Kenya's Olympic Journey 1956-2012

First published: Michael Kwambo, 2012 || Revisions; Michael Samora, 2016

Kenya has competed in almost every Olympic Games since making their debut at the Melbourne Olympics of 1956. With the exception of the 1976 and 1980 games which Kenya and other countries boycotted for varying reasons, it has been a long, winding journey filled with many firsts, highs and lows along the way too. We document Kenya’s journey over the years.

THE BREAK OUT OLYMPICS

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA 1956

Competing as a colony of Great Britain, Kenya would make their Olympic Games debut in Melbourne, represented in athletics, hockey, swimming and shooting by a contingent of 25.  There were no medals for the team but notable results included Nyandika Maiyoro’s seventh position in the men’s 5000m final, Arap Sum Kanuti’s thirty first position in the men’s marathon and Lerease Joseph’s eighteenth place in the men’s high jump competition.

ROME, ITALY 1960

Kenya sent a twenty seven man contingent to these games, represented in athletics, hockey, shooting and sailing. Nothing much to write home about from these games as the team’s most notable performance was by Nyandika Maiyoro’s sixth placing in the men’s 5000m. 

THE BREAKTHROUGH OLYMPICS

TOKYO, JAPAN 1964

Kenya were back at the Olympics for a third successive games, this time taking part in five disciplines namely, athletics, boxing, sailing, shooting and hockey. Future stars Kipchoge Keino, Naftali Temu and Philip Waruinge were part of the travelling party to the Far East as Kenya competed for the first time as an independent nation, having gained freedom from Great Britain in 1963.

800m runner Wilson Kiprugut’s third place in the final race in Tokyo saw him bag Kenya’s first ever medal at an Olympic Games. Kenya’s hockey team put in a strong display, claiming a sixth overall position in their discipline, a feat that would see them ranked sixth globally.

THE BIG BANG GAMES

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO 1968

Kenya’s fourth appearance at an Olympiad would be a special one for various reasons. This was the first Olympics to be held in a developing country. Taking part in athletics, boxing, hockey and shooting, the Kenyan Olympic team were out to build on the sole bronze medal won in Tokyo four years earlier. 

Kipchoge Keino, by now a household name worldwide due to his distance running exploits beat the fancied American world record holder over 1500m, Jim Ryun, claiming Olympic Gold over the distance. 

Naftali Temu had earlier claimed Kenya’s first ever Gold medal at an Olympic Games, beating a strong field to win the 10000m while Amos Biwott, with his then unorthodox hurdling style that saw him go over the water jump in the 3000m/steeplechase and emerge dry, won the first of many Kenya medals over the distance. 

Keino (5000m), Ben Kogo (3000m/steeplechase), Wilson Kiprugut (800m) and   4x400m men's team ( Daniel Rudisha, Charles Asati,Naftali Bon and Munyoro Nyamau) would be Kenya’s silver medallists while boxer Philip Waruinge and Naftali Temu (5000m) were Kenya’s bronze medallists at a games where Kenya had announced her presence to the world with a big bang.

The Kenyan hockey team would place eighth in their discipline.

MUNICH, WEST GERMANY 1972

Having exploded on to the world scene with a bang, Kenya would be keen to replicate, if not eclipse their 1968 show. 

Kipchoge Keino, competing in his third Olympiad, ensured that Kenya would successfully defend the 3000m/steeplechase as he claimed gold in this race. Kenya’s second gold came from their 1600m relay quartet of Daniel Rudisha (current 800m world record holder David’s father), Charles Asati, Munyoro Nyamau, Julius Sang’ and Robert Ouko.

Silver medals from Ben Jipcho in the steeplechase, Keino’s 1500m silver and Philip Waruinge in boxing coupled with bronze medals from Julius Sang’ over 400m, Mike Boit in the 800m as well as Sammy Mbugua and Dick “Tiger” Murungu in boxing saw Kenya continue their medal haul that started way back in 1964.

THE BOYCOTTS

MONTREAL, CANADA 1976

Politics would come in the way of Kenya’s continued participation in the games, as they missed out on the 1976 games, boycotting with several other African countries in protest against the failure by the International Olympic Committee to suspend New Zealand from the games after it’s rugby team, the All Blacks, visited South Africa, which was then governed under the apartheid (segregation) system of government. 

MOSCOW, USSR 1980

This would be followed by another boycott in 1980, this time against the USSR’s decision to invade Afghanistan in 1979.

Emerging talent such as Mike Boit and Henry Rono would be unlucky to miss out on both games, especially when you realize that they were in the prime of their careers at this point in time.

THE RETURN

LOS ANGELES, USA 1984

Kenya had been away from the Olympics for twelve years, missing out as a result of politically instigated boycotts. Returning to the Los Angeles games in 1984, the country set out on a mission to continue from where they left off in 1972. 

Julius Korir reclaimed the 3000m/steeplechase title, following in the steps of Amos Biwott and Kip Keino before him. Bronze medals from boxer Ibrahim Bilal and athlete Mike Musyoka in the 10000m saw Kenya maintain their medal winning trend that started in 1964 with Wilson Kiprugut’s solitary bronze over 800m in Tokyo.

Sprinter Ruth Waithera broke ground for Kenyan women athletes, reaching the final of the 400m in Los Angeles, her time of 51.56 seconds a Kenyan record that still stands to date.

THE GOLD RUSH

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA 1988

Heading into Seoul, Kenya had enjoyed some sporting successes in various disciplines. John Ngugi had won the World Cross Country championships in 1986, retaining it in 1987 and again in 1988. Kenyan athletes had dominated the All African Games in Nairobi. Douglas Wakiihuri had won the marathon gold medal at the World Athletic Championships in Rome. Kenya’s hockey and boxing teams were equally successful at these games. Crossing over to football, and though Kenya was not represented at the Olympics, Gor Mahia had won the African Cup Winners Cup in 1987 while the national football team had won silver at the 1987 All African Games in Nairobi. Indeed there was a feel good factor about Kenyan sport.

This feel good factor spilled over to the Seoul Olympics, where Kenya bagged nine medals, five gold, two silver and two bronze to crown their best showing since their debut in 1956. 

Four gold medals in athletics from Starehe Boys Center alumni Paul Ereng 800m, Peter Rono with Kenya’s first Olympic win in the 1500m since 1968, Julius Kariuki maintaining the country’s dominance in the 3000m/steeplechase and John Ngugi (5000m) were topped up by boxer Robert “Napunyi” Wangila’s gold in the welterweight division, the first ever by an African boxer.

Douglas Wakiihuri, the reigning world champion in the marathon claimed silver alongside Peter Koech in the steeplechase while bronze medals from Kipkemboi Kimeli in the men’s 10000m and boxer Chris Sande in the middleweight division made it a good outing for Kenya.

THE AFTERMATH

BARCELONA, SPAIN 1992

The class of 1988 was going to be a tough act to follow, many of the medallists from that squad had moved on for various reason. 

William Tanui and Matthew Birir won Kenya’s only gold medals at this game, Tanui making sure Kenya retained the 800m title won in Seoul while Birir continued Kenya’s legacy in the steeplechase. 

Nixon Kiprotich (800m), Paul Bitok (5000m), Richard Chelimo (10000m) and Patrick Sang (3000m steeplechase) were Kenya’s silver medallists. Sprinter Samson Kitur claimed bronze in the men’s 400m alongside William Mutwol in the 10000m.

Eight medals for Kenya at these games. A certain Tecla Lorupe finished 17th overall in the women’s 10000m final.

ATLANTA, USA 1996

A further dip for Kenya in terms of medals, Joseph Keter sparing the country’s blushes by winning gold in the 3000m/ steeplechase, becoming the seventh different Kenyan to win this race. 

Paul Bitok (5000m), Paul Tergat (10000m), Moses Kiptanui (3000m/steeplechase) and Pauline Konga (women’s 5000m) were Kenya’s silver medallists. 

Bronze medals came from Fred Onyancha (800m), Steve Kipkorir (1500m) and Eric Wainaina in the men’s marathon.

Konga’s medal was particularly remarkable as she had become the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic medal of any kind. 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA 2000

Noah Ng’eny in the 1500m and Reuben Kosgei in the 3000m steeplechase were Kenya’s gold medallists. Ng’eny winning Kenya’s first 1500m Olympic title since Kip Keino thirty two years earlier while Kosgei ensured Kenya’s dominance of the steeplechase continued.

Paul Tergat was beaten to second place in an epic 10000m final by Haile Gebreselaise, settling for silver alongside Wilson Boit Kipketer in the steeplechase and Eric Wainaina in the marathon.

Joyce Chepchumba became the second ever Kenyan woman to win an Olympic medal, claiming bronze in the women’s marathon. Bernard Lagat claimed the other bronze in the 1500m.

ATHENS, GREECE 2004

Kenya would win one gold medal in Athens, the spiritual home of the games. The gold inevitably came from the 3000m steeplechase where Ezekiel Kemboi become the eighth different Olympic gold medallist for Kenya in this race. Four silvers from Bernard Lagat (1500m), Brimin Kipruto (3000m steeplechase), Isabella Ochichi (women’s 5000m) and Catherine Ndereba (women’s marathon) added to the Kenyan tally. Paul Kipsiele Koech (3000m steeplechase) and Eliud Kipchoge (5000m) were Kenya’s bronze medallists.

Kenya’s men claimed the first ever clean sweep of the 3000m steeplechase, taking all medals on offer while Ochichi and Ndereba became the third and fourth Kenyan Olympic medallists.

THE SECOND GOLD RUSH

BEIJING, CHINA 2008

Kenya competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, People's Republic of China from August 8 to August 24, 2008 winning a total of 14 medals, 6 of the gold, its best ever performance at the Olympics.

The Kenyan's sent a total of 28 men and 18 women to the 2008 summer Olympics. Four of the Kenyan men were credited for the six gold medals and two went to the women. The other eight medals were split down the middle with four silver and four bronze. Among the gold medalists in Beijing for the Olympics was Brimin Kipruto. He brought home the seventh straight medal in the 3,000 meter steeplechase for the Kenyans. This record dates back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Coming in at a close third was Richard Mateelong who couldn't quite catch the Frenchman Mahiedne Mekhissi-Benabbad.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics was the first time the Kenyans had participated in the women's 800 meter event final. Shortly after the 3,000 meter steeplechase, the women captured a gold medal against many odds. Along with the gold, they also took home the silver as well. Pamela Jelimo led her fellow Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei to a one-two finish.

Samuel Wanjiru (now deceased), was only  21-years-old at the time. He timed his marathon at 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 32 seconds. This not only brought home the gold medal for the Kenyans, but also broke the 24 year-old Olympic record set by Carlos Lopes.

The Kenyans finished the Olympics being the most successful African country in the Beijing Olympics, and 15th place in the overall country standings.

London, Great Britain 2012

David Rudisha became the first athlete to set a new world record on the track at London 2012 as he won 800m gold in his debut Olympic final. He become the first man inside one minute 41 seconds, clocking 1:40.91. Rudisha's Comments after the race were: "Wow! I'm very happy. This is the moment I have been waiting for for a very long time. To come here and to break the world record is something unbelievable."

Kenya went on to finish the 2012 Olympics ranked in a disappointing 28th position with 11 medals; two Gold, four silver and five bronze.  The second Gold was in Men's 3000M Steeplechase won by Ezekiel Kemboi. 

National Olympic Committee Kenya (NOCK) sent the nation's largest delegation to the Games, surpassing the record set in Beijing by a single athlete. A total of 47 athletes, 27 men and 20 women, competed in athletics (specifically in the middle-distance events and marathon), boxing, swimming and weightlifting. The Kenyan team featured four past Olympic champions: middle-distance runners Pamela Jelimo and Asbel Kiprop and steeplechase runners Brimin Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi. Among these champions, only Kemboi managed to recapture his gold medal from Athens, after winning the men's steeplechase event. Kenya's top swimmer Jason Dunford, who specialized in the butterfly and freestyle events, became the nation's first male flag bearer at the opening ceremony since 2000. 

(Table Wikipedia) 

Medal

Name

Sport

Event

 Gold

Ezekiel Kemboi

Athletics

Men's 3000 m steeplechase

 Gold

David Rudisha

Athletics

Men's 800 m

 Silver

Sally Kipyego

Athletics

Women's 10,000 m

 Silver

Priscah Jeptoo

Athletics

Women's marathon

 Silver

Vivian Cheruiyot

Athletics

Women's 5000 m

 Silver

Abel Kirui

Athletics

Men's marathon

 Bronze

Vivian Cheruiyot

Athletics

Women's 10,000 m

 Bronze

Abel Kiprop Mutai

Athletics

Men's 3000 m steeplechase

 Bronze

Timothy Kitum

Athletics

Men's 800 m

 Bronze

Thomas Longosiwa

Athletics

Men's 5000 metres

 Bronze

Wilson Kipsang

Athletics

Men's marathon

The Barclays Premier League enters its second week with nine matches set to be played between Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the early kick off will see Manchester United face Swansea from 14:30. Manchester were 4-0 winners over West Ham in their opening fixture. Liverpool will be seeking their first win when they take on Crystal Palace at Anfield from 17:00. Stoke City will then host Arsenal in the last match for Saturday.

On Sunday, two matches will be played, with Huddersfield entertaining Newcastle while defending champions Chelsea clash with Tottenham. Chelsea lost their opening fixture to Burnley.

Saturday August 19th

14:30- Swansea vs Man Utd

17:00- AFC Bournemouth vs Watford

17:00- Burnley vs West Brom

17:00- Leicester vs Brighton

17:00- Liverpool vs Crystal  Palace

17:00- Southampton vs West Ham

19:30- Stoke City vs Arsenal

Sunday August 20th

15:30- Huddersfield vs Newcastle

18:00- Tottenham vs Chelsea

 

Nzoia Sugar will be without five first team players when they take on struggling side Thika United in a Premier League match on Saturday August 19, 2017. The match will be staged at the Thika Sub-County Stadium from 15:00.

Dependable striker Elvis Rupia, defender Ronack Otieno and midfielder Peter Gin Juma will be out through injuries for the important match. Dennis Ongeri and Geoffrey Kariuki are also unavailable owing to personal matters.

The Mwalala-coached side will be seeking a win that might propel them to the top five positions in the Kenyan Premier League.

 

Six AFC Leopards players have been ruled out of Sunday's Gotv Shield quarterfinal match against National Super League side Wazito FC. Leopards will be battling out for a semifinal spot with the NSL side at the Nyayo Stadium from 15:15.

Keziron Kizito has a fractured metatarsal while Marcus Abwao has an torn meniscus which requires surgery. Centre back Joshua Mawira has a knee injury he'll need an MRI scan as well as Abdallah Salim who's ankle is injured.

Alfred Wekesa is still out on rehabilitation after undergoing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery last year. Vincent Oburu is also out on rehabilitation after a groin injury kept him out of Ingwe's last KPL match against Bandari FC.

Robinson Kamura has however fully recovered after missing the last three matches and will be available for selection. Also available is midfielder Allan Kateregga.

 

 

Information on the ticketing details for Sofapaka's league match against Nakumatt FC on Saturday August 19th at the Narok Stadium has been released. The match will start at 15:00.

Tickets for the day will sell at Kshs. 200 as announced by ticketing firm Big Brother Events and will retail on Saturday outside the stadium.

Sofapaka are currently 4th on the league table with 31 points while Nakumatt are six points adrift of them at 10th. 

 

Kenyan Premier League leaders Gor Mahia will be travelling to Kisumu to face bottom-placed Muhoroni Youth on Saturday August 19 at the Moi Stadium. The match is set to kick off at 15:00.

For those willing to go and watch the match, VIP tickets will be retailed at Kshs. 500 while those for the terraces go for Kshs. 300. Tickets will be on sale outside the Moi Stadium on Saturday from morning.

 

The Kenya Rugby Union will conduct Match Official refresher courses during the National Sevens Series. KRU Training and Education Co-ordinator George Ndemi said, “The courses will target level 1 & 2 referees running games at every leg of the series on the eve of the series tournaments. We will then use the last of the series to assess and accredit them.”

“The key aim of these courses is to further impart knowledge and increase the pool of match officials, particularly with level 2 and 3 qualifications, “ he added.

A core group of five referees have been selected for this season’s National Sevens Series.

A 19-man squad made up of local players has been named by Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi ahead of a friendly match against Mozambique in Maputo on Friday September2, 2017.

The most notable returnee is Gor Mahia forward George 'Black Berry' Odhiambo who has been in fine form in recent times, netting two times in his last three appearances for Ko'galo. Other players making their way back into the team are Nakumatt striker Kepha Aswani and Ulinzi Stars defender Omar Mbongi. 

Gor have the highest number of players called into camp for the friendly, producing five players while Ulinzi come in second with four players. National Super League players Bernard Ochieng’ of Vihiga United and Wazito's Joe Waithera have also made the cut.

Full squad 

Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers)

Defenders: Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Omar Mbongi (Ulinzi Stars), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Bernard Ochieng’ (Vihiga United)

Midfielders: Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Victor Majid (AFC Leopards), Jackson Macharia (Tusker), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker), Daniel Waweru (Ulinzi Stars)

Forwards: Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt), Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars), Masud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), Joe Waithera (Wazito), Chris Ochieng’ (Mathare United),George Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars)

 

The Barclays Premier League enters its second week with nine matches set to be played between Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the early kick off will see Manchester United face Swansea from 14:30. Manchester were 4-0 winners over West Ham in their opening fixture. Liverpool will be seeking their first win when they take on Crystal Palace at Anfield from 17:00. Stoke City will then host Arsenal in the last match for Saturday.

On Sunday, two matches will be played, with Huddersfield entertaining Newcastle while defending champions Chelsea clash with Tottenham. Chelsea lost their opening fixture to Burnley.

Saturday August 19th

14:30- Swansea vs Man Utd

17:00- AFC Bournemouth vs Watford

17:00- Burnley vs West Brom

17:00- Leicester vs Brighton

17:00- Liverpool vs Crystal  Palace

17:00- Southampton vs West Ham

19:30- Stoke City vs Arsenal

Sunday August 20th

15:30- Huddersfield vs Newcastle

18:00- Tottenham vs Chelsea

 

 Floyd Mayweather is already known as the "Money" man in boxing.

His reputation will be further enhanced after his battle with UFC star Conor McGregor.

The American expects to bank $350 million (£272 million) for the fight on August 26, taking his career earnings past $1 billion (£777 million).

Mayweather, 40, has been involved in all of the top three biggest-selling pay-per-view fights of all time.

His record-smashing victory over Manny Pacquiao in 2015 was sold to 4.6 million households in the United States, yet Mayweather believes his fight with McGregor will be an even bigger success.

The second leg of the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 qualifiers are scheduled to take place this weekend from Friday 18th-Sunday 20th August in different parts of the continent.

All countries in the six distinct zones will be in action, with some looking to consolidate their first leg wins while others seek to overturn the losses they suffered in the first round.

Some of the teams that will be in action include Uganda who will be travelling to Kigali to face Rwanda on Saturday 19th August after a comfortable 3-0 win at home. Libya, who were 2-1 winners over Algeria, will be in the hunt for another victory when they host the North African nation on Saturday August 19th while South Africa travel to Ndola to battle it out with Zambia also on Saturday following a disappointing 2-2 draw at home a fortnight ago. 

Below are the full fixtures of this weekend's CHAN 2018 qualifiers:

Fixtures

Central Zone

19.08.2017 Kinshasa   DR Congo vs Congo (0-0)

19.08.2017 Yaounde   Cameroon vs Sao Tome (2-0)

 

Central-East Zone

19.08.2017 Kigali Rwanda vs Uganda (0-3)

19.08.2017 El Obeid      Sudan vs Ethiopia (1-1)

 

North Zone

18.08.2017 Sfax Libya vs Algeria (2-1)

18.08.2017 Rabat Morocco vs Egypt (1-1)

 

South Zone

19.08.2017 Ndola  Zambia vs South Africa (2-2)

19.08.2017 Luanda   Angola vs Madagascar (0-0)

20.08.2017 Windhoek    Namibia vs Comoros (1-2)

 

West A Zone

19.08.2017 Bamako     Mali vs Mauritania (2-2)

22.08.2017 Conakry      Guinea vs Senegal (1-3)

 

West B Zone

20.08.2017 Kumasi   Ghana vs Burkina Faso (2-2)

19.08.2017 Kano    Nigeria vs Benin (0-1)

19.08.2017 Abidjan     Cote d’Ivoire vs Niger (1-2)

 

The Champions League qualifying play-off matches continue on Wednesday August 16, with five matches expected to be played across Europe.

Some of the teams that will be in action include Celtic who host FC Astana while Napoli entertain Nice. Sevilla will be away to Istanbul Basaksehir as Olympiakos battle it out with HNK Rijeka. All matches kick off at 21:45 local time.

Wednesday August 16 Fixtures:

21:45- Celtic vs FC Astana

21:45- Hapoel Be'er Sheva vs NK Maribor

21:45- Istanbul Basaksehir vs Sevilla

21:45- Napoli vs Nice

21:45- Olympiakos vs HNK Rijeka

 

AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca has joined LaLiga side Villarreal on a season-long loan deal. This is Bacca's second stint in Spain after two successful season with Sevilla before signing for Milan in 2015. 

The Colombian international has been touted as a replacement for Roberto Soldado, who joined Fenerbahce last week. The 30-year-old has scored 165 goals in 336 games in his career, with 13 in 39 coming for Milan last season.

"The deal includes an option to buy the player once the campaign is finished," Villarreal said in a statement.

 

Paris Saint-Germain forward Jesse Rodriguez has completed his move to Stoke City on a season-long loan deal.

The former Real Madrid striker will now be with the Premier League club until July 2018 after finding playing time hard to come by at PSG, having featured in just nine matches for the Ligue 1 side and scored one goal.

"Jesse was a man in demand when PSG made it clear they would allow him to leave on loan and we’re delighted he has chosen to join us. He hasn’t had the happiest of periods in his career in Paris but he’s still only a young man and is hungry to make a big impression in the Premier League. His pedigree speaks for itself and he will most certainly add to the firepower at our disposal,” Stoke's Chief Executive  Tony Scholes told the club's official website.

Jesse becomes the sixth summer signing for the Potters subsequent to Darren Fletcher, Kurt Zouma, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Bruno Martins Indi and Josh Tymon joining the club.

 

The Champions League play-off matches resume on Tuesday August 15, 2017 with five matches expected to be played.

The first match will see FK Karabakh face Copenhagen from 19:00 local time, with Apoel Nicosia and Slavia Prague clashing from 21:45. Hoffenheim will play hosts to Liverpool while Sporting Lisbon entertain Steaua Bucharest at home. Below are the full fixtures:

Tuesday August 15th 

19:00- FK Karabakh vs Copenhagen

21:45- Apoel Nicosia vs Slavia Prague

21:45- Sporting Lisbon vs  Steaua Bucharest

21:45-  Hoffenheim vs Liverpool

21:45- BSC Young Boys vs CSKA Moscow

 

Real Madrid have become the first brand and sporting institution in the world to eclipse 100 million followers on Facebook, 50 million on Instagram and 25 million on Twitter for their main accounts. The total number of followers for the Real Madrid brand has hit 182 million across these three social media platforms, a figure unmatched by any other brand or sports club at this time. This number rises to more than 280 million fans if the total of the Football, Basketball and La Fábrica accounts are included.

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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? 

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

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

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

“That’s clearly against the rules!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former Tottenham striker Souleymane Coulibaly has accused the Egyptian club of treating him “like a slave” and “traumatising” his family.

Coulibaly joined Spurs in 2011 from Siena for £1.5m but failed to make any senior appearances.

He has played for Grossto, Bari Fc, Pistoiese, Peterborough United, Newport County and later Kilmarnock where he left in January to agree a three-and-a-half year deal with Al Alhy. He later returned to England without the club’s permission, prompting the Egyptian Premier League champions to lodge a complaint with FIFA.

The 22-year-old Ivorian has now claimed his actions were because of mistreatment while in Egypt, saying his family has been left “traumatised” by the experience.
Coulibaly added that Al Ahly had confiscated his passport which prompted him and his family to “flee” back to England at the first possible opportunity, and that he is willing to accept a ban from FIFA for his actions.

He said in a statement: “I’m not crazy, I left for a reason. I’m very sorry but I could not stay in that team anymore. My passport was held hostage. I was forced to do what I was told, for example bow down and pray every time I scored. I did not feel comfortable in the team and environment. I have tried my hardest for five months but I have reached my limit.

The team wasn’t welcoming. They never passed the ball so I had to fight and struggle in order to score. The coach forced me to play how he wanted me to play. I can’t play being forced to follow orders. If I didn’t obey the orders I was taken to the office and yelled at. My wife and kids are traumatised. My family is Christian and didn’t feel comfortable practicing their religion in the country.

I’ve been playing and working hard since I started without the right to a break. I left without saying because I had to flee the first chance I had a hold of my passport. They treated me like a slave all because of money. If FIFA are going to ban me I am willing and ready to accept the ban. My peace of mind and safety are what are most important to me.”

Al Ahly president Mahmoud Taher has since denied Coulibaly’s statement. Taher believes that Coulibaly’s accusation comes in response to Al Ahly’s complaint to FIFA and insists the club will not back down.

The club president’s statement read: “We deny all of Coulibaly’s allegations. What he claims never happened and he was never mistreated or abused by the club’s coach or players. Logically, if he was being abused he should have immediately spoken about this as soon as he left us, not after we filed a complaint to FIFA.

Al Ahly will not be blackmailed and will not back down until Coulibaly pays for what he did. This is a false accusation and a lie. He thinks that by saying this we will withdraw our complaint and back down but Al Ahly will not be blackmailed.”

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)