Sports

Gor face Sofapaka as Leopards meet Mathare in Kenya Power Charity Cup

The second edition of the Kenya Power Charity Cup will be held  today at Nyayo Stadium with all the four teams looking to get their first silverware early in the season. Sofapaka coach Sam Timbe and his Gor counterpart Bobby Williamson during a past KPL match. PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD Mathare United take on GOtv Shield champions AFC Leopards in the first match which kicks off at 9am before defending champions Sofapaka invite league champions Gor Mahia in the second fixture. The final of the one day tournament will be held at 4pm. Leopards face the greatest pressure to perform in this year’s edition by virtue of the fact that it is their first time and have been put here by massive votes from their fans. Leopards received the highest number of votes and by far among the four participating teams. It therefore goes without saying that the fans will be expecting nothing short of lifting the trophy. Coach James Nandwa has however opted to take it easy insisting they will they will not under pressure. Fear of injuries “Initially, we had contemplated giving the tournament a wide berth due to fear of injuries but we decided otherwise considering that our fans voted to have us here. This is therefore an opportunity for them to see our new signings before the season kicks off. We promise to give it our best shot,” he said. Leopards have brought on board very experienced players like Joseph Shikokoti and James Situma as well as Musa Mudde and this is their opportunity to prove themselves. While Leopards have greatly beefed up their squad, United have been depleted and coach Stanley Okumbi has said he is looking forward to today’s match. Relishes opportunity Okumbi said he relishes the opportunity to take on the GOtv shield champions as he seesk to build a formidable side for the new season. “Playing Leopards is a big gift for my new players considering that some of them have not even featured at such a high level. It is an opportunity for me to understand them and find out whether they can compete under such pressure,” he said. Okumbi admitted that his side will be the underdogs in the one day competition but has not ruled out a surprise. “We are just building a new team after losing our key players last month. At the same time, we did not perform so well last year and this makes us the underdogs. However, inspite of this tag we will still give it our best shot and try to pull a surprise,” he added. The other Kenya Power Charity Cup fixture will see defending champions Sofapaka taking on Gor Mahia. Sofapaka coach Sam Timbe has admitted his side will be under pressure to repeat last year’s performance but insists the same applies to the other competitors. “The tournament is coming early in the season when we are still preparing and this adds to the pressure to do well. However, it is not just us who will be under pressure. It applies to everybody else,” Timbe said. By GILBERT WANDERA, The Standard

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Rajbir secures first Kenya National Rally Championship win in Malindi

Rajbir Rai, son of the legendary two times Kenya Champion Sarbi Rai, registered his maiden career Kenya National Rally Championship victory following brilliant displays in the Coast yesterday. Baldev Chager’s Mitsubishi Evox tackles a section during KCB Rally in Malindi, yesterday. PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD Rajbir, who was voted the most improved rally driver at last weekend’s Kenya Motosports Federation  Annual Awards, drove his Mitsubishi EVOX machine to victory in  KCB Malindi Rally brimming with confidence. Navigated by Tim Challen, Rajbir drove aggressively in the second half of the event. Rajbir clocked 2:02.22 hours followed by Jassi Chatthe on 2:07.58 while  Manvir Baryan sealed the podium dash in 2:09.54 hours. Rajbir had his campaign effectively sewn up when Tundo and Chager lost time in CS5 after stopping  for safety reasons. The biggest casualty of the day was Ian Duncan who retired on the 37km CS4 Dida stage with a broken front left suspension arm. Carl Tundo opened a 10 seconds lead from Chager after the first four stages but not until the CS5 incident which saw them dip further below the leader-board. Tundo was later disqualified for stopping his car on CS5. According to KMSF steward John Kamau, Tundo stopped his Mitsubsihsi EVO9 at CS5 citing safety traffic concerns. Kamau said Tundo subsequently waved down Chager who stopped at the same location but only for the rest of the crews to proceed with the stage. The leading drivers thereafter appealed to organisers to cancel CS5 which stewards declined thus disqualifying Tundo for what they termed “unsportsman behaviour”. Kamau, in reference to the national competition rules said: “Competitors are not allowed to stop the running of an event by blocking the route or rescheduling the event without the express permission of the clerk of the course via the Control officials. Penalty for this clause is exclusion.” The rally saw some drivers fail to master the 395km course. Issa Amwari and his partner job Njiru retired with turbo problems and had their 2014 KNRC campaign stymied at an early stage. There was quite a bit of excitement for the crowds at the spectator stage in Mlaindi town. Don Smith and Bob Kaugi got well from the time control but was stuck in the dust. Eventually, they had to be pulled out by the course car. Other casualties were Dennis Mwenda, Leo  Varese, Sudesh Hirani and Imran Mogul. The Malindi based father and son crew of Kantilal and Milan Kukadia were ythe early casualties after rolling at CS1. Khalid Yusuf (Toyota Levin) also developed fever in the cockpit and had to kiss the event goodbye at CS4. – enzioka@standardmedia.co.ke KNRC PROVISIONAL RESULTS 1. Rajbir Rai 2:02.22; 2. Jassi Chatthe 2:07.58; 3. Manvir Baryan 2:09.54 By ERNEST NDUNDA, The Standard

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Kiplagat launches Kenya’s first track outside Nairobi

Athletics royalty assembled in Iten for the grand opening ceremony of the first phase of Lorna Kiplagat Sports Academy near Iten. Lorna Kiplagat The facility is the first tartan track outside Nairobi –after Nyayo National Stadium and Safaricom Stadium Kasarani. The ultra-modern sports facility stands out as a sigh of relief for the local athletes, especially the host of achieving female from the region who stirred their running talents while herding goats in forests. They include former double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, world marathon champion Edina Kiplagat and bronze medalist Sharon Cherop. These athletes, among many others in the production line of forest training, spruced up their speed along the forest trails. Double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and Britains world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe led Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi and Ethiopia’s former world 10,000m champion Ibrahim Jeilan in the colourful ceremony at Salaba area near Iten. Kiplagat, a Kenyan-born Dutch woman and a four-time world half marathon winner, said she was pleased her dream has come true. “The first phase has been completed. Thats the track. We tried many avenues for sponsorship, sending propasals. But I am happy the London Marathon organisers came on board. We did a lot of work,” said Kiplagat, who is married to Dutch man Piter Langerhorst. Radcliffe, who holds the women’s marathon record, paid glowing tribute to Kiplagat and London Marathon team terming it, “a great facility.” “It serves an important role in local athletes. It will help in the search for better times,” said Radcliffe. Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat said the sports facility stands out as the best branding in Kenya, though the country does not fully support it. “Iten is a magic city and the county government should put in place efforts to make the county atractive by improving on athletics. It’s the first in private tartan track in Africa apart from those owned by clubs in South Africa,” said Kiplagat. Present were Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, senator Kipchumba Muurkomen and Cherangany MP and former Boston Marathon winner Wesley Korir. By JONATHAN KOMEN, The Standard

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Telkom thrash Strathmore in hockey league encounter

Africa Club Champions and National Hockey Women’s League defending champions Orange Telkom thumped Strathmore 4-0 in their national league encounter yesterday at City Park Stadium. In what seemed a repeat of the finals of the just concluded Africa Hockey Club Championships, runners up Scorpions succumbed to pressure once again to allow Orange snatch victory. Orange head coach Jos Openda, who was pleased with the results, had praise for his players saying they played as champions. “My players have played as champions, being a champion is not easy as everyone is out to dethrone you, I’m glad my players are putting up a hard fight,” he said. He particularly commented his defence unit saying: “The defence has done a fantastic job, they have conceded only one goal in the league,” he added. Veteran Jacqueline Jow opened the scores for the champions in the 25th minute from a Judith Apiyo pass from the left after Strathmore goalkeeper left her work station unattended. Captain Betsy Omala converted a penalty corner in the 30th minute to put Orange up in the 30th minute. Orange dominated the better part of the second half, making the students struggle for ball possession. Jow was at it again in the 47th minute making it three the 15-time national champions. Midfielder Margaret Rotich sealed the victory in the 56th minute scoring a superb field goal that caught the Scorpions’ defense unawares. Strathmore play their second weekend match against Kenyatta University today. Collins Musani’s 70th minute goal earned Kabarak University their first victory of the men’s National League after they beat Multimedia University (MMU) 2-1. Kabarak opened the scores in the 35th minute through a Morgan Kiptoo field goal for a 1-0 lead before the breather. In  the second half, the match was balanced both teams attacking with MMU defending to avoid a second goal.

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Black Shirts fall to Harlequin in Kenya Cup match marred by physical brawls at RFUEA grounds

Kenya Harlequin solidified their fourth position in the Kenya Cup with a 22-10 victory over Mwamba RFC at the RFUEA Grounds on yesterday evening. Mwamba and Kenya Harlequin players exchange blows in their Kenya Cup match at RFUEA grounds, yesterday. PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD In an eyesore of a match, the two teams failed to get their systems going and to vent their frustrations at their poor performance they instead opted to result in physical  brawls in the second half. Both teams could barely string along three passes before dropping the ball, which meant the flow of the game was broken down on several occasions, making it hard to distinguish which was the dominating team and deserved the victory. Quins, however, will be happy to emerge from the murk with four vital points, on the premise that they were the team that took its chances, when they were presented to them. Individual brilliance from the likes of Sidney Ashioya helped the former champs to pounce on loose balls to mount a counter attack on the visitors and score three vital tries. On the other hand, Mwamba will be upset that they failed to make use of their superior possession and better territorial advantage over the hosts. A try from Mark Okwaro was all the Black Shirts had to show for their push in the second half to overcome a 22-3 deficit they had accumulated during the first half of the game. Even though both teams will be annoyed at their dismal performance over the weekend, they will also be angry at the referee for not taking control of the game early in the second half, when the first signs of a brawl started to emerge. It only took the full disintegration of the game in the 70th minute for the referee to unleash the yellow card on Harlequin flanker Max Theuri after both sets of forwards decided to unleash blows to substitute their inability to play the game well on the bright, sunny afternoon. With this being the only match of the weekend, the two teams will be disappointed that they were not able to offer an exciting match to fans at the venue who had to settle for the lackluster performance. Mwamba now remain on eighth position with 27 points, ten adrift of fourth placed Harlequin with only three rounds of play remaining before the semi-finals of the league on the first weekend of March. Mwamba’s following games include Strathmore RFC, Nakuru RFC and Eldoret RFC which might as well signal their dismal chances of qualifying for the semi-finals. Quins will play Eldoret RFC next weekend which will give them some breathing space after a tumultuous January against the top teams in the league. By MS Mulavi, The Standard

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Kipsiro retains National Cross country title

Moses Kipsiro made a surprise appearance in Jinja yesterday and went on to retain the National Cross country title. Moses Kipsiro Kipsiro had earlier in the week said he would not compete in Jinja because he was preparing for the National Half Marathon next weekend. His opponents who had started toasting to his “absence” were however shocked when he turned up at the Jinja Chairman’s Park where the event was held. In his traditional style, he started off the senior men’s 12 kilometer race slowly and only strode into the lead at the half-way point. Running in a front pack that also had team-mate Thomas Ayeko, Daniel Rotich and Moses Kibet, Kipsiro sped away in the final 200 meters to win in 36 minutes 36:9 seconds. The scorching mid day sun had its toll on the runners. “I could have returned in a much faster time but it was just too hot,” said Kipsiro. The double Commonwealth gold medalist said the race was good speed work training for Saturday’s half marathon in Mbale. “This is proof that I still have the speed. What remains to be tested now is endurance.” Stella Chesang clocked 20:59:00 to win the women’s junior race while the junior men’s eight kilometer event was won by Phillip Kipyeko in 23:57:8. The top 40runners from yesterday’s cross-country start residential training at a high altitude camp in the Sebei region on Tuesday. This is in preparation for the Africa cross-country championship next month. The team will be handled Abdallah Muhammad as head coach assisted by Gordon Ahimbisibwe, Raphael Kasajja and Peter Wemale. By James Bakama, The New Vision

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Former Spain manager Luis Aragones dies aged 75

Former Spain national team manager Luis Aragones has died, aged 75. Luis Aragones Aragones led Spain to their first major trophy at an international tournament with victory in the 2008 European Championship. He also managed several of Spain’s top clubs, including Barcelona and Atletico Madrid where he won the La Liga title in 1977. As a player, he scored 172 goals in 372 games when at Atletico and represented his country on 13 occasions. The Spanish Football Federation issued a statement that “expressed its grief and shock at the death of Luis Aragones”. The statement added: “[He was a] former player and coach of several Spanish and global clubs and the Spain national team at the beginning of their glorious success on the worldwide stage.” Atletico said in a statement: “One of the greatest Rojiblancas legends has left us.” The club’s president Enrique Cerezo added: “Luis Aragones was a great player and coach, but above all a great person and a friend. “On behalf of the whole club, I want to express our condolences to his family.” Aragones took over as manager of the national team in 2004 and went about making wholesale changes. He dropped players such as Raul and Michel Salgado and then introduced a new playing style of short-passing football which was bringing success to Barcelona. Four years later, the team claimed European success, beating Germany 1-0 in the final. He left the post soon after, but the foundations were there for Spain to go on and win the 2010 World Cup and defend their European title in 2012. At the time of Spain’s success in 2008, midfielder Xabi Alonso said: “He is one of the main reasons we won the title. We have been through tough moments during these two years, but he stuck with the same team, having confidence in the players. Those decisions were the right ones.” Aragones went on to coach Turkish side Fenerbahce, but was unsuccessful and left after just one season

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