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Friday, August 31, 2012

UEFA Champions League Draw - Real Madrid, Manchester City in Group of Death, Iniesta Best Player in Europe

The reigning champions of two of Europe’s biggest leagues, Real Madrid and Manchester City of the Spanish La Liga and English premier league respectively have been drawn together in the UEFA Champions League group stage matches.

The Spanish giants and their Premier League counterparts were drawn against each other in Group D which also has Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund and Dutch powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam.

The competition’s titleholders Chelsea will battle with little-known Danish league champions FC Nordsjaelland, Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk and Serie A giants Juventus.

Perennial favourites Barcelona have drawn Glasgow giants Celtic, Portuguese side Benfica and Russian outfit Spartak Moscow while last year’s losing finalists Bayern Munich will entertain French side Lille, La Liga outfit Valencia and Belarusian side BATE Borisov in Group F.

Group A will have big spending Paris Saint Germain, Dinamo Zagreb, Porto and Dynamo Kiev while Group B has Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos and Ligue 1 Champions Montpellier.

AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht and Malaga are in Group C while Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray and CFR Cluj are in Group H.

Meanwhile Barcelona midfield kingpin Andres Iniesta beat off stiff competition from the world’s two best players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to land the UEFA best player award for the past season. The skilful playmaker garnered just two votes more than his Barcelona teammate Messi and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo.

The Fuentealbilla-born 28-year-old had a good season as he was named the European Championships player of the tournament when he helped Spain win the UEFA Euro 2012 title in Ukraine and Poland in July.

Full UEFA Champions League Draw:

Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb, Paris St Germain

Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier

Group C: AC Milan, Malaga, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht

Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund

Group E: Shakhtar Donetsk, Chelsea, Juventus, FC Nordsjaelland

Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov

Group G: Barcelona, Celtic, Benfica, Spartak Moscow

Group H: Braga, Galatasaray, Manchester United, CFR Cluj 

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Team Kenya in High Spirits, Promises to bring COPA Coca-Cola Title Home

The Kenya COPA Coca-Cola contingent of 16 players arrived safely in South Africa for the international camp and immediately pledged to bring home the inter-country COPA title.

The team touched down at OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday noon before they were driven to Pretoria where the 12-day camp will be held.

After being checked in, they were taken through some light training by team coach Arthur Opiyo. “We are grateful that we arrived safely and it’s my hope that this is going to be a successful outing for these young talents,” said Arthur.

The Kenyan team will be joined by other players from Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Swaziland, Mauritius and Lesotho.

“We have made it here not only to enjoy ourselves but bring the trophy to Kenya because we can,” said Haron Nyakha, the team’s captain. “The team spirit is high and so is the desire to win. I have a feeling we will emerge tops because we are all psyched up for this,” added Nyakha who is the only player in the squad who has been to South Africa before.

The 16 Kenyan players include goalkeeping duo Edwin Mukolwe and Stephen Ogweno, defenders Christopher Oruchum, Sadam Abdulahi, Kevin Otieno, James Mazembe, midfielders Haron Nyakha, Eugene Moses, Ahmed Mahfudh, Geoffrey Alwala, Ramadhan Abdulmalik, Mohammed Said, Castro Mwaura, Alfred Wekesa and strikers, Ibrahim Moge and Omar Mwinyi.

Ahmed Mahfudh who was the COPA Coca-Cola player of the tournament at the national finals has also set his eyes on achieving the same feat during the 12-day long tournament. “I emerged the top COPA player in Kenya in spite of some very stiff competition,’ noted the midfield talisman. “I want to help my team win here again just like we did with Coast Province but am also setting my eyes on the individual award,” he added.

All teams at the camp were furnished with new playing kits which included a pair of white and red jerseys, a pair of polo t-shirts, boots, playing shorts, as well as a tracksuit, gym bag and a scarf among others. 

Chelsea Coaches Arrive on Thursday

A total of five Chelsea coaches will travel to South Africa to provide special training to the over 140 COPA Coca-Cola players at the international camp in Pretoria. Robert Luke Udberg, Russell William Banyard, Oliver Stuart Woodall, Shane Jason Hughes, and Dean Aaron Goodman Steninger of the Chelsea Football Club Foundation will touch down in South Africa on Thursday.

“The Chelsea FC foundation coaches will work in harmony with the local coaches from the different markets and we believe this will help get the best out of these budding talents,” said Christine Maina, Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Assets and Experiential Manager.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kenya U17 Coach for South Africa COPA Camp Assignment Appointed

Arthur Otieno - Photo courtesy of Futaa.com
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has appointed Arthur Otieno Apiyo as the coach who will lead the Kenya COPA Coca-Cola U17 players to the international camp in South Africa this coming Tuesday.

Apiyo who was one of the three talent scouts involved in selecting the players during COPA national finals in Mombasa beat his compatriot Atanasi Wamalwa to the position. The former Real Kisumu and Congo United coach has expressed confidence that the team will do well in the Pretoria-based boot camp. “It’s my pleasure that I have gotten the opportunity to work with these players even in the short term,” said the former Chemelil player. “I know them from the COPA national finals and am looking forward to working with them in South Africa,” he said.

FKF technical director Edwin Mukolwe said they arrived at the decision due to Apiyo’s illustrious experience working with young players. “He’s one of our most qualified youthful coaches who really knows how to get the best out of young players,” said Mukowle. “He has worked with young footballers at Real Kisumu and continues to do so with Kisumu Youth Football Association so this won’t be any difficult,” noted Mukolwe.

Arthur who acquired a UEFA ‘B’ license in 2009 in Zeist Holland has a coaching career spanning over a decade. During his early years in coaching, he helped take Kisumu Boys High school to schools’ provincial finals where they lost out to St. Marks.

The 38-year-old served as the coach of the now defunct Panpaper FC in 2007 before linking up with Western Stima as a trainer in 2008. He then joined Kisumu’s Ring Road FC as head coach in 2009 before moving to Congo United, then at Nationwide in 2010. It was at the Coast-based club that Apiyo recruited Gor Mahia sensation Rama Salim and Ulinzi forward Wycliffe Ochomo who helped the club gain promotion to the premier league.

Arthur was the head coach or Real Kisumu FC who were relegated from the Nationwide League last year. He took over the team at a time when they had gathered a paltry 2 points from 9 games but his magic could not save the team from relegation as they finished the season with only 27 points.

He has been involved in grassroots football since then coaching young players and also helping impart technical skills on local coaches.

He has also co-instructed four basic football courses in South Africa with Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) while working with Kisumu Youth Football Association (KYFA).

Playing Career
Apiyo joined Chemelil youth team in 1991 after clearing high school at Nairobi School where he was the football captain. He earned his call-up to the Chemelil senior team in 1994 when the team was at provincial league and helped the team move up the ranks and into the premier league in 1997.

The former defender left the club the following year and after trying out his luck in business, he was snapped up by Ugandan side Kakira Sugar as a free agent. The club which was being coached by former Gor Mahia player Timothy Ayieko was relegated from the Ugandan premier league. Apiyo joined Nile Brewers but it was not long before he returned home where he took over the reigns at Chemelil Youth team christened ‘Guza Guza’ where he began his coaching career.

Some of the renowned players he has coached include Sher Karuturi’s anchorman Kevin Omondi, Thika United U20 star Vincent Otieno, Oserian defender Zach Omukhula, Gor Mahia’s Victor Ali, Muhoroni Youth utility player Dan Odhiambo Wigwa and Bidco United captain Duncan Ochieng’ among others.

Apiyo and the 16 players will depart to Pretoria, South Africa on Tuesday August 28th to join other 134 players from around sub-Saharan Africa at the international camp. The players will be coached by five special Chelsea coaches from Chelsea Football Club during the 12-day boot camp which will end on September 8th.

“I am ready to work with the Chelsea coaches at the camp and I’ll use it as a learning experience. You are simply never good enough to stop learning from each other,” said Apiyo.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chelsea FC Coaches to Train COPA Players at International Camp in South Africa

A total of five Chelsea FC Foundation coaches will form part of a special coaching team that will oversee the training of 140 players from 15 countries at the Copa Coca-Cola international camp in Pretoria, South Africa scheduled to run between August 28th and September 8th, 2012.

Robert Luke Udberg, Russell William Banyard, Oliver Stuart Woodall, Shane Jason Hughes, and Dean Aaron Goodman Steninger of the Chelsea Football Club Foundation will travel to South Africa where they will help the young talented footballers train like champs under their tutelage.

Speaking during the announcement, which comes a week before the players depart for South Africa, Coca- Cola East Africa Franchise Manager, Jorsen Patten, hailed the partnership stating that Chelsea FC was built on the strength of the club’s heritage in growing African talent. 

“When you think Chelsea, you think of great African football stars such as John Obi Mikel from Nigeria and Michael Essien from Ghana, all reasons to believe in Africa,” said Patten. “Add these to the club’s international team and there’s very little doubt that Chelsea’s strength lies in its diversity, a value that Coca-Cola ascribes to given our global footprint.”

The coaches will take the young footballers through various skill drills designed to help improve their control, shooting, dribbling, and passing. They will also act as mentors to players during the 12-day camp.

Countries taking part in this year’s international camp include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, DRC, Mauritius and Nigeria. Incorporating sports and play, the upcoming stars will get an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of South Africa during their stay. 

Each year, COPA Coca-Cola gives hundreds of budding stars an opportunity to refine their skills through inter-country competitions and exposure to world-class football. In 2011, Coca-Cola partnered with the Club in a deal which saw 98 young COPA Coca-Cola footballers from 10 markets travel to Chelsea where they trained in one of the world’s finest football training centres, Cobham. The players not only honed their skills under the guidance of the club’s coaches but also experienced London life and watched a live match pitting Chelsea against Swansea.

COPA Coca-Cola has a long legacy in Africa with a presence of 24 years in Zimbabwe, 19 years in Uganda, 10 years in Zambia and Mozambique, and 5 years in Kenya. Throughout this period, numerous success stories have come from the tournament including Uganda’s Timothy Batabaire who plays in the South African Premier league, Kenya’s Macdonald Mariga who plays for Italian Club Parma FC, Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama who plays for French clucb Lille, Tanzania’s Thomas Ulimwengu who plays for African Champions TP Mazembe, as well as the Zambian Chipolopolo trio Kennedy Mweene, Stoppila Sunzu and Nathan Sinkala.

The tournament originated in Mexico in 1998 and is Coca-Cola’s annual national youth tournament that seeks to support the development of grassroots football talent.  Coca-Cola works in partnership with government and/or Football Federations to make the COPA one of the leading events in a country’s soccer calendar.  The tournament is open to players aged between 13 and 17 years.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!