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Cameroon president gifts volleyball team $347,000 ‘for beating Kenyans’

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By NDI EUGENE NDI
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Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has offered the country national women’s volleyball team FCFA 204 million (Ksh34.7 million, approximately $347,000) for their triumph at the 2019 Women’s African Nations Championship, authorities said.

The country’s Prime Minister, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute made the announcement in the capital Yaoundé on Tuesday as he officially received and decorated the players with medal of “Commanders of the Order of Sports Merit” on the behalf of the veteran Head of State.

Cameroon outplayed most-titled continental team Kenya 3-2 at 6 October Hall in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday, July 14, in what many fans have described as a fantastic final of the 2019 Women’s Volleyball African Nations Championship to win gold for the second consecutive time.

“You showed patriotism, bravery, combativeness and self-transcendence. You won it very high with four wins in five outings,” PM Dion Ngute told the girls who are coached by Jean Rene Akono.

“You are highly talented sportswomen and exemplary patriots, heroic players who have reproduced the feat of 2017 by conserving the trophy of the Women’s African Nations Volley Ball Championship,” Dion Ngute added.

In a huge contrast, the Malkia Strikers, who were also runners up in 2017, have received no such recognition from the Kenyan government despite several pleas from the girls to have their allowances from their participation in previous tournaments settled.

Malkia Strikers only got a congratulatory message on Twitter from the country’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed after the final in Egypt 10 days ago.

“#MalkiaStrikers Well done. You did your best throughout at the 2019 Women’s Volleyball African Nations Championships. Thank you for representing Kenya. We are proud of you,” tweeted the CS.

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Besides being gold medallists, the “Volleyball Lionesses” of Cameroon also garnered several individual distinctions with attacker Laetitia Moma, a top scorer the French Championship last season and a new player of Mulhouse, named MVP and Best Attacker and captain Christelle Nana named best scorer of the tournament.

Moma was awarded the best player of the tournament award two years ago as well.

“We were able to attain this objective thanks to the Cameroonian people,” Nana said. “I want to thank the Cameroonian people because through their support we were able to win the trophy for the second consecutive time,” the captain of the national volleyball team said further.

The recognition by the president of the republic is an encouragement for hard work, according to coach Jean Rene Akono who had earlier said that his players did not have proper preparation for the tournament.

“It is a great honour especially as the president himself wrote to our captain. This shows the recognition of the entire nation. I think that alone will motivate us more to win other medals…with this reward, we will be more galvanised to continue to go to higher heights,” Akono promised.

President Biya had earlier in a tweet described the players as the “Pride of Cameroon.”

“Congratulations to the Indomitable Lionesses following their brilliant back-to-back victory at the AFCON 2019 in women’s volleyball. You are the pride of Cameroon. Together, we are champions,” Biya said on Twitter following their triumph in Cairo 10 days ago.

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Athletes reflect on super congested 2022 international season

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AYUMBA AYODI

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Will it be possible to double or not?

That is the question that has seen both coaches and athletes going into spin with the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games falling in the same period in 2022.

This state of affairs could now force Athletics Kenya to name separate teams in most events for the two world competitions.

On Wednesday, World Athletics announced that the World Championships that had been postponed from this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic will now be staged from July 15 to 24 in Oregon, United States.

The 22nd Commonwealth Games will take place from July 27 to August 7 in Birmingham, England.

World Athletics postponed the World Championships that were to originally take place in July next year in Oregon after the International Olympic Committee rescheduled the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games from July 24-August 9 to July 23-August 8, 2021.

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Renowned athletics coach Bernard Ouma and elite athletes, World and Commonwealth 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri, 2015 World javelin champion Julius Yego and 2016 Rio Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich expressed different opinion after the changes.

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Ouma said it will be difficult for athletes especially in middle and long distances races to double especially with fatigue creeping while Yego, the 2014 Commonwealth javelin champion, noted that top elite athlete are likely to choose the World Championships over the Commonwealth Games.

Chepng’etich, who won the World 1,500m title in 2017 London before settling for silver in 2019 Doha, said that it will difficult for someone to double with health and form key factors.

Obiri, the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist, who retained her World title in Doha last year also said it would be difficult for someone to double considering there was also the Diamond League and World Continental Tour events.

“Commonwealth Games will take two weeks hence it will take an excellent athlete to double. Actually, doubling will not be the best option since. It could be a costly gamble,” said Ouma.

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UK-based Sesay ‘100 per cent ready’ for Kenya call-up

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DAVID KWALIMWA

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Crawley Town’s English defender David Sesay has seemingly had a change of heart on playing for Kenya.

While responding to questions from his fans on the English club’s official Twitter account on Wednesday, the League Two defender said that he is now ready to answer a call up from Kenya’s Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi.

“I will hundred per cent accept the call up from Kenya,” he confirmed.

The 21-year-old defender was called up for international duty by then Stars coach Sebastien Migne in the run up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt last year, but declined the invite to concentrate on his club career.

Sesay explained he had to make a difficult decision in turning down the opportunity to compete at the Africa Nations Cup in Cairo, where Kenya lost to eventual finalists Senegal and Algeria, and beat rivals Tanzania in Group “C”, as he was focused in helping his side battle relegation at the time.

“That (Kenya) is where my mum comes from. It is my heritage. Last time I had just broken into the first team here and was playing games in a row,” said Sesay.

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“We were not in the best position in the league. There were some few media outlets in Kenya that said I declined the call up, that wasn’t the case.
I think those that needed to understand my decision did understand.”

Should Kimanzi hand the West Bromwich Albion-target a chance in his team, he will have to compete for a starting position at left-back with Sweden based defender Eric “Marcelo” Ouma, and veteran Aboud Omar who is unattached.

Stars face a congested fixture period when the coronavirus pandemic is curbed, with matches against Comoros, Egypt and Togo in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The team is also pooled alongside Uganda, Rwanda and Mali in the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

League Two is England’s fourth tier football league.

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Mass exodus looms at Gor Mahia

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CECIL ODONGO

By CECIL ODONGO
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Gor Mahia are on the verge of losing four key senior players.

Nation Sport has established that the four are no longer interested in playing for Gor Mahia and intent to leave the club at the end of this season.

The four, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised while still under contract and with the season yet to end, said their decision would not change even if Gor Mahia secured a major shirt sponsor.

The players said they were fed up with Gor Mahia repeatedly failing to meet its financial obligation to the squad members and it was better for them to look for greener pastures.

“It has been tough at Gor Mahia since the sponsorship of SportPesa ended. I can’t blame the club management for the current financial woes but as a player, I have dependents whom I have to look after. I have bills to pay,” said the players.

They also blamed Gor Mahia officials for “abandoning the club and leaving all the management burden to the chairman Ambrose Rachier” who has been struggling to ensure they are paid, however little money it is.

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“Personally, if all goes well I will leave but am indebted to the chairman who has been there for us during hard times. I am not afraid to say that other officials have abandoned us in time of need. Whenever there is an issue, we are always told to talk to the chairman who sometimes gets to us personally and assists. We are grateful for that,” said one of the players.

They called on the government to chip in and financially assist community-based clubs like Gor and AFC Leopards so that they can return back to their glory days.

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They wondered how money from the Sport Fund was now being channelled to other functions yet sportspeople were going hungry and begging for food.

The Kenyan Premier League is currently suspended following a government ban on public gatherings in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that has already caused the death of seven people in the country.

With no action, no source of income and a season in limbo, many KPL clubs remain hard pressed to pay their contracted players.

Fifa on Tuesday proposed that contracts of players be extended until such time that the season does actually end.

Fifa, in the same communication, encouraged clubs and players to work together to find agreements and solutions during the period when football is suspended.

Nation Sport understands that Tanzanian giants Azam and Young Africans are keen on the services of three of the four players who want out.

The other player said he has been in negotiating with Tunisian giants Esperance.

Yanga SC and Simba have lately been raiding K’Ogalo’s camp for fresh talent.

Former K’Ogalo stars Francis Kahata and Meddie Kagera signed for Simba in 2019 and 2018 respectively while Ivorian striker Yikpe Ghislain, who played for less than a season at K’Ogalo, left for Yanga amid financial tribulation at the 18-time Kenyan Premier League champions last December.

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