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Friday, March 27, 2015

Kenyan Mountaineer in Second Quest to Conquer Mt. Everest

Steve Obayi, right, being 'flagged off' by BrighterMonday CEO Robert Kimani

Kenyan mountaineer, Steve Obayi, will embark on his second journey to conquer Mount Everest having come short on his first attempt last year. 

Obayi made his first attempt to summit the 29,029ft mountain last year but it was cancelled following a tragic avalanche that claimed the lives of 16 people while 9 others were injured. Obayi, a mechanical engineer, and his team were advised to report to the base camp, only for the Nepalese route to the mountain to be closed for climbers and crushing his dreams, albeit temporarily. 

However, there was never any doubt that he would head back to Everest for a second attempt. That challenge helped him gauge the true depth of his character.

“We are honoured to be a part of this event which continues to speak to the core of our business of enabling Kenyans find jobs that speak to their desires and aspirations,” said Robert Kimani, the Chief Executive Officer, BrighterMonday during the press conference. 

Obayi, sponsored by BrighterMonday, will be taking on the mountain yet again, inspired by year’s campaign dubbed #NeverGiveUp, which aims to encourage job seekers to continue believing in their big goals as the only way to succeed. 

“Job seekers are just as determined in pursuing their careers as any of these Everest climbers, they too have their own mountains to conquer,” said Robert Kimani, the Chief Executive Officer, BrighterMonday.

Obayi wants to become one of the very few who have followed Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first people to summit the mountain back in 1953.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Champions League Quarterfinals Draw: Real Madrid Draw Boogey Team Atletico, Barcelona to Clash with PSG

Defending Champions Real Madrid have been drawn to face La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals of this season’s UEFA Champions League in what will be a repeat of last year’s final.

The two have been paired to play each other in the quarters having met in the Lisbon final last year which Real Madrid won 4-1 at extra time. Since then, Real and Atletico have met six times with Diego Simeone’s side winning four, drawing two and losing none. The first leg will be played at the Estadio Vicente Calderon on April 14 with the return leg at Santiago Bernabeu a week later.

Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain will face Barcelona, the duo having met in this season's group stage. Laurent Blanc’s PSG won 3-2 at the Parce des Princes but lost 3-1 in the return leg at Camp Nou. Both clubs knocked out English sides in the round of 16. Barcelona beat Manchester City 2-1 away and 1-0 at home to secure a 3-1 aggregate win while PSG drew 2-2 with Chelsea after extra time to proceed on away goals.

Bayern Munich who won the 2012-13 title will feel confident of getting past FC Porto who have had a smooth ride into the last 8. The Bavarians were surprisingly held 0-0 by Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg but were unforgiving in the second leg whitewashing the Ukrainians 7-0 at the Allianz Arena. Porto also had trouble getting past Basel in Switzerland but were more ruthless at home putting four past the Swiss in the return leg for a 5-1 aggregate score. Bayern and Porto have never met before.

Juventus will have to get past Monaco as they push for their first Champions League title since 1996. The Serie A champions and leaders were very impressive in the knockout stages beating Borussia Dortmund over two legs, 2-1 at home and even a more convincing 3-0 win at Westfalenstadion. Monaco will count themselves a wee bit lucky to be among the last 8. Having beaten Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates, Leonardo Jardim’s side survived a scare from the Gunners who won the return leg 2-0, just one goal short of the three the English side needed.

The first leg fixtures will be played on Tuesday April 14 with the return legs a week later on April 21 2015.

Champions League Fixtures:

Paris Saint Germain    v    Barcelona

Atletico Madrid    v    Real Madrid

FC Porto    v Bayern Munich

Juventus    v    Monaco

And That’s thesteifmastertake!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

No Dinner at Champions League Top Table for Premier League Clubs

There will be no English teams in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals draw after Manchester City, the last remaining of the four representatives failed to upset the odds in their second leg clash with Barcelona.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men, having lost 2-1 at home were unable to overturn the deficit at Camp Nou where Lionel Messi once again underlined why he’s being considered by many as the best footballer on the planet. The Argentine produced a superman-esque performance which was capped with a cool-headed assist for Ivan Rakitic who scored the only goal of the night.

The 1-0 win for Barcelona was an injustice to them on a night when they exposed Man City’s European football inexperience. However, it was justice to Joe Hart who besides conceding the goal, was the only Manchester City player on the pitch who performed in a manner befitting the occasion.

Hart pulled one point blank save after another, keeping Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at bay time and again.

He was only slightly outdone by his opposite number, Marc-Andre ter Stegen who saved a Sergio Aguero penalty with 13 minutes to go to save Barcelona a nervy finish.

As they walked off the pitch having lost 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate, even the most diehard of Man City players must have said to himself that they were not anywhere near the best team over the two legs. Much had been written pre-match how in their past three encounters, they had been reduced to ten men.

However, had they introduced a 12th man at the Camp Nou, Barcelona would have still progressed.

And so it was written and so it came to pass that the 2014-15 Champions League season won’t have an English team in the last 8. Liverpool exited at the group stage, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City followed having gone just one step past the Merseysiders.

The last 8 going into the draw has three Spanish clubs; Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, with the rest having one representative each, AS Monaco (France), FC Porto (Portugal), Bayern Munich (Germany), and Juventus (Italy).

You can only imagine how somber the English nation will be when the draw is conducted and they realize they have just taken yet another step backward.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Champions League: David Luiz Returns to Haunt Chelsea, Bayern Steamroll Shakhtar

Chelsea were dumped out of the UEFA Champions League without losing a game after a pulsating 2-2 draw with Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge.

With their first leg match having ended even at 1-1, Chelsea hosted the French champions knowing that a win or a 0-0 draw at full time will see them progress to the last 8 for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons.

Their job against the visitors, aiming to establish themselves among the Champions League elite, seemed to have been made easier by referee Bjorn Kuipers who showed PSG star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic a straight red card for a foul on Oscar at the half-hour mark. Ibrahimovic’s red card was fourth in the competition and saw him join Edgar Davids as players with the highest dismissals in Champion League history.

Chelsea did not make their one-man advantage count though as they first half ended with less to talk about other than Ibra’s dismissal.

The first real opportunity in the game fell to Edinson Cavani in the 54th minute. The Uruguayan beat the offside trap before rounding keeper Thibaut Courtois. However, his angled shot hit the post giving Chelsea a let off. The match descended into nasty challenges and gross indiscipline, ex Chelsea boy David Luiz and Diego Costa the center of it and the two were booked, the latter for a nasty challenge and the former for play-acting.

Gary Cahill looked to have secured Chelsea progress to the last 8 when he slammed home from close range from a Diego Costa miscued kick inside the PSG danger area. However, the defender’s third goal for Chelsea in this season’s Champions League was rendered useless by Luiz who thumped in a bullet header to make it 1-1 on the night and 2-2 on aggregate forcing the match to extra time.

Chelsea surged ahead once again, Eden Hazard converting their 5th penalty in Champions League this season after David Silva had naively handled the ball in the box. The Belgian sent PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu the wrong way for a 2-1 lead just six minutes into the first half of extra time.

Silva made amends for his costly error, the Brazilian finding the back of Courtois’ net with a looping header just six minutes before full time. With the game ending 3-3 at full time (the same scoreline as last year when the two met at the same stage), it was Laurent Blanc’s men who were celebrating a grandstand result. The French champions’ win made them only the second French team to knock Chelsea out of Europe after Monaco eliminated them in the 2003-04 Champions League.

Despite Chelsea being knocked out, the fact that they didn’t lose stretched Jose Mourinho’s record against French teams, the Portuguese now having lost only one of his last 17 Champion League clashes against French opposition.

Meanwhile at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Bayern Munich reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League for a record 14th time after outclassing and smashing Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0, equaling their highest win in the competition (vs Basel in 2011/12).

The Bavarians who had been held to a barren stalemate in Ukraine two weeks ago were ruthless against a toothless Shakhtar who in that draw must have wrongly felt that they were anywhere near the same level as Pep Guardiola’s men.

The Bundesliga side, unlike Chelsea, made their one-man advantage count after Shakhtar’s Olexandr Kucher was sent to the showers early having gotten a red card with only 3 minutes on the clock; the fastest red card in Champions League history.

There were six different goalscorers for Bayern with only Thomas Muller scoring twice as he joined Mairo Gomez as the best German scorer in Champions League history.

Bayern were 2-0 up at half time, Muller having converted the penalty from Kucher’s foul on Mario Gotze inside the box before Jerome Boateng found the back of the net from close range.

The Bavarians switched to top gear after the interval. Franck Ribery made it 3-0 in the 49th minute, Muller grabbed his second on the night, Holger Badstuber heading in their 5th before Roberto Lewandowski and Gotze completed the rout.

Manuel Neuer was once against underworked, the German making only one save against Shaktar in both legs.

Bayern are yet to lose, draw or conceded in a Champions League match this season. Their last three matches have ended 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and lately 7-0,  huge warning to would-be quarterfinal opponents.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jordan Henderson: The Fantastic Vice to Captain Fantastic

It may be too early to call, but you could excuse some Liverpool fans for rushing at the thought that they have found yet another captain fantastic.

Since the noughties, Steven Gerrard has been Mr. Liverpool, carrying the weight of the club on his shoulders, being the man to deliver during the big moments, time and again.

However, the sun has been setting on his Liverpool career over the past couple of seasons and come end of this season, the Whiston-born midfielder will no longer be in his boyhood club’s team sheet. A hard fact to take for the Kop.

The departure of Gerrard is expected to leave a gap in the Liverpool team. Be it his individual game saving heroics or his leading by example modus operandi, the 34-year-old will be missed irrespective of how Liverpool perform post his era.

Of immediate concern, however, is as to who will Gerrard’s captain armband be handed to. There’s no doubt that the Merseyside club has people who can lead the club spread all over the pitch. You can argue a case for Simon Mignolet who after a patchy start to his Liverpool career has made a tremendous turnaround with one commanding display after another, exactly what you need from your last man in defence.

Ahead of him, Martin Skrtel is assumed to be the Reds’ second vice captain and the Slovakian being one of the senior members of the team and a warrior on the pitch would be an able heir. The likes of Emre Can and Lucas Leiva are all capable of handling the pressure of the captaincy.

Jordan Henderson would be among the very first people to dismiss any suggestions that he could replace Gerrard.  However, the former Sunderland man is currently the understudy to Gerrard and looks likely to be the man to take the captaincy on a permanent basis.

Henderson’s record while captaining Liverpool is phenomenal. On Wednesday night, he captained Brendan Rodgers’ side for the 13th time this season. The 24-year-old scored a scorcher give the Reds the lead before finding Daniel Sturridge with a Gerrard-eque pass with his fellow Englishman doubling Liverpool’s lead in a comfortable 2-0 win over Burnley.

Henderson’s goal was his fifth of the season and the second he’d scored just three days apart having also netted the opener in the 2-1 win over Manchester City on the weekend. It was an effort that had Steven Gerrard’s fingerprints stroked all over it; a powerful low drive from outside the area that found the bottom right corner. The assist for Sturridge’s goal (Henderson’s 11th this year) was equally drawn from Gerrard’s manual.

Wednesday night was the 13th time the £20m signing from Sunderland was captaining the Merseyside club. In the 13 matches, he has won 10 and drawn three while suffering ZERO defeats.

The 10 wins have come from defeat of Swansea (twice), Stoke City, Aston Villa, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Besiktas, Southampton, Manchester City and lately Burnley, with the draws coming against Sunderland, Everton and Bolton.

Brendan Rodgers may have recently gone to press saying that Henderson isn’t an automatic choice for the Liverpool armband. However, if the England international continues to score and assist while also keeping his record as captain at an optimum, the Ulsterman will do far more worse than have Henderson have the armband for keeps.

For what more would you ask of someone who wants to follow in the footsteps of a legend by giving blood and sweat one game at a time?

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bloggers Reclaim SuperSport Media Fun Day Football Title

Supersport Media Fun Day 3rd edition football champs Bloggers

Kenya Sports Bloggers reclaimed the Supersport Media Fun Day football title they lost last year after beating Capital Sports 1-0 in an airtight final this past Friday.

Bloggers who had to win their last match against the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), which they did, qualified for the semi finals after finishing runners-up to would-be co-finalists Capital in Group B.

The online scribes, ably captained by Amos Abuga, began their campaign with a barren draw against Capital in what proved to be a dress rehearsal for the final in the 5-aside football tournament. A 1-0 sweet revenge against the often dangerous Standard team soon followed courtesy of a second half penalty from Kevin Otieno.

Bloggers’ chances of advancing past the group stage suffered a dent after they fell to a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Nation Media in their third match. However, they pulled themselves out of the rubble with Steve ‘Steifmaster’ Ayoo’s first-half goal securing them a 1-0 win over KBC and a slot in the semis.

Media Max, who’d won all but one of their Group A matches, were the Bloggers’ semi-final opponents while Capital played Radio Africa in the other semi. Both matches were decided on penalties after two halves without a goal.

Bloggers edged out Mediamax in sudden death, Ayoo with the winning penalty kick past keeper Paul Mchesi while Capital also prevailed 2-0 against Radio Africa on penalties to set up an enticing finale between Group B topdogs.

The tight final was decided by a sublime second half goal from Kevin Otieno who slotted home with his weaker right foot after an exquisite pass from Jeff Kinyanjui as the Bloggers reclaimed the football title they lost to Supersport team last year. For Capital, it was a case of lightening striking twice having lost to Supersport in last year's edition.

Bloggers and Capital again faced off in the 4x100m relay which the latter won in a photo-finish. In touch rugby, defending champions Royal Media were a class act once again as they successfully retained the title while Supersport were above the rest in body and size as they easily, easily, won the tug of war contest.

The next edition of the SS Media Fun Day will be in August before the start of the 2015-16 English Premier League according to Supersport Marketing Manager Japheth Akhulia.

Bloggers Team:

Sharon Akinyi, Amos Komollo, Jeff Kinyanjui, Kevin Otieno, Stephen Obuya, Amos Abuga (captain), Stephen Ayoo, Oduor

And That’s thesteifmastertake!!

VideoBlog: Kenya U23 No Match for Egypt U23 in All Africa Games Qualifier

Two stoppage time goals from Mahmoud Kahraba helped Egypt U23 team secure a comfortable 3-0 win over visiting Kenya U23 in the first leg of their All Africa Games qualifier match in Cairo.

The attacking midfielder, currently playing for Swiss Super League side Grasshoper, found the back of the net in the 90th minute after beating Kenya’s offside trap before slamming home a last minute penalty for the Young Pharaohs in the 3-0 win.

Kenya approached the game cautiously sitting deep in their own half and hoping to hit the Egyptians on the break. The home team dominated the game hence but had no real penetration until the last minute of the first half when Mostafa Fathy floated in a free-kick into the Kenyan box with Sporting Lisbon defender Rami Rabia leaping the highest to head into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

The visitors came out firing after the interval but couldn’t find the equalizer. Egypt rattled the post through Ramadan Sobhy in the 64th minute as they looked to extend their advantage. With Kenya showing little attacking verve, the Egyptians committed more men going forward but couldn’t breach the visitor’s rearguard until the final minute.

It was Kahraba who finished off a lovely team move, the 20-year-old beating Kenya’s offside trap to tap home and make it 2-0.  Kenya almost responded immediately but were denied by the bar.

The Young Pharaohs netted the third in added time, Kahraba converting a penalty after Osama Ibrahim had been fouled in the box.

Hossam El-Badry’s side will take a 3-0 advantage to Nairobi ahead of the return leg match.

Meanwhile, Kenya women team, Harambee Stars were equally no match for their Egyptian counterparts who won 1-0 in a friendly match played at the Machakos Stadium. Salwa Mansour headed the only goal of the match in the 20th minute which was enough to beat the Starlets who were using the match to test themselves ahead of a crucial Rio 2016 Olympics qualifier clash against Botwsana.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!