Fatuma Zarika: It Will Be A Very Tough Fight

World Boxing Commission (WBC) champion Fatuma Zarika expects a difficult fight when she takes to the ring for her Super bantamweight title defense against Jamaican Alicia Ashley on June 30, in Dallas, Texas, USA.

This will be a repeat of last year’s clash between the pair where Zarika  dethroned the Jamaican via a split decision at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint in Michigan, the US and became the first Kenyan pugilist to claim the prestigious title.

But as she prepares for the highly anticipated bout, the 31 year old stylish orthodox stance boxer who shifted her training base to US six weeks ago, is wary of Ashley’s revenge mission.

“Of course this is going to be a very tough fight for both of us, but a great fight for the fans. Both of us have different targets. While I am focusing on defending the title, Alicia will be out to revenge last year's defeat,” said Zarika from her training base at Berry’s Boxing Gym, Las Vegas.

Despite the hype surrounding the fight, an extremely motivated Sportpesa-sponsored mother of two is looking forward to retain her title.

“She (Alicia) is a former champion and I know what she capable of. But having been in US for the last sid weeks I am extremely motivated and prepared for the challenge. She is of course coming out with everything she has, but I am confident I will handle her,” she added.

Asked on how excited and motivated she is after last week's meeting with her role model legendary Mike Tyson, Zarika said : “ It  is always great to have a change of environment and that’s how I came to meet Tyson.

“I was more than pleased to have met Tyson , one of the celebrated boxers in the game’s history whom I have only been watching on television. We had a lengthy talk, but he promised to visit me in the gym this week before the fight. It was really motivating and I am looking forward to meeting him again.’’?

Meddie Kagere's first half goal was enough to hand Gor Mahia an important 1-0 win over Posta Rangers on Wednesday August 23 at the Moi International Sports Center (MISC), Kasarani.

With Sofapaka having slashed Gor Mahia's lead at the summit of the league to three points with a 3-1 victory, Ko'galo were keen to restore their six-point gap and showed similar intentions from the first whistle. They however almost fell behind in the 11th minute but Wellington Ochieng' was on time to clear Dennis Mukaisi's effort off the goal line after the latter had got past keeper Peter Odhiambo.

Gor maintained a majority share of possession in the opening fifteen minutes, conjoining passes as they sought to break Rangers' defense. Their efforts paid in the 22nd minute, Meddie Kagere scoring a beautiful goal to take his side ahead and his season tally to five.

Despite the lead, Rwandan international Jacques Tuyisenge who had offered Kagere the assist continued proving a thorn in the flesh for Rangers defense line with his constant attacks. 

The second half started slowly as Posta Rangers sought tactics that would split Gor's defense while Gor played cautiously to see that their lead stands. The mailmen had chances through Titus Achesa, Joakins Atudo and Mukaisi  but could not find the back of the net as Gor stood firm even in the eight additional minutes to secure the important 1-0 win.

The win takes their point tally to 43, six ahead of second placed Sofapaka who have 37 points.

Gor Mahia Starting XI: 1. Fredrick Odhiambo, 3. Karim Nizigiyimana, 18. Haroun Shakava, 5. Musa Mohamed, 4. Wellington Ochieng’, 20. Ernest Wendo, 10. Kenneth Muguna, 9. Jacques Tuyisenge, 22. Meddie Kagere, 2 Godfrey Walusimbi, George Odhiambo,

Reserves: 29. Boniface Oluoch, 14. Wafula Innocent, 12 Joash Onyango, Philemon Otieno,7 baptiste Mugiraneza, Francis Kahata, 30 Philemon Otieno, 11 Boniface Omondi

Rangers Starting XI: Patrick Matasi, Simon Mbugua, Omondi Collins, Atudo Joakins, Luke Ochieng, Jerry Santos, Otieno Kennedy, Kibiru Erick, Obwoge Jared, Moses Otieno, Titus Achesa

Reserves: Farouk shikhalo, Nyagah Joseph , Owiti Donald, Nairuka John,m, Mukaisi Dennis, Likonoh Gershon

 

A 78th minute goal by substitute Francis Manoah carried Kariobangi Sharks past a visiting Western Stima side on Wednesday August 23 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

Both sides wasted vital chances in the first half that would have otherwise seen one of them get a lead. Both goalkeepers were also alert, with Stima's Samwel Odhiambo saving Paul Kamau's effort and Jeff Oyemba reacting quickly to foil Ezekiel Otuoma's  attempt near the post.

Kenyan international Masoud Juma and  Ebrimah Sanneh were also on the wasteful end, with the latter's try cleared at the goal line by Stima defender Vincent Omumbo.

In the second half, the tempo of the match slowed down as both teams joined passes cautiously so as not to lose possession to their opponents and risk conceding.

It is Sharks who however had the last laugh, substitute Francis Manoah scoring a 78th minute goal to secure all three points for the hosts. The win ended Sharks' three-match winless run.

Mathare United vs Nakumatt

In Ruaraka, Chrispin Oduor's second half penalty salvaged a point for Mathare United against Nakumatt FC in a 1-1 draw.

Nakumatt striker Kepha Aswani took his team ahead in the 44th minute, rounding the ball over an onrushing keeper Levis Opiyo to make the scores 1-0 at halftime.

Mathare United however leveled matters fifteen minutes from time courtesy of Chrispin Oduor's successful penalty. The Slum Boys had been awarded the penalty following Ochieng's foul inside the box.

The draw takes Nakumatt's point tally to 26 points while Mathare now have 21 points from 20 matches.

 

Goals by Willis Ouma, Ezekiel Okare and Umaru Kasumba enabled Sofapaka to a comfortable 3-1 win over Nzoia Sugar on Wednesday August 23 at the Moi International Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani.

Willis Ouma took Batoto Ba Mungu ahead in the 2nd minute of the match with a powerful header from Oduor's corner before  Luke Namanda leveled matters for Nzoia 12 minutes with a well-calculated shot. 

In the 35th minute, veteran Ezekiel Okare restored Sofapaka's lead from cross range after receiving pass by Umaru Kasumba inside the box.

Kasumba then turned from a giver to a scorer in the 43rd minute, beating Mustapha Oduor with an effort that took his side leading 3-1 into the break.

Nzoia came into the second half stronger in search of goals but Sofapaka custodian Mathias Kigonya was well prepared for them, coming out of his line to clear o dangerous ball shortly after the restart before producing a superb save to thwart a 61st minute free kick.

The win took Sofapaka's point tally to 37, three adrift of league leaders Gor Mahia who entertain Posta Rangers later on at the same venue.

Sofapaka Starting XI: Mathias Kigonya (G) Willis Ouma, Maurice Odipo, Rodgers Aloro, Jonathan Mugabi, Kennedy Odour, Ezekiel Okare, Ali Feni, Umaru Kasumba, Bernard Mang'oli, Hillary Echesa (cpt)

Subs: Juma Reuben (G), Humphrey Okoti, Samuel Mutiria, Brian Dayo Magonya, Mohammed Kilume, Micheal Odour, Francis Ochola

Nzoia United Starting XI: 23.Mustapha Oduor ,14.Edwin Wafula, 16.Hillary Wandera, 28. Brian Otieno ,34. Vincent Ngesa (C), 02. Stephen Wakanya  ,24.Lawrence Juma.,  20.Masita Masuta 21.Brian Yakhama  12.Luke Namanda, 18.Patrick Kwitonda.

Subs: 15. Humphrey Katasi, 26. Okiring Festus,  8. Edgar Nzano, 17. Jonathan Lokadet, 07.Collins Wakhungu  06.Benjamin Muchuma,  32. Victor Omondi,

Gor Mahia and Posta Rangers have released strong lineups that will face off on Wednesday August 23 at the Moi International Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani.

The match which will start at 16:15 is a repeat of their first leg clash which ended in a 1-1 draw. 

For Gor Mahia, Fredrick Odhiambo maintains his place infront of goal and will be protected in defense by  Karim Nizigiyimana, Haroun Shakava, Musa Mohamed and Wellington Ochieng’. Muguna and Wendo pair up in midfield as Kagere and Tuyisenge lead the attack.

For Posta Rangers, Patrick Matasi will be the keeper with Simon Mbugua, Omondi Collins, Atudo Joakins and Luke Ochieng making up the defense. The midfield will be marshaled by Jerry Santos and Moses Otieno.

Gor Mahia Starting XI: 1. Fredrick Odhiambo, 3. Karim Nizigiyimana, 18. Haroun Shakava, 5. Musa Mohamed, 4. Wellington Ochieng’, 20. Ernest Wendo, 10. Kenneth Muguna, 9. Jacques Tuyisenge, 22. Meddie Kagere, 2 Godfrey Walusimbi, George Odhiambo,

Reserves: 29. Boniface Oluoch, 14. Wafula Innocent, 12 Joash Onyango, Philemon Otieno,7 baptiste Mugiraneza, Francis Kahata, 30 Philemon Otieno, 11 Boniface Omondi

Rangers Starting XI: Patrick Matasi, Simon Mbugua, Omondi Collins, Atudo Joakins, Luke Ochieng, Jerry Santos, Otieno Kennedy, Kibiru Erick, Obwoge Jared, Moses Otieno, Titus Achesa

 Subs: Farouk shikhalo, Nyagah Joseph , Owiti Donald, Nairuka John,m, Mukaisi Dennis, Likonoh Gershon

 

Muhoroni Youth coach James Omondi has recalled Salim Sowedi back into the starting lineup as his side prepares to take on Thika United on Wednesday August 23 at the Muhoroni Grounds.

The shot stopper was benched in Muhoroni's 2-0 loss to league leaders Gor Mahia four days ago, with Said having been handed a starting berth in that match. Also making a comeback into the team is Kennedy Rono, Hassan Kiyoyo and Faruk Mudoola.

Starting XI:Salim Sowedi, Jacobs Faina, Robert Mudenyu, Odhiambo Jacob, Robert Indimuli, Collins Agade, Kennedy Rono,Onyango Maxwell, Kiyoyo Hassan, Mudoola Faruk, Ambrose Ayoyi

Reserves: Said, Mohammed Yusuf, Otieno Daniel, Kityo Bliss, Thomas Venval, Francis Oduor

 

Zoo Kericho head coach Sammy Okoth has made three changes in the team that is set to face SoNy Sugar on Wednesday August 23 at the Awendo Green Stadium. The match will kick off at 15:00.

Ouma Dominic, Leonard Mmata and Ernest Kipkoech who started in Zoo's 6-0 mauling by Mathare United have been benched and their place taken by Danson Namasakha, Dennis Otieno and Hamidu Kwizera who until last season was a SoNy player.

Starting XI: 9. Vincent Misikhu, 6.Johnstone Ligare, 13. Sindani Sabiri, 44. Kwizera Hamidu, 12. Kipyegon Isaaac, 28.Otieno Dennis, 18. Geofrey Gichana, 5. Michael Madoya,16. Namasakha Danson  10. Bernard Odhiambo, 22. Nicholas Kipkirui.

Subs: 1. Samwel Koko, 39. Ouma Dominic, 26. Ondati Kepha, 35. Ernest Kipkoech, 4. Leonard Mmata, 20. Selenga Mangili, 30 Ongwae Andrew

 

Simbas vice-captain Darwin Mukidza is well aware of the task that lies ahead of them but is adamant that they will up their intensity so as to overcome Hong Kong. The second test for the Simbas will be on Saturday August 26 at the RFUEA Grounds from 16:00.

In the first test, Dennis Muhanji's touchdown and Andola's consequent conversion at the death rallied the Simbas to a 19-19 draw with the Dragons to set up an exciting second test.  

“We expect them to play as they did on Sunday but we are planning to raise our intensity and see how it goes from there as we are similarly matched. The team that shows up on the day will take this encounter,” said the Simbas utility back.

 

Kariobangi Sharks will once again have to do without dependable defender Pascal Ogweno when they take on Western Stima on Wednesday August 23 at the Machakos Stadium.

This will be Sharks' second consecutive match without Ogweno, who is serving a two-match ban following a red card he received in his side's 3-2 loss to Zoo Kericho. A further five-match ban imposed to him by the Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee (IDCC)  is also awaiting him for disorderly conduct towards a match official.

Despite missing the defender, Sharks will be eyeing an overhaul of recent performances that have seen them lose two of their last league matches, picking up only five points in the last five fixtures they have been involved.

 The William Muluya-coached side will however draw motivation from their impressive 5-0 win over Eldoret Youth in the quarterfinals of the Gotv Shield four days ago.

Also looking for maximum points in Wednesday's game is Western Stima, who are currently lying second from bottom in the table standings. In their last 17 league matches, Stima have only won two games, a good explanation for their position in the league table. 

The two sides have only met once in the top flight league, with the first leg encounter ending in a 1-1 draw. Sharks have failed to score in six occasions compared to Stima's eight. Sharks also boast of a bigger goal difference, having scored 18 goals and conceded 15 while Stima have scored 14 and conced 24.

 

The Total 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) which is set to be held in Kenya in January 2017 has started taking shape, with 15 countries already having beaten competition to qualify for next year's tournament. The tournament will commence on 11th of January and will be concluded on the 2nd of February, 2018.

There is only one spot remaining and will be decided on Tuesday 22 August when Senegal takes on Guinea in Conakry. Senegal already boasts of a 3-1 lead from the first leg that was played in Dakar.

Below is a list of all qualified countries.

The qualified teams. 

1.Kenya : They qualified as the tournament hosts.

2. Burkina Faso :

They edged Ghana 4-3 on aggregate after drawing 2-2 in Ouagadougou and beating them in Kumasi 2-1.

3. Uganda: 

They qualified after overcoming Rwanda 3-2 on aggregate, the first leg in Kampala ended 3-0 and Rwanda winning the return leg 2-0 in Kigali. This will be Uganda’s fourth successive tournament after missing out on only the inaugural edition that was hosted in the Ivory Coast.

4. Namibia: 

They beat Comoros 2-0 at the Sam Nijuoma stadium to edge the tie 3-2 on aggregate after falling to a 2-1 defeat in Moroni.

5. Mauritania :

They shocked last editions’ finalists Mali 3-2 on aggregate.

6. Sudan: 

The falcons of Jedaine qualified after defeating Ethiopia 2-1 on aggregate with a close 1-0 victory in Obaid following a 1-1 stale in Addis Ababa.

7. Ivory Coast :

They overcame Niger on away goals rule following a 1-0 win in Abidjan. Niger had won the 1st leg 2-1 in Niemy. Aggregate score 2-2.

8. Angola :

The Palancas Negras saw off Madagascar with a 1-0 aggregate following a 0-0 stalemate in the first leg of the tie.

9. Nigeria :

The Super eagles edged Benin 2-1 on aggregate after falling to a 1-0 loss in Benin. They fought back to win the tie 2-0 at the Sani Abaca Stadium.

10. Congo :

The most successful nation of the competition were ousted by their close neighbors Congo Brazaville. They were undone by the failure to score away as the closely contested tie at the Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecote in Kinshasa ended 1-1. The first leg in Brazaville had ended 0-0.

11. Cameroon :

The AFCON Champions booked their spot following a 2-0 win over Sao Tome and Principe, they had earlier beaten them 2-0 away, thus going through 4-0 on aggregate.

12. Zambia :

They edged South Africa 4-2 aggregate following a 2-0 win in Ndola at the Levi Mwanawasa Stadium. The first leg tie had earlier ended 2-2 in East London.

13. Morocco: 

They booked their ticket to the championships following a 4-2 aggregate over Egypt in the North zone. The 1st leg ended in a 1-1 all stalemate but Morocco edged their rivals 3-1 in the second leg.

14. Libya :

Libya progressed following a 3-2 aggregate win over Algeria. A 1-1 draw in Sfax combined with a 2-1 win in the first leg in Constantine to see Libya qualify at the expense of their North African rivals.

15. Equatorial Guinea

They were the first nation to qualify for the 2018 edition after their opponents for the final qualifying tie Gabon withdrew from the competition on February 13th 2018.

16. Senegal/ Guinea 

The lions of Terranga will play against Guinea on Tuesday 22 August in Conakry to see out who takes the final spot. Senegal comes into the return leg with 3-1 lead having edged Guinea in Dakar.

 

Arsenal have offered Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a new four-year deal worth £125,000-a-week to fend off interest from Chelsea. He is understood to be tempted by the prospect of a move to Stamford Bridge and was unimpressed with Arsenal’s initial offer of less than £100,000 a week. But the Gunners are believed to be optimistic the 24-year-old will now accept the improved terms and sign up.

Diego Costa has turned down a lucrative loan move to China, according to the Sun. Shanghai SIPG offered Costa a £3 million fee to agree to sign for them until November – and a £10m bonus if they won the Chinese Super League. They also would have paid the wages he received from Chelsea, along with a £100,000-a-week top-up – which would have taken his wages to £285k-a-week. However, Costa was adamant that he did not want to play in China with the Spain international having his heart set on a return to Atletico Madrid.

Neymar comments on his Barcelona exit: “When I arrived, everything started well but then... at Barcelona, there are directors that shouldn’t be there. I’m very sad with them. I had four very happy years there, but Barca deserve much better. I have a lot of friends there, I hope things get better for Barca and that they go back to being a team that can compete.”

The truth is that with 10 minutes left on the clock, Swansea City were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides seemed to have forgotten how to do in the era that has followed Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

 

They ransacked the home team with three goals in the space of four minutes, three perfect raids, that were built from direct football or rapid turnovers of possession and which were led by the big figures in this team, Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba, who have five goals between them already this season. Two games in, two wins and United have scored eight without reply.

Pogba played on the edge for much of the game after a first-half booking, but as we have come to see with this player, he never hides from the action and eventually his reward came. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s second assist of the afternoon opened the way for Pogba who, for all his rampaging, applied a delicate finish to beat Lukasz Fabianski for his second goal of the new season, United’s third, before substitute Anthony Martial added a fourth.

For Swansea, in their first game without Gylfi Sigurdsson, this was a chastening finale although there were times when it looked like they might have been able to put some pressure on United after Eric Bailly scored with a late first-half goal. 

The United defender had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest in the area when Fabianski made a fabulous save and Bailly stamped the ball over the line.

The home team had been warned, with more than one chance for United to turn their domination of possession into a goal. Phil Jones had headed against the bar from a corner and Marcus Rashford had torn through the Swansea defence, only to poke a lame shot straight at Fabianski. 

Just when it looked like Clement’s team would make it to half-time, the breakthrough arrived.

Pogba’s power and physique, not to mention an occasionally twinkling touch on the ball, allow him to get involved in just about everything in the middle of the pitch. Nevertheless, he did mistime a tackle on Tom Carroll in the first half and the booking was on everyone’s mind when he was late into a challenge on Martin Olsson. Jon Moss let that one slide and it was Pogba’s header that, saved by Fabianski, was put in by Bailly.

 

It had been his cross that won the original corner taken by Juan Mata, and it felt like the Frenchman was everywhere in this game. Even so, Carroll got on the ball when he could and there were a couple of moments for Swansea. Jordan Ayew got a ricochet off a Bailly clearance that set him free down the left channel where his imaginative shot with the outside of his right foot caught out David de Gea and grazed the bar.

Tammy Abraham was up against Bailly and Jones and that took some getting used to at first, but when his touch settled down the Chelsea striker, on loan at Swansea, had a couple of decent moments. He is four weeks older than Rashford whose career has progressed further and he demonstrated in the first half his slickness of touch. if not his finishing.

 

Rashford faded after the break and when Mourinho came to make his changes with 15 minutes to go, United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing Marouane Fellani into the midfield at the expense of Mata and his team took their chances when they arrived; Lukaku, Pogba and then Martial turning a victory into a rout.

 

Manchester United and Swansea have released their starting lineups for their clash on Saturday August 19th at the Liberty Stadium from 14:30.

United are seeking their second win in two games after recording a 4-0 victory over West Ham in their opening fixture. Swansea on their side are eyeing their first win after settling for a 0-0 draw with Southampton a fortnight ago.

Below are the full team lineups:

Manchester United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku.

Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Smalling, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Martial.

Swansea XI: Fabianski; Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Mesa, Ayew, Abraham.

Subs: Nordfeldt, Rangel, van der Hoorn, Fulton, Narsingh, Routledge, McBurnie.

 

The Barclays Premier League enters its second week with nine matches set to be played between Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the early kick off will see Manchester United face Swansea from 14:30. Manchester were 4-0 winners over West Ham in their opening fixture. Liverpool will be seeking their first win when they take on Crystal Palace at Anfield from 17:00. Stoke City will then host Arsenal in the last match for Saturday.

On Sunday, two matches will be played, with Huddersfield entertaining Newcastle while defending champions Chelsea clash with Tottenham. Chelsea lost their opening fixture to Burnley.

Saturday August 19th

14:30- Swansea vs Man Utd

17:00- AFC Bournemouth vs Watford

17:00- Burnley vs West Brom

17:00- Leicester vs Brighton

17:00- Liverpool vs Crystal  Palace

17:00- Southampton vs West Ham

19:30- Stoke City vs Arsenal

Sunday August 20th

15:30- Huddersfield vs Newcastle

18:00- Tottenham vs Chelsea

 

 Floyd Mayweather is already known as the "Money" man in boxing.

His reputation will be further enhanced after his battle with UFC star Conor McGregor.

The American expects to bank $350 million (£272 million) for the fight on August 26, taking his career earnings past $1 billion (£777 million).

Mayweather, 40, has been involved in all of the top three biggest-selling pay-per-view fights of all time.

His record-smashing victory over Manny Pacquiao in 2015 was sold to 4.6 million households in the United States, yet Mayweather believes his fight with McGregor will be an even bigger success.

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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.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have released fixtures for the 2018 African Nations Championships (CHAN) that is set to be held in Kenya in January.

CHAN is a football tournament which was first announced on 11 September 2007. It is administered by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and is played between the best national teams of Africa, exclusively featuring players who are active in the national championships and qualified to play in the ongoing season. Expatriate players, regardless of where they play, even in Africa, are not qualified to take part in the African Championship of Nations.

The first tournament was held in 2009. It was hosted by Ivory Coast and won by The Democratic Republic of the Congo. The competition was expanded to 16 teams for the second tournament, held in Sudan in 2011. The tournament was won by Tunisia, in the wake of the Tunisian Revolution. The tournament is held every two years, alternating with the Africa Cup of Nations.

The fixtures have been divided into four groups; West zone A, West Zone B, Central East Zone and Southern Zone. Teams in both West Zones will be playing in their second round of the qualifiers while those in Central East and Southern Zones will be competing in the first round.

In West Zone A, Sierra Leone face Senegal while Guinea clash with neighbours Guinea-Bissau on Saturday July 15, 2017 with the return matches expected to be played a fortnight later. 

In West Zone B, Togo will battle it out with Benin on Sunday July 16, 2017 with the return match a week later in Cotonou, Benin.

Four fixtures will be staged in Central East Zone with South Sudan lined up against Uganda, Tanzania with Rwanda and Djibouti with Ethiopia.

In Southern East Zone, Botswana host South Africa on Saturday 15 July while Zimbabwe visit Namibia a day later.

West Zone A

1.Sierra Leone vs Senegal -15.7.2017 (16:30,Freetown/Siaka Stevens Stadium)

  Senegal vs Sierra Leone-22.7.2017 (17:00,Dakar/Stade Demba Diop)

2.Guinea-Bissau vs Guinea-15.7.2017 (16:00,Bissau/Estadio 24 de Setembro)

  Guinea vs Guinea-Bissau-22.7.2017  (16:30,Conakry/Stade 28 Septembre)

3. Liberia vs Mauritania-16.7.2017 (16:00,Paynesville/Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Complex)

  Mauritania vs Liberia-23.7.2017 (17:00)

4.Gambia vs Mali-15.7.2017 (16:30,Bakau/Independence Stadium)

  Mali vs Gambia-22.7.2017 (17:00,Bamako/Stade Modibo Keita)

West Zone B

1.Togo vs Benin-16.7.2017 (15:00,Lomé/Stade de Kégué de Lomé)

  Benin vs Togo-23.7.2017 (16:00,Cotonou/Stade de l'Amitié de Kouhounou)

*Exempted  Burkina Faso, Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria

Central East Zone

1.South Sudan vs Uganda-14.7.2017 (16:30,/Juba stadum)

  Uganda vs South Sudan-22.7.2017 (16:00,Kampala/Phillip Omondi Stadium)

2.Tanzania vs Rwanda-15.7.2017 (16:00,Mwanza/CCM KIRUMBA Stadium)

  Rwanda vs Tanzania-22.7.2017 (15:30,Kigali/STADE REGIONAL DE NYAMIRAMBO)

3.Djibouti vs Ethiopia-15.7.2017 (15:00,Djibouti Ville/Stade Gouled)

   Ethiopia vs Djibouti-23.7.2017 (19:00,hawass/Hawass International Stadium)

4.Burundi vs Sudan-15.7.2017 (15:00,Bujumbura/Stade Prince Louis Rwagasore)

  Sudan vs Burundi-21.7.2017 (20:00,Khartoum/Khartoum Stadium)

Southern Zone

1.Madagascar vs Mozambique-16.7.2017 (14:30,Antananarivo/Stade Municipal de Mahamasina)

  Mozambique vs Madagascar-23.7.2017 (15:00,Maputo/Estadio Nacional do Zimpeto)

2.Maurice vs Angola-16.7.2017 (15:30,Belle Vue/Anjalay Stadium)

  Angola vs Maurice-23.7.2017 (16:30,Luanda/Estadio 11 de Novembro)

3.Comoros vs Lesotho-15.7.2017 (15:00,Moroni/Stade de Moroni)

  Lesotho vs Comoros-23.7.2017 (15:00,Maseru/Setsoto Stadium)

4.Namibia vs Zimbabwe-16.7.2017 (15:00,Windhoek/Sam Nujoma Stadium)

  Zimbabwe vs Namibia-23.7.2017 (15:00,Harare/National Sports Stadium)

5.Botswana vs South Africa-15.7.2017 (15:30,City of Francistown/Francistown Sports Complex Stadium)

  South Africa vs Botswana-22.7.2017 (15:00,Moruleng/Moruleng Stadium)

6.Swaziland vs Zambia-16.7.2017 (15:00,Lobamba/Somhlolo National Stadium)

  Zambia vs Swaziland-22.7.2017 (15:00,Lusaka/Heroes National Stadium)

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former Tottenham striker Souleymane Coulibaly has accused the Egyptian club of treating him “like a slave” and “traumatising” his family.

Coulibaly joined Spurs in 2011 from Siena for £1.5m but failed to make any senior appearances.

He has played for Grossto, Bari Fc, Pistoiese, Peterborough United, Newport County and later Kilmarnock where he left in January to agree a three-and-a-half year deal with Al Alhy. He later returned to England without the club’s permission, prompting the Egyptian Premier League champions to lodge a complaint with FIFA.

The 22-year-old Ivorian has now claimed his actions were because of mistreatment while in Egypt, saying his family has been left “traumatised” by the experience.
Coulibaly added that Al Ahly had confiscated his passport which prompted him and his family to “flee” back to England at the first possible opportunity, and that he is willing to accept a ban from FIFA for his actions.

He said in a statement: “I’m not crazy, I left for a reason. I’m very sorry but I could not stay in that team anymore. My passport was held hostage. I was forced to do what I was told, for example bow down and pray every time I scored. I did not feel comfortable in the team and environment. I have tried my hardest for five months but I have reached my limit.

The team wasn’t welcoming. They never passed the ball so I had to fight and struggle in order to score. The coach forced me to play how he wanted me to play. I can’t play being forced to follow orders. If I didn’t obey the orders I was taken to the office and yelled at. My wife and kids are traumatised. My family is Christian and didn’t feel comfortable practicing their religion in the country.

I’ve been playing and working hard since I started without the right to a break. I left without saying because I had to flee the first chance I had a hold of my passport. They treated me like a slave all because of money. If FIFA are going to ban me I am willing and ready to accept the ban. My peace of mind and safety are what are most important to me.”

Al Ahly president Mahmoud Taher has since denied Coulibaly’s statement. Taher believes that Coulibaly’s accusation comes in response to Al Ahly’s complaint to FIFA and insists the club will not back down.

The club president’s statement read: “We deny all of Coulibaly’s allegations. What he claims never happened and he was never mistreated or abused by the club’s coach or players. Logically, if he was being abused he should have immediately spoken about this as soon as he left us, not after we filed a complaint to FIFA.

Al Ahly will not be blackmailed and will not back down until Coulibaly pays for what he did. This is a false accusation and a lie. He thinks that by saying this we will withdraw our complaint and back down but Al Ahly will not be blackmailed.”

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