Sportesa to improve Tanzanian stadium surface for Everton visit

Tanzania National main Stadium’s playing surface is on course for major renovations. The stadium’s renovation is part of preparations for English Premier League side Everton’s visit to Tanzania between July and August this year.

According to soka360.tz, Kenyan betting firm SportPesa will be responsible for planning and footing all expenses incurred during the English Premier League side’s visit. SportPesa are in the final stages of entering the betting market in the country and Everton’s tour is one of the major ways to announce their arrival.

The betting firm, whose headquarters are based in Kenya, will also be responsible for the cost of changing the stadium’s grass and other repairs in the field. The repairs are for creating a better playing surface for Everton.

The stadium has been in use since 2007 and is one of the biggest stadiums in Africa, with a capacity of 60,000 seats.

KCB’s Kenny Andola and Mwamba’s Brad Owako made the cut for Simba’s squad in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup Clash against Uganda. The match will also serve as the Elgon Cup return leg. The duo, who will start off the bench will come in place of Biko Adema who is unavailable due to work commitments and Kelvin Masai.  20 year old Steve “Security” Otieno is also in line for his Simba’s debut. Otieno replaces Martin Owila who is rested for this clash.

There will be two main changes to the side that started the 23-18 away win over Uganda in Elgon Cup action a fortnight ago with Joshua Chisanga and fly half Isaac Adimo handed starts.

The fixture is set for the RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi.

Regular tickets for the game are available at Ksh 400 with a limited number of VIP tickets retailing at Ksh 1000. These can be sourced online on Tikiti

Game day tickets will still be available for Ksh 500 at the RFUEA grounds.

Simbas Full Squad

15.Tony Opondo, 14. Darwin Mukidza (captain), 13. David Ambunya, 12. Patrice Agunda, 11. Jacob Ojee, 10. Isaac Adimo, 9. Samson Onsomu, 1. Moses Amusala, 2. Peter Karia, 3. Dennis Karani, 4. Simon Muniafu, 5. Oliver Mang’eni, 6. Eric Kerre, 7. Davis Chenge, 8. Joshua Chisanga Replacements 16. Philip Ikambili, 17. James Kubasu, 18. Curtis Lilako , 19. George Nyambua, 20. Steve Otieno, 21. Kenny Andola, 22. Brad Owako, 23. Leo Seje

 

Upper Hill set up a Prescott Cup final duel with Rift Valley Academy after hammering Nairobi School 31-3  in the second semifinal result on Wednesday.

AFC Leopards SC has been thrown into panic  as the transfer window heads to a close following fears that their new signing may not arrive at the Club as intended.

Kenyanstar on Wednesday learnt that the Club management who took control of mid-season signings have been thrown into blame game and panic mode as some of their target signings declined joining the Club.

KS sources indicate that the club is in disarray over the manner in which they conducted the signings with a storm brewing that some officials put their own selfish interests ahead of the Club's.

MORE READ: UGANDAN SIGNING LANDS AT THE DEN

The first signs of discord appeared in the Dorian Marin case where players openly revolted against the coach as pressure mounted from the discordant Club management.

The Club on Thursday was contemplating flying an official to Burundi to fast track the deal to have Alexis Kitenge join the Club. The reasons for Alexis' delay are unclear since Ugandan signing Kizito arrived in Nairobi yesterday  to link up with the squad.

 ALSO READ: KITENGE SET TO JOIN AFC LEOPARDS

There is divided opinion on how the Club is re-signing players it had released due to indiscipline at the end of last season. notably Kepha Aswani who was singled out for incitement by the management as the case for his release by then coach Stewart Hall.

AFC Leopards who lie in the bottom half of the table are seeking a revival in the second half of the season.

 

Musa Mohamed is probably the most loyal member of the green army having joined the 15 time Kenyan Champions in 2008 while still a student at Lang'ata high school. Now the captain of Kenya's biggest football club, Musa appreciates the pressure that comes with the Job and likens it to leading an entire community. 

Kenyanstar caught up with Musa Muhamed for a quick Q & A after his Wednesday morning training session;

KS: Who is Musa Mohammed?

Musa Mohammed is just a simple guy, a football player, a defender and currently team captain for Gor Mahia. 

KS: How did Gor Mahia happen?

I was in the Lang'ata High School team that played a friendly match against Gor-Mahia at the City Stadium, back in 2008. I guess i impressed the coaches and i was invited to join the Gor-Mahia  team. 

KS: Talking of Lang'ata High School Musa, they have been missing in action since your days when you won the School Championships. Why do you think they aren't living up to the billing? 

The school has undergone a lot of transformation since we were there in 2008-2009. They have for instance turned it into a boy only school, they have as well turned it into a boarding school so i guess transformations like this can turn the focus a little bit off the sporting department to stabilize other areas. But also when I was there we had a lot good players that I played alongside and I'am really grateful to Lang'ata High School because they played a big role in my football career because from there is when I signed for Gor Mahia.

KS: ... and FISA Academy? 

FISA Academy are the ones who started my football career because there is a time I had lost hope in football due to a lot of things in my mind. When FISA came and took me in as their player while providing everything for me, I started playing football again.

KS: Was it always your plan to be a one Club Man? 

Not really. It wasn't a plan ...  I think every player's plan is to keep growing and get get greener pastures , move forward and get new challenges whenever an opportunity arises. But the reason why I am still at Gor  Mahia is because I still want to achieve more with this club.

KS: Musa, With Gor-Mahia, you have won every single local title on offer. What more are you looking to achieve? 

I really would like us a team to go to another level and perform better on the continental scene in the Champions League. But I'm patient  and awaiting for the opportunity to present itself because you can't force things to happen. When you force them, they cannot work out.

KS: Talking of your local performance as a team, you have been consistent over the past few seasons. Some bad patches here and there but overall you have remained at the top. What is the secret?  

The team work between players is  very important, that together with individual hard work.

KS: At an individual level how do you manage to stay at the top of your performance? ... and what exactly makes a good defender?

Only through hard work and prayers ... and staying focused. It's all about discipline and the way you carry yourself around other players.

KS: At one point, you attended trials at Pretoria University...

Yes, It had a lot of issues and that's why I came back to Gor Mahia. As I said, you can't force things to happen because when you force, they will not turn out how you expect so you have to be patient and wait for your time. So when I went to Pretoria there were a lot of issues and that's when I told them not to be in a rush. .... I asked them to call me when they are ready for me to play for them.

KS: What exactly is Gor Mahia doing to ensure success at continental level?

It's all about preparation. When you prepare well you get good results and if you don't prepare well you don't get results. The thing is when we go to play against these other clubs, we are coming straight from pre-season while most of them have a significant match fitness because their leagues have been ongoing. So this can be a factor but that is not an excuse. I don't want to give it as an excuse why we have not done well before.  

KS: How is it like being the captain of the biggest club in Kenya?

It's a lot of pressure. It's a lot of pressure but I thank God for giving me the strength and also giving us these fans who support me. I'm lucky to have around me these great players who listen to what I am saying when I talk to them. 

KS: What are the challenges that come with this position?

You know when you are a Gor Mahia captain, you are not only a captain of the players but of the whole community, so it comes with a lot of pressure but I thank God for the opportunity and i hope to make it count.

KS: What has been the greatest moment of your career?

It has to be when we won the league unbeaten and also winning the league three times in a row.

KS: Lowest moment?

The lowest moment is the year that I was not playing at all for six months. But I thank God for giving me the strength and getting back my position. 

KS: Which is the most memorable match you have ever played?

Internationally it's against South Africa when we were playing against big names such as Stephen Pienaar.

KS: Which defense partner have you enjoyed working with most?

I have enjoyed working with all players who have played alongside me. 

KS: Who is the striker that has tormented you a lot?

That has to be John Baraza. Baraza is one striker you cannot shift focus from because you don't know when and how he will score.

KS: Who are some of the best coaches you have worked with?

I have worked with a lot of coaches and all of them are great coaches.

KS: Let's talk about Zarika, She is going to defend her title against Ashley of Jamaica....What chances are you giving her in that fight?

She will win, she works very hard, I know she will win.

KS: What influence do you have on each other you and Zarika? 

She is the one who joined sports first. That time, I was just in school not thinking of playing any sport but she inspired me because she always works hard. It reached a time when we used to go to the gym together. I was actually trying to be a boxer but then I changed my mind back to football.

KS: What message do you send out to her ahead of the bout? 

I just wish her good luck and I know that she will make us proud with a win.

KS: Does Ze Maria leaving and then a loss to SOFAPAKA worry you and the lads? 

No. We have to be focused and achieve our targets. We should not lose focus on what we started on from January. So we have to finish what we started and stay focused till the end of the season. Like the coach said, we learnt crucial lessons from the SOFAPAKA defeat. 

KS: How does it feel being part of a Gor-Mahia side that has won against arch rivals AFC Leopards three times in a row? 

It's a motivation for the players all the time we win against Leopards because that is a derby, and when you win two or three derbies in a row you have a lot of confidence in you moving forward.

KS: Finally, what chances are you giving Harambee Stars in the AFCON 2019 qualifiers? 

We still have a chance to qualify because we still have more matches coming at home and away so I know we have a chance to qualify. We will work hard to get there.

Bernard Mang'oli exits the AFC Leopards SC scene eliciting mixed reactions from the fanbase and the technical unit as a whole leaving more questions than answers on his abilities.

Fatuma Zarika's brother and fan number one, Musa Mohamed, has told Kenyanstar that he has no doubt her sister will successfully defend her World Boxing Commission Super Bantamweight Title on the 30th of June in Dallas, Texas.  

"She will win, She Works very hard! she will win... I just wish her good luck and I know she will make us proud with a win." Said Musa Mohamed. 

"We encourage each other a lot and she is the one who led the way in joining sports. That time, I was just in school not thinking of playing any sport but she inspired me because she always works hard" 

"At some point we used to go to the gym together and I was actually trying to be a boxer then I changed my mind back to football." 

The Gor-Mahia Captain made the comments while speaking  to Kenyanstar in a yet to be published Interview. His sister, Fatuma Zarika, who is enjoying Sportpesa Sponsorship will seek to retain a title she has held over the last 8 months when she takes on Jamaican Alicia Ashley.  

AFC Leopards SC new midfielder arrived in the country on Wednesday ready to join his new side after the international break.

The Ugandan midfielder, Kizito who was signed by Leopards in May before the international break for an undisclosed fee and is expected to fill the void left by Bernard Mang'oli as well as partnering with compatriots Yakubu, Kateregga and Mudde in the side.

ALSO READ: AFC Leopards beat Tusker to Ugandan midfielder

Meanwhile, Burundian Alexis Kitenge is also expected to join the squad. Alexis comes with a goal scoring reputation with him is expected to bolster the attack and is likely to be the preferred striker ahead of Gilbert Fiamenyo with Vincent Oburu having shown glimpses of brilliance in his past five matches.

Read More: Kitenge joins Leopards

AFC Leopards failed to renew Paul Kiongera's contract and hence will only have services of Alfred Wekesa, Vincent Oburu, Marcelus Ingotsi , Gilbert Fiamenyo and Alexis Kitenge for the remaining part of the season.

Leopards 0-0 draw with Mathare United underlines their weakness in scoring.

The most conspicuous item in 2013 manifesto for Jubilee Coalition was five stadiums and one was to be built in Garisa. What a gem of an idea. Many people especially the young bought sunglasses in anticipation for a very bright future. The irony is now they have to look for spectacles with magnifying lenses when looking at the performance of the Jubilee Government through sports window. 

Sports was the flower in the manifesto of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto unfortunately it remained so when they got into government. I can guess that sports is also the flower at cabinet meetings and Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario as the flower boy designate. It is meant to spruce up our social and economic space but it ends up sprucing the imagination of our politicians. 

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is a fiasco sports enthusiasts in Kenya want to block from their memory. If Coke is the global mascot of CocaCola, then sports is to Kenya what Coke is to CocaCola. To date, no one knows the formula of ingredients used to make Coke because CocaCola has selfishly protected their prized product over time. Our athletes uniforms were stolen, allowances disappeared; tickets for coaches were missing while joy riders had access to Olympic Village and not some coaches. This is what we get even for an event that happens once in four years. Meanwhile the prosecution of NOCK officials is turning into a circus.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials are coming back in August to tell us that CHAN 2018, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) version for players based in Africa will be moved to Morocco. CAF will not allow the world to watch their matches being played in substandard stadiums out of Nairobi. The two facilities being fronted are Machakos’ Kenyatta Stadium and Meru’sKinoru Stadium. It is a shame when Government officials and FKF President confidently walk CAF officials into these two facilities. Let it go, it is never that serious. 

Recently word leaked that Harambee Stars players get Ksh. 500 per day ($5) as allowance. The public was shocked that the national team players can be paid such an amount of money and still expected to win. The team went to Sierra-Leon for an AFCON qualifier and lost. The excuse by FKF is that is the amount stipulated by Ministry of Sports for all sportsmen across the board. They later organized a sponsorship through betting firm Sportpesa to pad up the amount. 

If I dint have to rush to look for ways of earning some money for the elusive maize flour, I would have delved into other sports as well. In Kenya, we never give sports a second thought because the first thought we give it at a glance is enough. This is the reason I silently pity many young passionate Kenyans who believe they can make it in sports; kindly have a plan B.

We have never realized the benefit of sports. Political leaders like Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero organize Governors Cup in the belief that they are promoting sports and the youth. Meanwhile the County Government owned City Stadium and Woodley Stadium are as dilapidated as Mogadishu Stadium before the Chinese renovated it.

If we are not ready to give sports the attention it deserves, let us not use it to spruce up our selfish ambitions. Sportsmen and women have suffered enough; rubbing salt into their injuries is not fair.

@stuttistician

Manchester United have been given the green light to make a move for Gareth Bale after Real Madrid admitted that they would be willing to sell the 27-year-old, according to reports in France.

L’Equipe claims that Zinedine Zidane and Madrid president Florentino Perez met with Kylian Mbappe last week in order to persuade the Monaco forward to move to the Spanish capital this summer.

During their conversation, Zidane and Perez reportedly told Mbappe that they would be willing to offload one of Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema in order to guarantee him more playing time next season.

L’Equipe claim that out of those three players, Bale’s transfer would be the most likely and United could now follow up with a bid, given their long-standing interest in the Wales international.

Earlier this month, reports claimed that Bale was open to the idea of joining United but Madrid would command a £100 million transfer fee.

United have held talks with over a deal for Bale, although Madrid’s hierarchy are reportedly split over their decision to sell the forward they signed from Tottenham for £86m four years ago.

 

New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson confirmed Wednesday night that he has received calls in recent days from teams interested in trading for future star Kristaps Porzingis.

"We're getting calls. As much as we value Kristaps and what he's done for us, when a guy doesn't show up for an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or movability from a club," Jackson said in an interview on MSG Network.

"So we've been getting calls and we're listening, but we're not intrigued yet at this level. But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what's good for our club."

Teams in touch with the Knicks indicated New York has not ruled out the possibility of trading Porzingis, though one opposing club said it came away with the impression that the price tag for the star forward was extremely high.

Jackson was asked why he would consider trading Porzingis, the Knicks' young star and a player regarded around the NBA as someone whom a franchise can be built around.

"The future, you know, what it brings," Jackson said. "Does it bring us two starters and a draft pick or something that's even beyond that? [That's] something we have to look at as far as going down the road. We know what he is. He's a unicorn and he's special.''

Porzingis skipped exit meetings with Jackson and general manager Steve Mills in April because of frustration over the dysfunction and drama surrounding the Knicks, who finished with a 31-51 record.

On Wednesday night, Jackson addressed Porzingis skipping the meeting.

"I don't think I've ever had a player over 25 years of coaching, maybe 30, not coming to an exit meeting, so it's not happened to me," Jackson said. "I know it happens to other people and other players. His brother and his agent have downplayed it, but still, it's a chance for a person to express themselves, and I had a real good relationship with Kristaps over the last two years. So it was kind of surprising.''

 

 

Lakers guard Nick Young will decline his $5.6 million player option for next season with Los Angeles to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Lakers announced Young's decision on Wednesday.

Young, 32, faced a deadline of June 21 to make a decision on his option. The 10-year veteran guard, who averaged 13.2 points in 60 games last season, will hit the open market July 1.

In four seasons with the Lakers, Young started 71 of the 220 games he appeared in, averaging 24.5 minutes and 13.1 points per game.

The Los Angeles native realized a childhood dream by joining the Lakers, but Young's tenure has coincided with the worst four-year stretch in the history of the 16-time NBA champions.

After struggling on the court during the 2015-16 season and enduring upheaval in his personal life due to an infamous video scandal with then-rookie D'Angelo Russell, Young enjoyed a career revival last season under new coach Luke Walton.

Young also has had stints with the Washington Wizards, LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers throughout his career.

 

Juventus could lose youngstar Moise Kean this summer but not because he’s seeking higher wages elsewhere but because his father hasn’t received the tractors the club promised him.

The 17-year-old, who broke into Juve’s first-team back in November, is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Turin and has been closely monitored by Arsenal for some time.

Kean was born in Vercelli, Italy to Ivorian parents and his dad claims the club owe him farming equipment to use back home as it was included in a deal which saw the youngster sign on the dotted line at the J Stadium.

Biorou Kean said: “They promised me agricultural equipment for my company in the Ivory Coast.”

“There, I own several hectares of land, which I’d like to start growing rice and corn on. I’m an agronomist, I’ve worked in rice paddies and I asked for agricultural equipment.”

“They told me that there was no problem but then Juve’s lawyer contacted me to tell me their contract offer had been revoked because my requests were out of their means.”

 

Luis Suarez has revealed how former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique helped him become more calm on the pitch.

The Uruguayan international was known for being a fiery character during his time in the Premier League with Liverpool, often running the risk of picking up needless yellow cards for arguing with officials over decisions that did not go his way.

However, the 30-year-old insists he’s improved his temperament since being under the guidance of Luis Enrique over the past three seasons. 

He said:

“He told me not to waste energy arguing with the officials because it damaged the team and it was beneficial for me to be aware to press and help my team-mates,” Suarez told Sport.

“[Luis Enrique] taught me a lot, even if that doesn’t seem to be the case. Obviously a lot in football terms, he was also a forward so he knew the movements to make to benefit the team.”

 “I was a player that lost the ball and gave up, waiting for the next play, but he taught me how to press after losing the ball.”

Suarez did pick up eight yellow cards in 35 La Liga appearances for the Catalan giants during the season just gone, although none were as a result of dissent – which maintains that particular record since he arrived at the club in the summer of 2014.

 

Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) were one of the more amusing real-life buddy cop comedies we’ve ever seen from NBA teammates.

On one hand you have Bryant, a cutthroat competitor on the court who couldn’t really turn it off when off the court until his final season. On the other was World Peace, who was like being defended by a grizzly bear with quicker hands on the court but more similar to a teddy bear off of it.

World Peace’s tendency to deliver quotes, anecdotes, stories and predictions with a smile was one of the things that quickly made him a fan favorite during his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers, especially because he helped them knock off their hated rival, the Boston Celtics, in the NBA Finals.

In a recent feature on championship trophy presentations in Sports Illustrated, however, TNT broadcaster Ernie Johnson shared a story of Bryant not wanting to let World Peace’s tendency for brash statements give the Celtics any further fuel going into that series:

In an interview last week he said that his favorite presentation was for the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in 2010 following a Game 6 road win at Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals. After the game, in which Ron Artest scored 25 points, Johnson wanted to ask the veteran small forward on the podium how he felt about playing in his first NBA Finals.

“I knew I would get Phil [Jackson] and Kobe and maybe another player, but I thought it would be cool to hear what Ron Artest had to say,” Johnson said. “So I’m standing with the Lakers outside their locker room during a commercial break, and I asked Ron if he wanted to answer some questions. But before Ron could answer, Kobe steps in and said, ‘No, you are not talking to Ron Artest.’ I said, ‘Why, Kobe?’ He said, ‘I am the leader of this team. You are talking to me.’ I looked at Phil, and he shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Hey, he’s the captain.’ Kobe was not going to have Ron Artest as part of trophy presentation equation because, I guess, he didn’t want to give the Celtics any extra motivation.”

 

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has responded to the transfer speculation and tax fraud allegations surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The Portugal international capped off a stellar 12 months by winning the fourth Champions League title of his career this month, scoring twice in the final against Juventus.

Late last week, reports emerged claiming the superstar wants to leave the world’s biggest club, as he was frustrated by the Spanish authorities’ investigation on his tax records.

The days since have been dominated by transfer rumours featuring Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, LA Galaxy and more, while Perez has remained silent.

On Monday evening,Perez told Spanish radio station El Transistor:

 “All this is very strange. Cristiano is a good guy – I have to talk to him and see what happens.

“It has affected me how the media treated Cristiano; the presumption of innocence was not respected. Everyone must comply with their tax obligations and I know that Cristiano always wants to meet his.

“I am sure that Cristiano complies with his tax duties, it must be a confusion that will be cleared. Cristiano has the same corporate structure which he had in England, where spent many years without a problem.

“I will always defend Cristiano as a footballer and as a person. He is a good person, very supportive.

“The sheikh of PSG is friend of mine and has not called me, I have not spoken with him or with anyone. We’ve not received any offer for Cristiano.

“I have a good relationship and a good friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo and I want to talk to him.”

 

 

Tiger Woods said Monday he is getting "professional help" to deal with medications used for back pain and sleep issues.

The 14-time major champion, who is recovering from April 19 back surgery and on May 29 was arrested on DUI charges, took to Twitter on Monday to make the announcement.

Woods, 41, was asleep at the wheel of his car in the early-morning hours on Memorial Day. Later, in a statement, he said alcohol was not involved but that he had an "unexpected reaction" to prescription medication.

"I'm not at liberty to say where he is, but he is receiving in-patient treatment," said Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, in a phone interview. "Tiger has been dealing with so much pain physically. And that leads to insomnia and sleep issues. This has been going on for a long time."

On May 24, in Woods' first extensive comments since the fusion surgery, his fourth back surgery in just over three years, he explained in a website post that he had been dealing with nerve pain that caused quality of life issues.

"It is hard to express how much better I feel," Woods wrote. "It was instant nerve relief. I haven't felt this good in years."

Five days later, Woods was observed by police pulled over near the side of a road some 9 miles from his home in Jupiter, Florida. He failed multiple field-sobriety tests but blew a 0.00 on a breathalyzer after being taken into custody.

"Was the night in question a tipping point?" Steinberg said. "He's now gone and checked himself into a facility.

"He's been in pain for so long. He's had to handle the pain, which then potentially leads to the lack of sleep because you're in so much pain."

Asked about Woods' comments on his website that he felt relief after the latest surgery, Steinberg said: "I don't think you can put two and two together. It's such a complicated state, such a complicated situation. If you're in that much pain for so many years. ... Tiger has been trying to figure out how to live a life and actually have a life. He is where he is right now. I'm glad he is taking responsibility."

Woods had his first back surgery on March 31, 2014, and he has not been anywhere near the same golfer who just a year earlier won five times on the PGA Tour to run his career victory total to 79.

He had another surgery in September 2015, then a third six weeks later. From that point, Woods went more than a year without competing, returning for what seemed a promising restart at the Hero World Challenge in December.

But after plotting an ambitious early-season schedule, Woods made it through just three rounds before eventually shutting it down again. He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, then the following week played just one round at the European Tour event in Dubai, withdrawing the next day with back spasms.

Woods told police on May 29 that he had taken four prescription pain medications, including Vicodin. The Golf Channel, which obtained an unredacted version of the Jupiter Police Department report, reported that Woods said he was also taking Xanax. The arraignment for his arrest is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Report by Bob Harig

 

 

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The gambling industry is growing rapidly in Kenya. We could be competing with the West African nations. Since last year, the country has witnessed over 10 bookmakers join the industry with each contesting for a piece of the pie.

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”.

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.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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.”

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.

KPL

Upcoming Events

KS on Facebook