Sakho, Mane Star As Senegal Book World Cup Slot

English Premier League pair Diafra Sakho and Sadio Mane played key roles as Senegal defeated South Africa 2-0 in Polokwane Friday to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

West Ham striker Sakho opened the scoring off a pass from Liverpool attacker Mane and both were involved in the move that led to a Thamsanqa Mkhize own-goal before half-time.

Victory gave Senegal an uncatchable five-point lead over Burkina Faso and Cape Verde in Group D with one round left.

The only previous World Cup appearance by Senegal was in 2002 when current coach Aliou Cisse captained a team that reached the quarter-finals in South Korea and Japan.

Bottom-of-the-table South Africa lie seven ponts behind Senegal ahead of a return match in Dakar next Tuesday, with Burkina Faso hosting Cape Verde at the same time.

South Africa defeated Senegal 2-1 in Polokwane last November, but FIFA ordered a replay because of "match manipulation" by Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who was banned for life. 

"It was not an easy game for us, but we took the chances that came our way," said Mane, who returned to Premier League action last Saturday after a hamstring injury.

"Our coach stressed before the match the importance of qualifying for the World Cup and we gave everything throughout the match.

"We are going to represent all of Africa in Russia next year and will do our best to make everyone proud."

Senegal are the third African qualifiers for the World Cup in Russia after Nigeria and Egypt, who secured places during the penultimate qualifying round last month.

The other two slots will be filled Saturday with north African countries Tunisia and Morocco needing draws to qualify.

Tunisia host out-of-contention Libya in Group A holding a three-point advantage over the Democratic Republic of Congo, who play Guinea in Kinshasa. 

Morocco are one point in front of the Ivory Coast ahead of a showdown in Abidjan with the visitors hoping to end a 20-year absence from the World Cup.

South Africa goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune played with a protective white mask after fracturing a facial bone in a club match last weekend.

Senegal took the lead after 12 minutes when Sakho raced on to a Mane pass and side-footed the ball to the right of onrushing Khune.

Stung by falling behind so early, South Africa sought an equaliser and came close midway through the opening half at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye failed to grasp a fierce close-range Themba Zwane shot, but recovered to catch the rebound after the ball struck the onrushing Percy Tau.

South Africa came even closer soon after when Lebogang Manyama swept a low cross against the crossbar and Senegal hastily cleared the loose ball.

The Senegalese Teranga Lions doubled their lead after 38 minutes against the run of play with another goal involving Sakho and Mane.

Sakho broke clear and crossed to Mane, whose shot was blocked by Khune only for the clearance to hit Mkhize and trickled back into the net.

As half-time approached, Manyama went close again to scoring, this time from a free-kick that Ndiaye tipped over.

South Africa introduced midfielders Andile Jali and Siphiwe Tshabalala midway through the second half, but neither made an impact.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) has released a 38-member national Preparation Squad that will hit training in readiness for the upcoming  2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Gold medallists Tshenolo Lemao (100m), Retshidisitswe Mlenga (200m), Sokwakhana Zazini (400m Hurdles), Breyton Poole (High Jump) and Zeney van der Walt (400m Hurdles), who earned medals at the IAAF World U-18 Championships in Nairobi feature in the squad.

2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships will take place from  10 July  to 15 July 2018.

SQUAD

100 m Men - Monareng Mthembu (AGN), Tsebo Matsoso (AFS), Dlodlo Thando (CGA), Mhlenga Retsiditswe (AGN), Tshenolo Lemao (AGN)

200 m Men - Monareng Mthembu (AGN), Tsebo Matsoso (AFS), Dlodlo Thando (CGA), Mhlenga Retsiditswe (AGN), Tshenolo Lemao (AGN)

400 m Men - Zazini Sokwakhana (AGN)

1500 m Men - Dais Malebane (AGN)

400 m Hurdles Men (91cm) - Maree Linford (BOLA), Steenkamp Lourens (LIMA), Zazini Sokwakhana (AGN)

3000 m Steeple Chase Men - De Villiers Robbert (ACNW)

High jump Men - Breyton Poole (WPA)

Pole vault Men - Van der Watt Ekhardt (BOLA), Van Wyk Valco (BOLA)

Shot put Men (6 kg) - Blignaut Kayle (CGA), De Lacey Jonathan (CGA)

Javelin throw Men (800 g) - Dames Werner (ANWN), Skinner Brendan (AGN), Schlebusch Johannes (AFS)

400 m Women - Vercuiel Juli (WPA), Viljoen Marlie (AGN), Van Der Walt Zeney (AGN)

800 m Women - Weitz Simonay (CGA), Muller Niene (AGN)

1500 m Women - Weitz Simonay (CGA), Belling Taylor (AFS)

100 Hurdles Women (84 cm) - Hendricks Welmien (CGA), Erhke Tanya (CGA)

400 Metres Hurdles Women - Vercuiel Juli (WPA), Van Der Walt Zeney (AGN), Joseph Rogail (BOLA)

Shot put Women (4 kg) - Strydom Mieke (SWD)

Discus throw Women (1 kg) - Van der Walt Tharina (AFS)

 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hans hinted that Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz could feature in Tuesday's Champions League game against Feyenoord.

Stockport-born Foden, 17, won the Golden Ball for being the tournament's top goalscorer as England won the Under-17 World Cup in October, while Diaz, 18, has already broken through to Spain's Under-21 squad.

"They are two young players training this season. What I saw in the pre-season, the training, the World Cup, they are ready. Here in the high level we try and help the young players," Guardiola said ahead of Tuesday's Champions League Group E game against Feyenoord at the Etihad Stadium."They've shown me the same we saw when they played in the second and third team. The skills and quality are there. 

"We can help them with speed because the lack of time is higher so Phil has to fight duels against Kevin De Bruyne, against Fernandinho, against David Silva. Every day is a step to improve.

"Years ago, people had more time to think. Now it is reduced. Everything is quicker. The players are faster in all senses, physically and mentally. 

"I said in pre-season, those guys will train with us all season. They have to be ready. Sometimes the manager makes a surprise."

 

Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri is aware of the task that lies ahead of them when they take on Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League match on Tuesday November 21. Napoli, who have only won one of their four matches, sit third in Group F and trail second placed Donetsk by six points, with Manchester City nine points ahead of them at the top.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the match, Sarri acknowledged the importance of the tie and urged his players to play with heart and soul so that their dreams of advancing to the knockout stages remain alive.

"We are not guaranteed to advance the round. The situation in the table is tough, there is a small opportunity for us to go ahead, we need to jump in and get to it. This is not the time to make calculations but to play with heart and soul because we cannot risk leaving the Champions League without giving our all. The level of competition is very high, and with City it's even higher,'' he said.

"On average the games are higher scoring than in the league and tomorrow we will be missing Koulibaly, who is an important player, we need to make up for his absence. Tavecchio resigning? I don't love the politics in sport, I hope in time it will be more tolerable. A reform of the calendar is inevitable, to get rid of the international breaks and gathering the national teams at the end of the season," added Sarri.

The Seria A started their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 loss to Donetsk before recording their only win against Feyenoord. Two consecutive losses to Manchester City followed thereafter to condemn them to third place.

 

The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA)has received an enhancement of their upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships following the inclusion of Mopani Copper Mines as the Title sponsors for the tournament. The tourney is set to be held in Zambia between December 6 and December 16.

Mopani Mines is a Zambian registered company owned by Carlisa Investments Corporation produces and sells copper and cobalt to the international market, being one of the biggest mines and exporters in the world.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mopani Copper Mines as headline sponsors of the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships and thank them for their valuable input into the development of youth football in the Southern African region. This Under-20 championship has been the launchpad for many successful careers for players from across the region and we are sure that a number of new gems will be unearthed this year as well,” says Timothy Shongwe, Chairman of COSAFA’s Competitions Committee.

Mopani Copper Mines sponsors two clubs in the Zambia Super Division League, Nkana FC and Mufulira Wanderers FC. Nkana FC’s home ground at Nkana Stadium will host matches during the MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championship.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc is proud to be the Title sponsor for the COSAFA Under-20 Championship, during which part of the games will be played at our own Nkana Stadium in Kitwe,” says Acting Chief Executive Officer, Chris Vermeulen.

“As title sponsors, we believe this tournament will be successful and will inspire football players, especially the youth, to aim higher in life. It will also contribute to sport development in our country.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc has a long history of supporting sports development, and football in particular, in Zambia.

“We are the proud major sponsors of the two most-decorated Super Division League football clubs, Nkana FC and Mufulira Wanderers FC and our company continues to invest in football infrastructure development at the two clubs to bring them to acceptable standards in the world. This has helped in boosting morale and performance at the two sponsored teams,” added Vermeulen.

“Mopani also sponsors a youth academy, Young Nkana FC, which contributed three players to last year’s Zambian Under-20 national team – the double winners of the African Youth Championships and COSAFA Under-20 Championships.

“The future of the sport lies in the youth, hence our decision to partner with COSAFA in sponsoring this year’s tournament.”

 

Uganda national U20 coach Matia Lule is self-assured that his boys will put up a good fight in the upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships which are scheduled to take place in Zambia from 6th to 16th  December.

Familiar trio Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have booked their places for the final round of the African qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018.

 Convincing home wins for Nigeria and South Africa was enough for them to confirm their spot at the final hurdle joining Cameroon in the battle for the two African representatives at next year’s finals.  

 Carrying a comfortable 2-0 lead from the first leg, Burundi were shocked by a ruthless South Africa side that returned to winning ways with a 5-0 victory in Johannesburg on Saturday to advance to the next round 5-2 on aggregate.

 A brace by skipper, Linda Motlhalo and goals apiece by Lelona Daweti, Khanya Xesi and Gabriela Salgado ensured Basetsana move closer to their dream of qualifying for their first ever World Cup competition.

 Debutant Xesi found the opener in the ninth minute after a well threaded ball by Motlhalo to give the host the lead.

 The hosts continued piling on the pressure with the trio of Motlhalo, Daweti and Salgado terrorising the East Africans.

 A good interchange of passes between Xesi and Motlhalo concluded with a fine finish from close range by Daweti to make it 2-0 on 23 minutes. From then on, there was no coming back for Burundi who struggled to deal with the pace and pressure from their hosts.

 Motlhalo’s brace made it 4-0 before the break to put the game beyond reach for the visitors before Salgado fired the final nail in the East Africans’ coffin after the break to complete the rout.

 Speaking after the match, Basetsana coach, Maud Khumalo said their plan was to go for the kill but remain compact at the back to avoid conceading on the counter.

 “Even though we had some of our players back, we had to remain disciplined in our attack because we knew they would want to catch us on the counter. We identified their strong points in the first leg and had a plan for them here at home. We are now a step closer to going to the World Cup but the final round will not be easy and we need to work extra hard to earn our place in France,” said Khumalo

 Elsewhere, South Africa’s opponent at the final round, Nigeria, overcame Morocco 5-1 in Benin City also on Saturday and progress 6-2 on aggregate. Playmaker Rasheedat Ajibade and Nyakno Monday gave the Falconets an early two-goal lead before Fatima Tagnaout pulled one back for the visitors before the break.

 Charity Reuben scored twice in the second half before Ajibade put the icing on the cake with her seventh goal of the campaign on the stroke of full time.

 Ghana striker Princella Adubea was yet again at her best scoring a brace as the Princesses downed Kenya 5-1 away in Machakos near Nairobi on Sunday to complete a double and march on 10-1 on aggregate.

 Adubea who scored four goals in the 5-0 win in the first leg a fortnight ago took her tally to seven in the campaign as the Ghanaians set a date with familiar foes, Cameroon.

 After eight minutes, Ghana led 2-0 thanks to a brace from Olivia Anokye before Adubea made it 3-0 four minutes after the break. Substitute Ernestina Abambila scored the fourth on 76 minutes before Adubea completed her brace three minutes from time.

Rachael Otolo grabbed a consolation for the Kenyans in stoppage time.

 Two teams will emerge from the African qualifiers to represent the continent at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup scheduled for 5-24 August 2018 in France.

 

Results

18.11.2017    Johannesburg           South Africa 5-0 Burundi (0-2)

18.11.2017    Benin City                Nigeria 5-1 Morocco (1-1)

19.11.2017    Machakos                 Kenya 1-5 Ghana (0-5)

Butali Sugar Warriors kept their title hopes alive this weekend with two precious victories in the Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League.

After humbling Nairobi Sikh Union 3-1 at the City Park on Saturday November 18, Butali continued with their impressive second leg displays with a 3-0 win over Chase Sailors at the same venue. Emmanuel Simiyu struck two quick goals in the 7th  and 11th minute respectively before Arif Shah's 29th minute effort gave the lakeside club three points and three goals.

The match was then followed by the one pitting league leaders Kenya Police against Parkroad Badgers where the law enforces strode to a comfortable 4-0 win.

Samuel Wokila, Amos Barkibir, Moses Cheplaiti and Calvins Kanu were all on target for the hosts in the victory which took their point tally to 58 from 20 games. They now leave second placed Butali Warriors with thirteen points, though the latter has played a game less.

In other matches, Nakuru Sports Club settled to a barren draw with bottom placed Technical University on Saturday as Bay Club suffered two straight defeats in the hands of Multimedia University and Wazalendo Youth.

 

 

There were two Kenya Hockey Union Premier League matches played this weekend at the City Park Stadium, with Vikings forcing Sliders to a 2-2 draw as league leaders Telkom Orange held on firmly to secure a 3-2 win over a tactical Strathmore University side.

Telkom vs Strathmore

Despite leading 3-0, Telkom Orange had to hold on strong in the dying minutes as Strathmore, who had returned two goals, fought hard to find an equalizer but were unlucky to get one.

Telkom had gone into the match with a record of victories in all their opening 13 matches which they had not conceded even a single goal and looked on course to make light work of the Students, Jacqueline Mwangi opening account for them in the 7th minute after she had been spotted by Lilian Aura from long range.

Following the goal, the match's pace then slowed down as both sides sought to cut out the opposite's possession and passes especially on both wings, Gilly Okumu proving a constant nightmare to the Telkom defense with her beautiful runs and pace.

Barbara Simiyu however doubled the lead for the leaders in the 26th minute, smashing the ball into the net after being teed up by teammate Glen Namajole who had foiled Scorpions' pass in their own half.

Barely ten minutes later, Telkom were 3-0 up courtesy of Barbara Simiyu's second goal that opened a healthy lead for her side as the match went into the break.

On resumption, it was all a Strathmore affair as the Students sought to offer replies and were rewarded in the 44th minute, Okumu's shot hitting the post to find Dennise Bila who hurriedly slotted in amid an increasing Telkom defense. The goal was the first for Telkom to concede since 24th July 2016.

Barbra Atigo then further reduced the deficit eight minutes later with a goal that set up an exciting finish to the encounter. Luck was however not on the hosts' side as they failed to notch an equalizer despite frantic efforts, with the match ending 3-2 in favor of Telkom.

Vikings vs Sliders

In an earlier match at the same venue, Sliders and Vikings played out 2-2 draw in a match that was largely a balanced affair.

Charity Miller took Sliders ahead in the 12th minute but her goal was cancelled out by Grace Onimbo's strike fourteen minutes. Aurelia then took Vikings up for the first time in the match in 42nd minute and just as the game seemed to be going to their direction, Slider's substitute Christine Mmbone stroke late on to force a 2-2 draw between the two sides. 

 

Athletics South Africa (ASA) has released a 38-member national Preparation Squad that will hit training in readiness for the upcoming  2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Gold medallists Tshenolo Lemao (100m), Retshidisitswe Mlenga (200m), Sokwakhana Zazini (400m Hurdles), Breyton Poole (High Jump) and Zeney van der Walt (400m Hurdles), who earned medals at the IAAF World U-18 Championships in Nairobi feature in the squad.

2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships will take place from  10 July  to 15 July 2018.

SQUAD

100 m Men - Monareng Mthembu (AGN), Tsebo Matsoso (AFS), Dlodlo Thando (CGA), Mhlenga Retsiditswe (AGN), Tshenolo Lemao (AGN)

200 m Men - Monareng Mthembu (AGN), Tsebo Matsoso (AFS), Dlodlo Thando (CGA), Mhlenga Retsiditswe (AGN), Tshenolo Lemao (AGN)

400 m Men - Zazini Sokwakhana (AGN)

1500 m Men - Dais Malebane (AGN)

400 m Hurdles Men (91cm) - Maree Linford (BOLA), Steenkamp Lourens (LIMA), Zazini Sokwakhana (AGN)

3000 m Steeple Chase Men - De Villiers Robbert (ACNW)

High jump Men - Breyton Poole (WPA)

Pole vault Men - Van der Watt Ekhardt (BOLA), Van Wyk Valco (BOLA)

Shot put Men (6 kg) - Blignaut Kayle (CGA), De Lacey Jonathan (CGA)

Javelin throw Men (800 g) - Dames Werner (ANWN), Skinner Brendan (AGN), Schlebusch Johannes (AFS)

400 m Women - Vercuiel Juli (WPA), Viljoen Marlie (AGN), Van Der Walt Zeney (AGN)

800 m Women - Weitz Simonay (CGA), Muller Niene (AGN)

1500 m Women - Weitz Simonay (CGA), Belling Taylor (AFS)

100 Hurdles Women (84 cm) - Hendricks Welmien (CGA), Erhke Tanya (CGA)

400 Metres Hurdles Women - Vercuiel Juli (WPA), Van Der Walt Zeney (AGN), Joseph Rogail (BOLA)

Shot put Women (4 kg) - Strydom Mieke (SWD)

Discus throw Women (1 kg) - Van der Walt Tharina (AFS)

 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hans hinted that Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz could feature in Tuesday's Champions League game against Feyenoord.

Stockport-born Foden, 17, won the Golden Ball for being the tournament's top goalscorer as England won the Under-17 World Cup in October, while Diaz, 18, has already broken through to Spain's Under-21 squad.

"They are two young players training this season. What I saw in the pre-season, the training, the World Cup, they are ready. Here in the high level we try and help the young players," Guardiola said ahead of Tuesday's Champions League Group E game against Feyenoord at the Etihad Stadium."They've shown me the same we saw when they played in the second and third team. The skills and quality are there. 

"We can help them with speed because the lack of time is higher so Phil has to fight duels against Kevin De Bruyne, against Fernandinho, against David Silva. Every day is a step to improve.

"Years ago, people had more time to think. Now it is reduced. Everything is quicker. The players are faster in all senses, physically and mentally. 

"I said in pre-season, those guys will train with us all season. They have to be ready. Sometimes the manager makes a surprise."

 

Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri is aware of the task that lies ahead of them when they take on Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League match on Tuesday November 21. Napoli, who have only won one of their four matches, sit third in Group F and trail second placed Donetsk by six points, with Manchester City nine points ahead of them at the top.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the match, Sarri acknowledged the importance of the tie and urged his players to play with heart and soul so that their dreams of advancing to the knockout stages remain alive.

"We are not guaranteed to advance the round. The situation in the table is tough, there is a small opportunity for us to go ahead, we need to jump in and get to it. This is not the time to make calculations but to play with heart and soul because we cannot risk leaving the Champions League without giving our all. The level of competition is very high, and with City it's even higher,'' he said.

"On average the games are higher scoring than in the league and tomorrow we will be missing Koulibaly, who is an important player, we need to make up for his absence. Tavecchio resigning? I don't love the politics in sport, I hope in time it will be more tolerable. A reform of the calendar is inevitable, to get rid of the international breaks and gathering the national teams at the end of the season," added Sarri.

The Seria A started their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 loss to Donetsk before recording their only win against Feyenoord. Two consecutive losses to Manchester City followed thereafter to condemn them to third place.

 

The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA)has received an enhancement of their upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships following the inclusion of Mopani Copper Mines as the Title sponsors for the tournament. The tourney is set to be held in Zambia between December 6 and December 16.

Mopani Mines is a Zambian registered company owned by Carlisa Investments Corporation produces and sells copper and cobalt to the international market, being one of the biggest mines and exporters in the world.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mopani Copper Mines as headline sponsors of the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships and thank them for their valuable input into the development of youth football in the Southern African region. This Under-20 championship has been the launchpad for many successful careers for players from across the region and we are sure that a number of new gems will be unearthed this year as well,” says Timothy Shongwe, Chairman of COSAFA’s Competitions Committee.

Mopani Copper Mines sponsors two clubs in the Zambia Super Division League, Nkana FC and Mufulira Wanderers FC. Nkana FC’s home ground at Nkana Stadium will host matches during the MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championship.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc is proud to be the Title sponsor for the COSAFA Under-20 Championship, during which part of the games will be played at our own Nkana Stadium in Kitwe,” says Acting Chief Executive Officer, Chris Vermeulen.

“As title sponsors, we believe this tournament will be successful and will inspire football players, especially the youth, to aim higher in life. It will also contribute to sport development in our country.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc has a long history of supporting sports development, and football in particular, in Zambia.

“We are the proud major sponsors of the two most-decorated Super Division League football clubs, Nkana FC and Mufulira Wanderers FC and our company continues to invest in football infrastructure development at the two clubs to bring them to acceptable standards in the world. This has helped in boosting morale and performance at the two sponsored teams,” added Vermeulen.

“Mopani also sponsors a youth academy, Young Nkana FC, which contributed three players to last year’s Zambian Under-20 national team – the double winners of the African Youth Championships and COSAFA Under-20 Championships.

“The future of the sport lies in the youth, hence our decision to partner with COSAFA in sponsoring this year’s tournament.”

 

Uganda national U20 coach Matia Lule is self-assured that his boys will put up a good fight in the upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships which are scheduled to take place in Zambia from 6th to 16th  December.

Familiar trio Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have booked their places for the final round of the African qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018.

 Convincing home wins for Nigeria and South Africa was enough for them to confirm their spot at the final hurdle joining Cameroon in the battle for the two African representatives at next year’s finals.  

 Carrying a comfortable 2-0 lead from the first leg, Burundi were shocked by a ruthless South Africa side that returned to winning ways with a 5-0 victory in Johannesburg on Saturday to advance to the next round 5-2 on aggregate.

 A brace by skipper, Linda Motlhalo and goals apiece by Lelona Daweti, Khanya Xesi and Gabriela Salgado ensured Basetsana move closer to their dream of qualifying for their first ever World Cup competition.

 Debutant Xesi found the opener in the ninth minute after a well threaded ball by Motlhalo to give the host the lead.

 The hosts continued piling on the pressure with the trio of Motlhalo, Daweti and Salgado terrorising the East Africans.

 A good interchange of passes between Xesi and Motlhalo concluded with a fine finish from close range by Daweti to make it 2-0 on 23 minutes. From then on, there was no coming back for Burundi who struggled to deal with the pace and pressure from their hosts.

 Motlhalo’s brace made it 4-0 before the break to put the game beyond reach for the visitors before Salgado fired the final nail in the East Africans’ coffin after the break to complete the rout.

 Speaking after the match, Basetsana coach, Maud Khumalo said their plan was to go for the kill but remain compact at the back to avoid conceading on the counter.

 “Even though we had some of our players back, we had to remain disciplined in our attack because we knew they would want to catch us on the counter. We identified their strong points in the first leg and had a plan for them here at home. We are now a step closer to going to the World Cup but the final round will not be easy and we need to work extra hard to earn our place in France,” said Khumalo

 Elsewhere, South Africa’s opponent at the final round, Nigeria, overcame Morocco 5-1 in Benin City also on Saturday and progress 6-2 on aggregate. Playmaker Rasheedat Ajibade and Nyakno Monday gave the Falconets an early two-goal lead before Fatima Tagnaout pulled one back for the visitors before the break.

 Charity Reuben scored twice in the second half before Ajibade put the icing on the cake with her seventh goal of the campaign on the stroke of full time.

 Ghana striker Princella Adubea was yet again at her best scoring a brace as the Princesses downed Kenya 5-1 away in Machakos near Nairobi on Sunday to complete a double and march on 10-1 on aggregate.

 Adubea who scored four goals in the 5-0 win in the first leg a fortnight ago took her tally to seven in the campaign as the Ghanaians set a date with familiar foes, Cameroon.

 After eight minutes, Ghana led 2-0 thanks to a brace from Olivia Anokye before Adubea made it 3-0 four minutes after the break. Substitute Ernestina Abambila scored the fourth on 76 minutes before Adubea completed her brace three minutes from time.

Rachael Otolo grabbed a consolation for the Kenyans in stoppage time.

 Two teams will emerge from the African qualifiers to represent the continent at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup scheduled for 5-24 August 2018 in France.

 

Results

18.11.2017    Johannesburg           South Africa 5-0 Burundi (0-2)

18.11.2017    Benin City                Nigeria 5-1 Morocco (1-1)

19.11.2017    Machakos                 Kenya 1-5 Ghana (0-5)

Tony Pulis has been sacked by West Bromwich Albion.

Owner Guochuan Lai made the decision after witnessing West Brom lose 4-0 at home to Chelsea.

The febrile atmosphere among supporters, who chanted repeatedly for Pulis to go, was a contributing factor.

Sportsmail understands Pulis was given the news by chairman John Williams on the phone on Monday morning and West Brom will now begin the search for a successor.

Lai and Williams acted due to a run of two wins from 21 Premier League games that has plunged West Brom into relegation dangers. The club are only one place and one point above the drop zone.

Williams said: 'These decisions are never taken lightly but always in the interests of the club. 

'We are in a results business and over the back end of last season and this season to date, ours have been very disappointing.

'We would like to place on record our appreciation of Tony's contribution and hard work during a period of transition for the club which included a change of ownership. We wish him well in his future endeavours.'  

Pulis appeared to accept his fate during post-match media briefings on Saturday. 

The 59-year-old, who had dinner with Lai on Friday night, had said: 'The big thing is this is not about me, it's not about the chairman, the owners or anything else. It's about the football club and what is the right decision for the football club.'

Asked if the right decision would be for him to be relieved of his duties, Pulis said: 'I've been in the game long enough to know if you get bad runs that's what happens.'

West Brom have dismissed suggestions talks have taken place with Michael O'Neill but it is clear an fresh injection of ideas is required in the dugout.

Pulis's assistant Gary Megson will take charge of first-team affairs in the interim period, with his first match against title-chasing Tottenham on Saturday. 

Megson is a popular figure at the Hawthorns having led the club to two promotions from the Championship and was brought back by Pulis this summer to replace departing No 2 Dave Kemp. 

While no successor has been lined up by West Brom, the club are seeking a swift appointment and high among the list of candidate requirements is Premier league experience.

That would again bring Sam Allardyce into the reckoning, with Alan Pardew's name also being mentioned at the Hawthorns. 

 

PULIS' WEST BROM REIGN IN NUMBERS

37 - West Brom's average possession this season is the lowest in the Premier League.

22 - The Baggies had just 22 per cent of the ball in last month's 3-2 home loss to Manchester City.

1 - West Brom have had more possession than their opponent only once this term, at Brighton in a 3-1 defeat in September.

109 - goals scored by Pulis' side in 106 matches.

6 - number of clean sheets West Brom have kept this calendar year.

11 - games since West Brom last won.

2 - number of victories the Baggies have recorded in their last 21 Premier League fixtures, both of which came in August.

4 - the run of league defeats that signalled the end of Pulis' reign.

 

 

Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez scored first-half goals for Arsenal in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday, as the Gunners looked to restore a sense of supremacy in north London after a disastrous campaign last season.

Mustafi’s header looped over the Spurs defence from a disputed free kick and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was unable to get anywhere near the ball as it pinged off the crossbar into the goal in the 36th minute.

Sanchez’s goal came five minutes later after Alexandre Lacazette’s run down the right. The forward put in a crisp cross, which Sanchez had trouble controlling at first as it bounced down off his knee. But the Chilean composed himself at the near post to fire the ball over Lloris, who hesitated coming off his line to deal with the danger.

Just when Spurs fans thought the balance of power had irreversibly shifted in north London, Arsenal turned back the clock to offer a glimpse of its past dominance. There was slick passing, the three Arsenal forwards galloped past Spurs defenders with ease at times, and the usually shaky back line managed to hold its nerve this time.

Tottenham had come into this match on a high, sitting third three places above Arsenal in the league and finishing in front of the Gunners last season for the first time in more than two decades. Spurs are in the Champions League this season and Arsenal in the Europa League and impressed the football world with a shock win over Real Madrid in the group stage.

But Arsenal was the bigger side Saturday, managing to shut down star players Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen to claim bragging rights in north London. Eriksen looked nothing like the player who scored a hat-trick for Denmark against Ireland during the international break.

Before the match, many observers sniggered when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claimed his side wasn’t the underdog going into this fixture. But it was Wenger who had the smug look on his face at the final whistle, while Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino appeared dejected after suffering his first Premier League defeat in a north London derby during his more than three-year tenure.

The only boos Wenger got Saturday was when he made a defensive substitution, taking off the prolific Lacazette for holding midfielder Francis Coquelin. There were even ironic cheers from Arsenal fans for Kane and Alli, when they were taken off with 15 minutes to go after a poor showing from both.

 

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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? 

Rayon Sports Club have confirmed that former Sofapaka and Amavubi goalkeeper Evariste Mutuyimana is no more. Unconfirmed reports claim that a heart attack on Tuesday September 12 at his home was the cause of his death.

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

Mutuyimana has also featured for the Rwanda national team, his most notable appearance being in a 5-1 loss to Tunisia in an International Friendly back in May 2012.

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

 

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

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

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

“That’s clearly against the rules!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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."

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