BY DAVID ONJILI
Kenyan clubs, Bandari FC and Gor Mahia FC have restored pride amongst the country’s soccer lovers after they managed to qualify for the next stages of their respective continental football assignments. In a country that football success is starved from the local fan, this is a welcome break and a much needed exhibition of our soccer talent on the continent.
Bandari FC see off Al Ahli Shandi of Sudan
The Mombasa based team knocked out Sudanese side on the away goal rule to advance past the first round of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup. After a barren draw in Nairobi, Bandari managed a 1-1 draw in the return fixture to secure next round qualification.
Bandari went ahead in the 27th minute courtesy of an own goal by Yasir Mozamil before the hosts equalised early in the second half. Post-match, Bandari FC coach Bernard Mwalala hailed his boys’ resilience and tough mind to pull the draw and advance to the next round.
They will now face US Ben Guerdane of Tunisia in the next round in mid September.
Gor Mahia edges out Aigle Noir of Burundi at Kasarani in style
After forcing a barren draw away in Burundi, the 2019 Kenya Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia ousted Aigle Noir at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani. Before a sizeable home crowd, the Green Army, as they are popularly known, did not disappoint.
They showed early intent and ran away winners by five goals to one. A dominant display that earned them qualification into the next round of the Confederations of African Football Champions League (CAFCL) and will come against USM Algers of Algeria.
Kenya Premier League players feted at gala
The 2019 Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) gala, sponsored by LG Electronics, was held on August 19 at the Nairobi Museums. The event that recognizes and rewards footballers in the local league was a massive success and unlike past events, soccer fans felt that the eventual winners deserved their awards.
Gor Mahia defender Joash Onyango was the biggest winner at the event. Walking home with two prized assets as he was voted both Most Valuable Player and Defender of the Year. He won Sh1 million and Sh 250,000 respectively for the awards alongside a 49’’ LG Smart TV, and refrigerator.
Gor Mahia FC stole the show after its former midfielder, Francis Kahata, was voted Midfielder of the Year and their immediate former coach, Hassan Oktay Coach of the Year. Farouk Shikhalo, formerly of Bandari FC who recently signed for Yanga SC of Tanzania won the Golden Gloves award.
David Majak who turns out for Tusker FC won in the New Player of the Year category. Enosh Ochieng of Ulinzi FC was awarded the Golden Boot for his 20 goal tally in the season. Tusker FC physiotherapist, Wycliffe Makanga was awarded the President’s Award, this was in recognition of his long-term service as a medical practitioner to the game of football.
Sportpesa pulls the plug on KPL and other sporting disciplines
Engaged in a court battle with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), betting firm, Sportpesa, issued a notice that they would be pulling off from sponsoring the Kenya Premier League (KPL). This is a massive blow to the local league that has continued to suffer due to lack of sponsorship.
KPL, headed by Jack Oguda remains a rudderless outfit that has supervised the deterioration of a once envied league in the region. They have failed to attract sponsorship from any other quarters, no television broadcast deal worth talking about has ever been attracted since the exit of Supersports.
A new dawn at Harambee Stars
After guiding the national soccer team, Harambee Stars, to the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2019, Frenchman Sebastian Migne parted ways with his employer. In his place, his former assistant and former Mathare United coach Francis Kimanzi took over. Zedekiah Otieno, formerly of Gor Mahia, will assist him. The new technical bench was unveiled by Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa who spoke of having confidence in a home-grown coach to lead the team.