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Dandora Stadium, a beacon of hope in Eastlands

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Like an oasis in the desert, a structure that many equate to a beacon of hope is slowly taking shape in the heart of Dandora – a community that has in the past been infamous for social vices such as crime, rape and drugs.

The new Dandora Stadium stands exactly where the dusty Dandora ground has been for years, but the facelift that the County Government of Nairobi has undertaken since last year through the ‘Sports Mashinani’ initiative guarantees an improved status of the playing facility.

Hashim Kamau, the Nairobi County Sports Board chairman says  once completed in August,  the stadium will boast of an artificial turf, dressing rooms, referee rooms, floodlights, gym, shops and a police post that will be used by police officers who will be manning and maintaining security in and around the stadium.

“This facility will not only be for nurturing talents but will also be giving the youth a reason to abandon vices such as crime,” said Kamau, adding that the county government will be willing to open the facility 24 hours a day once complete.

Former Harambee Stars goalkeeper Arnold Origi, former Harambee Stars defenderPascal Ochieng, midfielder Johanna Omollo – who plays for Cercle Brugge in Belgium and Posta Rangers’ Jerry Santos are some of the many football players who had their talents sharpened at the Dandora ground in its past years.

The undergoing renovations at the stadium gives hope that the many talents at the grassrots and around the neighborhood, will now have a better chance of making it as well – given the enhanced platform that will come with the improved standards of the stadium, a view also shared by Raphael Munjal, the local community chairman.

“We have in the past been known for all the wrong reasons but with a stadium of this calibre in our community, we are sure to benefit not only in combating crime but also in giving the youth the opportunity to showcase their aptitudes and make a living out of their talents.”

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Maurice Maina is one of the young talented men in Dandora who years ago opted to give up on football and join the notorious gangs despite having previously travelled to three European countries – Belgium, Netherlands and Norway – all courtesy of his talent.

Maina’s involvement in crime led him to being one of the most wanted criminals in Nairobi but with the intervention of local community leaders, he has reformed his ways. “I realized that I was wasting my talent and now I want to go back to football because I realized crime does not pay,” stated Maina who currently works at the stadium as a handyman while waiting to fully get back on football once the stadium is over.






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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

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That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

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England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

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Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

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Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

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