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Kenya, S.Sudan face off in 2021 FIBA Afro-Basket Pre-qualifiers

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Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second half of Game 7 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals in Oakland, Calif., Monday, May 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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Kenya Morans will lock horns with South Sudan Saturday in their last 2021 FIBA Afro-Basket Pre-qualifiers clash at the Nyayo national stadium. 

Kenya and South Sudan are both level on points after winning all their first three matches.

The two sides will have everything to play for as they battle for the remaining Group B slot for the African basketball league.

Saturday’s winner will join Angola, Senegal, and Mozambique in the qualifiers where the top three will qualify for Africa’s top men’s tournament.

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Kenya will bank on the services of Eric Mutoro who has been instrumental in the tournament as well as captain Griffin Ligare and Victor Bosire.

Kenya and South Sudan are both level on points after winning all their first three matches.

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Meanwhile the FKF SGM notice slated for the 28th of January  this year has been criticized by football stakeholders among them Stephen Mburu who is eyeing the FKF presidency.

According to Mburu, the current FKF office did not follow the right procedure and has not complied to the new Sports Act as ordered by the Sports Disputes Tribunal.

Mburu raised concerns with the federation for not including all stakeholders before calling for a new election as directed by the tribunal during the nullification of the previous election last year.

Mburu and other candidates hinted at going back to the Tribunal to air their grievances and won’t be part of the Special General Meeting organized by the federation.

FKF had issued a 14 day notice for a Special General Meeting which will be held on 28th of this month to discuss the electoral code and appoint new election board members.

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United boss Solskjaer: Players are ‘easy target’ in pay row

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AFP

By AFP
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Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted on Tuesday it was unfair to single out footballers over the issue of pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic and said they are an “easy target”.

England’s wealthy top-flight stars have come under fire over their lack of action, with British Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for them to take a cut and “play their part”.

The Premier League has urged players to accept wage reductions of 30 percent but ongoing talks have hit a stumbling block.

Professional Footballers’ Association boss Gordon Taylor said his members had “agreed to play their part” and Solskjaer said it was time to stop criticising players.

“For me football is an easy target sometimes,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

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“For me it’s unfair to call on any individual or footballers as a group because I already know players do a great amount of work in the community, and players are doing a lot to help this situation.

“Discussions are taking place between players and clubs, what kind of contribution they’ll make. It’s not easy for anyone, and to be called out is not fair for me.”

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Liverpool were forced into an embarrassing U-turn on Monday after the league leaders initially said they would use public money to pay non-playing staff.
Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich have also used the government’s furlough plan.

Solskjaer’s United said they would not be furloughing staff while club captain Harry Maguire has reportedly asked his team-mates to donate 30 percent of their wages to help Manchester hospitals.

Adamant that players are not the only ones who should be in the spotlight over the pay issue, Solskjaer said: “Mistakes are being made and have been made by loads of people and that’s how we learn as well.

“Now it’s about making better decisions, good decisions. I think we all want to help the NHS (National Health Service), the communities, and I think it’s important every single club does what they think is right.”

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Patrick Njiru made us believe in ourselves in Safari Rally

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PETER NJENGA

By PETER NJENGA
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This weekend 20 years ago, a young chap from a sleepy village in Embu made us all believe in ourselves. Patrick Njiru became the first driver to finish the Safari Rally in a Group N car, a potent showroom Subaru Legacy.

Fuji Heavy Industries had unleashed the Subaru Legacy one year earlier and all the five factory team cars came a cropper in the Safari, with Peter Possum Bourne from Australia being the highest placed Subaru driver in seventh place.

Njiru also failed miserably after his co-driver Aslam Khan was injured.

Subaru returned in the 1990 Safari in a semi-works team known as Subaru Motor Sport Group of which Njiru was a shareholder.

The car was tested and re-tested in a 10,000 kilometres sojourn under the careful eye of Noriyuki Koseki with mechanical wizard Ndoria Ikua being the only black man after Njiru in the line-up. Njiru got assistance from Dave Williamson in that epic race of 1990. Kenya was under single party rule and Robert Ouko had been murdered only two months earlier.

However, the 5,000km Safari Rally dominated that Easter weekend and the spotlight was firmly on Njiru who in 1987 finished the Safari, the first blackman since George Githu in 1979. Unlike his first Safari finish, in 1990 Njiru was commanding an armada of human resources and loads of cash to boot and true to the billing, he passed the interview with flying colours for he went on to become the Kenyan champion.

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There were many suitors, led by Serena Hotels which branded the Legacy and true to his orientation as a mechanic who had studied the profession at Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan, Njiru also won the heart of Koseki who in 1991 took him to Australia WRC where he finished 18th overall.

At a time when sponsorship was an issue in rallying, Njiru was always smiling all the way to the bank with major companies like Standard Chartered Bank, SmithKline Beecham, Coca-Cola, British American Tobacco, Marlboro Cigarettes, Caltex Oil and Hilton Hotels always lining his pockets.

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He repaid them in kind, his defining comment coming in 1994 when, together with Abdul Sidi, he won the Group N category and came fourth overall. This was the year for Kenyans, with Ian Duncan winning the overall title and the last by a Kenyan.

Down the line was also the emergence of Phineas Kimathi, the current CEO of the Safari Rally, Sammy Aslam, Rob Hellier, Azar Anwar, and Mark Trower for a Kenyan grand slam. Eight out of 14 finishers were home drivers.

In 1995 Njiru became the highest endorsed sportsman in Africa after signing a three-year deal with BAT at a handsome figure of 25.5 million and also used his influence to negotiate Sh108 million for the Safari for a similar period of time.

In return, he won three more Kenyan titles, raced in Malaysia and was used by the South Africa government in 1992 shortly after the end of Apartheid to promote rallying as a symbol of blackman’s tenacity to deliver results in a whites dominated event in a clear indication of the future of the rainbow nation.

But Njiru also become a victim of economic slowdown in late 90s. Always spoilt for choice with tones of equipment, Subaru Motor Sport Group ceased, giving way to the factory supported Prodrive which went on to produce the iconic Subaru Impreza. But try as they could, victory in the Safari eluded them until 1997 when the late Colin McRae, navigated by Nicky Grist, finally delivered the Safari victory.

In a way Njiru also helped promote the Impreza brand in early 90s by using the Kenya national championship series to develop the iconic brand before he unleashed it in 1994 Safari Rally under the Sportsman cigarettes livery.

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New dates for World U-20 may lock out some Kenyan juniors: Korir

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AYUMBA AYODI

By AYUMBA AYODI
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There are fears that half of Team Kenya hopefuls for the 2020 World Under-20 Championships might be ineligible to compete if the junior event is pushed to next year.

The junior track and field event has been put off due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a new date is yet to be announced.

Athletics Kenya director in charge of youth and development, Barnaba Korir, has said the men’s team could be drastically affected, with most probables turning 20 after this year.

And Korir has implored World Athletics to consider giving athletes who will have surpassed the age limit a leeway of one year if the event is held next year.

World Athletics and the Kenya government agreed to postpone the junior event that was due to be held from July 7 to 12 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, to a yet-to-be-disclosed date. Those eligible to participate in this year’s junior event should be 19 or younger on December 31 in the year of the competition.

“We have invested a lot in these juniors after taking them through camps in August and December last year,” Korir said. “Our junior men’s team will be greatly affected since half of our top athletes shall have turned 20 if the event is pushed to next year in the same period.”

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Korir said Athletics Kenya spent an estimated Sh25 million to run 19 junior camps last year, adding that the exercise should not be in vain. “We got enormous support from schools, parents and camps from across the country,” said Korir.

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Korir gave an example about the world football governing body, Fifa, which has shelved the rules for the Under-23 tournament for 2020 Olympics which has been postponed to 2021.

For example, Fifa made an amendment that “players born on or after January 1, 1997” will be able to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Games in 2021. This will now allow some 24-year-olds who want to represent their countries at that level to do so after the Games were postponed from July 24 to August 9 this year to July 23 to August 8 next year in Tokyo. However, there is no age limit for the general athletics championships.

Korir appealed to the ministry of sports to move in and cushion the young athletes with some funding after President Uhuru Kenyatta moved on Monday to provide Sh 200m from Sports Fund to Kenyan artists.

Already, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani disclosed that a total of Sh7 billion will be spend from the Sports Fund to fight the novel coronavirus spread.

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