Bereaved striker Ezekiel Odera believes his AFC Leopards side has what it takes to challenge their eternal rivals Gor Mahia for this season’s Kenyan Premier League title. Odera, who lost his mother to illness over a week ago, put aside his sorrow to net the equalising goal as Leopards overturned a two-goal first half deficit to beat Mathare United 4-3—the latter’s first defeat of the campaign.“For sure, we have the talent and mentality to challenge for trophies particularly the league title which Leopards have not won for twenty years. With the right attitude and commitment from everyone, it is something we can achieve,” said the soft spoken striker.On Sunday, hundreds of Ingwe fans thronged their Umoja home to condole with Odera and his family as they finalise plans to inter their mum. The win over Mathare was Leopards second on the bounce under assistant coach Dennis Kitambi, who was put in full charge of the first team as Ingwe mull over what to do with coach Robert MatanoAfter five matches, Leopards who play their game in hand against Wazito tomorrow, are fifth in the league standings with ten points— six behind leaders Gor who have played a game more.K’Ogalo once again showed their strength in depth as a largely second string side easily overcame Nzoia United 1-0 to move five points clear at the top. Hot on their heels are the unlikely duo of Chemelil Sugar and Bandari. The two sides registered huge victories over the weekend to emerge as the teams capable of challenging K’Ogalo’s supremacy this season.Chemelil are second on goal difference after their come from behind 4-1 mauling of Nakumatt with Bandari third following their 3-0 walloping of Sony. Having lost their unbeaten record, Mathare slipped to fourth—their lowest ranking this season albeit on goal difference as they have 11 points same as the two teams above them.Leopards complete the top five Nzoia are back at the bottom of the standings with three points from their six matches. Joining them in the relegation zone are ZooKericho, Vihiga United and Thika United, who have four points in 17th,16th and 15th respectively. Coincidentally, all the sides were involved in goal-less stalemates over the weekend with Thika frustrating Tusker in Ruaraka while Zoo and Vihiga cancelled each other out in a goal-less stalemate.New boys Vihiga are the only team yet to win a match this season and unless their fortunes change pretty soon they are in danger of being a one hit wonder in the top flight league.Eric Kiptanui clocked 1:00:05 to clinch the Lisbon Half Marathon on Sunday in Portugal. Eritrea’s Yohanes Gebregergish finished second in 1:00:16 with Moses Gachanga of Kenya completing the podium in 1:00:17. Another Kenyan Nicholas Kosimbei, who placed fourth in 1:00:21Despite the poor weather that combined rain and wind, the men’s race still witnessed deep results with the first 12 running under 61 minutes.From the start to the first turn, a stretch of about 7kms, the runners forged on with a tailwind, but over the next 10km they faced a headwind, with the final 4km again run with the wind. Until that second turn point, more than 15 runners remained in the lead group. It was only after the 17km that the race started to change.That was the moment Kiptanui upped the tempo to built a small lead. The challengers tried to make up ground at different points in the waning different stages, but they couldn’t catch up Kiptanui who closed with a 2:47 final kilometre en-route to 1:00:05 victory in his debut over the distance.“I’m really happy with this result,” said the unheralded Kiptanui, whose biggest career win came at the San Silverstre 10km in Madrid on the New Year’s Eve.“I must thank the organisation for inviting me and trusting that I can run at this level. I think I could have achieved a better result if there were no strong wind.“In future races, I believe I can run under one hour, and of course, if I return to Lisbon, I’m sure I will run faster than today, because this is a great course.”In the women’s event, Etagegn Woldu led an Ethiopian 1-2-3-finish. Woldu posted 1:11:27 with Belainesh Oljira second in 1:11:29. Helen Bekele clocked 1:11:33 to place third. Bahrain’s Mimi Blete (1:11:38) and Kenya’s Magdaline Masai (1:11:49) completed the top five places.Cardinal Otunga, Mosocho narrowly edged Nyabigena 10-8 to retain the Kisii county secondary schools boys’ 15’s rugby title at Kisii High over the weekend.Enjoying the support of their new principal and former Harambee Stars midfielder, Dennis Munyendo, Cardinal Otunga needed a last minute penalty to beat a stubborn Nyabigena, who had taken an 8-7 lead. Donatas Isoe gave Nyabigena the lead with unconverted try before Cornelius Amos added to a penalty for an 8-0 lead. Cardinal Otunga’s captain Edwin Nyachio then crossed the white wash with Ezra Okwoyo converting the try. Nyabigena’s resistance was broken when they conceded a penalty in the last minute of the game and Cardinal Otunga’s David Williams did not make a mistake, giving his team 10-8 victory in the final.In the semis, Cardinal Otunga coached by Kisii RFC player Edward Sokoine, beat hosts Kisii School 16-13 while Nyabigena thumped Rianyanchabera 28-0.Nyanchwa claimed the boys’ basketball title after beating favourites Cardinal Otunga 73-43 in the final. “Playing in the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Nyanza region league, where we reached national play-off helped the boys overcome Cardinal Otunga. They gained a lot from playing in the league,” said Nyanchwa coach Kepher Mogire. In girls’ basketball, Itierio defeated Kereri 44-27 to reclaim the title they lost last year. Debutants Nyamagwa SDA clinched the boys’ handball title after a hard fought 15-13 win over Nyatieko Mixed. Innocent Siro’s Senior Chief Musa Nyandusi, Kegati clinched the girls’ handball title for the third year running after thrashing Chironge 35-5 in a one-sided final.Hosts Kisii School and Kereri Girls will represent Kisii County in hockey after beating their opponents. In Kisumu County, hosts Maseno School asserted their dominance by claiming three titles. Maseno defended the 15s rugby, boys’ handball title and reclaimed the basketball trophy which they lost to Kisumu Boys last year.Shujaa put up a gallant performance to collect 19 points from the Vancouver Sevens despite losing 31-12 to Fiji in the final yesterday morning.The win saw Shujaa remain eighth on the log with 64 points, surpassing their target of last season, where they finished 12th with an overall points tally of 63 from the ten tournaments.The match against Fiji was the second over the weekend after both sides met in the preliminary rounds with the Fijians winning 24-21.In the final, Shujaa started brilliantly with Willy Ambaka crossing the whitewash and Sammy Oliech converting for a 7-0 lead.The Fijians re-grouped and levelled matters through Joshua Vakurunabili after a minute. Vatemo Ravouvou converted to tie the game at 7-7.The Fijians then went ahead shortly after Sevuloni Mocenacagi touched down for uncoverted try and a 12-7 lead.Oliech was to restore parity for Kenya with an unconverted to end the game 12-12 at the interval.On resumption, the Fijians stepped up a gear with Mocenacagi scoring his second try and Amenoni Nasilasila kicking over the conversion for 19-12 lead.The Pacific Islanders were to extend their lead thereafter with Alesio Naduva touching down and Nasilasila converting to give the Fijians breathing space of 26-12.Paula Dranisinukula then put the icing on the cake for the Fijians with a late unconverted try.Kenya tried to rally in the closing seconds with Ambaka going on a searing run only to be tackled into touch by Fijian play-maker Jerry Tuwai to close out the match.This was Kenya fourth final appearance for Kenya in the history of the World Sevens Series.The first final was in 2009, when they succumbed to a 26-7 defeat against South Africa in Adelaide.In 2013, Kenya also lost to England 24-19 in Wellington final in extra time and two years ago, Kenya beat Fiji 30-76 in Singapore final.Head coach Innocent Simiyu remains on course to bag 100 points for the season with four events remaining on the circuit.Shujaa ripped up the form book on Day Two, stunning England 12-0 in the quarterfinals and edging USA 24-19 in a pulsating semi-final.The win against England was their first over their colonial masters since 2011.Skipper Oscar Ouma led from the front in the match against the English and his well taken try gave Kenya a deserved 7-0 lead at the interval.Shujaa defended gallantly, denying England space and Billy Odhiambo put the match beyond doubt to seal their place in the semis.In the match against USA, Shujaa were on the back foot with speedster Perry Baker scoring a double and Folau Niua converting both for a 14-0 lead.Nelson Oyoo touched down twice with Oliech converting one try to trail 14-12 at the interval.On resumption, Carlin Isles gave USA the lead at 19-12 before Willy Ambaka crashed.Click here for the latest political newsKibera Black Stars’ remained top of the National Super League standings despite seeing their unbeaten start to the campaign come to a halt yesterday following a 1-0 loss to KCB at Camp Toyoyo.Chrispin Onyango was the hero for the bankers as he netted the lone goal midway through the first half to claim the bankers’ third win in five matches. The defeat left Kibera top with 13 points with Bidco, who thumped Nakuru All Stars second with 11 points and Ushuru, who drew 2-2 with rejuvenated St. Joseph third on the standings.KCB climbed up to sixth in the table with 10 points and a game in hand over the five teams above them. The game began on a high with the two sides showing intentions of opening the scoring charts from the numerous chances created. The on-form Kibera strikers held KCB’s defenders hostage for the better part of the opening half hence barring the flankers from overlapping. After squandering a number of open chances, KCB finally broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute through Chrispin, who beat Kibera’s stopper Evans Adache with a low shot.Nicodemus Onyango would have leveled for Kibera in the 27th minute after the centre half rifled a long shot which almost beat the advancing KCB shot stopper Juma Kaseja. The former Tanzanian international, however, stood tall to tip the ball for a corner. Despite Kibera trailing, their confidence grew and their quest to restore parity saw them pin the bankers to their own half.KCB were forced to an unwanted first half substitution as Abuko picked a knee injury in the 40th minute and the former AFC Leopards man was replaced by Rodgers Omondi. The half time whistle came as reprieve for the under pressure KCB who had endured a tough final ten minutes from the marauding Stars. A revitalized Kibera resumed for the final half with intentions to cancel the goal. Sailing past KCB’s final third, however, proved hard for Kibera who had all their attempts end at the hands of Kaseja who produced the man of the man display.Former Barclays Kenya Open winners Gary Boyd (2009), Robert Dinwiddle (2010) and Sebastian Soderberg (2016) lead the contingent of foreign players for this year’s event later this month at the Muthaiga Golf Club as the bonanza marks 50 years since inception.The three will lead a high-calibre list of foreign players, who have expressed interest to take part in this year’s tournament, and whose participation in the tourney is now awaiting ratification by the European Challenge Tour.Englishman Gary won the 2009 Kenya Open with a total gross score of 13-under 271, which was a personal improvement from the previous year, where he had finished fifth with a round score of 6-under 278. Gary also featured at the Kenya Open in 2014, 2015 and last year, where he finished 63rd. Fellow Englishman, Robert Dinwiddle, won the 2010 edition of the Kenya Open with a 12-under 272 gross score with his other outings at the tournament having been in 2007 (82nd position), 2002 (22nd) and last year at the Muthaiga, where he finished 41st with a total gross score of 4-under 280.Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg won the 2016 Barclays Kenya Open with a gross score of 18-under 270 to set the tournament’s second-best score in the Championship’s history. He has featured at the tournament on two other occasions—2015 when he finished 104 and last year, placing 154th.Notable names in the roster of foreign players expected to take part in this year’s tournament include—two-time Challenge Tour winner, Richard McEvoy, who also won the 2017 Scottish Hydro Challenge and the 2005 Panasonic Panama Open tourney and three-time Challenge Tour and one-time European Tour champion, Roope Kakko. Roope has won the Madeira Islands Open (twice); the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic and the Volvo Finnish Open.Other foreign nationals expected to take part at this year’s Kenya Open include Swede Anton Karlsson, Frenchman Antoine Rozne, Ugandan Fred Wanzala, Rwandese Ernest Ndayinsenga and Nigerian Andrew Oche Odoh.This year, the tournament will also feature six South African professional players, who play in the Sunshine Tour. The six South Africans include, Oliver Bekker (7-time Sunshine-Tour-related tournament winner), Ockie Strydom, Louis de Jager, Jaco Ahlers, Neil Schietekat and Peter Karmis, who is ranked 13th overall best player in Africa. The six will be making their debut at the Kenya Open and are expected to mount a formidable challenge among the foreign players.Speaking at the sidelines of the ‘Kenya Open At 50 golf tournament’ at the Muthaiga over the weekend, Kenya Open tournament director, Patrick Obath, attributed the enhanced interest from foreign players to the increased prize money this year, which has raised the profile of the tournament. “This year’s total prize kitty of €500,000 has seen us receive enhanced interest from a high-calibre list of players from across the world. We believe their participation will enhance the quality of golf that will be played at the tournament,” he said. The Kenya Open has slots for 156 players; 106 of whom are selected on merit through the European Challenge Tour and 50 selected by the Kenya Open Golf Limited featuring Kenyan and regional professionals as well as local amateurs.Sports Cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa has called for speedy investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of athletes by coaches in Uasin Gishu County.A report aired by a TV Station on Sunday highlighted the plight of young girls in Uasin Gishu and Nakuru counties, who are being abused by coaches.In a press statement, Echesa has instructed Athletics Kenya head of youth department, Barnabas Korir to lead investigations into the alleged sexual abuse claims and report back to him.Echesa said the sexual abuse reports have deeply saddened him as they contravened the International Humanitarian Law & Kenya’s Sexual Offences Act of 2006 protecting the Rights of individuals in matters related to sexual abuse.He noted: “Those affected by this mistreatment may have been undergoing psychological trauma, pain and frustration while training. These young Kenyan athletes whose dream is to get to the top may have had their hopes dashed by unscrupulous coaches and officials,” added Echesa. He observed those found contravening the Code of Management will face the law and be expelled from managing any sports activities both locally and internationally. “No Sports persons will in future go through such an abuse and molestation while they are pursuing their future in sports,” noted Echesa. He added that all sports federations must ensure they put in place measures that will deter or protect our young Sports persons especially girls, who are more vulnerable to these kind of conduct. Echesa has also put on notice officials and coaches who have been engaging in sexual abuse conduct. He has appealed to sports persons and members of the public to bring to his attention any such incidences.Debutants Simon Kipkorir (middle blocker), Nicholas Matui (outside hitter) and Abiud Chirchir (opposite attacker) have been named in the 16-man General Service Unit provisional squad ahead of the men’s Africa Club Championships slated for March 27 to April 5 in Cairo, Egypt.The three will get their first feel of continental volleyball if they make the cut to the final 14. Other players in the line-up are 2017 best setter Brian Melly, who will partner with Nicholas Lagat, middle blockers Wesley Rono, Cornelius Lagat, Cornelius Rotich and Shadrack Misiko, left attackers Cornelius Kiplagat, Bonifentry Wekesa, Naftali Chumba and Jacob Kirwa and veteran opposite hitter David Kirwa.“The team is talented and I am looking forward to see the players make our work harder when selecting the final team. Players must compete for the available slots because we will only shortlist the best,” said GSU coach Gideon Tarus. The police outfit’s technical bench, headed by national team head coach Moses Epoloto, named two setters, two liberos and two right attackers. They also named five players each in the middle blocking and outside hitting departments. However, Tarus intimated that he will travel with 14 best players among the 16, regardless of their home/ preferred positions. “It is not a must that we pick a certain (standard) number of players in a given position. We will mainly shortlist all-round players for the championships,” he said, adding: “After our friendly match again Kenya Prisons tomorrow, we will gauge our players and identify which departments we still have to fine-tune before traveling.” The team leaves Nairobi for Cairo on March 23.Kenya Prisons and Kenya Pipeline won their respective quarter-finals matches yesterday to storm into the semis of the ongoing African Club Championship in Cairo, Egypt.Prisons beat Rwanda Revenue Authority 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 26-24) in the early match before their local nemesis Pipeline saw off Bafia of Cameroon 3-1 (25-12,However, the real test awaits the East Africans today when they face off with the North Africans teams in the irrespective semi-final matches.Both teams started with same squads that won their last group matches over the weekend with Prisons lining up captain Evelyne Makuto, Mercy Moim, Emmaculate Chemtai, Edith Wisa, Lorine Chebet, Joy Luseneka and libero Elizabeth Wanyama.Pipeline on other hand, paraded captain Triza Atuka, Yvonne Sanaida, Noel Murambi, Leonida Kasaya, Esther Wangeci, Janet Wanja and libero Aggripina Kundu.Prisons took an early 4-1 lead and 8-5 at the first technical time out of the first set and were unstoppable as they bombarded their opponents, taking the game to 12-6 thus forcing RRA into a time out. However, the pep talk from RRA coach and Kenyan International Margaret Ndasaba did little to stop the Kenyans as they raced to a 20-9 lead, then 23-10 before sealing the set 25-11.In the second set, it was give and take before Prisons squeezed a 8-7 lead as they opened a four-point lead for a 13-9 and 16-9 at the 2nd TTO. Prisons then extended the lead to 19-14, 20-15 and 23-17 before they took the set 25-17. In the third set, Prisons trailed their counterparts in the early stages (2-3) before both sides tied 4-4. RRA went ahead to lead 8-6 and 16-14 at the 1st TTO and 2nd TTOand extended the lead to 20-18. Prisons then rested Luseneka for Herman Kipyegon and the move paid off as Prisons overtook the opponents 21-20 before sealing the win with a close26-24.In the interview, Prisons coach David Lung’aho noted that they were not at their best but he was glad the side booked a semi-final slot. On the other hand, RRA coach Ndasaba was gracious in her defeat, saying they played well but it was not good enough.
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