Kenya’s female volleyball side, the Malkia Strikers, are slated to make a triumphant return to the Olympics following a long, cold 16-year absence. They secured their place at the 2020 Summer Games after trouncing Nigeria in three sets, 25-15, 25-21 and 25-12 in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Thursday evening.
The Kenyan team last qualified for the Olympics in 2004 and needed the win against Nigeria to clinch the single available spot for Africa and one of only twelve team slots at the women’s volleyball games in Tokyo.
The final win marks an end to their stellar performance in Yaoundé, where they have won all their games against Egypt, Botswana and arch-rivals, Cameroon- Africa’s flagbearer at the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The team featured exceptional talent such as Kenya Pipeline’s Sharon Chepchumba, who was named Africa’s best attacker at the Africa Women’s Club Volleyball Championships held in Egypt in March 2019. Just three years ago, she was named the Most Valuable Player at the Kenya national and East Africa secondary school games.
Kenya now joins seven other teams (Japan, United States, Brazil, China, Russia, Italy and Serbia) to have qualified so far. Four more slots remain to be filled from Asia, North America, South America and Europe: The winners will be determined by various qualifier games currently underway until 12th January 2020.
Aston Villa sign Tanzania captain Mbwana Samatta
27-year-old becomes first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League
English Premier league side Aston Villa have completed the signing of Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta for £10m on a four-and-half-year deal, subject to a work permit and international clearance.
The 27-year-old scored 10 goals for Genk in all competitions this season including a goal against Liverpool at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Villa manager Dean Smith hailed the signing “I’m really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club, he has scored goals throughout his career and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Samatta makes history as the first Tanzanian to play in the Premier League but will be unavailable for Villa’s home match against Watford on Tuesday.
Samatta who is captain of the Tanzanian national side expressed his joy at making the move “I’m so excited, it’s a huge step for me in my career. It’s a big step for the country too. Everyone was looking for a Tanzanian to play in the Premier League.
“I know a lot about Aston Villa. I used to watch Gabby Agbonlahor when he was here.”
Samatta is Villa’s third signing of the January transfer window following loan signings of midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Chelsea and goalkeeper Pepe Reina from AC Milan.
Kenyan U-20 rugby star Brighetti switches to Italy
Michele Brighetti set to feature in 6 Nations Tourney for European giants
Kenya’s under-20 Michele Brighetti is set to switch sides and make his debut at the 2020 Six Nations U-20 Championships, following his call-up to the Italian 24-man Under 20 side. Brighetti has featured in the Kenya U-20 squad, known as Chipu, that played at the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in Brazil in July 2019.
Brighetti’s Italian ancestry and the fact that he has not played for the Kenyan senior rugby team means that he enjoys some latitude to switch national sides. According to World Rugby regulations on switching unions (Regulation 8), a player who has not featured in a senior national side may appear for a different country if he meets the eligibility criteria to do so.
The player seeking to change national sides would need to be born in the country he seeks to play for or have at least one parent or grandparent born in the country in question. The third and last criteria would be that he has ‘completed thirty six consecutive months of residence immediately preceding the time of playing’.
Michele is the son of former Kenya Scorpions international and Nondies Rugby Club player, Marco Brighetti. The youngster left Kenya in 2019 to join the Accademia Nazionale “Ivan Francescato” in Italy.
The school is an elite player development rugby academy in Italy run within the Federazione Italiana Rugby: They customarily select the best U-16, U-18 and U-20 players who are considered good prospects and can eventually be developed into future senior national team players.
Austrian, Rosenberger, Triumphant at 2019 Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally
After 9 exhilarating race days across Kenya and Tanzania, Kris Rosenberger emerged as the new Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally champion, after powering his Tuthill Porsche 911 to victory in Mombasa on Saturday.
The Austrian and co-driver Nicola Bleicher finished ahead of 2015 Safari Classic champion Stig Blomqvist, also in a Porsche 911. Rosenberger held a 1 minute 19.40 seconds advantage over Blomqvist before the final stage and went on to finish second in the final Mombasa Cement stage. The Austrian, who last rallied in Kenya in 1989, cruised to the finish of the 9-day endurance rally to claim victory by 13:01:48.
“It was a fantastic rally, our tactics were 100% right. We know Stig, he is obviously the best and we knew if we stay close to him and we had the pace and as we rallied through the last stage we pushed really hard. We also know that it’s really hard to beat Blomqvist and we are aware of that for sure. He had more problems than us and we still think he is the man and we are happy to be here”, said Rosenberger.
Blomqvist, navigated by compatriot Jorgen Fornander, applied his extensive experience in endurance rallying when things got tougher in the last two days of the rally. In the last section on Friday, his Porsche 911 steering dumper broke 50Km into the last stage, while on Saturday, he had a soft roll in the last Mombasa Cement stage thus losing some time and ultimately placing second.
Kabras Sugar Racing’s Onkar Rai completed the podium dash, finishing third in a Porsche 911 navigated by Drew Sturrock. Onkar managed to post the fastest times in 6 out of the 20 run competitive stages.
“I span in this last stage and luckily we are here. To be honest, it’s been a quick safari and to be able to beat people like Stig is a pretty big achievement for me. Drew has been on the notes and I have been on the pace. We had a bit of bad luck, it’s part of rallying and we get over it and we would like to be back in 2021, Onkar said.
Other best placed Kenyans include Onkar’s older brother Tejveer Rai/Gavin Laurence who finished 8th, ALS Motorsports Aslam Khan/Imran Khan who finished 11th,, while Kabras Sugar Racing’s Baldev Charger/Ravi Sini finished 14th.
Another notable driver who emerged as the new driver to watch was 27-year-old Welshman Osian Pryce, navigated by fellow countryman Dale Furnish. Osian set the quickest time in the prologue and went on to rack up the fastest times in 4 stages, including the 14Km last stage at Mombasa Cement in Kenya’s Kilifi County.
Local rally ace Baldev Charger was the events front runner in the early days, before falling behind. He did however, manage to post fastest times in 4 stages. Out of the 20 competitors that started the 3,390km journey, 17 survived the demanding course across Kenya and Tanzania. Italy’s Gilberto Sandretto navigated by legend Fabrizia Ponz, was forced to end his run, citing important personal reasons back at home that he had to attend to. Another exit was Kenya’s Rommy Bhamra who left the rally unexplained.
staying true to the nature of the safari classic rally, the weather played a
major role in the cancellation or revision of several stages: The Day 3
itinerary was cancelled after torrential rain and subsequent flash floods
rendered several sectors of the stages impassable, forcing the organizers to
give the competitors a near full extra day service in Arusha, Tanzania.
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