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Harambee Starlets arrive home after being crowned CECAFA Champions

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Harambee Starlets arrived safely back home on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, after being crowned CECAFA Women Champions on Monday.

Starlets beat Tanzania 2-0 at the Azam Complex, courtesy of two goals by eventual top scorer Gentrix Shikangwa.

The team enjoyed a trophy tour from the airport to the Eastern bypass, onto Outering Road and thereafter Thika Road. They were then treated to a luncheon at the Utalii Hotel.

“When we went to Tanzania, I asked my players to put behind them the disappointing loss to Zambia (in the Olympic Qualifiers) and use it as a motivation to win the tournament. I am happy that they always played as per our game plan and eventually won it for Kenyans,” said coach Ouma.

He also had praise for his forward Gentrix Shikangwa who scored ten times to take home the golden boot, despite being brought on as a second half substitute in almost all matches the Starlets played.

Shikangwa picked positives from her performance as she promised that more is yet to come.

“I am happy with my performance as well as that of the entire team. It’s my first time playing at this level and I am looking forward to performing even better in the coming matches,” said Shikangwa.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa passed his congratulatory message to the team while reiterating the Federation’s commitment to promoting women football.

“Our Starlets managed to beat Tanzania at their own home turf, in the final. That is no mean feat. Congratulations to them,” said FKF President Nick Mwendwa.

“Since we came into office, women football has risen steadily. As a Federation, we remain committed to giving this team the best possible preparations. We are looking forward to qualifying this team to next year’s AFCON as well as the 2023 World Cup,” added the FKF president.

Starlets’ next assignment is in the 2020 Africa Women Cup of Nations Qualifiers to be held early next year. The Starlets will be looking to qualify to the Women premier continental showpiece after their maiden bow in 2016.

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OdiMtaani: OdiBets Dishes out Goodies to Clubs

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The year started with good tidings for grassroots teams as they received playing kits and equipment courtesy of gaming firm OdiBets.

It has been a hive of activities in the Coast, as well as Upper and lower Eastern regions for OdiBets as they kitted County leagues with kits.

OdiBets was actualizing its partnership with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) of kitting the federation’s teams taking part in its various county leagues the FKF seventh tier league in the promotion of grassroots soccer.

In the partnership, each of the FKF County league clubs are supposed to benefit in kind by receiving six balls as well as being kitted with a set of home and away playing uniform.

Starting January 11th, clubs in the Coast region had their day in a two day exercise where the FKF South Coast chairman Gabriel Mghendi paid a glowing tribute to OdiBets for the initiative.

“Clubs at the grassroots have been struggling to get proper equipment and kits. This is a timely boost and I am confident that it will go a long way in actualizing the dreams of young talented players in the Coast region,” said Mghendi.

The bookmakers shifted their base to FKF Southern branch on January 15 and 16 to gift clubs from Machakos, Makueni and Kitui counties with the provisions.
On January 18th, the OdiMtaani heat was felt in the Upper Eastern region which comprises of Meru, Embu and Isiolo where the exercise was carried out in the kitting exercise.

The OdiMtaani wave now shifts to the Rift Valley, Western and North Eastern regions next month for a piece of the OdiBets pie.

Late last year, over 100 clubs in Nairobi received balls and two sets of uniform which consisted of their home and away matches.

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Africa’s Best Footballer to Grace Soya Awards Gala

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The `1997 Africa player of the year Victor Ikpeba will grace this year’s Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) Gala set for Mombasa Sports Club on Friday, January 24 as the chief guest.

The former Nigeria national football team Super Eagles star who was crowned Africa’s finest in 1997, is expected in the country on Tuesday, January 21st, then he will travel to Mombasa to hold a series of clinics with the local football sides before attending the gala on Friday, January 24th.

“I’m so excited to be returning to Kenya after many years and it’s a great honour to be invited as the chief guest of a sports awards gala in county that has rich sporting talent like Kenya,” Ikpeba said.

He added: “I have just been in Kenya twice, first when we played Harambee Stars in a World Cup qualifier immediately after we won the 1996 Olympics gold medal in Atlanta Georgia and they frustrated us, holding us to a 1-1 draw. The second time I came in quietly for an Olympic promo in 2012. This time I will have more time to see the beauty of the country and mingle with some of the world beaters.”

Ikpeba who featured at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup tournaments with Nigeria has had stints with French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco, Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and Spanish La Liga side Real Betis.

In 1993, Ikpeba won The Ebony Shoe award, a football award in Belgium given annually to the best African or African origin player in the Belgian Pro League.

This year’s gala has been sponsored by Safaricom with co-sponsorship from County Government of Mombasa, Kenya Pipeline, Communication Authority of Kenya, New KCC, Lapfund, Kenya Power, UBA Bank, Nairobi Bottlers, Kenya Ports Authority, NHIF, NSSF, Kenya Tourism Board and GOtv

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Kenyan Junior Star Ditches Kenya for Italy

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Kenya’s national under 20 team Chipu back, Michele Brighetti has ditched Kenya and opted to join Italy.

Brighetti has accepted the Italians national team call up after bein g called to the Italy U20 squad for the upcoming Six Nations 2020 Under 20 Championships slated for 31 January 31st – March 15th.

He has been selected in the team that will play England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the Six-Nation contest that will be played in five rounds.

Brighetti, featured for the Kenya Under-20 Chipu team took part in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in Brazil in July last year and won the Africa Under-20 title also known as Barthes Cup in April last year.

The move has raised eyebrows in Kenya since Brighetti who has a dual citizenship has already played for the National Under-20 team.

However, the World Rugby eligibility rules, regulation 8, allow a player to switch nationalities as far as he has not played for a country’s senior team.

This means Brighetti, who went to Pembroke School in Kenya and Sedbergh, can still represent Kenya at senior level if he doesn’t play for Italy.

Interestingly, Kenya Rugby Union also congratulated the youthful player for ditching Kenya for Italy.

“Congratulations to our #Chipu star Michele Brighetti for making the Italian Under-20 rugby squad,” said KRU on Twitter.

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