Sofapaka defender Humphrey Okoti has urged his teammates not to relent in their pursuit of the runners-up slot in the Sportpesa Premier League title as a precursor to a serious title challenge next season. Okot, who scored the winner as Batoto Ba Mungu pipped outgoing champions Tusker 1-0, said despite the disappointment of not winning a trophy this season, the team should be proud of themselves for their high placement, just a year after they escaped relegation.“Obviously we wanted to win a trophy this season. But we cannot be disappointed with ourselves for where we are right now. We had a lot of new players coming in and that should put us in a good place to compete and win trophies next year,” said the burly 31-year old defender.The victory over the brewers saw Sofapaka move to a point clear in second place with 52, a massive 21 points behind champions Gor Mahia.“We have to maintain our standards when the new season comes. Gor have a squad that has been together for a couple of years but I believe very strongly that we will be competing with them on equal footing next season,” added Okot.Sofapka face relegation threatened Zoo Kericho in their final match of the campaign on SaturdayMeanwhile despite their 1-0 win over Chemelil Sugar on Sunday AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano has come down hard on Burundian forward Alex Kitenge for his profligacy in front of goal.Kitenge, who was played as the lead striker by Ingwe in the match, squandered several chances in the second half but the damage on Chemelil had long been done as the Leopards registered back-to-back wins.“You will never see him (Kitenge) again in our matches. That boy has missed so many chances and that is a clear demonstration of lack of skill and intelligence. It is a pity we don’t have depth in our squad and we had to field him today. But if a striker wastes that number of chances, he is not worthy of wearing an AFC shirt. I am very disappointed with his performance today,” Leopards coach Matano said after the match. Leopards will be away to already relegated Muhoroni Youth on Saturday when the curtains come down on the 2017 season.Cooperative Bank return to the Kenya Volleyball Federation play-offs set for December 1-3 at Makande Hall, Mombasa County after two years absence.The bankers’ coach Geoffrey Omondi attributed their return to hard work and consistence.Cooperative finished the regular season, which ended last Friday in Eldama Ravine, in position three with 27 points having won nine matches and lost three.Omondi was, however, quick to note that the play-offs will not be a walk in park bearing in mind their opponents are regular participants at that stage.“We have been out of the play-offs for two years and we are glad we are making a comeback this year. Ours has been work in progress but at the end of the day, consistence and hard work from players have paid off,” said the former national coach, now KVF coaches commission chairman.“The regular season has been competitive and all the teams who have qualified are there by merit and therefore it will be interesting to see how all this will end but we will be out to make a good account of ourselves.”The bankers start their 2017 title quest against Kenya Prisons on December 1, take on KPA on December 2 before they wrap up the three day event with a tie against GSU.Omondi noted: “Prisons is a good side and have been regulars in the event. We know how they play and we hope to ruffle a few feathers and put on a good show.”Other team that have booked their places in the play-offs include 2015 champions General Service Unit, who completed the regular season unbeaten with 34 points, champions Kenya Prisons with 31 points having won 11 matches and lost one.Hosts Kenya Ports Authority complete the top four with 25 points.The Porters held their nerve to see off their nearest rivals, Kenya Defence Forces 3-2 to seal the final slot having won eight and lost four matches.Kenyan striker Michael Olunga failed to make it to the final list of five for the Confederation of African Football African Player of the Year 2017.The Girona FC and Harambee Stars striker was among the big names that fell off the provisional 30-man list released on November 1. He became the second Kenyan to make it to the shortlist after Victor Wanyama of Totenham.Olunga features for Spanish side Girona after joining on loan from Chinese Super League Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng.Chelsea forward and Nigerian international, Victor Moses and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane headline the final list of five that also includes ‘African Antelope’, Borrusia Dortmund’s pacy forward, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon.On the list also, are Mane’s clubmate, Mohamed Salah of Egypt and RB Leipzig’s central midfielder, Naby Keitor from Guinea.Mane has four of Senegal’s nine goals in the World Cup campaign besides having abysmal performances in the English Premier League.Salah scored Egypt’s goal which saw them back to the World Cup, taking his national team tally to five, in the campaign. Nigerian Moses was a profound figure in the Chelsea title-winning squad that grabbed the title from Leicester City last season.The Award Gala will be held on January 4, 2018, in Accra, Ghana. Meanwhile, Mosca FC bade farewell to the National Super League after squandering their final chance of survival, falling 1-0 to Bidco at Camp Toyoyo yesterday.The Ministry of Sports-sponsored club bitterly watched as their final attempt go down the drain following Geofrey Nyakeri’s strike in the 45+1 minute.Mosca head coach Kisco Kariuki named his strongest side for the encounter. First choice goalkeeper Evans Adache took his position with a quardruple of Kouassi Emmanuel, Morris Oliech, Bernard Otieno and Michale Muya.Godfrey Barar combined with Sammy William in shielding the back four while Tetieh Olesu and Solomon Kelo operated on the flanks. Dhibart Muma and Dennis Odhiambo were tasked with delivering the goods in the 4-4-2 line-up.His Bidco counterpart Simon Mwangi fielded Charles Wagonda in between the posts as Jacob Onyango and Lambert Oyugi were deployed at rightback and leftback positions respectively.Kassim Mwinyi and Sean Opwora were at the heart of the defence as David Kitasao, Mark Kwasira and George Amayu marshaled the midfield. Geofrey Nyakeri, David Juma and Heritier Luvualu completed the 4-3-3 formation.Mosca have managed a paltry tally of 15 points from 33 games are now headed to the Division One League. The win catapulted Bidco four places to 11th with 40 points.Vihiga Queens mauled Wadadia 6-2 to be crowned 2017 women’s Premier League Zone ‘B’ champions with a match in hand.The match played at Mumias Complex saw Teresa Engesia score Queens’ opener barely seven minute into the match. She went on to score four other goals in the 13, 16, 44 and 79th minutes to ensure Vihiga claimed the league for the second year running. The star-studded Vihiga Queens enjoyed the services of Harambee Starlets’ duo Phoebe Owiti and Lilian Adera and Lilian Awour and Corazon Aquino, who play for the national Under-20 team.“I expected my team to perform well considering the kind of effort we have put in. We knew Wadadia are a tough team, especially when playing at home and we were cautious of that,” Vihiga Queens’ head coach Alex Alumira said. Queens went into break with a comfortable 4-0 lead with Wadadia showing less effort to trouble Kenyan international Lilian Awour, who was not tested in goal. In the second half, Ruth Chebungei pulled one back for Wadadia in the 57th minute after a back pass from Mercyline Oginga.Wadadia took advantage of the confusion in the Queens’ defence after their first goal and scored a second through substitute Merab Ochieng in the 60th minute.Engesia scored in the 75th minute to restore the lead before Harambee Starlets’ Under-20 captain Corazone Aquino scored her first goal for the team in the 79th minute, after moving from Soccer Queens. Alumira praised his charges for retaining the title and hoped they will beat Zone ‘A’ leaders, Thika Queens in the playoffs for the national championship, in what will be a repeat of last year’s final.“We have learned from our past mistakes and we are ready to face Thika Queens. We hope for a win this time round,” he said. He explained their shaky midfield in the weekend’s game had been occasioned by the absence of his six key players, four of whom are in school and two on other duties. Vihiga face Oserian in a formality match. The only way they can fail to become champions is by losing 12-0, a result coach Alumira has termed as impossible.They lead Zone ‘B’ with 30 points after 12 outings while Oserian are second with 27 points. Terry’s five goals put her tally to 12 in three matches, having netted a hat trick against Eldoret Falcons last weekend and four others against Palos.Despite a 23km/h headwind between the 10th and 26th kilometres, Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich shattered the Turkish all-comers’ record at the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon, winning the IAAF Gold Label road race in 2:22:36.Seven months after her surprise 1:06:19 course record victory at the Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon, Chepngetich sliced nearly five minutes off the long-standing race record of 2:27:27, set by Ethiopia’s Ashu Kasim Roba in 2010. The 23-year old, who ran shoulder to shoulder with her compatriot Visiline Jepkesho for 40km, crossed the finish line four seconds ahead of the pre-race favourite.A group of six athletes – including Ethiopian trio Letebrhan Haylay, Mulu Seboka, Sinke Dessie and Kenya’s Sharon Jemutai – led the field from the gun, passing 10km in 34:53. Having to battle strong winds thereafter, Chepngetich, Jepkesho and Haylay proved to be the strongest athletes and had built up a 300-metre lead over their rivals by 15km, which they reached in 52:09.The trio passed half way in 1:11:53, suggesting a course record was highly likely, and were still together up to the 27th kilometre until Haylay started to lose ground. It then became a race between the two Kenyans and, surprisingly, it was the inexperienced Chepngetich who coped better with the difficult uphill section towards the finish line.Chepngetich won in 2:22:36, the third-fastest debut ever by a Kenyan woman, while Olympian Jepkesho finished second in 2:22:40, the second-fastest time of her career after the 2:21:37 PB she set in Paris earlier this year. Chepngetich pocketed a total of US$90,000 (Sh9.3m) for her effort while Jepkesho took home a prize purse of US$65,000 (Sh6.7m).Haylay placed third in 2:25:14, just 13 seconds shy of her career best.The men’s race was similarly close as just five seconds separated the top two finishers. A slow initial pace kept 14 athletes together through the halfway mark, reached in 1:05:47. The group had been whittled down to nine by 35km, and splits of 2:45 and 2:43 for the 37th and 39th kilometres respectively caused more runners to fall off the lead pack, eventually leaving France’s Abraham Kiprotich and Kenya’s Jacob Kendagor ahead of the rest by 40km.Kiprotich went on to win in 2:11:22 as Kendagor placed second in 2:11:27. Ethiopia’s Bazu Worku took third place in 2:11:39.Defending champions Stray Lions inched closer to retaining the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) Super League title after once again edging out Swamibapa by five wickets.The match played at Peponi School was the only match of the weekend after five other matches were washed out by the current heavy rains being experienced in the city.The match involving former champions Kanbis and Sir Ali Muslim Club was among the encounters washed out. This was the third wash out in four matches for Kanbis who are now 20 points behind Stray Lions.With eight points separating Stray Lions and Kanbis, the ground staff at Peponi School knew the importance of the match between the two sides and tried all means to have the match played. After four hours delay due to a wet outfield, Swamibapa began the inning poorly, losing three top wickets for 30 runs in 10 overs.After dismissing Irfan Karim, Shem Obado made it two for himself and four for the team forcing Maurice Ouma edging the ball into S.H Srinivas hands with the board on 47 runs.Six runs into the fifth wicket stand, umpire Charles Kariuki turned down a clear caught behind appeal from Nehemiah Odhiambo. Naman Patel had clearly edged the ball off Abraham Vadada gloves but Kariuki ignored the appeal. Saumil Patel too was beaten by a turn off Srinivas, leaving the visitors on 75 for 6. Odhiambo made it seven down with the dismissal of Emmanuel Bundi. Naman, who looked set to get the visitors into more reasonable score, fell to a slow ball from Nikhil Date on 28.The stand between siblings James Ngoche and Lameck Onyango yielded only 12 runs before Collins Obuya struck with his second delivery in the 24th over to bring the scores to 94. Hiren Varaiya hit the final nail in the opponents’ coffin with the dismissal of Ngoche with the board on 101. Openers Vadada and Manoj Sai put on 38 before the stand was broken with the dismissal of Sai. Roger Mukasa, playing his first match since the first leg, added on nine before paving way for Collins Obuya. In the 15th over, Obuya hit Ngoche for two consecutive sixes. This pushed Ngoche into panic, prompting the left-armer to bowl three consecutive wides.But that was how far Obuya could go as he was caught at deep off Jadavji Bhimji with the scores on 71 after 15 overs. But the damage was already done as the hosts wrapped up the win with five overs to play.Kenya Simbas coach Jerome Paarwter has made eight changes ahead of their second match of the Four Nations tournament against Russia today in Hong Kong.Following the 23-3 defeat to Chile last Friday, the South African tactician has called up Oscar Simiyu, Dennis Karani, Lyle Asiligwa, Biko Adema, Peter Kilonzo and Vincent Mose to start the encounter against Russia. The eight came into the match against Chile as substitutes alongside Martin Owilah and Alex Olaba. Elkeans Musonye, also unused on Day one, starts on the bench. Peter Karia, Oliver Mang’eni, Joshua Chisanga, Leo Owade, Darwin Mukidza, Davis Chenge and skipper Wilson Kopondo retain their places in the starting line up.Russia began their campaign with a griity 16-13 win over Hong Kong on Friday and are ranked 20th in the world. They start today’s match as favourites, owing to their dominant set pieces and experience. The two sides are meeting for the first time ever.Paarwter said he was disappointed with the squad’s inability to treasure possession and score tries against Chile last week. “We made a lot of errors in attack and we rarely held on to the ball for more than five minutes. We must attack better and reduce our error rate if we are to get anything from this match against Russia,” he added.Paarwater said the Russians are physical and have a dominant scrum. “We must match them up-front in the fowards and try win the collisions and breakdown. Our tactics will be to play at pace and try and tire some of their forwards,” added Paarwater.Paarwater said he was happy with the defensive organisation of the side following the arrival of compatriot Levy Labbeb. “Defensively, we are okay and the two tries scored came from scrums,” noted Paarwater. Skipper Wilson Kopondo said they have learnt lessons from the match against Chile. “We are disappointed. We didn’t play to our potential. Our link up play must improve and we must utilise our chances,” he added.Russia’s key players include Sergey Chernyshev, Valery Mozov, Dmitri Kotova and Andrei Temnov in the fowards with fullback Anton Ryabon and fly-half Ramil Gasin the pick of the backs.
19 Sep, 2018  0  Comments
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