An huge field of 250 golfers drawn from various clubs in the country will be parading at the par 72 Ruiru Sports Club course in Ruiru this weekend for the ICEA Lion King of the Course second leg which comes barely a week after the first leg at Machakos Golf Club.
Formerly the ICEA Lion Group golf day, this weekend’s tournament will be the first corporate tournament at Ruiru Sports Club this year. It is the second year in a row ICEA Lion is visiting the Thika highway facility that has become one of the most popular corporate golf destination.
“We are grateful to have been included in the now country-wide King of the Course golf series and will do everything to make sure that we meet not just the expectations of the sponsors but also those of the people who came up with this great golfing idea,” said Ruiru captain Peter Mwaura.
“The course is playing relatively easy with the light rains around. It is going to be an exciting year opener for our members with lots of exciting prizes on offer,” added Mwaura, who will be among those chasing the ICEA Lion King Of Course title where he will be competing against some of the players who have been in great form lately.
The club’s 2019 champion Chris Andrea currently playing off handicap four, club chairman James Muraguri, Ben Omondi and lady golfers Catherine Wambui and Irene Wamoro have been enjoying great form lately.
Besides the prizes reserved for the members, there will be many other prizes for the more than 50 guests including 13 golfers from Malawi led by Frank Mvalo as well as a strong contingent of 30 players from Machakos led by club chairman Sawran Singh and which also includes the winner of last weekend’s King of the Course Machakos edition James Ndunda.
The weekend action begins at Thika Greens Golf Resort on Friday where the par 72 course which was the venue for the Safari Tour seventh leg earlier this week, will host the ICEA Lion King of the Course club night event. The event dubbed as “The Grand Slam Year Opener” will be featuring the Malawian golfers from Lilongwe Golf Club, Machakos, Nyeri, Limuru and Embu golfers.
Fredrick Njeru Njagi, one of the Embu golfers and a member of the Mountain Classic’s “Tigers” says his members are more than ready to welcome the visiting golfers at Thika Greens.
On the other hand, 42 professionals will be joining more than 150 amateurs at Muthaiga Golf Club for the Safari Tour eighth leg Pro-Am being sponsored by Magical Kenya and Absa Group formerly Barclays Bank of Kenya.
For the pros, this will be a practicing round for the Safari Tour eighth leg whose opening round is scheduled for Sunday. The pros include Nigeria’s Andrew Odoh who is drawn with an elite amateur team of Evans Vitisia, Mutahi Kibugu and Anthony Irungu.
Home pro Greg Snow, who won the Thika Greens edition of the Safari Tour on Wednesday, is paired with Philip Ocholla, D. Mwindi and Christine Ocholla.
Teeing off for those drawn in the morning, start at 7am with another tee off at 11.32am. Like most of the courses in Nairobi and nearby Kiambu County, Muthaiga is expected to be playing long because of the on-going rains though some interesting scores are expected from the pros depending on how the course is set.
A number of the country’s leading lady golfers are meanwhile travelling to Mombasa for the Nyali Golf and Country Club Lady captain’s Prize event which being the first major event of the season at the Coast, has attracted a big field of 150 players. The lady captain Susan Strokes has lined up an array of prizes for both ladies and the men.
Athletes reflect on super congested 2022 international season
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.
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.
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.
Mass exodus looms at Gor Mahia
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.
“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.
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.
Okeyo awaits Germany return for some unfinished league business
Kenya international midfielder Willis Okeyo can only wait and see if he will be able to complete his tour abroad.
Okeyo was scheduled to link up with his German club Verein Fur Bewegungsspiele Stuttgart this month for the second leg of the Herren Oberliga League.
In fact, Okeyo was to fly out of Nairobi on Saturday ahead of the season’s second stanza that was scheduled to bully off next weekend but that can now obviously not happen because of the lockdown in most parts of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost the entire sporting calendar, internationally, continentally and nationally has been decimated as measures are taken by various governments to try and contain the spread of Covid-19.
Germany had by Thursday recorded 113,296 cases of the disease with 2,280 deaths while Kenya’s figures stood at 184 with seven deaths.
The first leg ended in July. Stuttgart are lying third on the league table with eight points from five matches, behind Ludwigsburg on 13 points and leaders Freiburg with 13 points.
Okeyo remains hopeful he will be back in Germany and is drawing inspiration from football side Bayern Munich who resumed training last Monday.
“The club is engaging me on a daily basis and that has given me hope. They are also in constant communication with the Germany Embassy so that once the Covid-19 is contained, I will be given first priority to jet out and join them,” said the 36-year-old international.
He was in the Kenya team that competed in the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers held in South Africa last year.
Kenya finished fifth as South Africa qualified to represent Africa at the Tokyo Games that have been rescheduled to next year.
Okeyo, who locally turns out for giants Kenya Police in the Premier League, said he has learnt a lot from the Germany club and at the same time challenged players to watch YouTube hockey videos to remain knowledgeable in the sport.
“I have become a better player. While at Stuttgart, I have embraced coaching and when in Kenya I extend my coaching skills to the USIU (United States International University-Africa) women’s side,” Okeyo said.
“My input is there for everyone to see after I guided the students to finish second in the women’s Premier League last season and qualification to the African Clubs Championship.”
The talented Okeyo feels he has gained so much in his short stint in Europe.
“I receive training programmes from my club in Germany which I share with other players locally. I still do morning runs and avoid eating junk foods,” he said.
He revealed he intends to play for two more seasons before retiring.
“I will play for Police and Kenya if selectors need me.”
“I think I have served the country the best way I could.”
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