Mesut comes through for Nairobi’s Özil FC

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has once again helped a Kenyan team realize their football dream.

Ozil, through Homeboyz Radio’s Eric Njiru, sent 15 pair of boots and 10 Arsenal signed shirts to now know Ozil FC.

This comes after he sent six shirts, boots, photos and caps to Lawrence Masira, a boy from Nairobi’s Naserian village who became famous in March 2019 after his photo was posted on twitter by Eric Njiru.

Masira was photographed wearing an ‘Ozil shirt’ written by a marker pen prompting the 2014 World Cup winner to send kits to him.

That would be followed by Ozil rewarding the entire team.

Turkana Hosts Youth Football Extravaganza

In a bid to foster unity, cohesion and develop grassroots youth talents, the County Government of Turkana with support from Almasi Beverages Company recently held a youth football tournament in Lodwar Town – the County headquarters.

The tournament brought together seven Sub-Counties of – Loima, Turkana Central, Turkana East, Turkana West, Turkana South, Turkana North and Kibish.

During the finals held at the Lodwar Prison ground, Loima out-lasted Turkana Central to lift the tournaments trophy and Shs. 90,000 in prize money through post-match penalties. The teams had earlier settled for a barren draw inside regulation time. The second and third placed teams took home Kshs60, 000 and Kshs30, 000 respectively.

“We have seen great talent on display today and we are happy Turkana youth have the talent to play in professional leagues,” said Phillip Gikunju Almasi General Manager.

Turkana Central were the first on the spot and Masuk made no mistake with a superb conversion. Loima’s skipper Emoni David also scored the first penalty for his side. Turkana Central scored its second and third spot kick as Loima faltered in its third.

It took the hands of Loima goalkeeper Leviticus Kuya who by the tip of his fingers saved the first penalty of the day to bring the scores to level point. Turkana Central lost its fourth and fifth shots. Loima went on to score the fourth and fifth goals through Johnstone Areki and Mohamud Yusuf for a 4-2 score line.

Despite the scorchy and dusty pitch the boys exemplified great talent.

In the third playoff played at Lodwar Primary School grounds North Turkana out classed South Turkana by 2 goals to nil. Edward Luchuchu and Gilbert Esikuku scored one a piece to see their team to third position of the inaugural youth tournament in Turkana County.

“We are glad to have the County Government of Turkana working to give the youth an opportunity to develop their skill in football as a company we reiterate our commitment to support the youth in Turks a County through sports,” said Phillip Gikunju Almasi General Manager.

Almasi promised to continue its partnership with the County Government of Turkana and support for youth through employment and sports sponsorship. The company pledge to sponsor the tournament again next year starting from the ward level up to the County finals.

SA, Botswana Join Kenya in Copa Coca-Cola AFCON Quarters

Kenya beat Botswana 3-0 in the COPA Coca-Cola Under-16 Africa Cup group ’A’ match at Nakuru High School, in Kenya on December 12th 2018.

Goals from Issa Rashid, Answar Shamuni and Isaiah Abwal ensured Kenya easily triumphed in this game, and also maintained their 100% record.

Kenya went ahead inside the first 30 seconds of the match through the outstanding Rashid’s goal of the tournament.

Jacob Onyango beat his marker on the right flank before crossing the ball into the area, Rashid controlled the ball before firing home via a low shot.

Kenya continued to dominate proceedings with Lucas Maina, Wisdom Nayah and Rashid running the show in midfield. Botswana’s rear guard led by Captain Sekwai Letlamoreng did well to deny Kenya on several occasions.

Letlamoreng had Botswana’s best chance with the scores still at 1-0. He rose highest to meet a free-kick but then failed to direct the header on target.

The second goal did finally come in the 28th minute when a defense splitting pass from Maina was met with an excellent finish from Answar Shamuni.

A rare chance for Botswana in the 49th minute saw Pintes Ricardo shoot wide from a prime position. But it was Kenya’s day, as substitute Isaiah Abwal then added a third in the 68th minute.

“Our strategy was a defensive one and to some extent I can say that it worked. Kenya is a very strong team, we watched them score eleven goals against Ethiopia and to lose 3-0 is not very bad,” said Botswana coach Godfrey Rantoka.

“I expect us to have tougher matches in the knockout stages so we didn’t use match energy today considering we had already qualified for the quarter-finals,” added Kenya coach Peter Mayoyo.

Meanwhile, a dominant Nigeria booked a COPA Coca-Cola African Cup quarter final spot following a 3-0 win over Zimbabwe in a group B match.

Goals from Prosper Chukwuemeka, Gift Williams and Omodara Olamilekan helped the West African team post a comfortable win in a match.

The victors dominated throughout, starting the match on a high and raiding the Southern Africans half in pursuit of an early goal.

The teams that have so far qualified for the quarter-final matches include Kenya, Uganda, Botswana and Mozambique.

Chager beats Laukkanen at the Safaricom East African Mini Classic Rally

Baldev Chager (KEN) also known as ‘The Flying Singh’ emerged winner yesterday after beating Finland’s Tapio Laukkanen in total time of 06:04:16.8 during the Safaricom East African Mini Classic Rally, Nakuru County.

Tapio Laukkanen(FIN)/Gavin Laurence(KEN) came in second in time of 06:09:24.5, a difference of 05:07.7 .  Second runners up was Raaji Bharij (KEN)/Tej Sehmi (KEN) 06:21:11.0

“Day 1 was more like a warm up, whilst day 2 Oltepesi stage was the most challenging I’ve ever done. It was 80 kilometers but it was a mixture of everything challenging and competitive you can find in a rally route. Stage 3 was a little rough, 140 kilometres but one of the nicest rally stages I’ve done as they opened up Baringo” Said Baldev Chager.

The race which was flagged off on Sunday had a total of 18 teams with a few falling out at the last stages.

The 4-day competition inclusive of scrutineering stage covered 600Kms with the drivers passing through Kajiado, Narok, Baringo and Nakuru.

Safaricom sponsored the rally to a tune of KES 4 Million and provided 4G internet for the organizers. The rally’s tracking system has been improved by the inclusion of Safaricom’s 4G+ network. Boosted by high internet speeds, rally enthusiasts will find it easier to track and monitor their favorite rally drivers and navigators through their mobile phones.

The race is being held in memory of the late  J.S.Vohra  who was the chairman of the East Africa Safari Classic Rally (EASC).

The 600 km ended at The Sarova Woodlands, Nakuru on Tuesday 11th December 2018.

Winning Start For Kenya at COPA Coca-Cola Africa Cup

Kenya beat Ethiopia 11-1 in the opening game of the COPA Coca-Cola Africa Under-16 tournament at the Nakuru High School in Nakuru County on December 10, 2018.

Jacob Onyango was the outstanding player in this contest, scoring four times, followed by Rashid Issa who helped himself to a hat-trick.

Kenya national youth team forward Daniel Onyango and Haron Kibiwott also scored a goal apiece.

The hosts were ahead after three minutes through Fred Odhiambo who fired home from the edge of the box following an inviting cross from Onyango.

Three minutes later, Odhiambo missed a glorious chance to double the lead for his side even though ultimately it didn’t matter.

This contest gradually turned into a one-sided affair mid-way through the 35-minute opening half with the visitors barely threatening Kenya’s rearguard which was marshalled by the composed Christopher Raila.

Rashid then took full advantage of miscommunication between Tesgey Mikiyas and Tekiu Edmend to fire the ball past Abel Nyang for Kenya’s goal number two.

Ethiopia’s first real chance of the game arrived on 19 minutes but then Obtel Omod’s fierce drive from point blank range was easily gathered by Kenya custodian Issa Samuria.

Rashid grabbed his second and Kenya’s third of the match in the 23rd minute after beating an offside trap set up by Ethiopia’s defence to catch him off guard.

He then fired into an empty net to hand his team a healthy advantage at the break.

The hosts continued with their impressive display after the break, with Onyango adding the fourth after the restart following an error from Nyang. Kengidi made it 5-0 with his second of the day.

In between the onslaught, Ethiopia would pull a goal back on 50 minutes through Tsegaye Dawitt’s long range shot, but Onyango and Haron Kibiwott were at task to pile further misery to the visiting team.

Twelve youth national teams, including South Africa and Nigeria, are participating in this six day tournament whose climax will be the final at the Afraha stadium in Nakuru on Saturday, December 15, 2018.

Lessons Learnt as Gor Gets Spanked at Goodison!

By Lotan Salapei

KPL champions Gor Mahia fell to a 4-0 defeat in the hands of Everton in the much anticipated SportPesa cup final at the Goodison Park.
Despite the pre-match hype, Gor was outplayed, out-muscled, out classed further proving the massive gulf of class between the Premier League and the Kenyan Premier league.

After a nervy first 15 minutes, Gor found themselves on the back foot after Toffee forward Cenk Tosun cleverly beat the offside trap then teeing off in form Ademola Lookman for the first goal.

Youngster Kieran Dowell was on hand to double the hosts lead in the 23rd minute through as rasping shot which keeper Bonniface Oluoch, could not keep out despite getting a hand on it.

Gor manager Dylan Kerr introduced Humphrey Mieno after the break in an effort to salvage the result but the damage had already been done. A quick double by youngster Nathan Broadhead and danger man Oumar Niasse were enough to put the match to bed.

11 changes 
Despite making 11 changes from the team that beat Brighton and Hove Albion over the weekend, Toffee boss Marco Silva started a solid team giving much needed game time to Morgan Shneiderlin, Yerry Mina, Calvert-Lewin, skipper Phil Jagielka and veteran keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

The visitors had to make changes to their line-up after marksman Jacques Tuyisenge couldn’t travel due to visa issues instead starting with Francis Mustafa, Francis Kahata and George Odhiambo Blackberry in attack. New boy Batambuzi got the nod in defense alongside Bonniface Oluoch who was a surprise start in goal.

Gor’s best chance came at the end of the first half after Francis Mustapha could not convert a George Odhiambo’s devilish cross after a spirited run.

Francis Mustapha missed another glorious chance to half Everton’s lead missing an empty goal from 18 yards out after the toffee substitute keeper, Virginia scuffed a clearance.

Despite Everton’s’ domineering display it was the green Army’s skipper Harun Shakava and George Odhiambo who caught the crowds’ eye with the latter making marauding runs that caught the Toffees defense of guard but the team was unable to convert the chances.

However, it is Gor’s inability to hold the ball under pressure that should be of concern. Their inexperience was often their undoing as Everton closed down on them quickly choking their options thus Gor struggled to impose their personality on the game.

Everton will be back in action on Sunday away to high-flying Chelsea at the Bridge while Gor’ will travel back to Kenya to prepare for the new KPL season that starts later on this year.

Gor Mahia On A Mission At Goodison

By Lotan Salapei
Marco Silva’s Everton will play host to a not so familiar foe on Tuesday evening 6th November at Goodison Park as they welcome Kenyan Side and SportPesa Premier League champions Gor Mahia FC.

Despite the match’s historic significance, Gor Mahia will be looking to not only be the first east African side to grace the Mersey side turf but also put up a good show.

Everton, who have had a mixed season are expected to use this match as an opportunity for Marco Silva to try new shapes and dimensions and also give valuable game time to some of his young legions.

Led by Brazilian front man Richarlison, The Toffees, have been spotty at best when attacking with the run of play, but their counter attack have bordered sheer masterclass at times.

The lack of intention and ball control that has been seen during the Toffees’ normal build up play vanishes during counter attacks and is instead replaced with inch-perfect passes and precise runs to goal with Richarlison, Theo Walcott and Gylfi as major beneficiaries.

No Pushovers 
Gor on the other had are no pushovers. Arguably the most successful club in East Africa, the Green army will look to capitalize on their team’s cohesion, pace and athleticism to ride any ‘Evertonian’ onslaught.

Speaking to HBR Fanzone, Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr exuded confidence terming this match as crest in the history of the 17 time league champions!

Gor will be hoping in-form front man Jaques Tuyisenge and ever dependable skipper and defender Harun Shakava can provide the much needed fire power and buoy the boys in green in the United Kingdom!

Did you know?
This will not be the first time Gor face Everton after the two teams faced off in 2017 in Dar es salaam in the Sportpesa championship where the 7 time English champions won that duel 2-1 courtesy of a Wayne Rooney thunderbolt!


Mabati Rolling Mills Awards ‘Eye in the Wild’ Winners

Winners of the annual ‘Eye in the Wild’ photography competition by Mabati Rolling Mills were on Monday feted with 47-year-old Salma Shah emerging the Overall Gold Winner for her piece that showed how a common papaya tree can influence environmental beauty and support wildlife.

Managing to beat 538 entries from established and amateur photographers to emerge the Gold Winner, Salma received Kshs. 350,000 as prize money.

Now in its second edition and themed ‘Stop the Chop’, the annual photography competition aims to create awareness on the dwindling forest cover in Kenya and the importance of conservation.

Salome Tarus who emerged the Silver Winner received Kshs 250,000 prize money while Abdulrahman Mutuma took the Bronze Award with a prize money of Kshs 150,000.

During the awards gala, guests and winners planted over 200 indigenous trees at the Karura Forest.

Speaking at the gala, Andrew John Heycott, Mabati Rolling Mills CEO said, “All the photos submitted captured the stark contrast of Kenya’s immense beauty and the devastating impact of climate change and deforestation. As we celebrate today’s winners, may this be a reminder of the work needed to restore and conserve Kenya’s forest cover”.

The judging process this year focused on four main criteria – expression of theme, creativity, composition and photographic quality – and was overseen by a panel of three judges with vast photographic knowledge.

Commenting on the judging process, Gurchorpran Roopra, wildlife photographer and judge said, “We were looking for photographers who best highlighted the beauty in nature and the impact of climate change and we are happy with the talent we saw from all entries”.

Richard Kariuki, an outdoor photographer, won The People’s Choice Award with his photo that depicted a new shoot growing over a felled tree garnering 3,820 unique votes from the public. James Wando also stood out and scooped the Best Under-18 Award. Both received a new Nikon D3500 camera.

“I am delighted to have emerged the Gold Winner in this year’s competition. My strategy was to showcase how we have a very beautiful country that we need to conserve for future generations,” said Salma, the Gold Winner.

The campaign supports sustainable solutions that contribute to forest conservation with a view to protect our natural environment. It focused on four elements – wildlife, water, community and lifestyle and provided a platform for photographers to highlight the beauty in Kenya’s landscape whilst celebrating the best talent.

The top 20 finalists will all attend a photography masterclass with a Nikon expert to learn more about nature photography.

All Set For Chapa Dimba na Safaricom

Football Federation of Kenya (FKF) announced that 1,600 teams have been listed to participate in the second season of Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament which will kick off this weekend with group matches in the Western Region.

80 matches will be played on Saturday and Sunday at different venues in Kakamega and Vihiga while Busia and Butere will host 29 games on the weekend of November 3rd and 4th. The competition then moves to Nyanza, Rift Valley, Eastern, Coast, Central, North Eastern and Nairobi regions.

“We are glad to note that more youth football teams have enlisted for this year’s tournament to make it 1,600 teams up from 1,520 teams that participated in the first edition. This is due to FKF’s great work of recruiting and using their grassroots network to full effect and also because of the great feedback received from the first season’s success”, said Charles Kare, Acting Director – Consumer Business, Safaricom.

“In this second season we will also hold empowerment sessions for players across the country in conjunction with the Safaricom’s youth network, BLAZE,” said Mr. Kare.

Each team will comprise of 15 players and 2 officials for the group stages. Just like in the first season, the tournament will target aspiring male and female youth aged between 16-20 years with an aim of developing grassroots football, scouting for talent and propelling gifted players to national glory.

The regional champions will then play in a national final in 2019 where the winning teams will walk away with KES 1Million shillings in prize money.

“This season, my team and I are excited by the fact that 32 of the tournament’s most gifted players will get a chance to play with the best youth sides in Spain due to the partnership with LaLiga. This, and KES 1 million cash prize for the tournament’s winning teams has seen interest and enrollment shoot up. I am looking forward to an even more exciting season,” said Nick Mwendwa, FKF President.

This year, the competition will run in collaboration with LaLiga and FKF. The partnership will see an all-star team selected to attend a training camp in Spain during which they will play against local youth sides.

In addition, FKF will scout and recruit gifted players into the national teams and other leagues in the country.

Over fifteen young players from the inaugural season have joined the Kenya Premier League and the National Super League

StanChart Marathon Receives 130m

The 16th edition of the Standard Chartered Nairobi International Marathon has received a boost with eight corporates pledging Kes 130 million worth of sponsorship.

This year the Bank has invested about KES 100 million towards sponsorship of the event. The partners and sponsors include Athletics Kenya, Nairobi County Government, IS Solutions, Alpine Coolers, AUA (CCTV), Subaru Kenya, Kenafric Diaries, and KICC.

Speaking during a free eye camp at Uhuru to mark World Sight Day, Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon Local Organising Committee Chairman, Peter Gitau announced that Bank had achieved its global target of raising USD 100 million towards Seeing is Believing, SiB.

“2018 marks the 15 anniversary of SiB and I am happy to announce that the Bank has reached the goal it set in 2011 to raise USD100 million, two years ahead of schedule, for the fight against avoidable blindness and visual impairment,” added Mr. Gitau.

All the funds raised through registration for the marathon are channelled towards the Seeing is Believing initiative.

“We have so far registered more than 10,000 participants. All participants, individual and corporates, can register through the official marathon at a fee of KES 2,000 till 15th October 2018. The fee will increase to KES 2500 from 16th October 2018,” said Mr. Gitau.

At stake, will be Kshs 8 million prize money for the five race categories. The six race categories remain unchanged; 42km male and female, 21km male and female, 10km male and female, 21km wheelchair male and female, 5km Family Fun Run race and 3km CEO challenge. Kit collection will commence on 17th October at the KICC grounds until 27th October 2018.

The race will be held on 28th October 2018 at Railway Club.