Sports

The master behind Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge’s coach Patrick Sang is methodical, meticulous, not easily distracted and a stickler for detail.

This I confirmed, for the umpteenth time, at the weekend when I alluded to the possibility of Geoffrey Kamworor’s 58:01 half marathon record last Sunday in Copenhagen being a result of the fact that he’s part of Eliud Kipchoge’s INEOS 1:59 Challenge training partners and supporting cast at Kaptagat.

No. Sang wouldn’t take the bait.

He’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of person.

He believes each one of his athletes has charted out his or her own path.

“You’ll have to excuse the fact that I don’t want to mix the coming project (INEOS 1:59 Challenge) and this moment (Kamworor’s world record),” he reacted.

“However, we cannot separate the fact that the two athletes (Kipchoge and Kamworor) share the same support systems, train together in some sessions, etc.

“If there’s one to compare the two and what’s ahead, it’s the observers, media and the lovers of our beautiful sport,” he skilfully tackled my question. If there’s anyone who can predict Kipchoge’s performances, then it’s Sang, the Olympic Games and World Championships steeplechase silver medallist who has coached the world marathon record holder for the last 19 years. Since that day when a young boy approached him at a local athletics championship in Nandi County and pleaded “please, help me with a training programme.”

Sang instinctively crafted a programme for the 16-year-old and almost 19 years later, that young boy is about to become the first man to run the marathon in under two hours.

And he holds Sang in reverence. “When you talk about Sang, I lack words to describe him,” Kipchoge told me on the sidelines of the IAAF Gala in Monaco last November.

“I admire his coaching skills and he’s been with me since an early age. He’s more than just a coach. He’s my coach, he’s my teacher and he’s my life coach. And above all, he’s brought me to this level.”

The US-schooled Sang, a father of two, believes Kenyan coaches have what it takes to develop world class talent, and he has been vindicated by his own coaching career that has yielded two of the greatest ever distance runners — world record holders Kipchoge (2:01:39 in the marathon) and now Kamworor (58:01 in the half marathon).

And when Kipchoge dips under two hours in Vienna next month, Sang will have further cemented his reputation as one of the greatest athletics coaches in the world.

“If there’s anyone who can predict Kipchoge’s performances, then it’s Sang who has coached the world marathon record holder for the last 19 years”

Patrick Sang Bio:

Name: PATRICK SANG

Date of birth: April 11, 1964

Place of birth: Kapsisiywa, Nandi County

Management stable: Global Sports Communication/ NN Running Team (Netherlands/ Kaptagat)

Honours: Silver medal: 3,000m steeplechase (8:09.05), 1992 Olympic Games (Barcelona); Silver medal: 3,000m steeplechase (8:07.53), 1993 IAAF World Championships (Stuttgart); Silver medal: 3,000m steeplechase (8:13.44), 1991 IAAF World Championships (Tokyo); Gold medal: 3,000m steeplechase (8:33.69), 1987 All African Games (Nairobi); Gold medal: 3,000m steeplechase (8:32.79), 1989 World University Games (Duisburg, Germany)

Why Harambee Stars captain move fell through

Financial and family concerns were the main reasons Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama’s move to the Belgian side Club Brugge fell through, according to reports in the UK press.

Although Wanyama’s family were reported to be originally opposed to the idea of him moving to the Belgian Jupiter pro league, they later changed their minds.

But while Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy spent weeks negotiating the deal, Wanyama is said to have hesitated, apparently using the excuse that he didn’t want to fly from London to Belgium to delay signing.

The sale price had been agreed – Sh1.24 billion (£9 million) rising to Sh1.4 billion (£12 million) – depending on appearances but the sticking point was alleged to be the player’s personal terms.

Wanyama had been offered a four-year deal but on a pay cut from his Sh8.1 million-a-week (£65,000) current salary.

The issue had reportedly not gone down well with the Tottenham chairman and could well mean that Kenya’s captain will find it hard to regain his place in the side. With Scottish champions Celtic interested he may well move on in January.

Wanyama made the squad for the first game of the season against Aston Villa but has not been included since. With a number of key players including Dele Alli returning from injury he may not even find himself warming the bench in future games.

Wanyama has two years left on his contract and will now fight to regain his place in the Tottenham midfield although it is likely he will now only be called upon should Tottenham suffer an injury crisis in midfield as they have a multitude of good players there including internationals Tanguy Ndombele, Mousa Sissoko, Harry Winks and Eric Dier.

Wanyama’s knee injury and loss of pace have contributed to him losing his position as the ‘go-to’ defensive midfield player and he made only 13 appearances last season although he did play an important part in the run in to the Champions League final.

Mariga’s long journey from the football pitch into the murky political arena

McDonald Mariga’s plunge into politics has effectively brought down the curtains on a glittering football career spanning 16 years.

This after the 32-year-old presented himself at the Jubilee Party headquarters on Monday for a vetting process that formally paves his way into active politics with his short term objective being contesting and clinching the Kibra constituency by-election in November.

POLITICAL PLUNGE

Dressed in a cream suit and white shirt, Mariga arrived at the party headquarter in Parklands, Nairobi with song and dance from his exuberant supporters.

His supporters were all dressed in red t-shirts emblazoned with the player’s name and favourite jersey number 17.

They waved placards and sang songs in praise of Mariga.

The former Kenya international midfielder was quick to set the records straight about his candidature.

“I am not being used by anyone, I made this decision with my family, so here I am. Let’s see how it goes,” Mariga said.

Former Kenya international midfielder McDonald Mariga (second right, in cream suit) addresses his supporters at the Jubilee Party headquarters in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY
Former Kenya international midfielder McDonald Mariga (second right, in cream suit) addresses his supporters at the Jubilee Party headquarters in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY

Son of football great, retired coach and administrator Noah Wanyama, and also brother to Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama, Mariga is considered one of the best footballers of his generation.

He also is East Africa’s most successful footballer having won the Uefa Champions League, Italy’s Serie A, and Coppa Italia titles with Inter Milan in 2010 under the guidance of famed coach Jose Mourinho.

In his prime, Mariga was an energetic box-to-box midfielder with a lethal right foot. His style of play entailed bulldozing the midfield with crunch tackles and lung-bursting runs at the centre of the pitch much in a fashion similar to former France World Cup winner Patrick Viera.

PLAYER CAREER

Mariga evidently started slowing down five years ago, and never fully recovered from a crucial ligament injury he sustained while playing for Parma in the Italy in 2012.

His football journey to the very top commenced when he caught the eye of European scouts while representing Kamukunji High School in his teenage years.

The father of one would later commenced his football career at Kenyan Premier League side Kenya Breweries (now known as Tusker) before moving to the defunct Kenya Pipeline in Kenya’s top-flight league.

Former Kenya international midfielder McDonald Mariga (left) addresses the media at the Jubilee Party headquarters in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY
Former Kenya international midfielder McDonald Mariga (left) addresses the media at the Jubilee Party headquarters in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY

He then transferred to Sweden, initially at third-tier club Enokpings before getting a better deal at Helsinborgs, a first-tier club in the same country, where he played alongside Swedish great Henrik Larsson.

A string of impressive performances earned him a breakthrough move to Parma in 2007 from where he was briefly linked with English sides Manchester United and Manchester City before Inter came calling.

He has also enjoyed stints at European clubs Latina, Real Sociedad and Real Oviedo.

However, critics say he never quite managed to transfer his club form while on national team duty and failed to help Harambee Stars qualify for any major tournament.

Lukaku subjected to sickening racist taunts during Inter Milan’s 2-1 triumph at Cagliari

Italian football was involved in another racism storm on Sunday as Romelu Lukaku was targeted by monkey chants before putting Inter Milan top of Serie A with the winning penalty in their 2-1 triumph at Cagliari.

Lukaku — a 65 million euros ($73 million) summer signing from Manchester United– was preparing to take the spot-kick in the 71st minute in Sardinia when the racist chants came from the crowd that continued for several seconds.

The 26-year-old Belgian international angrily looked towards the stands before confidently converting his second goal in as many games, which came after Lautaro Martinez’s 28th minute opener for the Antonio Conte’s side and Joao Pedro’s leveller for the hosts four minutes after the break.

Lukaku was quickly surrounded by his teammates as Inter won their second from two league matches to sit ahead of champions Juventus, who also are on maximum points following their thrilling 4-3 win over Napoli on Saturday.

Racist chanting has dogged Italian stadia in recent years, with Italy striker Moise Kean also the victim of similar abuse — alongside teammate Blaise Matuidi — at Cagliari after he scored a goal there for his former team Juventus last April.

Kalidou Koulibaly was showered with monkey chants last season by Lukaku’s new fans at the San Siro, while several other black players have been targeted.

“I didn’t hear (the chants),” said Conte.

“I can speak however in general: I think we need to improve in Italy, respect everyone.

“When I was working abroad, the fans would cheer on their own team, not spend their entire time insulting the opponent. I was fine here, noone insulted me.”

Torino are right alongside Inter and local rivals Juve after shocking Atalanta 3-2, while Lazio missed the chance to keep the pace with that trio after drawing an eventful Rome derby 1-1.

Aleksandar Kolarov put Roma ahead in the 17th minute against the run of play with a well-taken penalty, but Luis Alberto grabbed the equaliser just before the hour mark to leave Paulo Fonseca without a win as new Roma boss.

– ‘Extraordinary show’ –

Lazio missed several chances to seal a second win from their two opening games, hitting the woodwork four times with Roma rattling the frame of the goal twice. The hosts’ biggest regret was Manuel Lazzari’s 92nd-minute strike being ruled out for offside.

“There’s a bit of bitterness. We had 21 shots on goal, hit the woodwork four times and a goal ruled out,” said Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi.

“We had so many chances and you have to win games like that.”

“We offered an extraordinary show for the public, and a great thrill for me as a coach, at my first Rome derby,” said Fonseca.

The derby took place amid heightened security after the murder of former Lazio ultras chiefs Fabrizio Piscitelli, nicknamed “Diabolik”, who was shot dead in the capital last month.

Piscitelli was for almost 30 years the boss of Lazio’s hardcore Irriducibili (“Die Hards”) fan group, which is notorious for its far-right politics.

Lazio fans unfurled a banner in his honour before the match with “Rest in peace Fabrizio”.

Torino are also on maximum points after their comeback win at Atalanta, who qualified for this season’s Champions League by finishing third last season.

Kevin Bonifazi had put Torino ahead after 24 minutes before Duvan Zapata’s double either side of the break for Atalanta.

But Alex Berenguer got Torino back level on 57 minutes with Armando Izzo nodding in the winner on 66 minutes.

Fiorentina fell to their second straight defeat 2-1 at Genoa, as did Sampdoria who were hammered 4-1 at Sassuolo thanks to a Domenico Berardi hat-trick scored in 14 first-half minutes.

Citizen TV’s Mike Okinyi in trouble for ‘blackmailing’ Harambee Stars coach

Citizen TV sports journalist Mike Okinyi has been bashed by Kenyans on Twitter for threatening to release a dossier of Harambee Stars coach Sebastian Migne, if the Frenchman does not resign.

“I’m waiting to hear Migne has resigned… if not iko dossier natoa. Moto sana,” Okinyi tweeted after Kenya was bundled out of the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers by neighbours Tanzania.

Kenya lost 4-1 on post-match penalties in a match that ended scoreless on Sunday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Immediately after the game, coach Migne, while addressing journalists, dared Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to sack him.

This, it seems, is what prompted Okinyi to post the tweet with a threat to expose Migne through a dossier.

‘BLACKMAIL’

Online, some Kenyans thought the journalist was blackmailing the coach.

“Kusoma sports dakika tano kwa TV does not qualify you to a stakeholder on sports matter. Neither are you an expert. Let the coach do his thing, you do yours. Take your dossier to relevant offices ama uzi some Leo usiku kwa news,” tweeted @kagwainy

“Journalists don’t threaten to release dossiers… They release them… Unless you want to use your ‘dossier’ to blackmail someone for kickbacks,” commented @RobinMbondo

“This is blackmail… toa kama unatoa regardless otherwise you are complicit,” @KichwaBilaMwili posted.

“You are the journalist, if that dossier is useful and will help things get better, release it and do not blackmail you don’t even have to mention that you got it, if it’s not going to help please keep storing it,” @pndinya said.

“This guy is a journalist yet he uses blackmail instead of feeding the public information,” commented @Mukethah.

OKINYI’S DOSSIER

“Kenyan journalists for you. This is why corruption is thriving. If you can’t release, don’t mention,” said @ondeng2013

“Anyway, why should you wait till things get out control, ndio utoa dossier, stick to your work ethics, n if i may ask why now?, @Joshua90514296 commented.

“You the kind of people who make our love and passion for Harambe Stars to dime off… Nkt… always bringing the negativity. Just when we thought we heading somewhere then boom @MikeOkinyi what’s to be famous,” @don_muraya posted.

“You were the same people who were screaming for Okumbi’ axed. Now its Migne. He is there to improve the squad. Football is different from politics my friends,” posted @garang_lalik

“That’s blackmail. So the truth will never come out if you have him resign. What happened to the journalist in you?” posed @Gerry_Bobb.

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in Nairobi, Kenya [Photos]

Did you know Liverpool and Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah was in the country on Tuesday night?

The photo of the 2019 UEFA Champions League winner surfaced online on Wednesday morning, showing him at the Hilton Garden Inn along Mombasa Road, Nairobi.

The photo shows Salah donning a black cap and dark sunglasses with a black bag pack. On the side is an elated unknown man.

[Courtesy]

Game Yetu can authoritatively confirm that it’s indeed true that Salah jetted in Kenya on Tuesday evening and left on Wednesday at around 7 a.m.

“Yes. Salah was here. He came in on Tuesday evening and checked out early morning today. He was on transit,” an official from the hotel told Game Yetu.

[Courtesy]

The official also told of fans’ jubilation the minute ‘Mo’ stepped into the hotel.

“Immediately he walked in everyone wanted a picture with him. So he agreed to sign some autographs for fans,” the official added.

[Courtesy]

Salah fell short of success in the just ended Africa Cup of Nations [AFCON] tournament in Cairo, Egypt. The Pharaohs were knocked out by Bafana Bafana in the last 16 courtesy of a last-minute striker by Thembinkosi Lorch.

Salah’s Liverpool are currently on their pre-season tour, where they have already lost to Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla. They face Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday at the Yankee Stadium.

[Courtesy]

The Reds will face Norwich City at Anfield in their opening fixture of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

The Reds’ schedule for the next campaign will begin the home clash against the newly-promoted Canaries on Friday, August 9.

Rest In Peace: Joe Kadenge’s memorial service [Photos]

Family of the late Joe Kadenge at the Friends International Church, Nairobi for his memorial service (Photo: Ernest Ndunda)

Friends and family have converged at the Friends International Church, Nairobi to pay penultimate respect to the late Joe Kadenge.

Kadenge passed on at the Meridian Hospital in Nairobi on Sunday, July 7 after a lengthy battle with stroke.

Oscar Kadenge, his son, confirmed Kadenge passed on at the Meridian Hospital in Nairobi on Sunday, July 7 after a lengthy battle with a stroke.

The legend, who was popularly known with the slogan “Kadenge na mpira”, passed on aged 84.

Kadenge’s coffin in hearse (Photo: Ernest Ndunda)

Regarded as the best footballer ever produced by Kenya, Kadenge played for Maragoli United and scored the fastest ever goal in the Kenyan Premier League. He also played for Abaluyha United and won the Kenya Premier League in 1966.

This was after he made a comeback to football after hanging his boots in 1965, guiding Harambee Stars to win the inaugural East and Central Africa Challenge Cup.

Kadenge’s coffin (Photo: Ernest Ndunda)

In 1970, Kadenge stepped down as a player and went into coaching and was later appointed the national team’s head coach.

Kadenge was named Harambee Stars coach in 2002 before suffering a stroke in 2006.

He boasts a sporting family as his sister Esther Kavaya and his younger brother John Anzra are all former sprinters and his sons Evans, Francis and Oscar have emulated his football career.

Friends and family hold Kadenge’s picture inside the church (Photo: Ernest Ndunda)

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday was accompanied by Amani National Congress head Musalia Mudavadi to a fundraiser at All Saints Cathedral – purposed specifically to raise funds to help foot the bill of Kadenge’s burial.

During his speech, Raila revealed he engaged President Uhuru Kenyatta on renaming Nairobi’s City Stadium after the now-departed legend.

“Joe was a legend and that is why I proposed to President Kenyatta on the possibility of renaming City Stadium in his honour,” he said.

Deputy President William Ruto promised the government would stand and walk with Kadenge’s family during this trying time, acknowledging his efforts in putting Kenyan football on the world map.

“I am sure that is what Kadenge would have loved. He was not only a great sportsman, football legend but also brought up a family of sportsmen and mentored many. It was a touching moment for the family. Joe Kadenge and Jonathan Niva put Kenyan football on the world map,” said DP Ruto.

Journalist denies receiving money in Rio Olympics fiasco

A journalist has denied receiving facilitation fee from a Government agency during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Citizen TV journalist Waihiga Mwaura (pictured) told Magistrate Elizabeth Osoro that he was informed he was earmarked to receive $1,000 (Sh103,000) from the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock), money that he was not aware of.

“I wish to state that we came back to Nairobi on August 26, 2016 via Ethiopian Airline and I later aired stories on Citizen TV related to the ‘Rio fiasco’,” said Mwaura.

He was testifying in a case in which former Nock officials Pius Ochieng, Francis Kanyiri and Stephen Arap Soi have denied  Sh25 million theft and fraud.Mr Mwaura said he is ready to cooperate with investigators.

“I wish to state that I appeared before a committee formed to investigate graft allegations during the Rio Olympics and I shared my side of the story,” he said.

Mwaura said that his travel and accommodation was catered for by his employer, adding that he never initiated talks with Nock or any other agency involved in the preparation for the Rio Olympics.He told court he was assigned to cover the 2016 Summer Rio Olympics by his editor Michael Okinyi.

During the competitions in Rio, athletes complained about kit going missing as well as poor travel and accommodation arrangements.There were also complaints that officials took their friends at the expense of coaches.

President Uhuru Kenyatta called for an investigation into what went wrong.

Mbotela: Stop hypocrisy over Kadenge death

The Standard

Veteran broadcaster Leonard Mambo Mbotela is pained by the neglect Kenyan legend Joe Kadenge was subjected to before his death on Sunday.

Mbotela lashed out saying it is all hypocritical as most of those condoling with the family did little, if any, to help the football legend when he needed it most.

“Apart from President Uhuru Kenyatta, who visited him at his home and offered to support him, none of those falling over themselves to send condolences did anything for him,” remarked Mbotela.

“It is all pure show off and I term it hypocritical. The government takes the biggest flack for ignoring him and letting him down, yet he did so much for this country.”

”It pains me that he died in the condition he did and those who knew Kadenge also share my pain and disappointment. We should not be praising him now that he is dead yet we did nothing to make his life better.”

Giving a recollection on his interactions with Kadenge, the veteran broadcaster said:”I met him for the first time in Nakuru more than 40 years ago when he was working for the Ministry of Works.”

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“Even then, he loved football and was engaged in it fully while also finding time to scout for talent. He used to identify players who had an interest in football, train them and take them to other clubs.”

Mbotela said he kept in touch with Kadenge when he joined Voice of Kenya (VOK), now Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, in 1964.

“My earliest recollection of his talent was in 1966 when Kadenge was playing for Kenya in the Gossage Cup. I was broadcasting the match and that is when the phrase ‘Kadenge na Mpira gained popularity,” remembered Mbotela.

“Despite his fame, he was a down-to-earth person and he never let it get into his head. He will be greatly missed.”

Elsewhere, friends and relatives condoled with Kadenge’s family in Soliani Village.

His first wife, Mable Kamonya Kadenge aged 82, described Kadenge as a loving husband who cared for his family, saying he was strict and a disciplinarian.

The widow said she received the news while in church.

“I went to church and told the pastor that my husband had been admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Nairobi and wanted the pastor to pray for his quick recovery. The service had just started when my daughter-in-law told me he had died around 11am,” said Mrs Kadenge.

Wanyama’s Moving Message to Harambee Stars After AFCON Exit

Harambee Stars Captain Victor Wanyama still holds his head high despite being bundled out of the AFCON tournament at its initial stages.

The skipper, who plays for London-based Tottenham Hotspur, affirmed that he was proud of his team regardless of their performance in the continent’s biggest football event.

Stars exited the tournament after suffering two defeats in their Group C matches and their sole win over their neighbours Tanzania was not enough to sail them through to the round of 16.

Michael Olunga celebrating after scoring against Tanzania on 27/06/2019

Their hopes of qualifying among the best four third-placed teams were thwarted after a goalless draw between Cameroon and Benin on Tuesday evening.

“I am proud of the players and staff because everyone gave their best. Sometimes we make mistakes but we are only human and the most important thing for us is to learn from these mistakes. I am proud of everyone because we gave our best and we fought in every match,” Wanyama stated.

The national team started out the campaign pitted against the tough Algeria where they lost 2-0 to the desert foxes.

They went on to prove their prowess in a 5-goal explosive match against their East African rivals Tanzania in a match that ended 3-2 with striker Olunga netting a brace for Harambee Stars.

A resounding blow came when Senegal blasted the ball thrice past Kenya’s goalkeeper Partrick Matasi.

This left Harambee Stars third placed in the group with 3 points right above Tanzania which did not manage to grab any point in the tournament.

Algeria and Senegal managed to cruise to the round of 16 having garnered 9 and 6 points respectively.

Sports CS Amina Mohammed threw a lavish party for the Harambee Stars in Egypt on Tuesday afternoon despite their loss assuring them that the nation was proud of them.

This was Kenya’s chance to play at the AFCON after a 15-year wait having last played in the tournament in 2004 before they managed to stage their skills on the highly-contested football battle in Egypt.

Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama in action at a past match