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!

photo credits: citizen.co.ke
Muhoroni Youth will on Saturday 29 April be at home to face reigning Premier League champions Tusker FC at Muhoroni Stadium, with the kick-off time at 15:00. Tusker FC came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win over Nakumatt FC on Wednesday while Muhoroni were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom placed Zoo Kericho.
The two sides have met six times in the last three seasons, Tusker thrashing Muhoroni thrice, drawing twice and Muhoroni registering one win. After seven matches, Muhoroni lie in 12th position with nine points after recording two wins, two draws and three losses. Tusker are one place above Muhoroni, settling for 11th position with nine points after two wins, three draws and two losses.

photo credits: goal.com
Premier League leaders face a daunting task  of maintaining their unbeaten streak when they face AFC Leopards in round 8 of the Kenya Premier League on Saturday 15:00 at Afraha Stadium. Rangers, who are unbeaten this season, will look to preserve their impressive form and retain the top spot with a win against Ingwe. Leopards on the other side will head into the game hungry for a win, especially after their mid-week 1-0 loss to Sofapaka where Stewart Hall blasted his players’ non-quality performance.
The two sides met twice last season, with no one able to snatch a win after both matches ended in draws. They have met six times in five years, Leopards coming out on top two times while all the other four ended in draws. Posta Rangers currently sit at the summit of the Premier League table with seventeen points while Leopards are fourth with thirteen points from seven matches.

Photo credits: goal.com
Chemelil Sugar and Kariobangi Sharks face off in round 8 of the Kenya Premier League fixtures on Saturday 29 April at 15:00. Chemelil, who have registered wins in all games that they have played at home this season, will be looking to do exactly that and bag all three points. Sharks will also come into the match with a winning mentality, especially after overcoming Thika United in their mid-week clash.
Chemelil are sixth in the table standings, having registered three wins, three draws and only one loss so far. Sharks on the other hand are 10th on the log with three wins, zero draws and four losses

Premier League new boys Nzoia United are scheduled to play their eight game of the season against Sony Sugar on Saturday 29 April at Sudi Stadium from 15:00. Nzoia, who are so far the best performers among all promoted teams, will be expecting to come out victorious especially after winning two of their last three matches, with the other one ending in a draw. Sony Sugar are winless in their last four matches and will be looking to overturn that disastrous form.
This will be the first premier league duel between the two teams. Nzoia United are currently in an impressive 7th position with eleven points, having garnered three wins, two draws and two losses. Sony Sugar have registered two wins, one draw and four losses which puts them in the 14th position with seven points.

Kenyan Edwin Rotich and 2016 Olympic marathon silver medallist Eunice Kirwa lead their respective fields at the Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (30).

Rotich ran his personal best of 59:32 in Valencia in October last year, and hasn’t competed in a half marathon since. However, the Kenyan showed good form when finishing in 46:46 at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miles in Washington DC earlier this month. He will start as one of the favourites in Istanbul in a field that includes six men who have broken the event’s one-hour barrier.

Evans Kiplagat of Azerbaijan returns to run the city’s major half marathon for the third year in a row. His winning time of 1:00:13 from 2015 stands as the race record, though it is 17 seconds shy of his career best.

Adugna Takele, the fastest Ethiopian over the distance in 2016 with 59:40, is another outstanding name in the field. The 28-year-old crossed the finish line in 1:01:14 at the RAK Half Marathon in Ras al-Khaimah in February.

There were to be two more fast Ethiopians on the starting line, however, both Tamirat Tola and Guye Adola withdrew from the race due to injury and illness respectively.

Other leading names include Kenya’s Vincent Kipsegechi Yator, who has a best of 59:55 from 2015, and Morocco’s national record holder Aziz Lahbabi with 59:25.

Peter Kwemoi Ndorobo is not to be written off in the battle for victory on Sunday. The Kenyan ran exactly the same time in Ostia in 2016 and 2017, 1:00:13, which stands as his best.

Also lining up will be Tanzania’s Ismail Juma, who was ninth in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Guiyang 2015.

The women’s race will host Kirwa, the Rio 2016 Olympic marathon silver medallist, who also took bronze in the event at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. The 32-year-old Bahraini clocked 1:08:07 in Marugame in February, her only half marathon this year.

However, the fastest woman on paper is Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia. The 27-year-old finished in a time of 1:06:14 in Prague last year to become the world all-time number 10 over the distance.

Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich has been a fast improver this year. Starting the year with 1:09:06 in Adana, she shaved off nearly a minute from that time to win in 1:08:08 in Paris in early March, following with an impressive 1:07:42 in Milan, another victory within the same month. The next target for Chepngetich would the fourth win of the year with another improvement.

Hiwot Gebrekidan will also be setting her sights on a podium finish after she won her first ever half marathon, clocking 1:08:00 in Copenhagen last September. The Ethiopian, who will celebrate her 22nd birthday two weeks after her second race over the distance, is one of the youngest elite women to run in Istanbul on Sunday.

The chairperson of Athletics Kenya (AK) has revealed that another "high-profile athlete" has failed a doping test, just weeks after it emerged Rio Olympics marathon champion Jemima Sumgong tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. 

Jackson Tuwei said that the IAAF, the sport's global governing body, had found the positive test but said the identity of the athlete could not yet be revealed. 

Kenya's middle and long distance success has been marred by doping cases involving elite athletes. Officials estimate the number of positive tests at about 50 in the past four years. 

"There is another high-profile athlete who has also failed a doping test but we have to wait for legal procedures to be followed," Tuwei told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. 

"Obviously we cannot say who the athlete is." 

News of the test comes after Sumgong, who last year became the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic gold in the marathon, tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) in an out-of-competition test carried out by IAAF. 

Doping was made a criminal offence in Kenya in June 2016. 

Tuwei said the IAAF had rejected Sumgong's explanation about the circumstances that led to her positive test. 

"Her explanation has been rejected and she has been ordered to send a more convincing explanation before further action is taken," Tuwei said. 

Sumgong's positive test came in the wake of a four-year ban handed to Kenya's multi-marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, Sumgong's former training partner, after she tested positive for EPO in 2014. 

“We also wish to send a very strong message to athletes representatives, doctors, coaches and all athletes support personnel that those found culpable or proved to be encouraging our athletes in this line of sporting subterfuge will be charged as prescribed by the law of the land,” AK said in a separate statement on Thursday. 

Sumgong, 32, was among the six Kenyan gold medallists in Rio, which was the country's best performance at an Olympics.

Two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha will make his 1000m debut at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on 28 June.

"I'm really looking forward to my race in Ostrava," Rudisha said. "It will be my third race of the season but most interestingly for me it's my first time to run 1000 metres!"

Testing himself in off distances isn't anything new for Rudisha who last season in his run-up to a successful Olympic 800m title defence, broke the African record over 600m at the Birmingham leg of the IAAF Diamond League, clocking 1:13.10.

But going up in distance is uncharted territory for the 28-year-old, who famously broke his own 800m world record in the 2012 Olympic final.

"I'm excited to try this race. People are always asking me how would I run at 1500. I always say that's too far to run against the miler guys! But 1000m is of course shorter and closer to my racing distance.

"I've got no time or plan in mind but I'm excited to test myself and see what I can do," added Rudisha, who will be competing in the Czech city for the fifth time.

One publicly unstated goal could be the meeting record of 2:15.08 set by Ilham Tanui Ozbilen of Turkey in 2014, the fastest time that year over the rarely-run distance.

Rudisha is the latest Olympic champion announced for the meeting's 56th edition. Previously announced were 400m world record holder and Rio winner Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa who'll contest the 300m, double world and Olympic champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, who'll compete in the 10,000m, Thomas Rohler of Germany, who'll contest the javelin, and Christian Taylor of the US in the triple jump.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) board has voted for changes to its governance and financial model.

Cricket's global governing body will reverse reforms made in 2014, which gave more political and financial power to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Cricket Australia, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The new changes will create a more equitable distribution of revenues from ICC global events and partnerships but will not revert to the equal share among Test-playing full members that existed until three years ago. The 14-member board voted at the end of its meeting this week at the ICC headquarters in Dubai.

The BCCI, however, is believed to have been the sole opponent to the financial changes, which must be ratified by the ICC council in June. Rumours emanating from India suggest that the board will consider pulling out of the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales, having already missed the deadline for submitting a squad.

The changes will be seen as a blow to India's increasingly dominant position in the international game, with the ICC known to be aiming to decrease its financial and cultural dependence on the sub-continental market through its efforts to further globalise the sport.

Over the current eight-year cycle to 2023, the BCCI would now stand to earn US$293 million rather than US$570 million, the ECB would take US$143 million, and Zimbabwe Cricket would receive US$94 million. The remaining seven full member boards - from Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - will receive US$132 apiece, with second-tier Associate members set to share US$280 million.

Revisions to the ICC constitution were also approved by 12 votes to two. These include measures to add full members to the organisation subject to meeting key requirements, with a new membership committee established to consider applications. The third-tier Affiliate level of membership is also set to be scrapped, with the lower two tiers consolidated under the Associate banner.

Manchester United held on for a goalless draw in a frantic Manchester derby at the Etihad after midfielder Marouane Fellaini was sent off. The Belgian lost the plot in the 84th minute in a moment of madness when he was booked for bringing down Sergio Aguero, and seconds later he walks over to the Argentine and delivers a headbutt. The referee Martin Atkinson had no choice but to show him a straight red card.

City, who dominated most of the game, thought they had a late winner when Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus noded home a Sergio Aguero cross from a close range but was flagged offside. The young Brazilian, who was put on as a late substitute for his first appearance since being injured in February, took some time to realise his goal won't stand.

The draw leaves City in fourth place, still a point and a place  ahead of their local rivals as Unites extends their unbeaten run to 24 league games.

Manchester will be at a stand still when City welcomes United in the third Manchester derby of the season. Champions League qualification spots are at stake an incentive that will psyche up the players more for the encounter, as if any extra drive was necessary.

The Citizens are a point ahead of their rivals at fourth with 64 points. They will be hoping the FA Cup semi final exit at the hands of Arsenal won't affect their League form. They are however on the back of two consecutive Premeir League wins. 

Pep Guardiola is looking forward to the game and insists United are a very good team with a very good squad. "They are good, good rivals, good quality, in good form. They've had big series without defeat in the Premier League. They have a lot of quality, history. We're looking forward to the game," said the City boss.

United on the other hand remain undefeated in the League since October, remarkable as that might be, most of their results have been draws. They have however collected maximum points in the last 3 league games including a 2-0 win over leaders Chelsea. A run that see them move within a point of top four.

Jose Mourinho affirmed his main target is to qualify for the Champions League and not to finish above their city rivals. Of course United still have the Europa League route to the Champions League.

"It means nothing. If we finish fifth and they finish sixth and we are above them it means nothing," said Mourinho. "If they finish third and we finish fourth they are above us, but it means a lot," he added.

The match will be played at 10pm local time.

Real Madrid played one of the best games of the season and they thrashed (2-6) Deportivo de la Coruña at Riazor. It wasn’t an easy stadium -Barcelona lost and Atlético Madrid drew- but Los Blancos made an exhibition. Again, the substitutes show Zidane that they deserve more minutes. Especially Isco, again brilliant.

Zidane might think in giving the opportunity in the big games to some of these players. Isco, Asensio or Morata are highlighting every time they have the chance. Kovacic or James Rodríguez show also a great quality when they have minutes. If Modric, Bale or Benzema are not fit, perhaps these are the solutions. Today, they play one of the best games of the season.

Messi four goals shy of another milestone at Camp Nou.

Messi is only 4 goals away from his 200th league goal at the Camp Nou.

188 appearances

196 goals

  70 assists

 

The 2017 CAF Champions League Draw was done earlier today in Cairo, Egypt.

The CAF Champions League is Africans' premier club football competition that sees top African clubs in their countries go ahead to head to be crowned champions.

The first round of group fixtures will start on the weekend of May 12. The groups are as follows:

GROUP A
Group A consists of Tunisia powerhouse Etoile du Sahel, Sudanese sides Al Hilal, and Al-Merrikh SC and Mozambique's Clube Ferroviario de Maputo.

GROUP B
Five time Champions League winners  Zamalek lead Group B. They play Zimbabwe Premier League champions CAPS United, USM Alger of Algeria, and Ahli Tripoli of Libyan.

GROUP C
African champions Mamelodi Sundowns will fight to retain their CAF Champions League title following tbeir group stage draw with AS Vita. The South African club will have a score to settle with AS Vita from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a side that was disqualified in last year’s edition to give the Brazilians a way back into the competition despite being knocked out.
The Brazilians will face AS Vita  as well as Saint George S.C. of Ethiopia and Espérance Sportive de Tunis of Tunisia in group C.

GROUP D
Egyptian giants Al Ahly who are on their way to claiming yet another Premier League title, play Wydad Athletic Club, Coton Sport and Zanaco in Group D.

The Gunners went into their Wednesday Premeir League clash against Leceister with only a win to suffice as they try to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

The match against the champions was cagey as they were happy to stay back and let Arsenal kick the ball around with no goal mouth action. It was Mahrez who got the first shot on target, a free shot resulting from a corner but the Algerian drove it right on Cech's path who punched it away.

Leceister showed little gimpses of their old self the little time they had the ball with Vardy and Mahrez hitting the side netting.

Granit Xhaka controlled the midfield as he occasionally sprayed long balls to the wings but the Leicester defence was solid. Theo Walcott got Arsenal's first shot on target when he dipped the ball past a Leicester defender and drew a superb save from Kasper Schmeichel.

Alexis Sanchez had a frustrating first half as he lost possesion on a couple of ocassion but showed what he is capable of on the brink of half time when his shot at the esge of the box hit the crossbar. Level it went at half time.

The second have started on a similar note with Leicester resolute at the back and Arsenal keeping the ball with no break through. Both teams made changes and it was the introductoon of Olivier Giroud for Arsenal that provided presence in the Leicester box. With 4 minutes to go Sanchez's deflected cross aimed at Giroud was knocked back to Nacho Monreal who drilled it towards goal and the ball took a wicked deflection on Roberth Huth for an own goal. 1-0 to the Gunners.

With 4 added minutes Arsenal tried wasting time with Sanchez trying some tricks that landed him in the referee's book with a yellow card. The vital win moved Arsenal to sixth with Leicester's relegation worries back.

In other games, Middlesbrough got one past Sunderland to take them within 6 points of safety at 27 points while Sunderland remain rooted at the bottom with 21 points.

Tottenham got a vital 1-0 away win against Crystal Palace to keep them in touching distance to the league leaders.

The 14th edition of the CAF Confederation Cup Draw held in Cairo, Egypt is out.

CAF Confederation Cup is the second African football club competition organised by Confederation of African Football, CAF after the CAF Champions league. This seasons competition has extended participants in the grouo stage from 8 clubs to 16. The winner of the Confederation Cup will face the winner of the CAF Champions League in the 2018 CAF Super Cup.

Jesse Were's Zesco United is drawn in Group C while defending champions TP Mazembe are drawn in Group D alongside Supersport United.

The full Draw of the knockout stages are as follows:

GROUP A
FUS
Club Africain
Rivers United
Kampala CCA

GROUP B
C.S.S
Platinum Stars
MC Alger
Mbabane Swallows

GROUP C
Zesco United
Club R.D. do Libolo
Al Hilal Elobeid
Smouha

GROUP D
TP Mazembe
Supersport United
Horoya AC
CF Mounana

First matches are set to be played between 12-14th of May.

Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has been banned from football for 18 months after an FA hearing over breaches of betting rules according to Sky Sports.

 Barton accepted a misconduct charge in February and requested a personal hearing after he was accused of placing 1,260 bets on football over a span of 10 years.

An FA statement read: "Joey Barton has been suspended from football and all football activity for 18-months with immediate effect after he admitted an FA misconduct charge in relation to betting.

"It was alleged that between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016, he placed 1,260 bets on the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, football matches or competitions in breach of FA Rule E8.

"Following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, the Burnley midfielder was also fined £30,000 and warned as to his future conduct.

Barton wrote in his own statement: "The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football. To be clear from the outset here this is not match fixing and at no point in any of this is my integrity in question.

"I accept that I broke the rules governing professional footballers, but I do feel the penalty is heavier than it might be for other less controversial players. I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem. I'm disappointed it wasn't taken into proper consideration."

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Those who love him, love him with so much passion. Those who hate him, also do so with the same gusto. If a book on ‘The most hated footballers’ were ever to be written, several chapters would be dedicated to him.

Matatu culture is part of living in Nairobi City and the transport means used by all. Soccer fans use their own cars, buses and matatus for traveling to away matches.

The day is September 26th 2010. Kenya U-20 coach Vince Ombiji brought on a young and promising player as the national junior side took on Lesotho. The rookie had an almost immediate impact, as he ran down the Lesotho defense rugged. Fleet foot works, pacy and pin point crosses made him a darling to the fans instantly. Kenya’s next big thing was alive.

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.

Eric Ochieng' aka Cantona is one of most iconic soccer athletes to grace Kenya Premier League in the 1990s.

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.

Even thou they finished fourth in the just concluded Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association Basketball championships, Rueben Muraya is one person who has caught the eyes of many. His dazzling dribbling skills and speed has made him a crowd favorite and a contender for the MVP award.

A terrific dribbler with an eye for goal. His skills and potential on the pitch have always left fans ecstatic. His dazzling runs and fantastic crosses have raised his profile in the local scene. He slowly grew through the ranks both at club and national level. He recently added to the statistics of players who have made the bold move from AFC Leopards to bitter rivals Gor Mahia where he penned a long term contract. 

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

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

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

KS: Where did this nickname Softie come from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: What exactly affected you?

JN: Lack of play time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS: Any closing words? 

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

KS: Thanks for your time Softie!

 

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

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.

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”.

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."

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. 

"Victor suffered a big injury on his back and we’ll see now what happens. We’re sad for both players and now we have to wait," was Pochetino's response on Victor Wanyama's injury.

A friendly match between Ivory Coast and Senegal was abandoned after 88 minutes after crowd trouble spilled onto the pitch with dozens of fans invading the field of play and confronting players.

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