KENYA CUP: Sportpesa Quins beat Mwamba to book semis slot

SportPesa Quins survived a late Mwamba scare to reach the Kenya Cup semifinal with a 32-31 win at the RFUEA Ground on Saturday 1 April 2017.It was an edge of the seat affair right from kickoff, the plots and subplots taking both sets of fans through a rollercoaster of emotion.

Quins will meet KCB at the KCB Sports Club on Saturday 8 April in semis.

 

Kenya Premier League goes into a three week break and what a run it’s been in the first 13 match days! The season started brightly for some sides, but later dimmed out for others. AFC Leopards were among the fast starters this season, whipping Nakumatt 3-0 at the Thika Municipal Stadium.  A couple of wins followed then things took a nosedive. Tusker FC on the other hand, picked the ball five times from the net against a pacy Nzoia side. They would go on to fall to Thika, but soon things started shaping up, and coach George ‘Best’ Nsimbe earned his middle name.

However, having witnessed a busy transfer season in December and January, just who have proved to be the best and worst signings so far?

BEST SIGNINGS

Kenneth Muguna

The reigning KPL Player of the season has been a marvel to watch. Gor Mahia have certainly enjoyed every cent of their transfer fee so far, thanks to the midfield magic that is Muguna. Having signed in from Western Stima, many cast doubts on Miguna's ability to find a place in the Gor Mahia team, leave alone commanding play on the field. That changed greatly as the midfielder has been instrumental in Gor’s midfield, in addition to notching two goals so far. You could run short of adjectives to describe Muguna, who will certainly be a mainstay in the Gor Mahia team.

Kepha Aswani

Kepha was part of AFC Leopard’s plan for this season until late on when the club decided to part ways with him. Kepha was Leopard’s top scorer last season, and looked to extend that un this season. He would however, be snapped by newly promoted Nakumatt FC and has gone on to score 6 so far for his side. The future looks bright for him, and there is every sign that he will get past the 10-goal mark.

Gilbert Fiamenyo

In a team that is struggling to find rhythm, Gilbert Fiamenyo has been an outstanding player for Leopards. Scoring 5 goals so far for ny striker is a good achievement. Gilbert has shown some great flashes of brilliance, always sharp in front of goal and always bullying his opponents on the ball. Initially, a section of Leopards fans had written him off, but the Ghanaian is repaying the faith.

Marlon Tangauzi

The Tusker defender, who spent most of his career in Uganda, has been in great form and even earned a maiden national team call up. Tangauzi is certainly a payer for the future, and one that Tusker can cement its future around. Great buy!

Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo

One of the best businesses of the transfer season! One of the best local tacticians around, Pamzo has been a key figure in the Posta team. Having lots the least number of games in the division(1), Posta has shown so much grit and potential. Besides keeping the least losses, Posta has also conceded the least goals. Pamzo has shown great tactical awareness and Posta is certainly headed to greater heights.

WORST SIGNINGS

Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza

He arrived in Nairobi in style. A season midfielder who has had stints at APR FC and Azam FC, Migi was thought to be the finest diamond to be unearthed in town. His style, experience and physique was expected to spur Gor to greater heights. That is yet to be. For a midfielder of his quality, Migi has been underwhelming to say the least, and even earned a fair share of his time on the bench, a sign that he is not the diamond we thought.

Jackson Saleh

Saleh in recent years has been one of the fastest growing midfielders in local football. A key figure in past season at Leopards, Jackson Saleh showed so much potential but that seems to have died out. Having failed to earn a place at Gor Mahia too, he made a return to his home team Western Stima, and there is nothing pleasant to write home about just yet.

Samwel Olwande

Raise your hand if you remember that name...anyone? Anyone? Well, the lanky former Chemelil Sugar man has found life tough at Ruaraka. Nothing is working and his stay at the Brewers could end as fast as his name faded in our minds.

Baron Oketch Jobita

Well, some nicknamed him the next Dennis Oliech. Baron Jobita arrived at Gor Mahia a season ago in style. Infact, prior to leaving Western Stima, he was the subject of a heated transfer debate with various clubs chasing for his signature. He chose Gor Mahia, but there, nothing worked for him. His trickery, fleet foot and pace never worked any magic. He moved to Ulinzi Stars on loan and life isn't any sweeter there.

Stewart Hall

Critics say that he started life at Leopards when they were on top of the table(alphabetically..) and has left them wallowing at 12th; battered, low in confidence and lacking in steel. A man who breathed a new lease of life into the Leopard at the start of the season, Hall seemed to have got his mathematics spot on and his side was up and running. However, matters started heading south and pressure mounted. The centre was holding no more, and Hall’s tactics crumbled. His key assassins were injured and he himself could not think on his feet. The most experienced coach in Kenya currently, seemed to have hit a dead end. He opted to bow out, 6 months into his two year contract, leaving Leopards with more questions and no answers. One word best describes Hall’s time at the Den: FAIL. 

SPECIAL MENTION

Masoud Juma - Kariobangi Sharks 

Eston Esiye - Kakamega Homebyz

Duncan Otieno - AFC Leopards

 

Kenya 15s team Simbas are the biggest losers in the latest World Rugby rankings. Simbas, who were in position 23, have dropped to 26th place.


A 30-29 loss to Germany on Saturday at the RFUEA Grounds has largely aided the drop in rankings, helping Germany positively as they moved from 25th to 22nd position. Kenya are third in Africa, coming after South Africa (7th) and Namibia (19th) respectively. The first twenty one countries have all maintained their positions in the rankings, with very minimal changes in the other positions.


The first five spots are occupied by New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland and Scotland respectively. In Africa, the first five positions are filled by South Africa (7th), Namibia (19th), Kenya (26th), Zimbabwe (36th) and Sengeal (39th).

Nakumatt FC condemned Matahre United to their fifth straight loss of the Kenyan Premier League on Sunday 28 May in Ruaraka.

 

Mathare were dealt an early blow in the 27th minute after David Mwangi went down with an injury and they were forced to substitute him with David Owino. There were no dangerous chances in the first half but Nakumatt were first to draw blood in the second half, Sammy Mejja making a powerful run on the right flank and beating Owino to score in the 62nd minute. Twelve minutes later, Mathare were back level courtesy of a spotkick from Oduor after a foul in the area by Mejja. Nakumatt however had the last laugh in the 87th minute, Awani converting from the spot after Ongori had committed a foul inside the box.

 

In Kisumu, Kariobangi Sharks and Western Stima were forced to settle for a draw after a 1-1 result at the end of the game. Sharks went ahead in the 25th minute, Mathew Odongo tapping in the ball after a nice combination between him and Masoud Juma. Stima however equalized late in the game courtesy of a Sven Yidah own goal to rescue a point for them. The result means that Stima have now gone five matches without a win and sit 17th on the log with ten points while Kariobangi Sharks are 5th with twenty one points from thirteen matches.

 

Gor Mahia missed the chance to maintain their two point gap at the top of the league table after being held to a 1-1 draw by Posta Rangers on Sunday 28 May at the Nyayo Stadium.


Posta Rangers were the strong team at the start of the game as they searched for an early opener. Jared Obwoge’s cross found Joseph Mbugi in the 17th minute but his shot went way off target. In the 22nd minute, Rangers keeper Patrick Matasi did well to collect the ball after Godffrey Walusimbi’s cross had been deflected inside the box. Ko’galo survived an early scare in the 35th minute after captain Musa Mohammed came to their rescue, sliding to deny Mukaisi who was well headed to goal. Meddie Kagere wasted a glorious chance for the league leader in the 40th minute after Nizigiyimana found him but he could only manage to shoot over, with only Matasi to beat.


Posta Rangers went ahead in the half hour mark through talisman Dennis Mukaisi, who headed home a Titus Achea cross to take the hosts ahead. Ze Maria then made two quick changes, bringing in Jacques Tuyisenge and Francis Kahata for Karim Nizigiyimana and Amos Nondi. In the 75th minute, Mukaisi almost had his second goal of the day but his header was just slightly over the bar. Jacques Tuyisenge made the most out of his first real chance in the 79th minute to equalize for Gor Mahia, beating Matasi with a low shot from outside the area. The game ended in a draw and Gor Mahia maintain the top position with twenty seven points while Posta Rangers remain 4th with twenty four points from thirteen games.

AFC Leopards drowned in more misery after going down 1-0 to Tusker FC on Sunday May 28, 2017 at the Kinoru Stadium. Chaos were witnessed before the match as rowdy youth tried forcing their way into the stadium on grounds that they had been informed that there would be free entry into the stadium for the match pitting the two sides. Police however reacted fast to de-escalate the ugly scenes.


Tusker showed intent from the start of the game, Mandel Khamati a testing Andika in the 4th minute but the latter produced a fine save then went down in pain. In the 11th minute, Wanga distributed a cheeky pass, flicking the ball to Khamati who got past two defenders but was unable to direct his shot on goal. Leopards had their first chance of the game in the 14th minute, Ingotsi beating Tanaguzi to the ball but his shot was too weak to trouble the keeper.


Tusker finally broke the deadlock in the 39th minute, Mieno missing the header from a Khamati cross but Macharia was there to ensure that the Brewers get the lead. One minute before the break, Leopards striker Fiamenyo found the back of the net but was adjudged to be offside. Four minutes into second half, Isuza found Fiamenyo after a pass from Ingotsi but the striker shot straight to the keeper. Wanga wasted a chance for the hosts in the 52nd minute after he shot wide from a glorious chance. Duncan Ochieng had to put in extra effort to deny Ingwe an equalizer in the 80th minute from Sikhayi’s free kick. The game ended 1-0 in favour of Tusker which takes their point tally to twenty seven, joint with league leaders Gor Mahia. AFC Leopards have now gone seven matches without a win.

Struggling side AFC Leopards face a daunting task when they face Tusker FC on Sunday 28 May, 2017 at the Kinoru Stadium from 15:00. Leopards have recently been recording unwanted results and will be hoping for better results when they play the reigning champions.


Tusker
After losing two of their first matches, Tusker have gone on to display good performances and are unbeaten in ten games since then. They are currently on a good run, having won all six of their last six league fixtures and will be looking to add Sundays match to their tally. They are currently 3rd in the table standings and a win will see them move into the top two positions, and might even get the top spot if Gor Mahia lose out to Posta Rangers. The Brewers have managed six clean sheets so far, scoring sixteen goals in the twelve matches they have played. They will however have to tighten up the defense which has not been so impressive, letting in a massive twelve goals.


The Brewers will miss the services of defender Cercidy Okeyo, who is still out with an injury. In the last six years, Tusker has faced Ingwe twelve times, coming out victorious on seven occasions. They lost to Leopards only once and the other four encounters ended in draws.


Leopards
Ingwe had a good start to the season, winning their first two matches and were placed at the top of the table standings. Things have however turned ugly for them of late, winning none of their last six mathes and have moved to position twelve in the table. They have so far lost five matches, a result which has seen head coach Stewart Hall linked with an exit from the club.  A win against Tusker will take them to ninth position, joint in points with other two teams.


In their first twelve matches of the season, Leopards have managed only three clean sheets, conceding twelve goals compared to the ten that they have managed to score. They have also recorded not so good results away from home, winning two matches and losing three. Overcoming Tusker has been a hard task for them, winning only once in their last twelve encounters. They have lost seven times and drawn four times in the same years.

 

Tusker Starting XI: Duncan Ochieng, Collins shivachi, James situma, Marlon Tangauzi, shafik batambuze, Hashim Sempala, Humphrey Mieno, Jackson Macharia, George mandela, Khamati Michael, Allan Wanga
Reserves: David okello, Eugine Asike, Martin Kizza, Clifford Alwanga, Abdul Hassan, Anthony Ndolo, Moses Ndawula

Posta Rangers and Gor Mahia battle out for three crucial points in Round 13 of the Kenyan Premier League On Sunday 28 May at the Nyayo Stadium, a game that will kickoff at 15:00.


Posta Rangers go into the match following a 1-0 loss to Ulinzi, which was their first defeat of the season while Gor’s last match ended in a 1-1 draw against Thika United. Kógalo will be looking to cement the top spot of the table with a win and add more stability to their title chase. Posta will also be eyeing a win to take them back to the top three positions, where they were squeezed out following a series of draws and their latest loss.


Head To Head
The two teams have met eight times in the Kenyan Premier League, with Gor coming out victorious on three occasions while Posta have won only once. Three of the encounters have ended in a draw. In the last four league fixtures, Gor have won thrice and drawn once compared to Posta’s one win and three draws. Gor will also be seeking motivation from their performance away from home this season, where they have won five of the six matches that they have played on the road. In terms of goals scored this season, Gor have notched in seventeen goals whereas Posta have only scored nine goals. Posta however have the majority number of clean sheets, having not conceded in eight matches while Gor have recorded six clean sheets.


Security Concerns
Ahead of the match on Sunday, Posta Rangers Club Chairman John Tonui was quick to assure attending fans of tight security measures that have been put in place to ensure a safe, enjoyable and thrilling encounter between the two sides. ``“Security plans have been streamlined with a total of 200 policemen to be deployed on the ground; from GSU, AP and other police units. We urge football lovers to come in masses and enjoy the match in a peaceful way,’’ said Tonui.

 

Starting XI: Patrick Matasi (GK), Hashim Mukhwana, Luke Ochieng', Donald Owiti, Collins Omondi, Jerry Santo, Joseph Mbugi, Geoffrey Kataka, Titus Achesa, Jared Obwoge, Dennis Mukaisi.

Subs: Farouk Shikhalo (GK), Simon Mbugua, Simon Ogutu, Eric Kibiru, Joseph Kuria, Gerson Likono, Joseph Nyagah.

fThe match will be played at the Moi Stadium on Saturday 27 May from 15:00.


Those included in the squad are Masoud Juma and Bolton Omwenga, Calvin Odongo being left out of the travelling squad although he returned to training. Sharks will miss the services of Steven Odhiambo, who is out with an ankle injury. The William Muluya coached side will be seeking to put more misery on Western Stima, who are winless in tfour of their last league fixtures.


Head To Head
The two sides have not met in the Kenyan Premier League, this season being the first for Kariobangi Sharks in top flight football. They have however performed better than their opponents, currently sitting 5th in the table standings after six wins, two draws and four losses. They are also on a good run, having not lost a match in their last six fixtures. Western Stima on the other hand languish in the last position of the league table after registering only two wins in twelve of their opening matches. They have lost seven matches and drawn twice.


Kariobangi Sharks Squad
Goalkeepers: Jeff Oyemba, Robert Mboya .
 Defenders: Bolton Omwenga, Pascal Ogweno, Geofrey Shiveka Michael Bodo, Wycliffe Onyango .
Midfieders:  Osborne Monday, Sven Yidah, Patillah Omoto, Mike Isabwa, Matthew Odongo,  Ovellah Ochieng,  Elli Asieche .
Strikers:  Ibrahim Kitawi, Rodgers Omondi, Duke Abuya and Masoud Juma .

 

Porto coach Nuno Espirito Santo has left the club by mutual consent after one season in charge in which they finished runners-up, the former European champions said on Monday.

Usually known simply as Nuno, the Sao Tome and Principe-born coach was halfway through his contract when he departed one day after his team suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at Moreirense in their last league game of the season.

Porto finished second in the league, six points behind champions and arch-rivals Benfica. They kept up the chase for most of the season until their challenge faltered with home draws against Feirense and Vitoria Setubal.

They also reached the last 16 of the Champions League before losing to Juventus and suffered a shock elimination on penalties at the hands of Chaves in the Portuguese Cup.

"Porto and Nuno Espirito Santo reached an agreement on this Monday afternoon to end the coach's contract by mutual consent," said the club in a statement.

Porto won the Portuguese league nine times in 11 seasons from 2002/03 to 2012/13 but their dominance came to an abrupt halt, with arch-rivals Benfica winning the last four.

Since 2013, they have appointed Paulo Fonseca, Julen Lopetegui, Jose Peseiro and Nuno as coaches, while Luis Castro and Rui Barros have also been in charge on an interim basis.

Goalkeeper Nuno's playing career took him to Vitoria Guimaraes, Deportivo La Coruna, Merida, Osasuna, Dynamo Moscow and Aves, though he spent much of his time as second-choice.

He had two stints at Porto, the first from 2002-04 when he played second fiddle to Vitor Baia and the second from 2007 to 2010, when Brazilian Helton stood in his way.

Nevertheless, Nuno won a Champions League, Intercontinental Cup and UEFA Cup, four Portuguese league titles and three Portuguese Cup winners medals during those two spells.

His coaching career began as assistant to Jesualdo Ferreira at Malaga. He was named Valencia coach in July 2014 but was fired one year and four months later.

Chelsea's Antonio Conte was named Manager of the Year at a League Managers Association awards ceremony on Monday after leading his side to the Premier League title and FA Cup final.

The 47-year-old Italian, whose team finished seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, will lead Chelsea out against Arsenal in the Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

Chelsea's 93 points was the second highest total since the Premier League began in 1992 and they became the first Premier League team to register 30 victories in one season.

"I think I've had a lot of incredible emotions in my first season here in England. I want to say thank you to all the people who voted for me. It's great to receive this award. I hope I deserved this," Conte said.

"It's fantastic to read all the names that won this trophy and to stay with these managers is a great achievement for me. I hope to continue in the best way," he added after receiving the award from former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Chris Hughton, 58, was named Championship (second-tier) manager of the year after guiding Brighton & Hove Albion into the Premier League as runners-up to Newcastle United.

Angel Maria Villar was re-elected as the Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) president for the eighth consecutive time on Monday after he stood unopposed. The term of office for the 67-year-old, who got 112 votes with 11 abstentions and six spoiled ballots, will run until 2020, with Villar having been first elected in 1988.

The former Athletic Bilbao and Spain midfielder has presided over the most successful era in the history of the Spanish national team, who won successive European Championships in 2008 and 2012 and their first World Cup in 2010.

"We have received huge endorsement which has brought us an undeniable victory. We have worked and won cleanly, it is a legitimate triumph, ratified by a strong majority," Villar told reporters.

The president is elected by an absolute majority of the members of the assembly which includes 120 members representing the clubs, players, referees and managers/coaches, who in turn are elected by the federation's ordinary members.

The president's former secretary general, Jorge Perez, had said he would run against him for the post but instead brought a case against Villar to Spain's highest sports court over alleged irregularities in the election of the RFEF assembly.

Perez withdrew from the election in protest, deciding not to present his candidacy on May 5, and asked the Spanish Sports Tribunal (TAD) and Sports Council (CSD) to annul the election of the RFEF general assembly, which they did not do.

In response to Perez's accusations, the RFEF published a statement saying the assembly election process had been conducted with "absolute honesty and transparency" and that the criticism was "completely untrue and biased".

Inter Milan forward Gabriel Barbosa has apologised for storming off the substitutes' bench when he realised he was not going to be used during Sunday's Serie A match at Lazio.

The 20-year-old Brazilian has had a frustrating first season at Inter, making just nine appearances, all as a substitute, and playing a total of only 111 minutes since his 30 million euros ($33.71 million) move from Santos last August.

He has managed one goal and picked up three yellow cards in that short period on the pitch.

His frustration boiled over during the 3-1 win at Lazio after he was not among the three substitutes brought on by coach Stefano Vecchi in the closing minutes of the game.

Television pictures showed him angrily leaving the bench before the final whistle.

"Inter supporters and team mates, during yesterday's game I suddenly adopted a thoughtless and inadequate attitude by leaving the pitch before the end of the game," he said on his Facebook page.

"Once the heat of the moment had died down, I realised, in calmness and with the support of my family, that the incident was unsporting and contradicted my professional values.

"I recognise my mistake and would like to register my sincere apologies to all the Inter fans who always supported me and to my team mates."

Gabriel, whose made his professional debut as a 16-year-old in 2013, emerged as one of Brazil's great hopes during three seasons at Pele's former club as he scored 57 goals and impressed with his pace, trickery, skill and clinical finishing.

He scored on his Brazil debut against Panama last year, went on to play at the Copa Centenario and won Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro with the under-23 team.

Vecchi said after the game that he expected the club to take action, although Inter have not commented since.

James Davison said it will be bittersweet to fill in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday but plans to do his best despite limited preparation time.

Davison completed 88 laps on the sprawling 2.5 mile oval speedway on Monday, with a best speed of 223.670 mph. It was the first time in two years the 30-year-old Australian, who has two previous starts in the race, was in the cockpit of an Indy car.

"It's certainly mixed emotions," Davison told IndyCar of replacing Bourdais. "No racing driver ever wants to secure an opportunity under these circumstances.

"I got to know Sebastien a little better when I was living in St. Petersburg a couple of years ago, and we were teammates together at KV Racing in 2014 when I was a rookie. He was very good to me there."

The 38-year-old Bourdais slammed head-on into the safety barriers when his Honda-powered car lost control on Saturday during qualifying.

Bourdais, who drives for Dale Coyne Racing, underwent surgery for pelvic fractures, officials said on Sunday.

Team owner Dale Coyne told IndyCar that Bourdais may not race again this year.

"He's got a plate, screws in his hip bone and plate on his pelvis. ... So it's at least 12 weeks, which may get him ready for Sonoma (in September), but why run one race?" he said.

"Let him rehab for the other four months and get ready to go for next year. Have him out and in January start testing with him and go at it."

Sunderland manager David Moyes has resigned after the team's relegation from the English Premier League. The former Manchester United coach announced his decision at a meeting with the club hierarchy in London on Monday.

Owner chairman Ellis Short says "having worked tirelessly throughout the campaign to avoid relegation from the Premier League, David has chosen to leave the club without compensation, which is testament to his character."

Moyes lasted only one season at Sunderland.

The Scot says, "I wish the players and my successor well in their efforts towards promotion back to the Premier League."

The team line-ups for the Under-17 World Cup (17th edition) to be held in India between 6 and 28 October 2017 are now complete, after the CAF (African Confederation) qualifiers were over on Monday.

Victories in their final group matches ensured Mali and Niger progressed to the tournament joining Ghana and Guinea, who had already sealed their qualification.

Niger made history by qualifying for a first-ever FIFA tournament after defeating Tanzania 1-0.

The 2016 AFC U-16 Championship held last year ensured Iraq, Iran, Japan and North Korea qualified for the tournament from Asia. Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States of America recently qualified from the CONCACAF (Central, North American and the Caribbean) region.

England, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey recently sealed their places for the FIFA event after finishing as the best 5 teams from the 2017 UEFA European Championship.

Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay are the final CONMEBOL nations that will participate from South America while New Caledonia and New Zealand have qualified from the OFC (Oceania) region. Hosts India qualified for the tournament directly.

Welcoming the 24 countries, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee Javier Ceppi said, "It is very exciting to know the 24 teams that will be playing the World Cup. The line-up is superb, with established powerhouses in the category (such as former World Champions Brazil, Ghana and Mexico) and teams making their debut, among them the hosts India. Having seen the teams and knowing of their quality, football fans are in for a real treat in October and it is key that they can start getting their tickets now and book their place in history before is too late".

With the 24 teams in place, the attention now turns to the official draw, which will take place on July 7 and determine the fixtures for each team.

The 24 teams are:  India, England, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Japan, North Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, United States of America, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand

Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid lift their 33rd La Liga title on Sunday as he scored his 40th goal of the season within two minutes against Malaga to put Real in the driver's seat in their bid of dethroning FC Barcelona.

Real Madrid were three points ahead of Barcelona on the La Liga table and needed a draw or win against Malaga to win the 2016-17 title. Madrid beat Malaga 2-0, thanks to goals from Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, while Barcelona won 4-2 against Eibar. It was Madrid's consistency throughout the season that eventually proved to be the difference.

Despite the happiness of winning the domestic title, Ronaldo slammed the media for projecting him what he's not, saying he's "not a devil."

Post the match, Ronaldo was asked about a gesture he made to Celta Vigo players midweek during Madrid's 4-1 win over the Galicians insinuating that Celta had been offered bonuses to damage Madrid's title charge.

Ronaldo hit back at the press for making a mountain out of a molehill.

"People say things about me without knowing a thing and it bothers me. You (the media) say things about Cris without knowing the truth," Ronaldo retaliated.

"I am not a saint, but I am also not a devil like many people think I am," Ronaldo added.

Ronaldo further said that he has a family and such negativity about him in public affects them.

"I don't like this type of thing because I have a family, I have a mother, a son, and I don't like that they say stupid things about me."

The smile was back on Ronaldo's face when he was asked about his form lately. With the goal against Malaga, Ronaldo scored his 14th goal in the last nine games.

"I've prepared to be in top shape for the end of the season," he said.

Ronaldo said he was glad to be of help to his team that won Madrid's first title in five years.

"I've helped the team with my goals, my decisions and for that I am happy," Ronaldo added.

Real Madrid have their eyes set for a European double now as they prepare to face Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final on June 3 in Cardiff.

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The figure of Ksh. 600,000 released by Gor Mahia today, as the total gate collections for the Gor Mahia vs Zoo Kericho match in Kisumu are ‘stupid figures’,  Gor Mahia Organizing Secretary Judith Anyango has told Kenyanstar in a long ranging Interview.

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. 

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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”.

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."

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.

Bale and Ronaldo both played as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 yesterday. Goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro strengthened their grip on the La Liga title.

However, despite the victory, all is not well at the Santiago Bernabeu. Spanish outlet Diario Gol claimed yesterday that Ronaldo was fuming with Zinedine Zidane for substituting him late on.

The former Manchester United star provided the assist for Benzema's goal but was replaced by Isco in the 79th minute. It was said that Ronaldo believed Bale should have been substituted instead after an abject display.

But Diario Gol claim Bale was also angry after the game. The former Tottenham star's stock is rising in Spain after helping Madrid win the Champions League twice in the past three years. And the Wales international reportedly believes Ronaldo is preventing him from becoming the club's main man.

Bale has to play on the left wing due to Ronaldo's desire to play further up the field. He feels that Zidane is making a mistake by deploying him in that position as he prefers to play on the right, where he can cut inside.

Club chief Florentino Perez is now monitoring the situation as Madrid's two biggest stars aim to do outdo the other. 

Ireland and Everton defender Seamus Coleman faces up to a year on the sidelines after breaking his leg during a World Cup qualifier against Wales.

The ever-present risk of serious leg injuries in football was unfortunately realised once again as Wales’ Neil Taylor was shown a red card for a poor tackle during the 0-0 draw.

Once he realised what had happened, Coleman held onto his damaged leg while waiting for help.

Coleman was given oxygen on the field as medical staff attempted to immobilise his leg before taking to and ambulance and then hospital.

The final score took a back seat to Coleman’s well-being  after the match.

“It’s a bad break. Seamus is a fantastic player and character - it’s a major blow for the lad, for his club and for us,’’ Ireland manager Martin O’Neill told the UK’s Sky Sports.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world - I haven’t seen it back - but naturally disappointed. He’s gone to hospital and I think it’s broken.

“I saw Seamus’ reaction - he was holding his leg up and it didn’t look good.”

The length of Taylor’s suspension is yet to the decided but one this is for sure – Coleman is facing a lengthy stint of rehab before his professional career resumes.

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