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Cairo Chronicles: World class stadia dot the landscape

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By CHARLES NYENDE
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Over the last few days I have found myself counting stadiums before I fall asleep.

I wish it were the five world class ones that we were once promised by the ruling party, but far from it. You have to head thousands of kilometres north to Egypt to appreciate my pre-sleep thought processes.

The 2019 Afcon has involved 24 teams playing in six international class stadium namely, Cairo International Stadium, Al Salam Stadium – built in 2009, 30 June Stadium – built in 2009, Alexandria Stadium, Suez Stadium and Ismailia Stadium. Additionally, Cairo is clattered with many, many world class stadiums.

I found myself inquiring about any sporting facility of that nature I encountered while commuting on the Cairo roads. I saw the 28,000 capacity Cairo Military Academy Stadium that hosted 2006 Afcon matches, and the 35,000 capacity Arab Contractors Stadium.

I have visited official team training venues that include El-Shams Stadium (15,000 capacity) and Petro Sports Stadium (capacity 16,000), had the pleasure of being given a tour of Al Ahly Sporting Club Stadium.

Al Ahly plan to build a 60,000 capacity stadium in the capital city. Then there is Gehaz El Reyada Stadium (20,000 capacity) and Police Academy Stadium (12,000 capacity).

I was told there are many other small ones, and that is just in one city.

Away from stadiums, the two-day break between the group phase and round of 16 gave me time to visit the Giza Pyramids, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and last remaining.

The Giza pyramids, on the south-western outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo. PHOTO | FILE |

The Giza pyramids, on the south-western outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo. PHOTO | FILE |NATION MEDIA GROUP

The ancient structures are situated in the Giza area of Cairo. One minute you are driving in traffic making your way through a congested modern urban concrete jungle; the next minute you are in an open desert where the hot sun stares at you and the parched sand roasts your feet.

I must confess I was here in 2006 but still the sight is beholding. That these monumental, gigantic stone structures with impeccably geometry, were constructed thousands of years ago is a poignant thought. What were the people who walked on this plateau like?

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What did they do and how was their life? Why did they construct these triangular behemoths?

Egypt proudly touts this area as the cradle of humankind.

The experience of the pyramid “beach boys” is memory you reluctantly carry. They are cunning and devious. For instance, they will offer to take your photo using your phone and then politely ask “something for me for taking photo? 100 Egyptian pounds (about Sh625)?”

They have countless artefacts on sale. One trick they use is to hand you an item – say a carving or a traditional Arab headscarf – telling you: “This is free. A gift.”

They will then momentarily walk away before returning. “What will you give me for the gift?” If you have never bargained with our Kenyan hawkers then you will be hit hard here in the Giza, but if they realise you are no man’s fool, they quickly avoid you.

Back to my Cairo home. Nigeria, initially in Alexandria, fought their way to the quarter-finals to set up a date with South Africa in Cairo. Their noisiness and boisterousness set them apart. A few found their way to my humble hotel.

Abubakur, for that was the name he introduced himself with, was quick to tell me how he was constructing houses back home in Nigeria in addition to managing several athletes, and was planning to bring them to Kenya for high altitude training.

“I and my friends are also setting up an aviation school and are in the process of buying aeroplanes. Do you know anybody in Kenya selling planes?”

So there I was, wondering, how can a person in the business of buying aeroplanes put up in a third rate hotel in Cairo where you will likely meet a lone, struggling foreign journalist?

“I know some people,” I responded.

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Qatar completes third World Cup stadium

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By AFP

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DOHA

Qatar announced the completion of its third stadium for the 2022 World Cup, state media reported late Thursday, as the emirate prepared to mark three years of a regional feud.

Education City stadium had been due to host the semi-final of the Club World Cup on December 18, but its opening was postponed because of delays to certification.

“The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and the Qatar Foundation announce the completion of the preparations for the third Fifa World Cup 2022 stadium, located in Education City,” the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

The Education City ground, named for the surrounding university and research campuses, will host fixtures through to the quarter-finals.

After the tournament, half of its 40,000 seats will be donated to build stadiums in developing countries.

Two and a half years before the World Cup kicks off, Qatar has already launched the brand new 40,000-capacity Al-Janoub stadium and the refurbished Khalifa International ground.

Five new stadiums remain under construction.

Friday marked the third anniversary of a Saudi-led effort to isolate Qatar over claims it supports radical Islamist movements and is too close to Iran. Doha denies the claims.

On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut diplomatic ties, closed their airspace and borders to Qatar and severed economic links.

Despite several signs of reconciliation, including Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain participating in a regional football tournament in Doha last year, the dispute remains deadlocked.

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NGIGE: Bundesliga a good example for Europe’s Big Five

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By JANE NGIGE

The successful return of Bundesliga has set the ball rolling for several leagues to resume behind closed doors. With several matches played so far, German top tier clubs have proven that sport can still go on even with the pandemic.

Could this be something the Kenya Premier League could borrow for its own restart?

In Spain, the government’s department for sport has announced La Liga will resume on June 8, following an agreement between the league’s management body and Spanish Soccer Federation (RFEF).

La Liga president Javier Tebas has stated that it is only important when the season come to an end although they can only be able to congratulate themselves when they commence the following season on the 12th of September 2020

The English Premier League is also on course to resume on June 17 and organisers are keen to complete the remaining fixtures by working closely with clubs to ensure risks are minimised in order to avoid compromising their home advantage.

Bundesliga has indeed shown sports can still be enjoyed by fans globally at the comfort of their homes amid the coronavirus chaos. Players have expressed excitement over the resumption but miss having fans in the stadiums. Fortuna Dusseldorf’s Ghanaian forward Bernard Tekpetey is unhappy by the absence of fans saying the motivation that comes from fans cheering is lacking.

The players have also supported the worldwide Black Lives Matter Movement by displaying anti-racism messages following the death of George Floyd – a black American who died in the hands of a white policeman – a week ago. Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho, Marcus Thuram, Achraf Hakimi and Weston McKennie could have all faced sanctions for their reactions to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

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But German FA have said they will not take action against Sancho and other players who displayed anti-racism messages. Sancho, who displayed a t-shirt with the message “Justice for George Floyd” after scoring for Dortmund, was shown a yellow card which will not be annulled since he was penalized for removing his shirt. Thuram knelt on one knee after scoring for Borussia Moenchengladbach while Schalke’s McKennie wore an armband with the words “justice for George” on it.

This Saturday NTV courtesy of StarTimes, will air the match pitting Fortuna Dusseldorf against Hoffenheim at 4:30pm live from Markup Spiel Arena.

Other Round 30 fixtures will see RB Leipzig host Paderborn, while Bayer Leverkusen take on leaders Bayern Munich. In the late kick-off, Dortmund will play Hertha Berlin.

FIXTURES (all times EAT)

Friday

Freiburg v Borussia Moenchengladbach (2130)

Saturday

RB Leipzig v Paderborn, Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz, Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hoffenheim (all 1630), Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin (1930)

Sunday

Werder Bremen v Wolfsburg (1430), Union Berlin v Schalke (1630), Augsburg v Cologne (1900)

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ODM Protests Arrest of Nairobi County Assembly Minority Whip Terms It Political

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ODM Protests Arrest of Nairobi County Assembly Minority Whip Terms It Political

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