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

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."

Popular Articles

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.

Vote For Kenyanstar