George Bwana: The story of Kenya's top football agent

He is the Kenyan version of Portuguese super agent Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes. He is many things to many people, and recently added another feather to his cap by venturing into player and coaches representation. Starting off as a journalist, he grew through the ranks to become a Television producer, took the big risk and ventured into football administration, before jumping ship to start what has been a largely successful venture of talent management.

His clients are big names in the football scene locally and in his own words, he is growing bigger by the day. A man must court a dose of controversy, and he too has, in several instances being accused of either embezzling club funds during his stint in football administration.

Kenyanstar sat down with former Gor Mahia Secretary General, George Bwana, for a no-holds barred interview, where he talks about his time at Gor Mahia, TV, player representation and personal life.

Kenyanstar: Who is George Bwana?

George Bwana: I am a 38 year-old Kenya citizen. Born and bred in Suba. Homabay County. I went to school in Mbita,a journalist by training and TV  producer. I started as a cameraman, rose to TV producer and ventured big into the TV world. I worked for various media organizations including The Nation Media Group for 9 years. In 2008 I quit Nation and went independent for about a year. I later joined Supersport for 2 years. In  2011 I quit Supersport. At Supersport  I  travelled the world and covered major sporting events, including the 2010 World Cup, the  2009 U-17 World Cup in Nigeria and the Confederation Cup in South Africa. I also  organized sporting events like the Copa Coca-Cola. I later quit TV, and in 2011 threw my hand in football politics,. I ran for General Secretary at Gor Mahia  and was elected.  I later served as the club’s General Secretary from 2011 to 2013. The election aborted in 2013 and had to repeat the following year. I left Gor Mahia  in 2013. Upon expiry of my term, I took a new challenge, and ventured into talent management; I started off with managing  footballers, then slowly into coaches as well i.e identify talent, find clubs, place them in clubs, negotiating contracts and managing their affairs.

KS: You were elected to Gor Mahia as SG, when you were a young, vibrant journalist. What informed your decision to switch from journalism to football administration?

GB: At that time, I felt our football wasn't being managed well. Having  worked for Supersport, I travelled the world to major sporting events as I have mentioned earlier, and I saw how football clubs, football events  and sports organisations were managed, and it pained me how things were done at home. There was a huge contrast.  I asked myself; Can’t this be done in Kenya?  I believe Kenya has a huge chunk of  sports talent, and thought we weren't properly harnessing this talent. So I made a decision to try and improve the standards of our football. Change how things were done. Gor Mahia is a household name in African football, having won the prestigious Mandela Cup in 1987 and that is not a mean fete by all standards. I felt there was huge gap to be filled. Not that we didn't have talent,  but talent wasn't being managed properly. So I quit my job and decided to throw myself into this elections. Lots of my friends told me it was a suicidal move, which I later on somewhat regretted, but today I don't regret because I left a mark.

KS: You had a largely successful tenure while Secretary General. Tell us about your time at Gor Mahia

GB: A very turbulent time. Very interesting too. Very memorable events. When I got elected in November  2011, interestingly, that was about the same time a lot was happening at Gor Mahia. Gor Mahia was having issues with the then coach Zedekiah "Zico" Otieno who was also the Harambee Stars coach and a cross section of Gor fans had an issue with that. Gor had a torrid 2011 season and a huge fanbase felt that the bad results were due to Zico’s double roles at the national team and at Gor. At the same time, Gor had a contract with Zico which we had to respect. So I had lots of balancing to do - A newly elected SG of a big club and the tasks were here. First challenge was to deal with that disquiet. Then the transfer window was approaching. So we dealt with the Zico issue, the best way we thought; by asking him to step aside. Then did what hadn't been done before- asking coaches to apply for appointment.

We received volumes of applications from Kenya and beyond and eventually ended up picking Anaba Awono, who then was the assistant coach. When the season started we recruited heavily by signing a record 11 players and sent a few away. Then came the season. We won our first game in 2012.  From that point on, we lost games, drew games and at one point, Gor was  lying 13th on the log after about 8 matches or so. I remember Ambrose Rachier asking me- George will Gor be relegated under our watch? So it was a very shocking moment for me; I am new in office, a youthful leader, fans are screaming game after game, huge expectations…

You know the year before that, I had been involved in a huge campaign to bring back fans, and I believe largely that is why I got elected because we were beginning to get lots of young fans who wanted a young vibrant leadership at their club,. So here I was, elected by the fans  and we are losing. The same  fans are giving me pressure. I remember we made lots of trips to Nairobi- Nakuru Highway and lost to Oserian, Ulinzi and many other places.  Out of 3 matches on the Nairobi- Nakuru highway, we only got a point and got to a place where we had to make a decision. I remember fans screaming in my ears, telling me to act. They were very patient. I approached the chairman and told him it was time to make a decision.

Photo/ courtesy: Bwana poses with titles at a past KPL award ceremony

We dismissed the entire technical bench  after 8 rounds when we were lying 13th or so.We brought in Zdravko Logarusic. It was my initiative. The office was divided about that, but as SG, fans were looking at me. The dismissal of the bench was a big litmus test. Before Zdravko arrived, we made a decision to have someone handle the team. We decided to find someone to handle that one game before the new coach arrived. So we picked on one legend of the club to try pick the pieces. We made a call to Bobby Ogolla who then was retired and enjoying life in Muhoroni. I called him and he declined. I insisted to him that he was the best person to do the job. He said that having handled Gor before, he didn't want to come back. After rounds of persuasion, he agreed to come on condition that he would handle only one  match. We lost.

Logarusic  arrived the next day, and I took him straight to City stadium for training. Zdravko asked me what the issue was, and I told him I didn't know, since I wasn't the coach. He asked how many players we had and I told him 31. The number one thing Logarusic said was -you have a bloated squad. So he fired players and some fired themselves. I remember Collins Okoth just opting out after one training session with Loga. He just left the club and went. After few training sessions, Loga said we scale down to 25, and he identified players for axing.

We dealt with them in accordance to the law and trimmed the squad to 25, and we began training and picking points. The league title would soon be at reach. Recall, before then AFC Leopards was 13 or 14 points above us. We overtook them. Then came the shocker. On the last day of the season, 2 points adrift Tusker. We were playing Thika United at City Stadium. It was a very memorable moment. There was an air of optimism through the country. The nation was painted white and green. Then came the famous Giniwasekao. The match  at City Stadium was at 3PM. Tusker were playing City stars in Kawangware. We only needed to win our match and win the title regardless of what happened elsewhere.

We had a superior goal difference. Tusker win and we drew. I remember that Kennedy Otieno goal. Then Rama equalised, but it was too little too late. Gor fans cried, I cried and I believe Raila Odinga cried. We couldn't believe it. That was one of my most memorable moments for me in Gor. There are many challenges that came with managing the club. It is a job that doesn't pay. People think that it does. It is a voluntary work. It takes a lot of determination and time. Gor is like any other corporate with staff, challenges, but there are no set structures and you don't earn anything. It takes a lot of self determination and willpower to run the club.That goes for other community clubs too like AFC Leopards.

KS: During your time, the club did well and won titles. What was working for you?

GB: I think was successful because first in 2012, after we missed the league, in 2013 we said we would not repeat the mistakes we did. In 2013 we started the league well, recruited well and won the title with 5 matches to spare. Logarusic again along the way in 2013, did everything right, but when it was time to pop the champagne, he messed things up and quit the club halfway in June 2013 prompting us to bring in Bobby Williamson and we won the league easy. I call it successful because Gor hadn't won the league in 18 years. The most decorated club in Kenya and East Africa going 18 years without a tile? That was unacceptable. I pride myself as having won the title for the Mighty K’ogalo after 18 years. From that momentum, we won it in 3 straight years. In 2015, we went unbeaten because  of the momentum and structures I put in place. To date I believe it still there. People still remember my tenure.

KS: You won titles at your time. However, as many critics say to date, there is no much progress. The club is still reliant on Ambrose Rachier, and is still in debt. Do you think you helped the club long-term?

GB: That is true. In my opinion as a fan, I think that winning the league isn't enough. I don't celebrate winning the KPL title anymore. We have won it 3 straight times, what is there to win here? I believe Gor now need to go and make a mark at the continental scene. On structures, we have done quite something because if you remember where Gor was before Ambrose Rachier came on board, Gor was lying somewhere there. He has done quite a lot and that should not go unnoticed. I still think we still need to do more. One, we need to change the club’s constitution. The club doesn't need 11 elected officials, that to me is a major setback because you end up with too many squabbles, as everyone is trying to get a piece of the club.

Gor doesn't need elected officials. I am glad we have the sports act which I believe the current office is trying to comply with, and in complying with that the structures should come in place. Gor needs to establish itself as a corporate run by professionals, not elected officials. That way we can hold the management accountable. Today as things stand, if you ask the current Secretary General  why certain things aren't done in a certain way, he might ask you - What are you giving me in return?  It is a voluntary job and there is nothing binding the official with the club. I also want to appeal to our fans. The fans have been a hindrance to this process of change. There is a section of them who are hellbent on  maintaining  the status quo because that is how they survive. Some people are afraid that if we change structures of the club, they will lose control of the club.

I recall in 2005, the chairman then, Lesley Okudo tried registering Gor Mahia  as a company. He received massive resistance from a section of the fans, to a point that he quit. Okudo was fantastic chairman, but was hounded out of office as result of his efforts to professionalise the club. I wish to reiterate that a cross section of our fan-base are a major hindrance to the development of the club, not all of them. They need to understand that things need to be done the modern way. Gor was established in 1968 by the then Minister of Planning Tom Mboya, and it was fine to have 11 officials to take care of the various sub clans of the Luo Community. Today Gor isn't just a Luo club, the club has fans from all over Kenya.

Photo/couretsy: George Bwana and Danny Sserenkuma during his says as Gor Mahia SG

KS: During your tenure, in several occasions when the club faced hooliganism cases, you publicly defended the club and famously said, ‘Those were goons in Gor Mahia jerseys.’ Many feel you never wanted to deal with hooliganism head on. What’s your response to this?

GB: To date I still hold the same opinion. In 2012-2013 before the elections and you know politicians love where there are numbers, and Gor itself is loved and hated in equal measure in this country. A cross section of politicians, with the elections coming up and with Gor being associated with one section of the political divide, some politicians would hire goons, don them in Gor Mahia jerseys and send them to cause trouble. Second, a Gor Mahia fan is not someone who would want to see his club suffer. A fan is someone who will protect the club with his soul. When in 2012 in that evening game at Kasarani(one of my memorable moments), Danny and Rama had taken off for trials without permission. Before that match, I called Logarusic and found out that two of our players were missing from training. The players also had their phones going unanswered. So we drew against City Stars 0-0. As usual, I never shied away from addressing the fans after the game when they sought to know what the matter was. Why we lost. They asked where Rama and Danny were. I told them that they had sneaked out of camp for trials. So the fans were agitated by that, and as I tried to explain myself, leaning on my car, then some goons confronted me and started getting their hands into my pocket. So I had to take off. (Hearty laugh) I ran for my dear life. The next day I addressed the press and said that indeed the scenes witnessed at Kasarani were those in my opinion occasioned by goons, not Gor Mahia fans. Genuine Gor fans are very disciplined and understanding. Look at Gor last season: Gor should have won the league. But the club was docked points because of fan trouble. Do you think a Gor fan would want his club to lose points and the league in that way?

KS: Hooliganism has been a major issue in Kenyan football. What particular steps did you take at your time to deal with this matter?

GB: Hooliganism is a  major issue not to Gor alone but Kenyan  football. During our tenure, we empowered our fans and created awareness. No amount of police can stop hooligans if you don't involve fans. At Gor, we have branches and would call branch leadership and pass messages to them on stadia safety and anti-hooliganism measures. We also employed the youth, from the fans as club marshals. We paid them 2000 shillings  per home game. Their work was to to help in crowd control. We also worked with other teams to help in crowd control.

KS: Another famous  highlight during your tenure was the Zdravko Logarusic saga. How good was he, and why did you later bite the bullet and decline to work with him, despite his good run in the league?

GB: Logarusic is  good coach, and a great friend. We established a working relationship that was way beyond just work.  We became friends and brothers. But Loga is interesting. In 2013, half way through the season, he came up with fresh demands on remuneration. We had a sponsor who was giving us 11m a year and the club wage bill was way beyond that. So when Loga came up with fresh demands we said, ‘let's review his salary putting in mind what he had achieved.’ But we had to strike a balance. We had a chat with Loga and gave him our offer, but he couldn't accept it . I then explained to him that despite our friendship,we couldn't continue and hence we had to let him go.

KS: Was it a good decision to let him go?

GB: It was. First, we had to act in the best interest of the club and also Gor is bigger than the club.No one can hold the club at ransom.

KS: You served as Secretary General  for a single term. Surprisingly so. You said that you had achieved your objectives. What was your biggest achievement as Secretary General?

GB: My objective was to ensure Gor gets back to where it deserves to be in Kenyan football. Second, it was to put Gor on the right path to achieve success in continental football.
 
KS: Would you consider at one time returning to serve Gor Mahia?

GB: Gor remains my club forever. For now I am engaged in personal business.However ,in future when that opportunity comes I will be available to serve the club, but it has to be at the right time. I still believe I have something to offer Gor Mahia.

KS: Your toughest time at Gor, besides the infamous sprint?

GB: When we lost the league on final day. I couldn't bear that and suffered personal consequences. It took its toll on me, even my family suffered emotional distress. The sprint wasn't even a thing, it was some of those moments. I even realized that some of the guys chasing me were even unfit because they couldn't catch up with me.(Laughs). There were several others, where you would do things in the best interest of the club but people would think that you were making so much from the club. I recall at one time I was having a drink after a Gor Mahia match at Nyayo Stadium. I was having a drunk with this guy. Then he tells me: “This Gor Mahia officials are making so much money.”

 I asked him "What do you mean?"

Then he tells me, “There is this Gor Secretary General, he has built a massive house in South C, and has big car.”

 I asked him, "What is his name again?"

He replied, “George Bwana. He has  a lot of money.”

I  asked him - Do you know how he looks like? He said, “He is a young guy.”

I then told him, "What if I told you my name if George Bwana?"

He was really shocked and apologized and said he had just been told the story.(Hearty laugh)

KS: We have a new office at Gor Mahia. 100 and so days in. Lots of teething problems here and there. You take on the new administration?

GB: As you have put it, they are going through some teething problems and honeymoon. I however, hold that they have overstretched the honeymoon. Its expected that upon resuming office those challenges are there. But there is a limit. I am particularly disgusted by a couple of things I saw like how some like  publishing club matters on social media. You do not see clubs talk about their matters on social media anywhere in the world. It amounts to subjecting the club to public ridicule. Like an official would post minutes of a meeting on social media. That is unacceptable. To me that is immaturity and should stop. However, they still have time to recover but they got to do things differently. Sober up and do things differently. We had similar issues when we were elected but theirs looks a little too magnified. They have got to start working and forget about elections.

KS: You are a key member of the Kenyan football industry;Kenya’s top football agent. How did you get into this trade and what motivated you to get into it?

GB: I am a journalist by training. I quit my job and got into football politics which is a very thankless job. Not paying. I served for about 3 years and upon expiry of my term I had lost quite a bit in terms of personal growth. I decided not to count those 3 years as a wate. I decided to turn my experience into business. I believe in shifting and doesn't believe in complaining about misfortunes. I decided to read about talent management, I did a course at Strathmore University, while still at Gor Mahia, that was being offered in collaboration with KPL and that helped me set up  a business which I run today. One of managing talent. Started with footballers, then coaches and trying to get into other sports as well…

Photo: George Bwana(left) and George Owino during transfer to Zesco

KS:You have had majority of your transfers in Zambia. Why Zambia?

GB: The Zambian league is well organized and well structured. Zambian clubs respect player contracts. Zambian clubs are well sponsored, they pay players well, and take good care of players and coaches. Zambian clubs like to give back to communities where they do business. I made one first move with David Owino in 2013 and it worked well. I got feedback from the player, he was happy and followed on his progress and was impressed. For me, when the player is happy, I am glad., I work first for the player and coach. As  a result of Owino’s good show, he opened up doors for other Kenyan players.

KS: Any challenges in this business?

GB: First, the perception that we make so much money. There is no big money really. We work for the players first. We are coming from an amateur league -KPL and if I make a call to a club in Serbia or Croatia, after watching the player and doing research on the club and when they hear about Kenya, they turn us down. They say Kenya is a nation for runners.  Our football isn't doing really well, and we struggle to convince people that Kenya has talent.

I am glad we have Victor Wanyama out there because I use him a lot as a reference point when looking for clubs for my players. Some people ask me; Where is Kenya? Is it from Nigeria? I explain to them where Kenya is and tell them -Kenya is the country where Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama comes from. Do you know him? The reply -yeah yeah. I then say - The player I am proposing to you plays together with Victor Wanyama at the national team. So our ranking too is still low and does not help us. We need to do better.

KS: Your best business so far?

GB: (Laughs) That is a hard one. I think my best transfer businesses are two, to be very honest. The first one is that of David Owino because he was the first player I ever sold out of this country and the first to play in Zambia and he opened the doors for many players. The second is Jesse Were. He is scoring  lots of goals in Zambia and was the top scorer in the Champions League in Zambia and second highest scorer in the league. That lifted my profile because I got calls from North Africa, West Africa and Europe too showing interest in Jesse Were. Today I am largely known as an agent by people who would largely never have known me because of this players.

KS: What qualifies one to be a football agent?

GB: First it is interest. Secondly, the Football Federation has introduced laws that we have complied with, not fully, but we are in the process of complying and are in good books with them. So you need to be qualified. FIFA has also given mandate to individual federations who license you and once you meet the criteria and  they forward your name to FIFA.

KS: Majority of the Kenyan football agents, maybe middlemen, are not registered. This has been a concern. Does it concern you too?

GB: It is. A big concern. The Federation must have a list of agents. If anyone wants to be an agent, they must follow due process and be in the Federation records. I see a lot of my friends mostly in the media, purporting to be middlemen. Well, it is  a good thing, we need our players to be in clubs. It is a virgin industry but let them do the right thing and get registered.

KS: Agents have been accused of using players, taking them to ‘any willing club’ making money and dumping the players. Have you encountered this and is it concern to you?

GB: Personally I don't do that. First, none of my players has ever gone to a  country without me accompanying them. I usually accompany them to the clubs after having agreed preliminary terms. We physically travel with them to that respective country, review the contract myself together with  the player to ensure everything that was agreed is in the contract then the player appends his signature.

KS: Do you think most  players in Kenya have been abused by these middlemen?

GB:  It's true. Some middlemen, not all are unscrupulous and very dodgy. What I want to advise players; For a long time, players thought that an agent is someone who just wants to earn where they did not sow. That shouldn't be the case. A good middleman acts in the best interest of the player. That is what I do. There are guys who swindle players not only in Kenya but outside Kenya too. So yes, there are funny guys purporting to be player representatives, but with ill intentions and so players must also do due diligence on whoever they sign with this agreements.

KS: What makes you tick as an agent?

GB: (Laughs)  I don't know whether I tick. I am just a go-getter and a risk-taker. I believe nothing is impossible. I am a believer in Christ, and go out there to get things done.

KS: Kenyan football agents have been accused of ill-advising players. At times, making it difficult for Kenyan players to make moves across clubs in Kenya. Your response?

GB: Football agents don't make anything impossible. Clubs in Kenya must understand that football agents exist. Player representation is a new concept in Kenya. I think there is  a misunderstanding in Kenya  on who football representatives are. These guys have a job to do, and bills to pay. Kenyan clubs don't understand why they would sign a player for a certain amount. I am shocked and saddened in equal measure on the amounts we talks about when signing a player and clubs feels it's too much for them. It is really nothing. Yanga or Simba in Tanzania will buy  a player for Ksh.5  millions easily. Kenyan clubs will struggle to buy a player for Ksh. 600,000. How many Kenya clubs even pay each other money for transfers? Only Gor perhaps has bought a player. Like during my tenure we paid money for Baba Kizito. Clubs must begin to spend on players. It’s a business. Transfer monies, besides the salary is what players use to improve their lives. Clubs must know that football representation is not extortion but a business.

Photo credit, Soka: (From left) Jesse Were, Teddy Akumu and David with Bwana during a Harambee Stars assignment


KS: A concern raised by Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier is that Kenyan players and agents insist on signing short contracts hence destabilizing the clubs and players. Your response?

GB: That is wrong and I strongly agree with Rachier. First, there are certain parameters you look at when signing a player. First, it's the age of the player. There is no reason why I should bring a 19 year old and insist on signing a one year contract. I am reaping off this club and I also am not helping the player. There is no guarantee that a young player will hit form straight away. There are very many challenges and the pressure is too much. If the player is on a short contract, he will struggle to get form. And before he settles, his contract is out. Signing short contracts does not help players. Some players also love signing short contracts so that every often they are getting paid sign on fees every often. Players must also put in mind their personal growth and know that you need time to settle in a club. I know players also fear that if you sign along contract then a club from abroad comes and wants to sign you, then your club will decline to release you. I keep telling player to insert those clauses in the contract and that is what I do for my players - If a club wants t sign you, then they shall pay a certain amount to your club. A serious club that wants to sign you will pay you and your club the monies being asked for.

KS: How do you spot players? Do they approach you or you go out looking for them?

GB: Mostly I approach them. I watch lots of football myself, both the premier league and youth football. So I spot the players. Some call me and approach me for representation and I have to do some background checks to see if it's worth the business. Not every other player is worth the business.

KS: Does you talent management program include image rights management and has any of your clients made money out of it?

GB: In the contracts we insist on a percentage for image rights. We always insist on that. So far, we haven't had an instance where we have been approached.  We try go out there to do this. Zambia is our biggest zone so to speak and we are trying to set up a place there. It would be needless for a Zambian League player to endorse a Kenyan product. We have been thinking of partnering with certain people to work on this.

KS: We have seen a couple of players, some of them your clients not excelling in the PSL despite being good players. Why?

GB: I don't think its a question of Kenyan players. Musa Otieno, the most decorated Kenyan player played in the PSL for over a decade, and even won the chairman's trophy. I think it's a question of attitude. Secondly some clubs, to be fair to our players, mistreat some players. We have had incidences with several players, most recently Clifton Miheso. The same was the case with Khalid Aucho. It's true some PSL clubs don't treat foreigners well. Attitude is also important for the player. They should know that when playing outside Kenya, you are playing with  people who aren't from your native country. So they(Players) must have psychological preparedness for them to succeed.

KS: Rumours have it that you are coach Stewart Hall’s agent…

GB: No rumour. It is true. I am his representative and I brought him to Kenya.

KS: In recent days, you have been accused of destabilizing AFC Leopards by trying to move Hall to another club. How true is this?

GB: I am a football agent and as such, when I place a player or coach somewhere, I want them to succeed because when they do I make a name for myself and stand a chance of renewing a contract or getting him to another club. I don't think any business,and want his salt would want to antagonize himself. I brought Stewart Hall to AFC Leopards late last year and he is on a 2 year contract and want him to succeed at Leopards. While i was away in Zambia, I read the reports on the press that I was trying to destabilize Leopards .The truth is I got inquiries for Stewart Hall from a Tanzania club. That is very true. The contract that we have with AFC Leopards for Stewart Hall is such that, there is an exit clause. That goes for every contract. When that club made inquiries, I explained to them that they shouldn't talk to the coach because he has a contract and a job to do.  Having had a good start, I told Hall that we wouldn't wish to antagonize his stay at Leopards. The coach will stay because he has a contract with AFC Leopards. However, if whoever wants Hall can meet the release clauses that are agreeable to the AFC management, then we will deal. For now, Stewart Hall is an AFC Leopards coach. He has interests not just from Tanzanian clubs, but also outside Tanzania. There are several other inquiries. Stewart is a big coach.

KS: You have been at Supersport before. Your take on the current TV saga?

GB: Very unfortunate. It is sad that we should get into a situation like we have. Our football has made tremendous achievements over the past ten or so years. We still need to do more. I am disappointed that the people mandated with the affairs of our football have gotten us into this situation where broadcast right holders are withdrawing.Many countries would wish to have a broadcast partner. I am hugely disappointed that this has happened. I urge them to sober up as gentlemen, come to a table and talk about this, I am willing to bring them on board because I can. One of the major players in this stalemate is my former chairman who is the chair of KPL and the other is a good friend of mine and  a young guy who can understand my language and Supersport themselves. I am a TV  professional and Supersport are my former employers. I credit them for what I am today. So I believe this can be sorted out. Supersport has put in a huge investment in that facility at Ngong Road, I was part of it. I don't think it will be fair to have that go to waste. As  a football stakeholder, we need TV because that is how I can sell these players - From the clips. If Supersport pulls out, our games will be played minus coverage. We need to sober up. I know people are fighting over egos and small things but I am sure these things can be sorted out.

KS: Thanks so much George for your time!

Antonio Conte says other Premier League sides need to find a solution to Manchester City's record-breaking form.

City are 11 points clear at the top of the table after winning an unprecedented 15 matches in a row, while Conte's Chelsea trail them by 14 points in third place.

Chelsea's head coach said: "We must try to find the right solution to contend the title, to try to fight them. Not only Chelsea, but the five top teams."

"Manchester City are not a surprise for me. At the start of the season all the people said the league was for two contenders - Man City and Manchester United.

"This is a great team, but this team was a great team last season.

"During the transfer market they reached their targets. We must pay great attention, not only in England, because Man City is building a strong team to lead in Europe.

"I think also you must be lucky, because in many games they won in the last minute.

Conte appeared to suggest, however, that he was becoming frustrated at the difficulty his side were having reeling in Pep Guardiola's City.

He said: "Time is moving on and Manchester City are continuing to win, this is the problem.

"We must be realistic. In the last nine games we won seven times, drew one - to Liverpool - and lost one. And the distance improved for Manchester City.

"In nine games, when you win seven times and draw only once - it's possible to draw against Liverpool - and lose only one game, and stay 14 points less…"

Chelsea host Southampton on Saturday, and Conte said he expects to have Alvaro Morata back after the striker missed the win over Huddersfield on Tuesday with a back injury.

However, Chelsea will again be without David Luiz, with Conte admitting he did not know how long a knee injury would keep the defender out for.

The Barclays Premier League continues this weekend, with ten matches lined up for between Saturday December 16 and Monday December 18, 2017.

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

 

SATURDAY 16TH DECEMBER

Leicester City 15:30 Crystal Palace

Arsenal 15:00 Newcastle United

Brighton & Hove Albion 18:00 Burnley

Chelsea 18:00 Southampton

Stoke City 18:00 West Ham United

Watford 18:00 Huddersfield Town

Manchester City 20:30 Tottenham Hotspur

SUNDAY 17TH DECEMBER

West Bromwich Albion 17:15 Manchester United

AFC Bournemouth 19:30 Liverpool

MONDAY 18TH DECEMBER

Everton 22:00 Swansea City

 

The Kenya Hockey Union Leagues continue this weekend where a total of nine matches from all the three leagues have been scheduled to be played at the City Park Stadium.

Saturday

On Saturday, Chase Sailors will be seeking to get their season back on track when they face fellow strugglers Strathmore at noon. Both sides have been posting negative results, Strathmore sitting winless in their last five fixtures while Sailors have only won one of their last seven.

The match will then be followed by a ladies' one pitting second placed Strathmore Scorpions against Sliders, who are currently sixth on the log. A win for Strathmore will see them cement their place in second while Sliders might move to within a point of fifth placed JKUAT with a victory.

Parkroad Badgers will also be in action later on when they tackle Nakuru, a side that has won two of its last assignments.

Sunday

On Sunday, the Women's Premier League will see leaders Telkom take on bottom placed University of Nairobi (UoN)in what is a battle of two contrasting teams. While Telkom have won all their matches this season, UoN have not registered even a single victory and have only three points so far. A win for the leaders will move them to just one point shy of reclaiming the title.

In the Men's category, Kenya Police will be hoping to increase their lead at the top to the 70-point mark when they face Sikh Union from 17:00. The law enforcers overcame Sikh 3-1 in the previous meeting between the two sides back in May.

Below are all weekend fixutres:

 

PREMIER LEAGUE MEN

Saturday, December 16th

Chase 12:00 Strathmore CITY PARK  

Parkroad 16:00 Nakuru CITY PARK  

Sunday, December 17th

Strathmore 11:00 Nakuru CITY PARK  

KCAU 15:00 Sharks CITY PARK  

Sikh 17:00 Kenya Police CITY PARK

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE MEN

Saturday, December 16th

Rovers 18:00 MSC CITY PARK  

Sunday, December 17th

Wazalendo Masters 09:00 MSC CITY PARK

 

PREMIER LEAGUE WOMEN

Saturday, December 16th

Sliders 14:00 Strathmore CITY PARK  

Sunday, December 17th

UON 13:00 Telkom CITY PARK

 

Zanzibar will face Kenya in the finals of this year's CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup after seeing off Uganda Cranes 2-1 in the second semifinal played on Friday December 15, 2017 at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.

Uganda were gifted a free kick just outside the box in the 14th minute but Muzamiru Mutyaba blasted the ball over the bar for a goal kick.

Zanzibar heroes on their part showed that they meant business, Makame Hassan opening account for them in the 22nd minute after being fed with a pass from Ibrahim Hamad.

The goal prompted Uganda to make an early change, which they did by introducing Joseph Nsubuga for Shafiq Bakaki in the 28th minute. One minute later, the Cranes leveled matters through Derrick Nsibambi who did well to connect to Allan Kyambade's cross.

Their downfall however came ten minutes into the second half when substitute Nsubuga Joseph committed a reckless challenge on Ibrahim Hamad inside the box as he tried to thwart an impending attack, prompting the referee to show his a straight yellow card and point to the penalty spot. 

Mohamed Issa 'MO Banka' is the player who stood up to take the spot kick and successfully smashed it past Uganda keeper  Ismail Watenga to take his side back on the steering wheel.

Despite being reduced to ten men, the Cranes tried hard to notch an equalizer but were unsuccessful in their attempts, thus shutting down their quest to defend the regional title.

Zanzibar Heroes will now face hosts Kenya in the finals slated for Sunday December 17, 2017at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. The two sides met once in a Group A encounter, with the match ending in a barren draw.

 

Zanzibar Starting XI: Mohammed Abrahman  18, Ibrahim Mohamed Said  15, Adeyum Ahmed Seif 20, Abdulla Salum Kheri  13, Issa Haidar Dau  8, Abdul azizi Makame Hassan 21, Mohamed Issa Juma 10, Mudathir Yahya Abass 4, Ibrahim Hamad Ahmada, 17, Feisal Salum Abdallah, 3, Suleiman Kassim Suleiman,

Subs:  Ahmed Ali Suleiman  1, Nassor Mrisho Salim 30, Mohd Othman Mmanga 6, Ibrahim Abdallah Hamad 2, Abdullah Haji Shaibu (Ninja) 5, Seif Abdallah Rashid (Karihe) 12, Hamad Mshamata Makame 9, Khamis Mussa Makame 28, Abdul swamad Kassim Ali,

Uganda Starting XI: Ismail Watenga (GK); Nico Wakiro Wadada, Shafiq Bakaki, Bernard Muwanga (Captain), Aggrey Madoi; Allan Kyambadde, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Tadeo Lwanga; Derrick Nsibambi, Hood Kaweesa, Militon Karisa 

Subs: Tom Ikaara (GK), Benjamin Ochan (GK), Joseph Nsubuga, Ibrahim Sadam Juma, Nelson Senkatuka, Allan Kateregga, Daniel Isiagi, Tom Masiko, Paul Mucureezi.

 

Zanzibar head coach Hemed Suleiman Morocco has named his starting lineup that will take on Uganda in the second semifinal of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup on Friday December 15, 2017 at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu. The match kicks off at 15:00.

Replacements

The coach has duly replaced the duo of forward Suleiman Khamis and midfielder Amour Suleiman “Pwina” who were ruled out of the tie due to injuries. Left-back Mwinyi Haji Ngwali, who is suspended after accumulating two yellow successive yellow cards, has been substituted by Adeyuni Saleh.

Road to semis

Zanzibar have been the surprise package in the tournament so far as not many thought that the team would reach this far. The Heroes kicked off their campaign with a 3-1 win over Rwanda before seeing off their brothers Tanzania 2-1. 

They then held hosts Kenya to a barren draw but lost 1-0 to Libya in their final Group A match. The performance saw them finish second in the group and were as a result paired against Uganda in the semifinals.

 

Starting XI:

Mohammed Abrahman (Wawesha) 18, Ibrahim Mohamed Said (Sangula) 15, Adeyum Ahmed Seif 20, Abdulla Salum Kheri (Sebo) 13, Issa Haidar Dau (Mwalala) 8, Abdul azizi Makame Hassan (Abui) 21, Mohamed Issa Juma (Banka) 10, Mudathir Yahya Abass 4, Ibrahim Hamad Ahmada “Hilika” 17, Feisal Salum Abdallah (Fei Toto) 3, Suleiman Kassim Suleiman “Seleembe” 7 (nahodha).

Subs:

Ahmed Ali Suleiman (Salula) 1, Nassor Mrisho Salim 30, Mohd Othman Mmanga 6, Ibrahim Abdallah Hamad 2, Abdullah Haji Shaibu (Ninja) 5, Seif Abdallah Rashid (Karihe) 12, Hamad Mshamata Makame 9, Khamis Mussa Makame (Rais) 28, Abdul swamad Kassim Ali (Hasgut) 22.

 

KRU Championship side Ngong Warriors will on Friday 15 December, 2017 hold a fundraising dinner as they seek to raise cash to  enable them honor their remaining fixtures this season.

Gianluigi Donnarumma has denied writing to AC Milan demanding they rip up his contract, while his agent, Mino Raiola, said sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli is making the most of the controversy.

Milan fans revealed a banner during their 3-0 Coppa Italia win on Wednesday night in which they said they had run out of patience with Donnarumma, who earlier in the week was accused of having asked Milan to annul his contract due to "psychological violence" when he signed it in the summer.

The 18-year-old was visibly upset about the treatment he was given by Milan's fans and he posted a message on Instagram, denying having made any such demands to the Rossoneri.

"It was a horrible evening and I didn't expect it!" Donnarumma wrote. "I never said nor wrote that I've suffered moral violence when I signed my contract. Despite everything, I look ahead and concentrate on the next game..Forza Milan!"

Mirabelli said his club "know where the evil comes from" in reference to Donnarumma's agent Raiola, who he suggested was trying to seek a move for his client.

Raiola replied with a statement in which he insisted he was not behind the story, saying instead that Mirabelli has something personal against him.

"I take note of what Mirabelli says about and against me -- after all, we are in a democratic country and he can say what he thinks," Raiola said in the statement published by La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Mirabelli has a personal problem with me and he is using Gigio Donnarumma to attack me, but I am not one to get involved in a media circus and, moreover, I don't want Gigio to be dragged into this.

"I will reply to Mirabelli at the appropriate time and place. Gigio has nothing to do with this and he's not done any harm, so it's not right to use him to wage war on me, also because quite clearly Milan's problem is not Gigio, nor [his brother] Antonio. Strangely, neither Mirabelli nor Milan have remarked on the banner which appeared at the stadium.

"We never obliged Milan to sign Antonio, it was Mirabelli's choice, and he should now defend it as such. I would like to remind you that, this summer, there were some financial and sporting offers for Gigio which nobody would ever have turned down, but Gigio and his family made their decision with their hearts.

"I respected this choice. My interest today is only that Gigio is left in peace and quiet so that he can do his best. This should also be the priority of Milan's sporting director and if that is not the case, it should be the priority of Milan's owners and those who represent him.

"This controversy suits Mirabelli at the moment because it diverts the attention from what Milan's real problem is: their technical project. I've got nothing against Milan, in fact I would like to see them be successful. I remind you that I have four players in their first team and I have a vested interest in my clients obtaining good results, but it's not only because of this -- I think it is important for Italian football that Milan return to being protagonists in Italy and in Europe.

"Now [Gennaro] Gattuso has arrived and he's a person I have a lot of time and respect for, and I wish him the best possible. I've read a lot of falsities and absurd things that don't even warrant a response or a denial.

"I've never spoken in public about my clients' contracts in the past and I'm not going to do so now. I've had an open, courteous and professional line of communication with [Milan's general manager] Dr [Marco] Fassone, who I've also met recently. If there were any problems and if it were necessary, I would meet Dr Fassone and we would find solutions.

"But this does not only apply to Gigio or Antonio, but also to any of my other players."

Donnarumma extended his Milan contract until 2021 in the summer, after initially rejecting their offer of a new deal and angering Rossoneri fans in the process.

He had a change of heart less than a month later, committing to a deal that made him the club's best-paid player and the third highest-earning goalkeeper in Europe as Milan flexed their muscles on the transfer market, investing almost €230 million on new players and showing their ambitions.

One of those arrivals was Leonardo Bonucci, who was made club captain after joining from Juventus and was seen comforting Donnarumma in the dressing room of San Siro on Wednesday night.

He has also backed Donnarumma after experiencing his own share of controversy at Juve last season, which prompted him to consider a move.

"Gigio's a fantastic lad, on and off the field," Bonucci told a group of young Milan fans, according to La Gazzetta. "We're all with him.

"There were certain things that happened [last season] which led to both [Juventus] and I taking this decision. When Milan came in, I jumped at the chance to join them, also thanks to the work of Fassone and Mirabelli.

"With Juventus, we decided to go separate ways. It happens that you have arguments in life. Wearing and winning with this shirt makes you go down in history."

 

Battle for the last spot of this year's CECAFA Senior Challenge finals goes down on Friday December 15, 2017, with defending champions Uganda taking on Zanzibar at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu from 15:00.

Antonio Conte says other Premier League sides need to find a solution to Manchester City's record-breaking form.

City are 11 points clear at the top of the table after winning an unprecedented 15 matches in a row, while Conte's Chelsea trail them by 14 points in third place.

Chelsea's head coach said: "We must try to find the right solution to contend the title, to try to fight them. Not only Chelsea, but the five top teams."

"Manchester City are not a surprise for me. At the start of the season all the people said the league was for two contenders - Man City and Manchester United.

"This is a great team, but this team was a great team last season.

"During the transfer market they reached their targets. We must pay great attention, not only in England, because Man City is building a strong team to lead in Europe.

"I think also you must be lucky, because in many games they won in the last minute.

Conte appeared to suggest, however, that he was becoming frustrated at the difficulty his side were having reeling in Pep Guardiola's City.

He said: "Time is moving on and Manchester City are continuing to win, this is the problem.

"We must be realistic. In the last nine games we won seven times, drew one - to Liverpool - and lost one. And the distance improved for Manchester City.

"In nine games, when you win seven times and draw only once - it's possible to draw against Liverpool - and lose only one game, and stay 14 points less…"

Chelsea host Southampton on Saturday, and Conte said he expects to have Alvaro Morata back after the striker missed the win over Huddersfield on Tuesday with a back injury.

However, Chelsea will again be without David Luiz, with Conte admitting he did not know how long a knee injury would keep the defender out for.

The Barclays Premier League continues this weekend, with ten matches lined up for between Saturday December 16 and Monday December 18, 2017.

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

 

SATURDAY 16TH DECEMBER

Leicester City 15:30 Crystal Palace

Arsenal 15:00 Newcastle United

Brighton & Hove Albion 18:00 Burnley

Chelsea 18:00 Southampton

Stoke City 18:00 West Ham United

Watford 18:00 Huddersfield Town

Manchester City 20:30 Tottenham Hotspur

SUNDAY 17TH DECEMBER

West Bromwich Albion 17:15 Manchester United

AFC Bournemouth 19:30 Liverpool

MONDAY 18TH DECEMBER

Everton 22:00 Swansea City

 

Gianluigi Donnarumma has denied writing to AC Milan demanding they rip up his contract, while his agent, Mino Raiola, said sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli is making the most of the controversy.

Milan fans revealed a banner during their 3-0 Coppa Italia win on Wednesday night in which they said they had run out of patience with Donnarumma, who earlier in the week was accused of having asked Milan to annul his contract due to "psychological violence" when he signed it in the summer.

The 18-year-old was visibly upset about the treatment he was given by Milan's fans and he posted a message on Instagram, denying having made any such demands to the Rossoneri.

"It was a horrible evening and I didn't expect it!" Donnarumma wrote. "I never said nor wrote that I've suffered moral violence when I signed my contract. Despite everything, I look ahead and concentrate on the next game..Forza Milan!"

Mirabelli said his club "know where the evil comes from" in reference to Donnarumma's agent Raiola, who he suggested was trying to seek a move for his client.

Raiola replied with a statement in which he insisted he was not behind the story, saying instead that Mirabelli has something personal against him.

"I take note of what Mirabelli says about and against me -- after all, we are in a democratic country and he can say what he thinks," Raiola said in the statement published by La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Mirabelli has a personal problem with me and he is using Gigio Donnarumma to attack me, but I am not one to get involved in a media circus and, moreover, I don't want Gigio to be dragged into this.

"I will reply to Mirabelli at the appropriate time and place. Gigio has nothing to do with this and he's not done any harm, so it's not right to use him to wage war on me, also because quite clearly Milan's problem is not Gigio, nor [his brother] Antonio. Strangely, neither Mirabelli nor Milan have remarked on the banner which appeared at the stadium.

"We never obliged Milan to sign Antonio, it was Mirabelli's choice, and he should now defend it as such. I would like to remind you that, this summer, there were some financial and sporting offers for Gigio which nobody would ever have turned down, but Gigio and his family made their decision with their hearts.

"I respected this choice. My interest today is only that Gigio is left in peace and quiet so that he can do his best. This should also be the priority of Milan's sporting director and if that is not the case, it should be the priority of Milan's owners and those who represent him.

"This controversy suits Mirabelli at the moment because it diverts the attention from what Milan's real problem is: their technical project. I've got nothing against Milan, in fact I would like to see them be successful. I remind you that I have four players in their first team and I have a vested interest in my clients obtaining good results, but it's not only because of this -- I think it is important for Italian football that Milan return to being protagonists in Italy and in Europe.

"Now [Gennaro] Gattuso has arrived and he's a person I have a lot of time and respect for, and I wish him the best possible. I've read a lot of falsities and absurd things that don't even warrant a response or a denial.

"I've never spoken in public about my clients' contracts in the past and I'm not going to do so now. I've had an open, courteous and professional line of communication with [Milan's general manager] Dr [Marco] Fassone, who I've also met recently. If there were any problems and if it were necessary, I would meet Dr Fassone and we would find solutions.

"But this does not only apply to Gigio or Antonio, but also to any of my other players."

Donnarumma extended his Milan contract until 2021 in the summer, after initially rejecting their offer of a new deal and angering Rossoneri fans in the process.

He had a change of heart less than a month later, committing to a deal that made him the club's best-paid player and the third highest-earning goalkeeper in Europe as Milan flexed their muscles on the transfer market, investing almost €230 million on new players and showing their ambitions.

One of those arrivals was Leonardo Bonucci, who was made club captain after joining from Juventus and was seen comforting Donnarumma in the dressing room of San Siro on Wednesday night.

He has also backed Donnarumma after experiencing his own share of controversy at Juve last season, which prompted him to consider a move.

"Gigio's a fantastic lad, on and off the field," Bonucci told a group of young Milan fans, according to La Gazzetta. "We're all with him.

"There were certain things that happened [last season] which led to both [Juventus] and I taking this decision. When Milan came in, I jumped at the chance to join them, also thanks to the work of Fassone and Mirabelli.

"With Juventus, we decided to go separate ways. It happens that you have arguments in life. Wearing and winning with this shirt makes you go down in history."

 

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has finally touched down in Nairobi, Kenya where he is set to conduct  football training camps with four community clubs in Nairobi on December 15 and 16.

Henry jetted in on Friday December 15 in a tour organized by the Guinness Made of Black programme, which aims at giving Kenyan football fans a chance to meet the former Gunners forward. The 40 year-old is ultimately partnering with Guinness to celebrate the unique passion of African fans across the tournament.

The French International is well known for his time with Arsenal where he went on to establish himself as the club's leading with 228 goals in all competitions and won two league titles and three FA Cups with them.

Speaking to the Daily Nation, Guinness Kenya Marketing Manager Nduku Wamakau said, “Henry will hold a football clinic for coaches from the teams and later advise players on how to progress in football as a profession, 

“Kenya has so much football talent. However, many times players miss out on the guidance and career advice that can take them to the next level. We believe this camp will be an eye-opener for players who want to grow to become professionals,” she added.

On Saturday, Henry who also played for Barcelona will be at the Impala Grounds for the Guinness Fan Zone.

 

BEN Foster believes Albion need to build on the “bit of momentum” they gained from a battling goalless draw against Liverpool on Wednesday.

Manchester United visit the Hawthorns this weekend for a match that could be the goalkeeper's 200th in a Baggies shirt, and he insists his team will go into the game with a positive frame of mind after their midweek showing. 

“It was a tough match and Anfield is a really tough place to go but I thought the whole team performed really well,” said Foster.

“It wasn’t only a defensive display because when we actually got the ball I thought we tried to go for it and nick something.

“To come away with a clean sheet is no mean feat. There’s going to be a lot of teams that cost a lot more money and have bigger wages than us that come away from Liverpool having conceding quite a few goals.

“So we were really pleased - it’s a good way to bounce back from a disappointing result against Swansea.

“I think we’ll all pat ourselves on the back but we’ve got another tough match on Sunday, and we can at least take a lot of confidence into that.

“I think everyone to a man played really, really well so it’s a little bit of momentum to take into the Manchester United game."

 

Roy Hodgson admits Christian Benteke's current form is a concern and says Crystal Palace cannot afford to carry a striker that isn't scoring.

Benteke has not scored since May and missed an injury-time penalty against Bournemouth last weekend that could have won Palace the match.

The Belgian was not the designated penalty taker, leaving Hodgson frustrated that his striker had taken matters into his own hands with usual taker Luka Milivojevic, who scored earlier from the spot, still being on the pitch.

Speaking before Crystal Palace's trip to play Leicester on Saturday, Hodgson said: "Of course when your front player - the man who is a pivotal focal point in your attack - is not scoring, it's a concern.

"It's a concern to him, it's a concern to us and it's a concern to fans.

"He can do nothing more than keep working at it, keep working very, very hard."

Benteke's form is a particular problem for 18th-placed Palace given they have only scored 12 Premier League goals this season - only bottom-of-the-table Swansea have scored fewer.

The Belgian cost over £30m when he signed from Liverpool in August 2016, and Hodgson warned Benteke that Palace can't afford to carry him.

He said: "If the goals aren't coming he needs to be making certain he's making a good contribution to the team's play, both in terms of our attacking and our defensive play.

"We certainly can't afford to carry anybody, let alone carry a goalscorer that isn't scoring goals."

 

Fabinho has announced he wants to leave Monaco in the summer, with Manchester United interested in a move for the Brazil international.

The 24-year-old expressed his desire to join United last summer but a deal never materialised and he remained at Monaco. 

But Fabinho has now confirmed he is ready to leave the club, with Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid also keen on a move. 

'It should be my last season at Monaco,' Fabinho told reporters at a press conference. 'Atletico or PSG? I’m a Monaco player. 

'I need to prove I can play on teams like that. We'll see in May. I used to read the papers. I don't anymore. I'm OK with that.'

Fabinho claimed he had reached a verbal agreement with the club's hierarchy over his exit, though he downplayed the prospect of leaving in the January window.

When asked whether he could leave the club next month, Fabinho said: 'I don't think so. I have had no contact [from other clubs] and I'm secure at Monaco.'

Fabinho admitted his head was turned by Monaco's Ligue 1 rivals PSG earlier this season but refused to force through a move out of loyalty.

He said he was 'closer to leaving than staying' at one point and said he was no longer 'giving his maximum' for Leonardo Jardim's side. 

The versatile star was a key member of Monaco's Ligue 1-winning team last season but while many of his team-mates left, including Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho stayed to defend the prize. 

Fabinho has been at Monaco since 2013, though his first two seasons in the principality were spent on loan from Brazilian outfit Rio Ave. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso has expressed his sympathy for Gianluigi Donnarumma after the goalkeeper was reduced to tears following insulting targets by Milan fans on Wednesday evening.

The 18-year-old had a hard time this summer when there were contract disputes and after renewing his stay with the Italian side, latest claims indicate that his agent Mino Raiola has asked Milan to cancel the deal which was signed during the summer.

Before Milan’s clash with Verona in the Coppa Italia, a banner was held up by the home fans at San Siro which read: ‘Psychological violence by giving you €6 million a season & signing your parasite brother? It’s time to leave…our patience with you is over!’

‘He’s an 18-year-old kid, of course he was shaken. I can only thank him for what he’s doing,’ said Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso. 

‘For his age, he’s the best goalkeeper in the world right now. You can tell from his face he’s not happy, but I have known a great athlete and great kid. He will have my protection, for all the protection I can give. 

‘If the club says it doesn’t need to sell anyone, nor wants to, then why should we even talk about this?

‘I respect the fans, but he sulked at me for four days because I left him at home for the first time in seven months. He never skipped a training session, let alone a game. 

‘I feel terrible about this, as people are painting a kid as if he’s a monster and he doesn’t deserve it. ‘Fortunately, there were only 9,000 people in the stadium tonight, imagine how it’d feel if there were 50,000 insulting him.’

 

 

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Mutuyimana started professional football with Rwandese side Kiyovu Sport before joining Police Kibungo in 2011.The 26-year old then moved to Kenyan side Sofapaka in June 2014 where he played for three seasons. He later moved to Rayon SC, where he was the reserve goalkeeper until his demise.

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“As Rayon Sports officials, we want convey our message of condolences to all the club fans and family following the death of goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana this Tuesday morning.” his club posted on social media.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Mutuyimana started professional football with Rwandese side Kiyovu Sport before joining Police Kibungo in 2011.The 26-year old then moved to Kenyan side Sofapaka in June 2014 where he played for three seasons. He later moved to Rayon SC, where he was the reserve goalkeeper until his demise.

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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.

 

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Zone A

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

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

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

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

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

  Mauritania vs Liberia-23.7.2017 (17:00)

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

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

West Zone B

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

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

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

Central East Zone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Zone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former Arsenal and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has described joining Crystal Palace as the “worst decision” of his career.

The 33-year-old Togolese striker is currently playing for Turkish side ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir after being released by the Eagles in the summer of 2016.

Adebayor signed a six-month deal with Palace at the beginning of 2016 – a decision he says he would reverse if given the opportunity.

“I had some great experiences in England in clubs who are among the best in the country,” he told L’Équipe, as reported by the Daily Mirror.

“I was happy there, my family too. The only error that I made was to sign for Crystal Palace in January 2016.

“I did it just to please my entourage, who were saying to me: ‘Manu, you have to start playing again!’ It was the worst decision of my career.”

He would played 15 senior matches for Palace under then boss Alan Pardew scoring once in a losing effort to Watford.

It turned out to be his worst return for a single club since turning professional nearly 20 years ago with hometown side AC Merlan Lome.

Prior to relocating to Selhurst Park, the enigmatic centre-forward had already plied his trade with three different English clubs, most notably Arsenal from whom he joined Manchester City before returning to North London with Tottenham Hotspur.

In his first season with Ba?ak?ehir, the former Monaco man, has managed to register six goals across 11 league appearances including a hat-trick against Galatasaray.