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Uganda To Miss Four Foreign-Based Players For AFCON Qualifier2 minutes read

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The Cranes of Uganda coach Johnathan McKinstry has revealed that his side will be without four foreign-based players when they face South Sudan in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in November.

McKinstry revealed that the travel restrictions experienced in various countries because of the coronavirus pandemic will be the reason he will not have some players for the double-header against South Sudan.

“We have already highlighted the travel restrictions in place and four of our foreign-based players are likely not to join us,” McKinstry said.

“The squad will be 70% composed of foreign-based players with the rest coming from the local league. But like I said, with travel restrictions when we fail to get some, there must be other options especially from our league. Equally, this in the long run will definitely help our local legion as we plan for Chan.”

The Cranes coach also stated that he will stick with the squad he named before the coronavirus outbreak.

“Definitely, we still have them in our considerations and it will depend on their availability.

“But the situation in March is not the situation now. For example, we did not call Farouk Miya in March because he was out injured but he came back strong and ended the season well with his club in Turkey and he has also started the new season with them. You look at players like Derrick [Nsibambi] in Egypt. It is very important that they are getting playing time week in week out.”

McKinstry stated how impressed he was with the performance of his players in their various clubs in Europe.

“We always tell our players that when they go outside, they have gone to compete at the highest level,” McKinstry continued: “Obviously, it takes time to settle in a new environment like it was the case with Miya in Belgium but he showed commitment and is now doing well.

“When you look at 10 years ago, we only had a few players commanding playing time but that has over the years changed and it is very pleasing that we see many of them playing regularly.”

The Cranes of Uganda will have to play a lot of games in a short period of time as they will prepare for their AFCON qualifiers, World Cup qualifiers, and are set to participate in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament to be hosted by Cameroon.

East Africa Sports News

FKF Re-Appoint Jacob “Ghost” Mulee As Harambee Stars Coach

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Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has announced that it has re-appointed Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee as Kenya’s national team coach. Mulee who returns after a 10-year absence has been handed a three-year deal and he replaces Francis Kimanzi who parted ways with the team on Tuesday.

The tactician was officially unveiled on Wednesday 21 October and has been charged with the task of leading Kenya’s Harambee Stars back to the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be hosted by Cameroon in 2022 as well as giving a strong shot at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers set to start in June next year.

“He is Kenyan and knows Kenyan football,” newly re-elected FKF President Nick Mwendwa said. “He has been there, done that. He has been to the Africa Cup of Nations before and now he has another chance to be there and use that knowledge to try and do better.”

The 52-year-old Mulee had four previous spells as Harambee Stars coach. The highlight of his career was leading Kenya to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia. He also led them to various CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup triumphs.

Nicknamed “Ghost”, he also coached Tusker FC with whom he won three league titles, as well as Rwanda’s APR and Tanzania’s Young Africans.

“First of all, I want to thank the federation for again having faith that I can steer the team to the Afcon and World Cup,” he said. “We had a very lengthy discussion as to what the ambition of the federation is after the election and after seeing the working conditions are favourable, I said that I can give it a try.

“I know it is a good thing to handle a national team but at the same time a difficult task because we have two tough games coming up against Comoros, they are two very important games for Kenya, however, I believe that with the team that I saw against Zambia, the team that has played the first two qualifiers, there is a big possibility that we have a squad to take us to the Afcon.

“My focus now is on how to deal with Comoros, I know it is a difficult match but I think if we can manage to win the first game at home, then we will be good to go.”

His first task will be to assemble a team for the qualifiers in less than two weeks. Kenya will face Comoros on 11 November in Nairobi before traveling for the return tie four days later in Moroni.

Mulee also believes he can do well in the World Cup qualifiers, with Kenya set to battle Mali as well as neighbors Rwanda and Uganda for a chance to move to the second and final phase of qualification.

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East Africa Sports News

Peres Jepchirchir & Jacob Kiplimo Win World Half-Marathon Titles

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Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won gold medals at the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships in the Polish seaside city of Gdynia.

27-year-old Jepchirchir earned her second world title in the half-marathon discipline and broke her own women-only world record by 16 seconds in 1:05:18. In a race marred by falls, Jepchirchir kept her cool and her balance to stay clear of the following pack.

The first incident occurred at the 9km mark. Running on the downhill section of the 5440-meter loop towards the water, defending champion Netsanet Gudeta tripped trying to make the sharp left turn to the road along the seafront. The Ethiopian hit her left knee hard and scraped both her hands. Although she bounced up quickly, she had lost valuable time and was five seconds back when the leaders hit the 10-kilometer mark in a blistering 30:47.

Disater struck again at the 18km mark when reigning TCS New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh tangled their legs with both women crashing to the pavement. Yeshaneh, the world record holder with a 1:04:31 personal best, fell hard landing on her right shoulder.

As the three front runners Jepchirchir, Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Germany’s Melat Kejeta made the slight right turn onto the carpeted finish straight built on a platform on the beach, Yehualaw lost traction due to the surface change and slipped. Although she did not fall, her momentum was interrupted just enough for Kejeta to pass her and take the silver medal in 1:05:18, a new European record for an all-women’s race. Yehualaw got the bronze in a personal best 1:05:19.

“I’m feeling good,” said Jepchirchir in her post-race interview. “I thank God for the energy he has given me today. It’s unbelievable; I was not expecting it (a new world record) but God planned for me.”

Jepchirchir will enjoy only a week’s rest after her record-breaking victory as she will immediately begin preparations for the Valencia Marathon on December 6.

“My season is not yet complete,” she said. “I still have Valencia Marathon in December so I’ll prepare for that. I think this win gave me a lot. I’d like to run 2:17 or 2:18 for the marathon.

“This pandemic was difficult and it affected a lot of people. I used this time to train, I didn’t stop my training because I was trying to reach my shape.

“I am so happy with this. It’s a gift to all the Kenyans, to my family. I am going to rest now for one week to recover then I’ll continue training for Valencia,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Kiplimo won his first global title setting a championship and Ugandan record of 58:49. Prior to the meet, he had only run one half-marathon, but it was only a national-class race in Uganda and he had never really been tested at the distance.

50 minutes into the race, Kiplimo began to pull away from Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya who would have to settle for second place. 5,000 and 10,000m world record holder Kenya’s Joshua Cheptegei, who was in third, was passed by Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn and had to settle for fourth at the finish.

Running along the seafront to the finish, Kiplimo maintained his pace and cruised to the finish in 58:49, a new championships record. Kandie crossed second in 58:54 becoming the first man ever to run three sub-59:00 half-marathons in the same year. Third went to Walelegn in 59:08, a personal best.

“After five kilometers I know I was going to win,” an elated Kiplimo said in his post-race interview while wearing a surgical mask. He continued: “It was great to win.”

The team titles went to Ethiopia (women) and Kenya (men), and both individual champions earned $30,000 in prize money. Jepchirchir also earned a $50,000 world record bonus.

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East Africa Sports News

CAF President Ahmad Congratulates Mwenda on FKF Re-Election

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President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad has written to congratulate Nick Mwendwa on his re-election as Football Kenya Federation(FKF) president.

In long awaited elections held at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel, Mwenda won a landslide victory with 77 votes from the 85 cast with closest challenger Omondi Aduda managing only five votes. Herbert Mwachiro managed to get three while Dan Mule and Boniface Osano got zero votes.

“I was not surprised when I learned about your brilliant re-election as the head of the Football Kenya Federation, thus confirming the high performance and the high efficiency of your work since 2016, the year of your first taking office, and I hasten to present you my most warm and sincere congratulations,” Ahmad said.

“On behalf of the Executive Committee of Caf and personally, I wish you every success in your endeavours.

“This second term, which you obtained by an impressive majority, is the demonstration that your entire term has been appreciated and strongly supported.”

“Considered as one of our youngest National Association president, you represent a role model and an example of pride to follow for African sports youth, and I remain convinced that you will continue all of your actions with the same vigour and the same determination,” the letter added.

“I encourage you on this path to success which reflects the prestigious ambition of the Kenyan nation which has made the sport a national priority.

“Kindly accept, Mr President, dear friend Nick once again my warm congratulations and friendly greetings.”

On his part, Mwenda was quick to extend the olive branch to his rivals after what had been a particularly bitter and often fractious contest.

“I am very humbled for the overwhelming win we scooped as Team Blue,” he said.

“I knew going into the elections that I will retain my seat but I didn’t know I will do it with such an emphatic style, I thank the delegates for giving me another mandate to lead them and I promise I will achieve my targets in the next four years.

“I also want to ask those who were competing against me, and even those who lost in various positions here today [Saturday] I am welcoming them to my side, let them come we work together, let us put our heads together to improve our football.

“I cannot do this on my own or with the team you have given me, I need everyone on board so we can achieve our set targets.

“We have several targets we must achieve in the next four years, I want to see Kenya in the World Cup, for both men and women national teams, I know it might sound like a dream or even a joke, but we can make it, we need proper planning and that is why I want everyone on board.”

The 41 year old was keen to hit the ground running urging haste.

“We are starting work immediately, on Monday it will be business as usual at the secretariat, we don’t have time to waste, we have wasted time-fighting in courts but now that we are done with elections, then it is time to give back and fight for football, we want to make sure football is back with a bang.

“The overwhelming win is a clear indication that delegates have trust in our management, they have trusted us again with football, and we will do our best to make sure that everyone enjoys every bit of football in the country.”

Mwenda also assured fans that the federation was still engaing the government in order to find an acceptable and safe way to restart the league.

“We are still talking to the government and I want to request them to help us open football but under protocols set by the Ministry of Health and start the league matches,” he said.

“We want to make sure our league starts in November 20, because it is the only date that can allow us to finish the season well on time, we don’t have much time left, we want to have a cautious approach towards resuming football and that is why we are pleading with the government to guide us, we will continue to talk to them.”

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