Champions League Quarter-Final draw

 

UEFA Champions League quarter-final draw

11 & 19 April
Juventus (ITA) v Barcelona (ESP)
Borussia Dortmund (GER) v Monaco (FRA)


12 & 18 April
Bayern München (GER) v Real Madrid (ESP)
Atlético Madrid (ESP) v Leicester City (ENG)

GoTV Shield Cup defending champions Tusker FC will have a relatively difficult time in their quest to defend the title after being paired with Vihiga United in the quarterfinals of the competition.

Vihiga, who are the National Super League leaders with 38 points from 17 matches, eliminated Kakamega Homeboyz 5-4 on post-match penalties will have another chance to eject another KPL team who are one of the favorites to lift the trophy.

Bandari have been paired against Sony Sugar who are in the quarters after registering wins over Nzoia Sugar and Ulinzi Stars. The Dockers on their part will rely on motivation from head coach Paul Nkata who prevailed in the GoTV Shield last season while with Tusker. Bandari have already notched wins over big teams, eliminating Gor Mahia and Nakumatt FC in their quest for glory.

Wazito FC who are second in the NSL table will have to wait till Wednesday to fully identify their opponents in the quarterfinals. The NSL side will face the winners of the pending match between AFC Leopards and Bidco FC who play on Wednesday July 26 at the Thika Sub-County Stadium.

The quarterfinals of the GoTV Shield are expected to be played on 19th and 20th of August 2017.

GoTV Shield Quarterfinal draw

Tusker FC v Vihiga United FC

Kariobangi Sharks FC v Eldoret Youth FC

Bandari FC v Sony Sugar FC

Wazito FC v AFC Leopards SC/Bidco United FC

 

Wazito FC through its CEO Luthers Mokua have released a statement regarding the injury of Stanley Ndung'u amid reports in various media outlets that the club have abandoned the player after he suffered a nasty injury.

Stanley Ndung’u sustained an injury back in September 2016 during a match against Oserian FC at Camp Toyoyo after he was fouled by Oserian's goal Keeper. He currently needs surgery on his left knee before he can resume playing, something that the club has not done for him almost one year later prompting disapprovals by diverse people on how they have handled the matter.

Prior to his injury, Ndung’u was the club’s top scorer with 5 goals. On Monday July 24, Wazito CEO released a statement on their website discussing the complaints, insisting that the club is willing to cater for Ndung'u's medical expenses either locally or abroad.

Below is Mokua's full statement regarding the situation: 

Reference is made to the reports circulating in the social media platform regarding our injured player, Stanley Ndun’gu.

It is true Stanley got injured while playing for Wazito FC against Oserian FC on 17th September 2016. The club has before had such cases of injuries and has solved them within the shortest time possible. Some of the players with the same injury as Stanley include Steve Ogolla and Aggrey Okwemba. Okwemba got injured on 15th of March 2015 while on loan from Mathare FC to Wazito FC. The club made arrangements and flew Okwemba to India for surgery on 20th of Feb 2016 and has since recuperated and he is back to the field of play. Steve was treated locally and has also fully recovered.

Wazito FC is in the process of ensuring Stanley gets treatment as fast as possible and while we acknowledge he should have been treated immediately, the club has not abandoned him. The club has already secured a visa, a hospital and a doctor for Stanley (all of which are in Stanley’s possession) and should be flying out as soon as we conclude on his expenses. It is also important to note that Stanley is in our books and as such, receives all allowances just like the other active players.

Option two is to have him treated locally, should we not be able to agree with the Hospital in India regarding his medical expenses. The local process is also in motion.

Reuben Onsando’s case was done expeditiously because he got injured while on duty at Consolidated Bank. The bank offers Medical insurance scheme for all its employees.

Wazito FC is a professionally run club. We have in the past taken care of our players and certainly we will not stop doing so. Stanley’s case is not an isolated incidence. The club is committed to having him treated as soon as possible to enable him play his favourite sport again.

We appreciate the gesture from football stakeholders to support Stanley and we are confident, he will be treated sooner than later.

 

Thank you.

Wazito FC CEO

Luthers Mokua

 

Butali Sugar Warriors lost a chance to close the gap between them and league leaders Kenya Police after being held to a 1-1 draw by Parklands in the Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League on Sunday July 23.

Parklands were first to score through striker Allan Odongo but Maxwell Fuachaka leveled for Butali minutes later in which was the last goal of the match as the two teams ended 1-1 after the final whistle.

Another draw was also experienced in Kakamega between Nairobi Sikh Union and hosts Western Jaguars. The match which was played on Sunday July 23 produced no goals and both team had to contend with a 0-0 draw in full time.

In other matches, Nakuru thrashed Kenyatta University 2-0 while Western Jaguars also recorded a 2-0 win over KCA University.

Results:

Butali Warriors 1-1 Parklands

Sikh Union 0-0 Jaguars

Nakuru 2-0 KU

Jaguars 2-0 KCAU

National Men:

Dedan Kimathi Unversity 3-2 Wazalendo Youth

Mvita XI 1-0 Parkroad Tigers

Dedan Kimathi University 2-0 JKUAT

Mvita XI 5-0 Daystar University

 

It’s exactly one year today since AFC Leopards went to the polls and elected a new chairman, Dan Mule granting him four years to lead the club.

Mule, a front runner in the buildup to the election, got elected with 1,160 votes, trouncing his closest rival Maurice Amahwa with 338 votes. Robert Asembo garnered 119 at a distant third, while Mathews Opwora, who had pulled out of the race earlier, got 8. Felix Shitsama was overwhelming elected vice chairman, with 1613 votes, more than double his challenger. Timothy Lilumbi, who was part of Mule’s ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ Team, survived a scare from Gilbert Selebwa, amazing 920 votes, 6 more than Selebwa.

Of the 5,294 registered voters, only 2,200 turned up to vote. Dan Mule was elected chairman alongside most of his preferred picks for other positions. His election came at a time when the club had witnessed bare-knuckle leadership struggles that almost saw the club relegated.

In his campaign manifesto, Dan Mule promised to deliver amongst other things; stability in office, titles and a stadium. The chairman had outlined how he intended to work alongside the club’s shirt sponsors, Sportpesa to help secure land where they would construct a stadium. The stadium remains a dream, a wild one.

One year later, not much has changed. Some matters are headed south more than ever before. In just one year of his reign, AFC Leopards has witnessed a huge turnover of coaches with Ivan Minnaert, Ezekiel Akwana, Stewart Hall, Dorian Marin and Robert Matano all making up a tally of 5 coaches in just a year. A shocking average of a coach every 2 and a half months! It is under Dan Mule’s reign that Leopards had one of the shortest serving coaches -Dorian Marin who never lasted a month.

Despite promising to deliver titles, there has been so sign of any titles, as Leopard’s performance on the pitch has only remained unimpressive, to say the least. This season, their only hope lies in the GOTV Shield Cup. The club is no longer considered a force to reckon in the local league.

Financially, AFC Leopards is still in debt. Although steps have been taken to ensure that salary and remuneration issues are a thing of the past, the club is yet to be stable financially and more often than not, relies on borrowing and donations. Interestingly, at the start of the 2017 Financial Year, the club was short of its annual budget by well over 10 million shillings. You would ask why. The caretaker committee that led the club before the elections, had eaten into the 2017 sponsorship money from Sportpesa. Some of those monies are yet to be accounted for.

Although the club had sought to professionalise all its operations by setting up a fully functional secretariat, there is still a lot to do. However, it’s all jot gloomy. The club, in a long time, managed to set up an office with a Chief Executive Officer, who runs the club affairs on day to day basis. However, reports from within the club have hinted to interference from the clubs National Executive Committee on a couple of issues.

Also keen to not, the club has for an entire year witnessed zero leadership wrangles and court battles, as was the case in previous administrations. In a previous interview with Kenyanstar, the club CEO noted that it was a great milestone for the club to get over the many wrangles that affected and crippled them in previous years.

One year on, there are loud murmurs of discontent in the Den. There seems to be a future that no one is certain of. The biggest fear has always been relegation, and that could happen if Leopards do not up their game. Majority of Dan Mule’s promises to the Leopards are yet to be fulfilled, leave alone initiated.

Is Dan Mule living up to expectations? Is he setting up himself his administration and the club for another spectacular failure? Well, the jury is still out there...

Defending champions Telkom finished the first leg of the Kenya Hockey Union women’s Premier League with a perfect record after humiliating Kenyatta University Titans 9-0 on Saturday July 22 at the City Park Stadium.

Telkom, who had won nine of their last matches, moved five points clear of second-placed USIU who currently have 25 points.

Audrey Omaido finished the match with a hat-trick to take her season's goal tally to 18 while Jackline Mwangi and Betsy Omalla each bagged a brace. With a goal each, Maureen Okumu and Lillian Aura summed up the 9-0 riot over the students to cap off an excellent first leg for Telkom.

USIU Reclaim Second Spot

United States International University of Africa (USIU-A) Spartans also recorded a huge win on Sunday July 23, thrashing UoN 6-0 to reclaim the second spot of the women’s Premier League table.

Rhoda Kuira and Sheila Nnazi each scored a brace while Acriphyna Mosoi and skipper Beatrice Mbugua added one each to take their point tally to 25 with the emphatic win.

Amira Overpower Sliders

In another match on Sunday, goals from Leah Omwadho, Yvette Kanyandong and Pauline Naise inspired Amira to a 3-1 win over Sliders at the City Park. Charity Miller's consolation goal for Sliders in the 48th minute could not however stir her team to a comeback. 

Results:

Telkom 9-0 KU Titans

USIU-A 6-0 UoN

Amira 3-1 Sliders

JKUAT 1-0 UoN

 

Kariobangi Sharks advanced to the quarterfinals of the GoTV Shield Cup on Sunday July 23 after overcoming Sofapaka 3-1 in a match played at the Nyayo Stadium.

Sharks’ Goals

Kariobangi Sharks opened their account in the 43rd minute through Paul Kamau who cleverly looped the ball over an oncoming George Opiyo who had come out of his line in an attempt to clear the ball but failed miserably.

In the 52nd minute, Sharks doubled their lead this time through talisman Masoud Juma who scored almost a similar goal by Kamau. With Opiyo out of his line coming for the ball, Masoud looped a well-timed effort to put the ball into the net to take the scores to 2-0.

Masoud, who returned to Sharks after failed trials in Sweden completed his brace eight minutes to the final whistle, scoring into an empty net after Opiyo had saved his first attempt. With the scores at 3-0 in the 83rd minute, Sharks were 99.9% of a spot in the quarters of the tournament.

Wasteful Sofapaka

Sofapaka will have their selves to blame after missing several goal scoring opportunities. Michael Oduor and veteran Ezekiel Okare were each denied two times in the first half by keeper Robert Mboya who seemed to be very much on form to foil their opponents’ efforts.

Umar Kasumba also missed several chances in the second half, with one time shooting wide infront of goal after he had been fed by Bernard Mangóli.

Kasumba’s Consolation Goal

Kasumba scored in the dying minutes of the game through a header but his goal came too late to fully overturn the scores. Batoto Ba Mungu consequently bowed out of this year’s GoTV Shield Cup owing to a 3-1 loss in the hands of  Kariobangi Sharks.
 

In the absence of Mathias Kigonya who is in Spain with the KPL AllStars squad, George Opiyo has been handed a starting berth in between the sticks against Kariobangi Sharks. Sofapaka clash with Kariobangi Sharks on Sunday July 23, 2017 at the Nyayo Stadium in search of a spot in the quarterfinals of the GoTV Shield Cup.

Opiyo will be covered in defense by Willis Ouma, Abudalatif Omar, Kennedy Odour and Jonathan Mugabi while captain Hillary Echesa and and Bernard Mangóli man the midfield area. Michael Oduor and veteran Ezekiel Okare will cover the flanks, with Ali Feni and Umaru Kasumba leading the team upfront in search of goals.

Sofapaka advanced to Round of 16 of the GoTV Shield after a 1-0 win over fellow league competitors Western Stima thanks to a goal from their captain while Kariobangi Sharks dispatched Kenpoly in Machakos to book a date with Batoto  Ba Mungu.

Starting XI: 1.George Opio (GK) 2. Willis Ouma 3. Abudalatif Omar 4. Kennedy Odour 5. Jonathan Mugabi 6. Hillary Echesa (C) 7. Michael Odour 8. Bernard Mang'oli 9. Umaru Kasumba 10. Ali Feni 11. Ezekiel Okare
Subs: 12. Juma Reuben (GK) 13. Ricky Onimbo 14. Humphrey Okoti 15. Maurice Odipo 16. Brian Dayo Magonya 17. Timothy Luda 18. Meshack Karani

Almost thirteen years to the day since their last appearance in Bulawayo, the Simbas slaughtered Zimbabwe with a comprehensive 41-22 win in Rugby Africa Gold Cup action at the Hartsfield Ground on Saturday 22 July 2017.

Darwin Mukidza booted Kenya ahead with a penalty before nippy Hilton Mudariki, attacking from the base, prized open the Simbas defense to touch down with Tich Makwanya converting for a 7-3 Sables lead.

The hosts were enjoying territory and possession, the Simbas reduced to a purr, and largely backpedallingbefore inching forward, Peter Karia’s offload setting up Sam Onsomu for the try under the sticks, Mukidza converting for a 10-7 score.

The Zims, ever dangerous with ball in hand retook the lead when Takudzwa Kumadiro went over at the right hand corner for his sixth try of the championship as the hosts now led 12-10.

The Simbas started to see more of the ball, first electing to find touch after Zimbabwe had been penalized. They kept possession from the ensuing lineout and rolling maul, Davis Chenge going over with Mukidza’s conversion giving the Kenyans a 17-12 lead at the break.

Moses Amusala opened Simbas’ second half account, going over with Mukidza converting to make it 24-12 but the Sables responded through Makwanya’s penalty and Daniel Caspopoulous converted try to come to within two points as they continued to dominate possession.

As was the case in the first half, Simba were slow to settle into a rhythm but did so, after surviving incessant pressure from the hosts. Martin Owila scored off the maul, Mukikdza converting for a 31-22 score before Wilson Kopondo exploited static Zim defending, carrying the ball 20 meters, eventually going over with Mukidza responding  with the obligatory conversion, Kenya leading 38-22 before sealing the win with penalty for the full time score.

Virgil van Dijk has been left out of Southampton's squad for a pre-season training camp in France after manager Mauricio Pellegrino revealed the unsettled centre-back is training alone.

The Saints are heading to Evian-les-Bains to continue their preparations for the 2017-18 campaign, and are due to play a friendly against Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne on Saturday.

Van Dijk, though, will not travel with the team, having been excluded from selection contention and first-team training by new manager Pellegrino.

The 25-year-old Netherlands international has been linked with Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, who apologised in June "for any misunderstanding" after being accused of making an illegal approach for the player.

"The club told me they will not sell Virgil," Pellegrino said last week.

"Now he is not involved with the team because psychologically he is not 100 per cent.

"The boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave.

"I had to say, 'If you don't want to be involved because you don't feel okay then you have to train alone until this period of time is over'."

Manchester City have completed their latest big-money deal of the close-season by prising left-back Benjamin Mendy away from Ligue 1 champions Monaco.

The deal is reported to be worth in the region of £50million, a similar fee to the one City agreed to bring in England right-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham.

Mendy has signed a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium.

The 22-year-old helped a youthful Monaco side to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, where they saw off City in a thrilling last-16 tie, and he was rewarded with a France debut in March.

Pep Guardiola has been keen to bolster his full-back areas after Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna were released when their contracts expired at the end of last season.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester City,” said Mendy. “They are one of Europe’s leading clubs and in Pep Guardiola they have a manager committed to playing attacking football.

“I am sure that over the next few years we will be successful.”

City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, added: “Benjamin has all the qualities we are looking for in a full-back. For such a young player, he has a wealth of top-level experience.

“He is undoubtedly one of the world’s best full-backs, our number one target in this position. We are all delighted to have him here at Manchester City.

“I’m sure he will prove a fantastic addition to the squad.”

Manchester City have finally completed the long awaited signing of defender Benjamin Mendy from French side Monaco.

Mendy has joined city for £52 million and now becomes the most expensive defender in the world after beating Kyle Walker's £45 million. The 23-year old signed a five-year deal with the club which will see him at the Etihad Stadium until July 2022.

Mendy becomes the fifth signing for Manchester City after the acquisition of Danilo, Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva and Ederson. The left back only joined Monaco last summer from Marseille in a €12m deal and was part of the squad that won the Ligue 1 title last season.

 

It is now official that Manchester City have acquired the services of Real Madrid right-back Danilo. The 26-yeart old penned a five-year deal at the Etihad Stadium which will see him there until July 2022.

The versatile defender was also a transfer target for Chelsea but it is Man City who swooped in fast and landed him. The deal is understood to be worth 27 million Euros. Danilo becomes the fourth signing for City this summer after Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva and Ederson.

``I am very, very happy to be joining Manchester City. There has been strong interest from other clubs, but it has always been my ambition to play for Pep Guardiola,’’ Danilo told City TV.

``I can’t wait to get started and I’m looking forward to getting to know my new teammates over the coming week,’’ added the Spain international.

 

Barcelona and Juventus kicked off their preseason in New York on Saturday. In a game that was meant to be filled with tension over Neymar's future, he lit the MetLife up in the first half with two goals and a wonderful performance that had Juventus frustrated and Barcelona delighted in equal measure.

The game was only 15 minutes old when Neymar had his first after good work involving Messi and Digne but it was all Neymar, really, as he drove past Buffon to give Valverde his first lead as a Barcelona coach. Just 11 minutes later, he topped his first goal when he skipped past no less than four Juventus defenders and drove another shot, to the other corner this time, beyond Buffon as he doubled Barcelona's lead and showed Barca's directors what they could be missing should he leave the club this summer.

He was turning on the style and Juve were not keen on being on the recieving end of a Neymar masterclass as they continued to pull him down any time he touched the ball, and even sometimes when he didn't. As half-time arrived, Barcelona were well in control of an opening 45 that saw them work extremely hard as they pressed Juventus relentlessly.

Both managers made numerous changes to their teams to start the second half but it wasn't until the 60th minutes when Cuadrado, Higuain, Sandro, Costa and Dybala were sprung from the bench that they had a fighting chance. Just three minutes after the change, Juventus had a breakthough. It came after Dybala won a corner after he forced Ortola into a wonderful save. Chiellini drove a header home from the corner and Juve had life in them yet.

It was as close as they would come to troubling Barcelona's lead, however, as Luis Suarez and Arda Turan teamed up on numerous occasions but failed to beat Szczesny in his debut for the Serie A champions. The game served as a good run-out for both teams as we will see massive improvement over the next couple of games as their preseasons kick into gear starting Saturday night in New Yor

Michy Batshuayi summed up Chelsea’s season intentions with a brace that inspired his team to a 3-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday in a pre-season clash in Beijing, China.

Before the match, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger had said that a game against Chelsea is never a friendly and the Blues took the pitch to prove him right, dominating everything over their London rivals.

Willian took Chelsea ahead in the 40th minute, driving towards the centre of the box and cutting back to his right foot before bending a fine low shot in off the right-hand post.

Batshuayi then opened his account two minutes later, curling a well-taken left-footed shot amid confused Arsenal defenders to double his team’s lead.

The Belgian international then completed his brace and sealed the win for Chelsea in the 48th minute after Marcos Alonso had left Chamberlain lying and cut the ball back to the striker who connected the ball with his first effort to put the ball past David Ospina.

Chelsea Starting XI:  Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro.

Arsenal Starting XI:  Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Mertesacker, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Bramall, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette

Several dignitaries of the CEF held a special meeting on Thursday July 20, 2017 to discuss and agree on several issues involving African football. This was in the just concluded African football symposium held in Rabat, Morocco.

Some of the attendees were CAF President Ahmad and the President of the Federation Royale Marocaine de Football, Fouzi Lekjaa. FIFA President Gianni Infantino was the chief guest at the two-day event.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick (like Lekjaa a Member of the CAF Executive Committee), Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, former NFF General Secretary Musa Amadu and Director of Communications Ademola Olajire were also in attendance.

Below are some of the key issues that were discussed and agreed upon by the CAF committee:

CAF African Football Symposium

The CAF Executive Committee, at its meeting on Thursday, 20 July 2017, in Rabat, Morocco, reviewed the resolutions of the various working groups of the 1st CAF African Football Symposium held from 18 -19 July 2017 at the Palais des Congrès in Skhirat, near Rabat.

The Committee advocated the establishment of a working group to work on the implementation of the resolutions and propose short, medium and long term implementation timetables. However, a consensus emerged on a number of issues raised by the working groups;

Working group 1: AFCON - Competition and specifications

Increasing the Africa Cup of Nations to 24 teams as of the 2019 edition, and the tournament will now be held in the months of June and July. The competition will however remain a biennial event (every two years), odd years and exclusively held on African soil with African national teams.

Working group 2: Inter-club competitions

It was agreed by the Committee to maintain the current format, but to proceed in the future to a change in timing for interclub competitions which are expected to start from August to May.

Working group 3: Football development (Coaching, Refereeing, Medical)

The principle of increasing the indemnities of referees was approved. 

The Committee expressed its determination to explore all scientific and medical solutions that could eradicate the phenomenon of age cheating, likewise a research that can help to determine the causes of sudden death among footballers, of which majority of the victims are of African origin.

Working group 4: Youth Football

The Committee decided to organize zonal qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations for the youth categories (U-17, U-20, U-23), with the flexibility offered to each zone to propose a formula. The committee also resolved to strengthen medical checks in determining the eligibility of players.

Working group 5: International Partnerships

The Committee recognizes the urgent need for improved relations between CAF, its member associations, Governments and the African Union.

Working group 6: Communication and Media

The Executive Committee was clearly in support of suggestions made for the improvement of CAF's communication tools on the digital platforms and social media, in particular the creation of a website in line with the standards of CAF. The Committee committed itself, with a view to strengthening the specifications of the competitions, taking into account the expectations of the media.

Working group 8: Football players, Roles and Perspectives

The Committee endorsed the principle of creating a framework for cooperation with legendary African footballers and their greater involvement in CAF activities.

II - COMPETITIONS.

Total CHAN Kenya 2018

A new inspection visit will be conducted at the end of August 2017 to assess progress following the June 2017 mission.

Total AFCON Cameroon 2019

Inspection will be conducted in early September.

Total U-23 AFCON

Zambia formally withdrew from the hosting of the 2019 edition. The committee called for the opening of bids for the selection of a new host country.

Beach-Soccer AFCON

The Committee decided to grant the 2018 edition to Egypt, the only country which expressed interest in the organization at the end of the deadline for the call for applications.

Interclub Competitions

The Committee noted the lifting of the suspension of Sudan by FIFA and indicated that the Sudanese clubs engaged in the Total CAF Champions League and Total CAF Confederation Cup are not disqualified, but in accordance with the regulations, are declared losers of the Day Six matches of the group stage.

As a result, Sudanese club, Hilal El Obeid is qualified for the quarterfinals of the Total CAF Confederation Cup.

 

Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced changes in the African Cup of Nations that will improve the nature of the competition. The changes were agreed upon during the just concluded African Football Symposium that was held in Rabat, Morocco.

One of the changes in AFCON is that the number of countries to participate from 2019 be increased to 24. This is up from the 16 that have been taking part in the competition since its inception.

CAF also changed the dates of the tournament and it will now be held in June and July instead of January. The change of dates will come as a huge relief especially to European teams who have from time immemorial complained of losing African players to the tournament in January when the leagues have gained full momentum. 

 

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

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

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

KS: Where did this nickname Softie come from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: What exactly affected you?

JN: Lack of play time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: Any closing words? 

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

KS: Thanks for your time Softie!

 

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

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

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

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

“That’s clearly against the rules!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Wilfried Zaha has rejected Gareth Southgate’s suggestion that he had imposed a timescale to be selected again by England, effectively holding the national team to ransom, and has defended his right to instead represent the country of his birth, Ivory Coast.

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