At the start of the season, Thika United’s presence in the SportPesa Premier League was nearly scuttled by the enforcement by the Football Kenya Federation of the financial compliance requirements.The beneficiary then would have been Zoo Kericho but ultimately, Thika complied and Zoo managed to get into the top tier league for the very first time after the league was expanded to include 18 teams. Now, one of them will yet again decide on the fate of the other when they collide this afternoon in Kericho in a relegation battle six-pointer. The two sides are separated by just two points and even a draw will not be good enough as they try to fend off relegation.Zoo will be buoyed by the fact that they will be playing in front of their own fans at the Green Stadium but Thika will take heart from their recent performances that included victory over outgoing champions Tusker. Nicholas Kipkirui and Mike Madonya will be required to be at their best if Sammy Okoth’s men are to get the victory they badly need. Thika on the other hand, will look up on Eugene Mukangula and Chibueze Onwudi to get something from this clash.Zoo home form in the campaign has put them in good stead to beat the drop. That will need to continue in this clash that will go a long way to decide their top flight future. Thika have not been good travelers but have enjoyed good results against the newly promoted sides.They will hope to continue that run with three points that will all but guarantee they remain among the elite for another campaign. With Mathare United and Western Stima both picking three points in their outings over the weekend, the onus is on this two sdies to also get wins and take the fight for survival to the last day of the campaign in three days’ time. A win for Thika will see them leapfrog Zoo and occupy the safety spot going into the weekend while a win for the Kericho side will see them require hold onto their place in the top flight league as they will have 40 points—five more than Thika and Stima with only a match remaining.Elsewhere, Vihiga United today face Palos at Moi Stadium in Kisumu hoping to close the gap on the top three teams in the National Super League.Vihiga dropped to fourth on the NSL log because they were not in action over the weekend.They have 71 points, four behind leaders Ushuru and three behind second-placed Wazito while third-placed KCB have 73 points.Ushuru, Wazito and KCB have played one more than Vihiga. Vihiga coach Edward Manoah said: “We are taking all our remaining matches as finals. We don’t want to make any mistakes because we want automatic qualification to the top tier league.”Palos have lost the last three matches and coach Hesbon Nyabinge is under pressure to win the game. On Sunday, the Makini School sponsored side lost 2-0 against promotion favourites Ushuru at Moi Stadium. Palos are seventh with 45 points having won 10 encounters, drawn a record 15 games and lost 8. Sarah Muthoni and Sharon Zainab have been called to the national under-20 side ahead of a crucial World Cup Qualifier return leg match at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on Sunday.Coach Caroline Ajowi believes Muthoni, of Kariobangi North Girls and Zainab, from Nginda Girls, will be key as the junior Starlets seek to overturn a 5-0 deficit suffered in the reverse fixture in Accra, Ghana two weeks ago. The team have been training at the match venue since their return from Accra on November 7. Ghanaian coach Yosuf Basigi has warned his players against complacency as they seek to defend their huge lead.“It’s not over until its over. Yes, we won comfortably 5-0 and that should make us happy but this is football,” Basigi said. “We can’t relax because we have scored 5-0. They can also bounce back to kick us out of this tournament. We need to keep our preparation up and ensure we get a good result in Kenya.”Basigi said they need to play better than they did in Ghana to make sure they move to next stage. The overall winner will advance to third and final qualifying round ahead of the World Cup to be held in France.Squad: Goalkeepers: Lilian Awuor (Nyakach), Judith Osimbo (Nyakach), Brenda Achieng (Gaspo), Defender: Sarah Wangui (Our Lady of Mercy), Lucy Akoth (St Paul’s Abwao), Wincate Kaari (Thika Queens), Harriet Osilwa (Njambini), Foscah Nashivanda (Nginda), Veronica Awino (Damascus), Leah Cherotich (Wiyeta), Quinter Atieno (Soccer Queens), Midfielders: Sharon Zainab (Nginda Girls), Corazone Aquino (Vihiga Queens), Beverline Achieng (Nyakach), Diana Wacera (Mathare United), Sylvia Kapera (Nyakach), Diana Hashina (Kariobangi North), Strikers: Martha Amunyolete (Wiyeta), Rachael Muema (Thika Queens), Lillian Mmboga (Ibinzo), Stella Anyango (Soccer Queens), Joy Kinglady (Nyakach), Jentrix Shikangwa (Wiyeta)After the New York Marathon feat last 10 says ago, Geoffrey Kamworor has turned his focus on his third World Half Marathon title at next year’s event scheduled for March 24 in Valencia, Spain.Kamworor successfully won New York City Marathon on his third attempt after his debut in the 42km race and will be seeking for his third half marathon in Valencia .He beat former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang to second in New York and hopes to maintain his current form in Valencia. Kamworor won the 2014 and 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships titles in Copenhagen and Cardiff respectively. “I am very happy that I was able to get victory on my third appearance in marathon. My next focus now is to train for the World Half Marathon, where I will be defending my title for the third time,” Kamworor said.The athlete, who trains at the Kaptagat-based Global Sports Communication together with Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is confident of a third title defence in Valencia.“Nothing comes on a silver platter; On has to work hard. I will sit down with my coach and plan for next year,” he said. Kamworor has proved his prowess in cross country, road and track, owing to his expansive skills and discipline in training. “Discipline is paramount in anything you are doing and that is why I have been able to achieve all these successes,” he added.He made his marathon debut in marathon in 2012 in Berlin, finishing third before heading to the 2015 New York City Marathon, where he placed second. He said attributed his stellar run of results to Eliud Kipchoge, who he described as his mentor.“I admire Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge who has always been my mentor. We train with him at the Kaptagat Forest and I want to thank him for everything,” he noted.In March, he successfully defended the men’s 10km title at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, having also won the crown in Guiyang, China in 2015.On track, he has equally been phenomenal, winning silver at the 2015 Beijing World Championships and sixth in London this year.Kakamega Homeboyz striker Jeremiah Wanjala is SportPesa/Sports Journalist Association of Kenya (SJAK) Player of the Month for September.Wanjala garnered 19 votes to beat Gor Mahia’s Meddie Kagere, who got 15 votes, while Kariobangi Sharks striker Masoud Juma emerged third with 14 votes.He was awarded with a 49 inch LG smart TV, Sh100, 000 and Sh50, 000 for his team mates.“I want to thank the sponsors who came up with this brilliant initiative which has inspired us to work hard and maintain discipline,” said Wanjala during his coronation at the Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County.In September, Wanjala found the back of the net twice and provided a similar number of assists to help his side to three wins and two draws.“I am very happy to win this award. I thank my team-mates and coach for helping me win it. This will motivate me in my bid to play for the national team Harambee Stars. I also have a dream of playing professional football in the Premier Soccer League in South Africa,” said Wanjala.He paid tribute to coach Mike Mururi for helping and trusting in him. “I didn’t like the way Sony sacked me,” he claimed. “But coach Mururi received me and boosted my confidence. I owe him a lot. Another reason why I’m doing well is because of discipline and following the coach’s instructions.”Mururi said the award was a clear indication that hard work and discipline pays. “I’m happy for him. He works very hard and he is disciplined. We were unbeaten in September winning three and drawing two matches,” said Mururi.He added that he wants to finish the league on a high by winning the remaining match against Nzoia this weekend. “Injuries reduced our momentum. We wanted to finish second but we cannot do it,” said the coach.“When I arrived here last season, the club was new to me and I was new to everything but this year I have had a better grip and the players bought well into my philosophy. I will try my best to hold on to the squad and make additions for a title charge next year.”Seasoned road runners Habtamu Asefa Wakeyo and Keneni Germame Korme will compete in the men’s and women’s 21-km races, respectively, as part of an exchange programme between organisers of the Lotto Baringo Half Marathon and the Great Ethiopian Run.The two Kenyan athletes for the November 26 Great Ethiopian Run, Africa’s biggest road race with over 35,000 runners, will be unveiled after this Saturday’s Lotto Baringo Half Marathon from a shortlist of upcoming runners and also factoring the performances at Saturday’s race.“We are excited to once again have our neighbours and friendly rivals, from Ethiopia travelling to Baringo for the race as this is part of the exchange programme that we hope will continue improving the standards of distance running in Kenya,” Lotto Baringo Half Marathon founder and patron, Paul Tergat, said.“Going by their performances, Habtamu and Keneni will indeed give our local runners some good workout on Saturday,” added the former world marathon record holder and five-time world cross country champion.Interestingly, while Tergat is the founder of the Lotto Baringo Half Marathon, his running days rival Haile Gebrselassie started the Great Ethiopian Run.And while Gebrselassie took up management, being elected President of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation a year ago, Tergat also ventured into sports administration and was last month voted in as President of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.The Ethiopian running pedigree is never in doubt and the times posted by Habtamu and Keneni make for interesting reading, with Habtamu having clocked a personal best 28 minutes in the 10-kilometre road race in 2013 and 61:00 in the half marathon in France in the same year.In the full marathon, Habtamu clocked 2:08:28 for ninth place finish at the 2013 Dubai Marathon and has been a regular podium finisher in Ethiopian road races at altitude.Keneni’s personal best time in the half marathon is 68:00 which she clocked in India this year. She has a PB of 36:00 in the 10-km race posted at last year’s Great Ethiopian Run where she finished fourth. Keneni also finished fourth in last year’s 21km race at the Uganda Marathon, clocking 1:21:00 on challenging terrain. The two athletes will be managed by Ato Negash Dube.“We also look forward to having strong Kenyan runners at the Great Ethiopian Run on November 26 as part of this exchange and to also breathe more life in African road running,” Great Ethiopian Run general manager Ermias Ayele said.This year’s edition of the Lotto Baringo Half Marathon received an increased sponsorship of Sh5 million from Sh4 million last year from lottery company, Lotto Foundation.Lotto, are title sponsors for the second year running with this year’s race set for Saturday and featuring the flagship 21-km race, a 6km junior cross country race and 10-km road race open to individuals and corporates. The course has slightly changed with the starting point around Timboiywo and the finish at Kabarnet.At the launch, Lotto Foundation chairman Brian Waluchio commended the race organisers for their consistency and service to community.Sony Sugar capitalised on home advantage to maul visiting Muhoroni Youth 5-1 at Sony Sugar Green Stadium in Premier League match yesterday.This was a huge boost for Sony who are set to play new champions Gor Mahia in the final fixture of the season in this weekend.This was the third huge loss for Muhoroni in the last two weeks having lost to Kariobangi Sharks (7-2) and Bandari (6-2). The Got Alila side has soaked 19 goals in their last five matches and the change of guard at Muhoroni prior to their game against Sharks did little to save them from sinking to the second tier and preventing embarrassments.George Abege scythed home the opening goal barely 14 minutes into them match to break the deadlock before completing his brace in the 34th minute to give Sony a 2-0 lead at half time. The brace by the Ugandan forward saw him take his tally to seven goals. Sony’s Benjamin Mosha served his former employers with bitterness in the 62nd minute after rounding off Salim Sowedi to slot home the third goal. Bliss Kityo pulled one back for Muhoroni in the 68th minute.Defence lapses by Muhoroni Youth allowed Sony to score two goals within a space of two minutes as Victor Ademba and David Simiyu completed the five goal rout for Sony in the 73rd and 75th minute. The win saw Sony topple AFC Leopards from the tenth spot on goal difference as the two share a similar tally of 42 points.Muhoroni are set to complete their five year stay in SportPesa Premier League this Saturday against AFC Leopards at Mumias Sports Complex.
19 Sep, 2018  0  Comments
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