbabwe.

 

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)

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: Where did this nickname Softie come from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: What exactly affected you?

JN: Lack of play time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: Any closing words? 

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

KS: Thanks for your time Softie!

 

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

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

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

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

“That’s clearly against the rules!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

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."

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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