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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kenya’s Official FIFA U17 National Teams for Boys and Girls Selected

The curtains for the 2012 COPA Coca-Cola U17 youth football tourney came down today at Mbaraki Sports Grounds bringing to an end a competition that has been used to select Kenya’s official FIFA U17 national team. 

Sixteen players picked from across the country made the cut in both boys’ and girls’ disciplines with Coast and Rift Valley players getting more slots in boys’ and girls’ categories respectively.

The boys’ U17 national team will include goalkeepers Stephen Ogweno from Nyanza and Western’s Edwin Mukolwe who was named goalkeeper of tournament. The defence will comprise of James Mazembe (Rift Valley), Saddam Abdullahi (North Eastern), Christopher Orchum (Western) and Kevin Otieno from Nairobi. The midfield will include Coast quartet Ahmed Mahfudh, Eugene Moses, Omar Mwinyi and Mohamed Said supported by Nyanza’s Geoffrey Alwala, Rift Valley’s Ramadhan Abdulmalik, Castro Mwangi and Haroun Nyakha from Central and Western respectively.

The girls’ team was dominated by national champions Rift Valley who had a player represented in goal, midfield and striking force. The province’s Metina Awinja who was also named the best goalkeeper in the tournament will be assisted by Nairobi’s Dorcas Kisugu in goal. Faith Imai and Nekesa Wafula from Western made the cut to man the defence where they will be joined by Coast’s Winnie Achieng’ and Rift Valley duo Mercy Mutua and Abigael Cherotich.

Nairobi’s Florence Awino and Diana Wachira will partner with Faith Musinzi (Western), Pauline Musungu (Rift), Mwanalima Adam (Coast) and Eastern’s Naomi Njeri in midfield.  

Rift Valley twins Miriam Chelagat and girls’ player of the tournament and topscorer Ruth Chebungei have been unplayable during the competition and their efforts will see them partner each other in attack with Chebungei the target man and Miriam on the right wing. Coast’s Linda Kahindi will support the two from the left wing.

The 16 selected players will travel to South Africa this August for a two-week international football camp.

Meanwhile Chebungei scored in the 20th minute to help Rift Valley to a comfortable 1-0 win over Western in the girls’ national finals match. The strong-willed striker netted in the 20th minute to take her tally to ten goals which saw her claim both the golden boot and golden ball.   

Coast girls gave the home fans something to cheer about after easing past Nairobi ‘B’ 2-0 to take the second runners up position.

In the boys’ third-place playoff, Robert Mutua hit a brace to help Central dismiss Western 2-0.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mbaraki Sports Stadium to Host COPA Coca-Cola National Finals

Part of the action during Nyanza Provincial finals at Kisii Campus
Mombasa's Mbaraki Sports Stadium will play host for this year's COPA Coca-Cola national finals slated to run from the Sunday 22nd to Saturday 28th.

Nairobi, Nyanza, Western, Central and Rift Valley hosted their provincial final matches this past weekend and subsequently selected the best 16 players each, who they will parade at the national finals .

The pick of the weekend action was at Kisii Campus in Kisii County which played host to Nyanza’s Provincial finals.

The first match at the campus saw Nyanza North pick a morale-boosting 1-0 win over South which set the tone for their subsequent domination of the boys’ encounters. Evans Otieno scored the solitary goal for the North team which had the lion’s share of possession in the first half but could not get a way past North’s defence, at least till Otieno grabbed the winner.

The match started cagily with both teams content with sitting at the back and reading each other’s game. But it was North who were rather quick off the blocks thanks to their ball winning prowess. North nearly went ahead in the 10th minute courtesy of a freekick after South’s goalkeeper Abdulahi Abubakar had handled the ball outside his box. The lanky custodian was clearly relived to see Geoffrey Alwala’s well hit shot ascend to the skies.

South got a rare chance to pull ahead six minutes later when Douglas Mokaya was put through on goal but his run was inches slower than North’s keeper who collected the ball, preventing South from taking a shock lead. Nyanza North’s Alwala was a constant pain in South’s defence. A minute after hitting the underside of the bar with a vicious shot, he was at the center of North’s and the match’s only goal.

The mean-looking winger-cum-forward made a mazy run inside South’s penalty area leaving three defenders on his wake before slicing the ball to Otieno who simply tapped in to score what would prove to be the match’s only goal.

North also won their second match of the day with the same scoreline against West, who beat South by a solitary goal in the other boys’ encounters.

In the girls’ matches, Nyanza West’s Christine Mchelule and South’s Sophie Nyanthama were both on target as the teams drew 1-1. Mchelule put West ahead in the 10th minute but Nyanthama pulled South level three minutes later with a penalty. Nyanza South and North shared a barren draw as the latter lost 1-0 to West.

Meanwhile it was goals galore in Western Provincial finals played at the Mumias Sports Complex. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams from Western branch collected an emphatic win over their North Western rivals. Western thrashed Northwestern 4-1 in the boys’ match but the girls did even better with a 4-0 win.

Mount Kenya branch found Aberdare a tough to climb as they were gunned down 5-1 in the boys’ match and 1-0 in the girls’ match during Central provincial finals played at Makuyu Boys on Saturday.

In Nairobi provincial finals, Nairobi East and West Boys were engaged in a six-goal thriller which ended 3-3. East however edged out the girl’s corresponding fixture 3-1. In Rift Valley finals, Rift Valley ‘B’ edged out both the boys’ and girls’ matches 3-1 and 3-0 respectively.

All the provinces selected their 16 players who will represent them in the national finals which will be used to select players who will travel for a two-week international camp, but most importantly, form the heart of Kenya’s official U17 national football team.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Liverpool Have a “Xabi Alonso” in their Midst

If there’s one sight that almost every Liverpool fan would be hankering to see at the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool before the transfer window closes, it would be that of Spain’s European Championship winning midfielder Xabi Alonso.

The deep lying playmaker may have departed Anfield nearly three years ago but the gap he left on his trail was and has been tantamount to his playing position – deep.

Little wonder then that the Kopites have been following his career painstakingly. The Basque-born midfielder was one of the key players in the all-conquering Spanish team that is still making merry of the Euro 2012 title. Playing as part of a 6-man midfield, the 30-year-old was instrumental in dictating the pace of the game as he mopped up possession and formed an impregnable defensive midfield pairing with Sergio Busquets.

No sooner had the Euro games come to an end than word started going round that Real Madrid would not extend his contract as is the policy with the club’s players who have hit the age 30 mark. But as some internet sources were reporting this, others revealed that Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was keen for Xabi Alonso to be handed a two-year contract extension that would keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2016.

The latter may have heartbroken many a heart and the player has since come out to put the matter to rest, expressing his desire to return to Liverpool some day in future while also declaring that he is happy at Madrid for now.

But need Liverpool fans continue mourning for the return of the World Cup winning midfielder? Not when they have one such player among their ranks.

Am talking about Jesus Joquin Fernandez Saez de la Torre, better known as Suso.

The Spain U19 star was snapped up by Rafa Benitez from Cardiz in the summer of 2010. Liverpool beat Barcelona and Real Madrid for his signature, justifying why he’s so highly rated.  

At his former club, Cardiz, he played as a left midfielder but has been playing on the right wing for the Liverpool reserves. But such is his versatility that he has been occupying the central midfield role for the Spain U-19 team that is currently playing the European U-19 championships in Estonia.

A critical look at his style of play, range of passing and positioning reveals to you why he might just be the one to fill Alonso’s boots, if not do more.

The boy has a good shot on him. His passing is pinpoint and can hit them long like Xabi. He can cross from either flank. His dribbling is better than Xabi’s. He can dictate the pace of the game. His turn is Xavi-esque, has body power that defies his young age, and has the intelligence to spot the run of a teammate behind the opposition defence.

His only Achilles heel may be tackling. But he’s not modeled for that. And should there be a need to refine that, he couldn’t have gotten better tutors around him than the likes of Steven Gerard and Lucas Leiva.

Yank duo Tom Hicks and George Gillet began the club’s downfall. But it’s also widely seen that Xabi Alonso’s departure in 2009 acted as a catalyst. The club has been struggling to fill his boots ever since. 

But in Suso, they have the player in their midst. One who’s been around Liverpool for many years than Alonso was when he was signed from Real Sociedad. One who’s definitely younger, perhaps more creative and more skilful. One who won't struggle to adapt to Brendan Rodgers' football philosophy of pass and move, tiki-taka, name it, because that's the football that Suso plays.

It’s no rocket science that Liverpool will struggle to bring in big names into the club; Gylfi, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, to mention but a few. But nevertheless, the battle to reclaim the club’s status as one of England and Europe’s cream of the crop stoutly begins this coming season. And what best way to win the battle than get your men from within?

Suso may be shy of his 19th birthday but as his new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said, "If you're good enough, no matter what's your age (Raheem, Suso?), you'll play!”

Get in lads!

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

When Phil Jones Plays, Viewer Discretion is STRONGLY Advised - Funny Face Photos of Man United Defender

Former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once famously said: 'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'

The Shank was known for many quotes that left the football world aghast and many managers playing catch-up during his trophy-laden 15-year reign at Anfield.

Am not sure how many people subscribe to that thought. But am sure Manchester United’s Mr. Versatile, Phil Jones, born over a decade after the demise of the Liverpool legend, takes football in a way much more important than life and death.

The faces the Lancashire-born defender pulls while ‘doing his job’ on the field are what the word ‘stunts’ were made for. Take a look, or should I say, have a laugh!! Again, viewer discretion is strongly advised.
oh boy!!

crying mode

the face suggests this was anything but a dive

The cutest of em all

Is the middle finger on the rear saying something?

Oh ball!!

I can't look no more

A lion king

Only Jones can play while taking a nap

Yeah, even HE can't look

 And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vintage Spain Win Euro 2012

San Iker lifts the trophy for Spain
Spain confirmed their status as the world’s football superpower with an emphatic 4-0 demolition of Italy as they became the first team in the European championships history to successfully defend the title.

David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata were all on target for Vicente Del Bosque’s side who also became the first team in the world to win three major tournaments in succession, the 2010 World Cup slotted in between two Euro championships.

Spain were ruthless in Kiev and went for the half time break with a comfortable 2-0 advantage. David Silva scored the opening goal a minute shy of the quarter-hour mark with a glancing header from a Cesc Fabregas cross. New Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba, inarguably one of the stars of the all-conquering Spanish side, doubled the lead four minutes before the interval as Italy found it hard to break down a team playing with six midfielders and no recognized striker.

Italy lost Thiago Motta to a hamstring injury in the hour mark leaving the team to play with ten men, Prandelli having made all his substitutions.

This left the Azzuri with a bigger mountain to climb. Spain took hold of the possession henceforth and killed the game six minutes before the final whistle.

The fourth goal was a blast from past, an almost exact replica of what transpired in Euro 2008. Fernando Torres collected a perfect through ball from Xavi before slotting home to all but kill the game, the Chelsea forward becoming the first ever player to score in two successive Euro finals, Xavi the first to record an assist in two finals. The two combined in the 2008 final when Torres scored the only goal from a Xavi pass in their 1-0 triumph over Germany.

Andres Iniesta was withdrawn for Juan Mata with the game and title already secured in the Iberian’s trophy cabinet. The Chelsea playmaker, making his first appearance in the competition, slotted in the fourth from a Torres pass to round off a perfect night and perfect tournament for La Roja

Torres' goal and assist saw him wrestle the golden boot from Mario Gomez and Balotelli.

Records Broken

  • Spain became the first team to win two consecutive European Championships, and the first European international team to win three straight major tournament titles (UEFA Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup).
  • Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Cesc Fàbregas, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Ramos, David Silva, Fernando Torres, Xavi, Raúl Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Santi Cazorla, and Pepe Reina joined Germany’s Rainer Bonhof (1972, 1980) as the only other players to have won the tournament twice.
  • Spain’s 4-0 win is the biggest ever winning margin in a European Championship, beating West Germany’s 3-0 triumph over Soviet Union in 1972
  • Captain Iker Casillas became the first player to notch 100 wins in international competitions
  • Fernando Torres became the first player in history to score in two Euro finals, Xavi the first to register two final assists
  • Spain joined West Germany as the only other team to win the Euro championship on three occasions
Official UEFA Best Euro 2012 Squad: 
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Gerard Pique (Spain) Fabio Coentrao (Portugal), Philip Lahm (Germany), Pepe (Portugal), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Jordi Alba (Spain), 

Daniele DeRossi (Italy), Steven Gerrard (England), Xavi Hernandez (Spain), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Sami Khedira (Germany), Sergio Busquets (Spain), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Xabi Alonso (Spain)

Mario Balotelli (Italy), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), David Silva (Spain) 

And That's thesteifmastertake!!