Popular Posts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

English Capital One Cup Review and Fourth Round Draw

After edging out West Brom 4-3 on post-match penalties in the 3rd round of the English League Cup, Arsenal will host London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates for the 4th round tie.

The Gunners were pushed all the way past extra time by Steve Clarke’s side before emerging triumphant on penalties, Nacho Monreal netting the winning penalty after Craig Dawson and Morgan Amalitano had missed their spot kicks for West Brom. Arsenal’s only miss came from Serge Gnabry.

Manchester United will have yet another home fixture when they welcome Norwich City to Old Trafford, the venue where they conquered Liverpool  1-0 in the 3rd round thanks to a Javier Hernandez Chicharito’s predatory goal immediately after the interval.

Holders Swansea exited the competition after losing 3-1 to Birmingham who will play Stoke City while the only other non-Premier League sides remaining in the competition, Burnley and Leicester will have home fixtures against West Ham and Fulham respectively. Burnley beat Nottingham Forest 2-1, Fulham dismissed Everton with the same scoreline while West Ham edged out Cardiff 3-2 at Upton Park.

Other 4th round fixtures will see Hull City, 1-0 winners over Huddersfield Town travel to Tottenham who thumped Aston Villa 4-0 while Newcastle will host Manchester City as Southampton travel to the Stadium of Lights to face Sunderland.

The matches will be played from the 28th of October. 

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

EUROPEAN LEAGUES REVIEW: Man City Crash United, Super Mario Misses Penalty as Bayern and Inter Cruise

The fifth week of English Premier League action saw Arsenal wrestle top spot from Liverpool. With the Merseyside club losing 1-0 to Southampton on Saturday, the Gunners’ 3-1 win over Stoke City on Sunday soared them to top spot albeit only on goal difference since they are level on points with Tottenham who beat Cardiff City 1-0. Sergio Aguero netted a brace and Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri were also on target for Manchester City as they handed David Moyes’ Manchester United 4-1 humbling, the reigning champions’ second defeat in five Premier League games. Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Fulham, Oscar and John Obi Mikel on the score sheet for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid kept their 100% start to the season with both teams collecting away victories. Pedro Rodriguez netted a hat-trick and Cesc Fabregas also scored in the Catalans 4-0 win at Rayo Vallecano. A goal either side of half-time from Raul Garcia and Diego Costa were enough for Atletico to dismiss Real Valladolid 2-0 at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla. Real Madrid remained within touching distance of the top two with a 4-1 demolition of Getafe, Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing a brace either side of Pepe and Isco’s goals. Madrid are two points adrift of Barca and Atletico who have 15 points. Promoted side Villarreal are 4th on 11 points after their barren draw at Celta de Vigo.

Bayern Munich got themselves level on points with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the German Bundesliga with a 4-0 thumping of Schalke 04. With Dortmund drawing 1-1 against Nurnberg, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Mandzukic gave the Champions league winners a 2-goal caution heading into the interval and they added two more goals courtesy of Frank Ribery and Claudio Pizzaro. Sami Hyypia’s Bayern Leverkusen bounced back from their midweek champions league defeat against Manchester United with an assured 4-1 win at Mainz while Hannover 96 beat Augsburg 2-1 to remain fourth on the log. Eintracht Frankfurt collected their first point of the season after frustrating Stuttgart 1-1.

Mario Balotelli missed the first penalty of his career in AC Milan’s 2-1 loss to Napoli at the San Siro. The Italian forward won the penalty after being brought down in the box in the 59th minute and stepped up to take it only to see Pepe Reina dive on the right side and tip it wide. Super Mario atoned for the miss with a stunning consolation goal in stoppage time. He was then sent off after the final whistle for arguing with the referee. The win kept Rafa Benitez’s 100% win record intact and they lead the standings on 12 points, same as Roma who finally beat AS Lazio 2-0 after they have failed in the previous five attempts. Inter Milan mauled promoted side Sassuolo 7-0 as champions Juventus ensured they are not far off from the pace with a 2-1 win over Hellas Vorona.

The biggest game in the French Ligue 1 was a battle of the moneybags as PSG hosted Monaco. Zlatan Ibrahimovic lived up the match grabbing a goal within the opening five minutes. However, it took only 15 minutes for Monaco to draw level via Radamel Falcao and that was a far as it went in terms of goals as the two teams shared a 1-1 draw which saw Monaco remain top of the log and PSG climb to 2nd and dislodge Saint Etienne who lost 2-1 to Toulouse. Olympique Lyonnais beat Nantes 3-1 to move to 7th place while bottom side Sochaux are still looking for their first win of the season after going down 0-2 to Lille.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Super Mario Balotelli Finally Misses a Penalty

The night that Mario Balotteli missed the first penalty of his career will be remembered in many ways than one. On that same night, he hit the crossbar, scored a stunning stoppage time goal, got booked in normal time and was sent off after the final whistle with a second booking.

But as beautiful as his right foot curled in goal was, that was barely the highlight of the match especially given that AC Milan still lost the match 2-1 to Napoli.

The penalty miss was.

It had been 26 penalties, 21 in official matches, that the fiery Italian forward had converted for both club and country until Pepe Reina denied him on Sunday. The on-loan Liverpool custodian must have referred back to Balotelli’s interview with the Mirror in November 2012 where he said: “Me, I know how to control my mind. When the keeper moves before me, it means that in this game of the mind he has lost.”

Reina never moved.

Instead, he waited for the 23-year-old to hit his penalty low onto his (Reina’s) right and the bald-headed keeper dived to make fairly an easy save. The former Manchester City forward looked incensed and even though he got one over Reina in stoppage time with a wonderful goal, the duck had been broken, something that must have contributed to Balotteli’s sending off after the final whistle following an argument with the referee.

Will he establish another streak or this was the beginning of the end?

Watch the penalty miss here:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Safaricom 7s Lands Intercontinental Hotel Sponsorship

Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi has today announced a Kshs. 3 million sponsorship for the 18th edition of the Safaricom 7s rugby event slated to begin tomorrow, Friday, at the Moi Sports Center, Kasarani.

Speaking during the announcement, Intercontinental Hotel General Manager Africa Karl Hala said, “We are proud to be part of the Safari 7s tournament. This sponsorship is meant to ensure all the teams enjoy first class accommodation as they take part in what has arguably become the best 7s rugby competition in Africa.”

The money will go into accommodating all the participating rugby teams throughout the tournament including Uganda, Samurai, England Royals, Australia Renegades, Belgium, Zambia, Uganda, Grenoble, Samurai, Western Province, Rwanda, Botswana among others.

A total of 14 teams have already checked in at the hotel ready for the spectacle that will run for three days.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

All-Star Team Beats Mamelodi Sundowns

The All-Star Team
The COPA Coca-Cola All-Star team edged out Mamelodi Sundowns U15 side 1-0 in an entertaining exhibition match played at the High Performance Center in Pretoria, South Africa.

The All-Star team which was made up of 16 best players drawn from all the countries playing at the international camp tournament scored the solitary goal in the first half courtesy of Zimbabwean skillful player Tatendae Tumba.

The game started on a cautious tempo with both teams spraying passes around the midfield without showing any attacking potency. The All-Star team carved out the first chance of the game but Zambian Febian Chalu saw his shot fly across the face of goal,

It was not until the 15th minute when the deadlock was broken. Congo Brazzaville’s Bienvenu Yala squirmed through the Sundowns defence before he was brought down when he ready to pull the trigger. The referee awarded All-Star a free kick which was curled in beautifully into the far corner by Tatendae.

The Sundowns players seized the match from then on but could not get an equalizer even after the interval.

“It was a good game and we are happy for the win. It was a really good performance by our team considering we trained only once,” said Tanzania’s Badru Othman.

The All-Star team which was coached by Banyana Banyana goalkeeping coach Thomas Nare consisted of two goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 6 midfielders and 3 strikers. Egypt had the most number of players which included goalkeeper Mahmoud Gael, defender Nagy Abdelmorin, midfielder Mohamed Adelsamie and forward Taher Heshem followed by champions Zimbabwe who had goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi, midfielder Learnmore Muyambo and forward Tatendae Tumba.

Tanzania’s Nasson Edward and Badru Othman as well as Uganda duo Godfrey Mbazira and Allan Khainja also made it to the list. Others included Algeria’s Merreli Islam, Kenya’s Musa Masika, John Mohai Mohai who played for Africa United, Zambia’s Febian Chali and Congolese Bienvenu Yala who played for the Dream Team.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Kenya COPA Team Travel Back after South Africa Camp Tournament

They may not have won a match at the COPA international camp tournament in South Africa but the young Kenyan COPA U15 team will be arriving home tomorrow, Monday, with their heads held up high.

The team of 15 players and 3 officials will depart OR Tambo International airport at exactly 10.10am and will touch down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport four hours later.

“It’s been a good learning experience for our young players. They played teams which were much senior to them but not in a minute did they think of quitting and they fought throughout,” said coach Atanasi Wamalwa.

Kenya was drawn in the group that included Uganda and Zimbabwe who would later contest the finals which the latter won 3-0. The Harambee Warriors began on a wrong footing losing to Zimbabwe 6-1 before battling to a barren draw against Uganda Cranes.

Coach Atanasi’s charges surprisingly lost 3-0 to Kazakhstan but pushed Algeria to the limit before going down 2-1, Musa Masika netting Kenya’s consolation goal. “We gave it our all but the other teams were much older and powerful than us. We take this as a learning experience though and hopefully we will remain as a unit and prepare for the next challenge,” said John Ochieng, one of Kenya’s standout performers at the camp.

“We came here as a team, battled as a unit and we travel back knowing we did our country proud given the circumstances,” noted captain Lloyd Kim.

The performance of the Kenyan team didn’t escape the eyes of talent scouts at the tournament with lead scout Caesar Maphala lauding the team for their effort and playing style. “They were a joy to watch, their football brain clicked from the moment they entered the pitch and realized they were beaten for height so they kept the ball spreading on the ground. This was a very impressive team,” said Maphala who picked Musa Masika for the All-Star team.

Masika continued with his impressive form by starring for the All-Star team in their match against Mamelodi Sundwons U15 team. The 15-year-old entered the fray in the second half and helped steady the All-Star midfield.

The COPA Coca-Cola All-Star team edged out Sundowns 1-0 in an entertaining exhibition match played at the High Performance Center in Pretoria, South Africa.

The All-Star team which was made up of 16 best players drawn from the international camp tournament scored the solitary goal in the first half courtesy of Zimbabwean skillful winger Tatendae Tumba.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Ugandan COPA Boy Meets His Hero, Kennedy Mweene

The COPA Coca-Cola tournament has produced many football stars in the African continent. Every single year, a new player excels amongst the many.

One the most renowned sons of the tournament is Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene. The former Free State Stars custodian who recently signed for Mamelodi Sundowns commands respect amongst his peers .

And to young upcoming goalkeepers like Uganda’s Tumusiime Aloysius, the Chipolopolo goalkeeper is a role model. Tumusiime considers himself as the future of Uganda’s goalkeeping position and while playing for his team in the ongoing COPA Under-15 international camp tournament, he got to meet the present of Zambia’s goalkeeping position.

“I sincerely can’t believe I got to meet the man I look up to. This is a dream come true and am happy beyond explanation,” said Tumusiime after meeting Mweene who traveled to Pretoria to grace a tournament which was the launching pad of his career.

“He is the best goalkeeper we’ve had in Africa for quite some time now. I like him for his confidence when facing penalties and also the way he commands his defence,” says the 15-year-old Ugandan.

Mweene, the Chipolopolo vice captain and Africa Cup of Nations winning goalkeeper traces his roots to a humble background in State Lodge Police Camp in Lusaka, Zambia. The 5 ft 10 inch custodian started his bright career after participating in the 2002 COPA Coca-Cola national championships in Zambia.

“This is where I started making my name. I am a big fan of COPA Coca-Cola not just for the opportunity they provided me but for the what they are doing to improve African football,” said Mweene.

“I am glad that such young talents look up to me. That means I am doing the right thing and I can only encourage Tumusiime to keep working hard and he’ll become even a better goalkeeper than me,” he adds.

As he met his hero, Tumusiime could only let out a big smile and savor the moment. “It’s not everyday that you get to meet your heroes so this is massive to me. After meeting Mweene, I feel rejuvenated and ready to take my game to the next level,” he concludes.

Aloysius, a Form 2 student at Kings College Budo in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, participated in his maiden COPA tournament last year and seized his chance.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kenya’s Musa Masika Makes it into the COPA All-Star Team

Kenya’s COPA Coca-Cola national finals golden boot winner Musa Masika has made it to the All-Star team at the COPA international camp in Pretoria, South Africa.

The 13-year-old is the only player from the young Kenya U15 team who has been picked to the All-Star team who will play against an U15 team from PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns, tomorrow, Sunday.

Masika who netted 14 goals during the national finals at World Hope Center and City Stadium in Nairobi, was the only player on the score sheet for Harambee Warriors who fought valiantly but crashed out at the group level. He netted Kenya’s consolation goals against Zimbabwe and Algeria in matches that the Warriors lost 6-1 and 2-1 respectively.

“He’s such a fine player, has the right age and is a joy to watch with the ball at his feet. This boy will go places,” said Caesar Maphala, the lead scout at the U15 tournament.

Masika’s football brain has helped him go places. He participated in the 2009 Gothia Cup in Sweden where Kenya lost to England in the quarterfinals while in 2010,he travelled to an Under-11 tournament named Mundialito in Portugal.

A brother to Ayub Timbe, he participated in his maiden COPA tournament in 2011 where he helped his team finish 3rd beyond winners Ambira and Chavakali. However, it was in this year’s COPA tournament that he lived up to his full billing as he led his team to the nationals title.

“I am grateful for the opportunities and exposure I have gotten through COPA and I’ll keep working hard to get to the level where I want to be,” said the Victor Mugubi and Andres Iniesta fan.

The Class 8 pupil at Junction Joy Primary in Kawangware is among the 15 players who have been flying Kenya’s flag high in South Africa. Although they lost all but one of their matches, team Kenya won the support of many neutrals and was the best supported team owing to their young age and attractive football.

“I would rather lose 6 or 8 nil with these Kenyan players than win with the same scoreline with most of the teams I have seen here. This group of players are destined for greatness and I hope there are plans to make them reach the heights they are capable of back in Kenya,” said Maphala who currently coaches FC Alexandria in South Africa’s Vodacom League.

Kenyan coach Edward Atanasi Wamalwa also praised the team’s performance. “I would say this for the umpteenth time; I am proud of my boys. They gave it their all in spite of being the youngest team here and the least built physically. We may not have won it but we’ll leave here with our heads held high,” he said.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Zimbabwe are the 2013 COPA Champions

Zimbabwe are the 2013 COPA Coca-Cola international camp champions after thrashing Uganda 3-0 in the final played at the High Performance Center in Pretoria, South Africa.

The two teams edged out Zambia and Egypt in the semi finals, Uganda beating Egypt’s Pharos 6-5 on penalties while Zimbabwe dethroned Zambia 1-0 to set up the final date.

In a half of limited chances, a successfully converted penalty by Zimbabwe’s Bukosi Sibanda saw the Young Warriors take a 1-0 lead. Sibanda slotted in the opener just a minute before the interval after Uganda’s Godfrey Mbazira’s was adjudged to have handled in the box.

The Young Warriors who edged out Cranes 1-0 when the two teams clashed in the group stages doubled their lead immediately after the restart, Simbarashe Tandi tapping in from close range after Cranes keeper Tumusiime Aloysius failed spilled the ball.

Aloysius got injured in the process and was replaced by Hassan Matovu who would then conceded Uganda’s third goal with two minutes to full time as the Zims ran out 3-0 winners.

The 2013 champions broke into song and dance following the victory. “I am grateful to God not only for the win but that we made it this far. This victory we dedicate it to the Zimbabwean people and to all the people behind this tournament,” said an elated Zimbabwe coach Never Mhandu.

“This is the best feeling I have had for a long time. We fought as a team through the tough matches and this victory is a reward to every sweat we broke out in the field,” said Tatendae Tumba who was named the player of the tournament.

Meanwhile the All-Star team was also named after the games ended. The team included two goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 6 midfielders and 3 strikers. Egypt had the most number of players which included goalkeeper Mahmoud Gael, defender Nagy Abdelmorin, midfielder Mohamed Adelsamie and forward Taher Heshem followed by champions Zimbabwe who had goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi, midfielder Learnmore Muyambo and forward Tatendae Tumba.

Tanzania’s Nasson Edward and Badru Othman as well as Uganda duo Godfrey Mbazira and Allan Khainja also made it to the list. Others included Algeria’s Merreli Islam, Kenya’s Musa Masika, John Mohai Mohai who played for Africa United, Zambia’s Febian Chali and Bienvenu Yala who played for the Dream Team.

The All-Star team will play against a Mamelodi Sundowns side tomorrow Sunday at the High Performance Camp in Pretoria, South Africa.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Young Kenyans Find Going Tough in COPA U15 Tournament in South Africa

Kenya’s COPA under-15 team played to an entertaining 0-0 draw against Uganda as the COPA U-15 international camp tournament began at the High Performance Center in Pretoria, South Africa.

After losing their first match 6-1 to an older Zimbabwe side, Coach Edwin Atanasi’s boys were determined to make things right against their East African rivals.

The two teams took a cautious approach to the game and were content with spraying passes in the midfield. The first half ended with the only attempt of the game coming from Kenya’s Hilton Isutsa who’s free-kick from outside the area rattled the crossbar.

Uganda began the second interval with more intent and thought they had taken the lead only for the referee to rule they had kicked goalkeeper Patrick Ochieng.

The young Kenyan lads asserted their authority with Musa Masika and Ian Samuel proving dangerous. The crossbar would come to Uganda’s rescue again this time Zadock Ombewa the unlucky one. With two minutes before full time, Kenya carved out yet another chance but Ibrahim Ochieng saw his tame effort easily collected by Uganda keeper Tumusiime Alosysius before the referee blew for full time.

In their first mach, Kenya began their campaign on a wrong footing going down 6-1 to an older Zimbabwe side. In what looked like a David vs Goliath affair owing to Zimbabwe’s towering players who dwarfed the entire Kenyan team, the brave Harambee Warriors found themselves chasing the game at 2-0 with only five minutes on the clock. Zim scored two more goals before half time and added two more on the second half before Masika scored Kenya’s consolation with a beautifully curled in effort from 30 yards.

Kenya also lost their last two matches going down 3-0 to Kazakhstan and 2-1 to Algeria.

In other matches Tanzania lost 2-0 to Zambia in their first match before bouncing back with a same scoreline win against Dream Team. Zimbabwe won their second match 3-1 against Kazakhstan who also lost 1-0 to Algeria. Egypt had Taher Hesham to thank for their 1-0 win over Dream Team.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

COPA Camp Players to Tour 2010 FIFA World Cup Stadium

The COPA Coca-Cola players who are currently on a week-long boot camp in Pretoria, South Africa, will get a chance to visit South Africa’s iconic World Cup Stadium, FNB Stadium, also referred to as Soccer City Stadium.

The stadium which is considered as Bafana Bafana’s de facto 'national stadium' for football was the venue of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final pitting Spain and Netherlands and also hosted the opening match between South Africa and Mexico.

The 94,736 capacity stadium located in Johannesburg has become South Africa's go-to stadium for major international competitions and recently hosted the Africa Cup of Nations which ended in February.

“COPA Coca-Cola is about laying the platform for young players and bringing them closer to their heroes. We believe a visit to Soccer City will make them feel like the heroes they are and prompt them to work even harder to play in this stadium in the future,” said Christine Maina, Coca-Cola’s Marketing Assets and Experiential Manager.

The FNB stadium is the home of PSL giants Kaizer Chiefs and is the preferred venue for the Soweto derby matches involving Chiefs and their arch-rivals Orlando Pirates.

After the Soccer City stadium tour, the players will be taken to Gold Reef City, an amusement park with different games and adventurous activities before they travel back to the camp and get ready for the tournament proper on Friday.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Kenya Lands Uganda, Algeria And Kazakhstan in COPA SA Camp Draw

The draw for the COPA Coca-Cola international camp tournament was released today with the Kenyan team set to meet two teams they faced last year.

Kenya will clash against Uganda and Zimbabwe in Group B which also has new entrants from Central Asia, Kazakhstan, and North African side Algeria. Kenya lost to Zimbabwe by a solitary goal in last year’s Under-17 championships before beating Uganda 2-1.

Speaking after the draw, Kenyan U15 Coach Atanasi Wamalwa was upbeat about his team’s chances saying, “I think both pools are tough and it will be down to which team wants it more. My boys have learnt from the Forwardzone coaches here and we have had our private training session here. We are ready.”

Kenya, christened “Harambee Warriors” will clash against Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors in their first match scheduled to kick off at 10am on Friday before they tackle Uganda Cranes two hours later. The teams will play round robin matches with the top two advancing to the semi finals and then finals, both slated for Saturday.

“It’s been an unforgettable experience for us here already. Am glad I got this opportunity and we will give it our best shot to try bring the trophy to Kenya,” said Joseph Luchenga, Kenya’s lead striker and one of the most diminutive players at the camp.

Meanwhile two-time defending champions, Zambia, have been pooled in Group A where they will clash against last year’s runners-up Tanzania, North African giants Egypt and two other mixed teams. The first mixed team, nicknamed Dream Team is made up of players from Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Kazakhstan, while the second team, christened Africa United has players from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Rwanda.

Speaking after the draw, Zambia Coach Bray Sichoonga, acknowledged the toughness of his group but maintained his team has all it takes to emerge tops. “This is without doubt the toughest group here but we are ready for the competition. We know that you have to beat the best to be the best,” said Sichoonga who has won the last two editions.

Zambia will be first of four teams to take to the field when the tournament kicks off on Friday morning. They will take on Tanzania at 9.00am, the same time Egypt’s Pharos will be squaring off against the Dream Team.

And That's thesteifmastertake!! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

High Profile Coaches Lead Training at COPA Camp

A host of highly qualified coaches with years of expertise in football and youth development are leading the training sessions for the COPA Coca-Cola 2013 boot camp at the High Performance Center (HPC) in Pretoria.

A total of 10 coaches from the world-renowned South African football management firm, Forwardzone, have put together an array of training routines that will help improve not only the players’ skills with the ball but also their physical conditioning.

Led by the able and tactful Orlando Pirates youth team coach Junior Bhengu and his Mamelodi Sundowns counterpart Shawn Bishop, the players got their first taste of expert training on Monday. The full day training session involved working on the players’ fitness levels, passing under pressure, endurance, dribbling, handling crosses, positioning, and movement off the ball among others.

Bhengu, a South Africa Football Association (SAFA) level II qualified coach has worked with many youth teams before and won several competitions and Bishop is a UEFA A licensed coach who currently serves as the Head of Youth and Technical Director at PSL side Sundowns.

The duo are working alongside 6 other competent coaches who have experience in working with youth development programmes in South Africa and beyond. Among them is Chris Mazibugo, a veteran of the game who has had stints with PSL clubs Maroka Swallows, Orlando Pirates and Jomo Cosmos.

“My area of interest is pressing, endurance and finding that pass. These are key areas for any modern day player and hopefully we will see a change once the training is complete,” said Mazibugo, a former Pirates youth development coach who currently trains a team based in Soweto.

Also in the coaching team is Lerato Kabamba; the soft-spoken coach is a specialist in youth football and is experienced in working with the Under-12 and Under-10 age groups. She currently coaches Yeoville Boys Academy in the South Africa Discover League, a set up meant to develop and nature budding talents. “I am focusing on one-on-one situations, closing down opponents and a wee bit of dribbling,” says Lerato who was called upon for her expertise for the English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs academy players in March and July this year.

The other coaches include Mamelodi Sundowns youth development and Banyana Banyana goalkeeping Coach Thomas Nare, current FC Alexandria coach Caesar Maphala who also worked with Mpumalanga Black Aces as an assistant coach, and Ashley Makhanya, the Bidvest Wits youth coach.

The second training session under the tutelage of the coaches will be held on Wednesday.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

JMJ’s Lloyd Kim to Captain Kenya COPA Team in South Africa

The Kenyan team at the COPA Coca-Cola U15 international championships in Pretoria, South Africa have appointed JMJ’s skillful winger Lloyd Kim as the team’s captain.

Kim, a student at St. Joseph Primary school in Mount View, Nairobi, will captain the side alongside goalkeeper Nathaniel Kadenge who played for Malindi United Academy during the national finals. Kim was one of the shining stars of the JMJ Academy side who conquered all and sundry before lifting the COPA Coca-Cola trophy following a 3-1 capitulation of Kisumu Lakers.

“It was a team decision that we made back in Nairobi. The team unanimously agreed to appoint him the captain and am happy with the decision,” said Coach Atanasi Wamalwa. “The boy impressed during the national championships where I was one of the talent scouts. Picking him for the All-Star team was an easy decision because he’s not only a joyful player to watch but a team leader, a model player,” added the 52-year-old who currently specializes in youth football development.

Although primarily right-footed, Kim, a Tusker FC and Jese Were fan plays in the left attacking channel which gives him the freedom to cut in into his favorite right foot.

“Coming all the way to Nairobi for this international camp and then being named the captain is like a dream. Am really humbled to be here and I’ll do everything within my capacity to uplift my team,” said the 13-year-old class 7 student who captured fans’ attention with his trademark celebration of lifting his jersey up to reveal a message.

“The message is normally dedicated to my grandfather who passed away in 2012 and my best friend who passed away in July this year when we were still playing the provincials. They always supported me and remembering them in that way is the least I can do,” says the soft-spoken wideman.

He will be assisted by Kadenge who was the rock of the Malindi United Academy team who finished 4th during the nationals.

Meanwhile the team today, Tuesday, went for an excursion at X-Tribes in Guateng province for team building activities which included human fooseball, beach volleyball and football, paintball, obstacle course and hill climbing among others.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

COPA 2013 South Africa Camp Kicks Off

The 2013 COPA Coca-Cola international boot camp kicked off in earnest today at the High Performance Center (HPC) in Pretoria. With all the 142 players having reported at the camp by late Sunday evening, they were taken through their paces today by a team of experienced coaches from Forwardzone led by Orlando Pirates youth coach, Junior Bhengu.

Bhengu, a former midfield player with the defunct Manning Rangers, is among a host of tacticians who will prepare the Under-15 players for the tournament slated to begin on Thursday. Other coaches at the camp include current Banyana Banyana goalkeeping coach Thomas Nare, former Maroka Swallows and Pirates player Chris Mazibugo, PSL side Bidvest Wits youth Coach Ashley Makhanya, Vodacom League FC Alex coach Caesar Maphala and Lerato Kabamba, an Under-12 and Under-10 youth coach specialist.

The Monday training session came at the backdrop of an entertaining opening ceremony held on Sunday evening at Union Caterers in Utopia, Pretoria.

The two training sessions in the morning and afternoon saw the teams divided into mixed groups of 14 players each and included improving on their endurance, dribbling, communicating, pressing, positioning, passing the ball under pressure among others. “Football is not just about competition on the pitch but also making friends so we merged the players so that they can bond with their colleagues who would otherwise be total strangers,” said Bhengu.

“I am happy with what I have seen with these kids. Our training is designed to try improving them in all areas of the game including defending, pressing the ball in the midfield and attacking,” said Mazibugo who has also worked with Orlando Pirates as the Development Coach.

Besides the football aspect, the coaches are also generating a physical profile of the players through sports science testing, a first at the camp. Led by Douglas Rathbone, the programme which also involves an aerobics session, aims at testing the body fat composition of the players, their flexibility, speed and agility among others.

“This physical science test will help us (coaches) know which players need improvement in different areas of their game. A complete player is one who has that explosive power with him, is stable on his feet and can endure long hours of the game and that’s what we are trying to establish,” said Rathbone.

The training sessions by the ForwardZone coaches will be held twice on Monday and Wednesday.

X-Tribes Excursion
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the players will go for an excursion at X-Tribes in Heartbeest, Guateng Province. The excursion will see all the players gettinginvolved in team building activities which will include, among others; human fooseball, beach volleyball and football, paintball, obstacle course and hill climbing among others.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Team Kenya Departs for 2013 COPA Coca-Cola South Africa Boot Camp

After 4 months of topnotch competition that saw real heroes emerge from the shadows of their peers, the COPA Coca-Cola U15 tournament, Africa’s premier youth football tourney, enters its ultimate leg between the 8th and 16th of September.

A total of 148 players and 10 coaches from 15 countries are expected to arrive in Pretoria, South Africa this Sunday for a one-week boot camp where they will receive top class training led by professional coaches from world renowned South African premier football management business, Forwardzone. This will be the highest number of players to attend the camp after 130 from 14 countries participated in last year’s spectacle. The coaches will not only assist the players in improving their skills with the ball but also help them feel the ultimate experience of a pro footballer.

This year’s boot camp will see more countries participate including hosts South Africa, new entrants Kazakhstan from Central Asia, North Africa duo Egypt and Algeria as well as teams that graced last year’s edition; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC, Congo, and Burundi. Others include Rwanda, Lesotho and Swaziland.

“It’s systems go for this year’s competition. We have put everything in place to ensure we emulate our successes last year while also adding more activities to ensure the players have an experience they will treasure in years to come,” said Christine Maina, Marketing Assets and Experiential Manager for Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa.

The 2013 boot camp comes at the back of a successful one held last year at St. Alban’s College in Pretoria where Zambia emerged champions with Tanzania and Malawi occupying the first and second runners up positions.

The Kenyan contingent of 15 players will be led by tactician Atanasi Wamalwa. The players include; golden boot winner Musa Masika, John Ochieng, John Ronaldo, Llloyd Kim, and Edwin Okoth, Patrick Ochieng, Ibrahim Ochieng and Ian Samuel. Others in the team include Zadock Ombewa, Joseph Luchenga and Richard Otuomo as well as Nathaniel Kadenge and Hassan Ali of Malindi United.

Murhanda’s danger man Hilton Isutsa and his compatriot Elphas Shiveka also made it to the 16-man list. The tournament will see all the teams play each other in round-robin basis at the end of which the team with the most number of points will be crowned as the 2013 COPA Coca-Cola Africa champions.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Maingi Scores in KSJ’s Loss to Tusker Veterans

Kenya Sports Journalists Team Manager, Fred Maingi, netted his first ever goal for the scribes’ team but still saw his team fall 7-4 to former Tusker FC players in a compelling friendly match played in Ruaraka, Sunday.

The happy-go-lucky team manager surprisingly found himself in the starting lineup and was slotted right into the thick of things playing as the center forward, a challenge he duly took if his brilliant goal was anything to go by.

KSJ fielded a fairly strong team with Maingi leading the front line alongside potent marksman Steve Obuya while Amos Abuga and Peter Muchiri occupied the flanks. With Vivian between the posts, the rearguard had Dennis Kameni and Lichina Musungu as center backs with Sharon Akinyi and Boniface Kasembeli slotted in either side of the full back positions. Timothy Olobulu and Steve Steifmaster Ayoo doubled up in central midfield in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

The two teams approached the early minutes of the game cautiously perhaps trying to test each other’s potency. However, with two minutes past the quarter hour mark, Maingi netted the match’s opener drilling the ball low and hard into the corner of the net to give KSJ the lead as the scribes dictated the early minutes of the half. The hosts drew level just five minutes later when John Kanyi rushed onto a perfectly weighted through ball from Sammy “Pumzo” Omollo and guided the ball into the back of the net for the equalizer.

With the spoils even, KSJ pushed to restore their one goal lead but wasteful finishing and occasional fine goalkeeping thwarted their attempts. Amos Abuga, Peter Muchiri, Lichina Musungu and Steve Steifmaster Ayoo were all guilty of fluffing their lines when presented with wonderful opportunities. The Tusker veterans on the other hand were clinical and they took the lead for the first time in the game, Paul Onyiera’s speculative shot from the half-way line stinging the palms of KSJ custodian Vivian Akinyi and into the net.

The last ten minutes of the game witnessed a flood of goals. The first on the score sheet was Timothy Olobulu who after collecting Steifmaster Ayoo’s pass from just outside the area, he glided past several defenders before rifling in the ball between the legs of the goalkeeper to make it 2-2. Ayoo then turned creator to scorer with a neat finish to make it 3-2 to KSJ. Undeterred, the veterans went about reasserting themselves in the tie. They zipped the ball across the turf with real purpose and after five minutes they levelled proceedings via Onyiera’s controversial penalty which made it 3-3.

A more reenergized and organized Tusker team turned on the style after the interval with Pamzo dropping into central defence and giving Alfred Kiragu the space to push further forward.

KSJ simply had no answers for this sudden change of play and were not helped either by poor and mediocre officiating on both halves. The scribes found themselves chasing the game yet again when Kiragu lashed onto another through ball from the unplayable Roxy Ashumah to guide the ball past Akinyi. Ashumah was then at hand to score Tusker’s 5th goal before Pamzo also found the back of the net. KSJ drew a goal back through Stephen Obuya but John Kanyi made it 7 even after Vivian had saved Ashumah’s penalty.

The veterans fought off a late rally from KSJ led by substitutes Eric Ochieng, Gregory Mulemi, Hamisi and marauding right back Sharon Akinyi as the two-hour game ended 7-4 in favour of the veterans.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!