KRU Championship and Eric Shirley Shield Playoffs

Photo/DavidMutua.com

USIU play South Coast Pirates in a Top Six clash at the USIU, winner of this match proceeding to meet Resolution Kisii in the semifinal at the Gusii Stadiumon 8 April while Kisumu host Mombasa at the Mamboleo Showground, the winner of this match earning a semifinal berth away to the Catholic Monks on Saturday 8 April.


Top Six Playoffs – Saturday 1 April 2017
(3) USIU v (6) South Coast Pirates – 4.00pm – USIU
(4) Kisumu v (5) Mombasa – 4.00pm – ASK Mamboleo Showground, Kisumu City

Semis – Saturday 8 April 2017
(1) Catholic Monks v winner of Kisumu/Mombasa playoff – 4.00pm – Catholic University
(2) Resolution Kisii v winner of USIU/South Coast Pirates playoff – 4.00pm – Gusii Stadium, Kisii

KRU Championship Final – RFUEA Ground, Saturday 22 April 2017

 
Eric Shirley Shield
Top Six Playoffs – Saturday 1 April 2017
(3) SportPesa Quins II v (6) Kabras Sugar II – 2.00pm – RFUEA Ground
(4) Menengai Cream Homeboyz II v (5) Mwamba II – 2.00pm – Jamhuri Park

Semis – Saturday 8 April 2017
(1) KCB II v winner of Menengai Cream Homeboyz II/Mwamba II playoff – 2.00pm – KCB Sports Club
(2) Resolution Impala Saracens II v winner of SportPesa Quins II/Kabras Sugar II playoff – 2.00pm – Impala Club

Eric Shirley Shield Final – RFUEA Ground, Saturday 22 April 2017

Kenyan international Johanna Omollo has signed with Belgian second Division side Cercle Brugge. The midfielder who was plying his trade with Top Tier side Royal Antwerp was acquired in a deal worth Kshs 30,369,645 and signed a two-year deal with side Cercle Brugge which will keep him at the club until July 2019.

The club took to its social media account to announce the capture. ``Johanna Omollo has signed a contract for the next two seasons at Cercle Brugge. The defensive midfielder will definitely be transferred from Antwerp FC and will join Cercle today,'' the club wrote.

Cercle Brugge's Sports Director François Vitali also shared his joy of signing the Kenyan midfielder, expressing faith that the new signing will contribute a lot to the second-tier side.

We are very pleased to announce the transfer of Omolo because we absolutely wanted him. It is a player who will be able to contribute a lot with his qualities and experience in this competition. We are pleased that he is part of the Cercle family today. Welcome, Johanna

 

The KPL Allstar squad that had travelled to Spain for friendlies are back in the country. The select squad touched down in Nairobi on Tuesday morning and were hosted for a luncheon by league sponsors SportPesa.

The Kenya Simbas have risen up one place in the latest standings released by the World Rugby on Monday July 25, 2017.

The Kenya 15s team who now have  58.22 points were ranked 26th but have leapfrogged Portugal to sit in position 25,with the latter occupying Simbas previous position. The rise has mainly been attributed to their 41-22 win over Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last weekend.

As a result of the loss, Zimbabwe have slid down one place to 36th overall with 50.12 points. Jerome Paarwater's charges will have a chance to further rise in the rankings when they face Africa Gold Cup leaders Namibia in Windhoek on Saturday July 28.

Namibia, who were 48-24 winners over Uganda last weekend retained 21st place with 60.73 points. In the world, New Zealand still top the charts with 94.78 points while England are second with 90.14 points.

Ireland (85.39), Australia (84.63) and South Africa (84.16) sum up the top five. The other countries in top ten are Scotland (82.47), Wales (81.73), France (79.63), Argentina (79.50) and Fiji (79.48) in that order.

 

 

The rugby fraternity in Kenya was left in shock after getting news that KCB Rugby Club player James Kilonzo passed away on Monday evening. James was fatally wounded after being shot during a robbery as he withdrew money at a mobile money outlet in Kasarani, Nairobi.

I have no apologies to make for standing in Stanley Okumbi's corner even when experienced scribes like Clay Muganda are coming puffing and punching at the soft spoken tactician. There are many problems with Kenyan football and I can confidently say that Stanley Okumbi is not one of them. If he is then he falls deep down the list of things holding our football back. The only problem is that someone called Nick Mwenda, who is also the FKF President believes in him.

I was in Camp Toyoyo when KPL All Stars were playing a friendly match against Posta Rangers just before their trip to Spain. I looked at the squad Okumbi and his assistants Musa Otieno and John Kamau were taking through warm up paces and sighed silently. Like a woman who is looking for an excuse for her anger. I told a journalist I was with that the squad despite being young in age lacks pedigree. Our best football players in that age group, are not playing football. They are selling newspapers, second hand clothes and washing cars.

As I watched the match from Posta Rangers bench, I sat next to this energetic young Rangers' fan. Then a lady came by to sell us bananas and immediately called him by name. His excitement distracted coach Sammy Omollo from the match a little. The lady goes ahead to tell us how the boy's prowess in football made him the darling of Baba Dogo secondary School. Sammy Omollo who has heard the boy brag about his talent many times now believed him. The irony is, the lad hangs around Rangers FC because he found a market for his clothes among Rangers' players.

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On further enquiry I get a story that began at Baba Dogo Primary in Ruaraka. Orphaned just as he sat for his final primary school exams he stayed out of school for a year. His estate football kick around led to a stint at Kakamega High School. He left Kakamega for reasons he couldn't reveal for another school that I cannot remember before landing back at Baba Dogo Secondary. His reason for coming back to Nairobi was his younger siblings who had no one to take care of them. The meager handouts he got from football kept them going. After school, it was a tough choice between providing for his siblings or the lackluster Kenyan football scene. His siblings won.

AFC Leoprads' striker Vincent Oburu who travelled to Spain with the team confessed that he started playing football  seriously after high school. In the same team is Kariobangi Sharks midfielder and skipper Patila Omoto. He was one of the most promising talents before joining AFC Leopards' from Kariobangi Sharks in 2013.

The passionate Nick Mwenda once described Omoto as “the greatest midfielder of his time”. He even tipped the youngster as one of the few players who will take us to the World Cup. I don't know if he meant Russia or Qatar.  Omoto has featured for national sides U20 Junior team, and made his senior team debut in December 2012 in Kampala. He replaced former Gor Mahia forward Rama Salim in Harambee Stars’ 1-0 win over Malawi in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup quarter-final match.

Omoto left Ingwe the following year for Mombasa based side Bandari FC in search of regular playing time. He did not break into the first team regulars at the club and found his way back to Sharks where he helped the side gain promotion to KPL. Omoto is a good talent but is he the best of his generation? If he is the best as Mwenda claimed then his development has not been consistent. The wish that he will take us to the World Cup may pass as just another dream. The Rangers fan, Vincent Oburu and Patila Omoto represent the problem with our football.

John Makheti is a father to two football mad sons. John found himself coaching the U10 football team at International Christian Church by default because of his sons. He is an alumni of Kakamega Boys so football is not strange to him. I religiously followed his social media updates sometimes back when he took the boys to a tournament in Arusha. His passion for the game and deep voice when he talks makes me stop to chat to the diminutive business man. I pose my observation that our best football talent is everywhere but in football. I asked for what I heard next.

GoTV Shield Quarterfinals: Bandari To Face SoNy As Tusker Draw Vihiga

John is a cousin to Vihiga United player Silicho Soita. Soita is a law graduate from Strathmore University who like Vincent Oburu never played serious football in high school. John tagged him along to his football escapades where he managed to land some trial sessions in KPL clubs and a few Nationwide sides. Soita was told in one of the KPL clubs that his promising talent aside, he reported late for the one week trials so he will not be signed. In the other he was told by the coach he will be signed but he has to part with Ksh. 30,000 of his Ksh. 50,000 salary every month. I believe the law graduate in him could not agree to those terms.

He then resigned to casual kick a rounds just for staying in shape. Such sessions took him to Camp Toyoyo one day where he played against George Sunguti. The former Ingwe and national team player saw a gem of talent in Soita and recommended him to Manoah of Vihiga United. He did not disappoint and now clubs are falling over each other to sign him.

John was emphatic about the problems with Kenyan football. We have good football players playing football the problem is the system. Cartels and lack of good scouts are two things he mentioned must be checked. I am happy he pointed out people who know too much about very little in football yet they are the gate keepers. In the midst of all this their greed supersedes their desire for the growth of players and the game in general. 

I can write a lot about problems in Kenyan football without mentioning Okumbi. . The trip to Spain has exposed the gap between Kenya and world in football. At least Okumbi has given us Ovela Ochieng' and Omoto who he is trying to push through our skewed system. Our players lack the skills and character to play football at highest level. The main reason is they start playing serious football very late. The few who try to expose our children to football early like John Makheti do so without proper empowerment and no assistance  from FKF.

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Malcolm Gladwel in his bestselling book "Outliers" talks about the ten thousand hours rule. He says that before that big break or someone becoming an expert or good at something, above basic talent he must spend at least ten thousand contact hours on it. This applies across the board, not only in sports. We must create our system in such a way that by the age of eighteen our players are nearing the ten thousand hours mark of serious contact with the ball. We can never cheat the grind. It doesn't matter who is hired as national team coach, the virtue is more in the talent. KPL All Stars went down in the two matches they played against second string sides of Cordoba and Sevilla Athletic. They conceded five goals and scored none. Despite these results, let Okumbi be, a man can only do as much with the best that the system can offer.

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

 

A goal each by Alonso and Batshuayi were not sufficient to inspire an incredible comeback as Chelsea fell 3-2 to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in an ICC Cup match played in Singapore on Tusday July 25.

Brazilian defender Rafinha received a pass from Frank Ribery in midfield and after sprinting with the ball, he buried it in the bottom left corner from 30 yards out to take Ancelotti's side ahead after only five minutes into the match.

Ribery was the provider once again five minutes later, using his pace to get past Chelsea defenders before teeing up an oncoming Muller who half-volleyed the ball into the net to double Bayern's lead.

Muller then fully utilized a counter attack to drag behind the two remaining Chelsea players and fired a long range effort past a helpless Courtois to complete his brace in the 26th minute.

Chelsea managed to pull a goal back just before halftime through free-scoring defender Marcos Alonso who directed the ball into the net with his first-time effort after connecting to a low cross from Victor Moses. The goal took the scores to 3-1 as the two sides headed into the break.

Antonio Conte finally introduced Chelsea's new signing Alvaro Morata to the pitch alongside David Luiz in the 63rd minute as he sought to solidify his team and perhaps rake in more goals.

Cesc Fabregas' corner late in the match was deflected by Morata and found Michy Batshuayi who finished the simple task of tapping the ball into the net, but the Blues could not stage a full comeback to force a draw. 

The win comes as a relief to Bayern Munich who had lost two of their previous pre-season matches. They lost to Arsenal in post-match penalties before enduring a 4-0 humiliation in the hands of AC Milan.

 

 

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.

 

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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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