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Lampard wary of pushing Chelsea players too hard

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AFP

By AFP
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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes it is unrealistic to “push and push” players to maintain their fitness levels during the coronavirus pandemic with no concrete timetable as to when football will return.

Football in England has been suspended until at least April 30, but that date is expected to be pushed back at a meeting of Premier League clubs next week.

The Blues squad are continuing to train at home in line with government guidelines on social distancing.

“It is very difficult at the moment because we have got nothing concrete in front of us,” Lampard said in a FaceTime interview with Chelsea’s official club app.

“We have seen that things can change very quickly, so we can only go by the dates we have been given. At the moment it looks like May 1 or the end of April.

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“But daily or probably weekly we are looking at it, saying: ‘well, how do we train? What does it look like?’

“The last thing I want to do at this moment when the players are in this position when we don’t know when the games are going to be is to try and push and push and push for no reason.”

Chelsea staff were forced to self-isolate two weeks ago after Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus.

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The England international has recovered well and has posted several social media updates on how he is maintaining his fitness.

Other players such as Brazilian international Willian were allowed to return home to be closer to their families.

“I’ve just let them know that I am there for them individually because these are tough times whether it’s emotionally, physically, everything,” added Lampard. “We have to be there for the players.

“I think the motivation at the moment for everyone is how their families are, how their relatives are, how we all see the outside world, and sometimes the realisation probably that there are things which are a lot more important than football.

“However much we love Chelsea and are fortunate to do our jobs, this has certainly hit home for that.”

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Coast stakeholders want caretaker committee to run football

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By PHILIP ONYANGO

Coast region football stakeholders now want the government to put in place a normalization committee to take over the running of the sport ahead of the overdue Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections.

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Led by former Coast FKF Secretary, Ismael Mohammed, the stakeholders who included current and former administrators, referees and players said they have had enough of the musical chairs at the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) and now want the Sports ministry to step in and take action.

According to them, the current FKF regime’s term of office expired in February as per the constitution and that ought to be respected.

SDT nullified FKF county and national polls in December and March citing irregularities in the way both exercises were conducted.

“The Sports Disputes Tribunal has been doing a good job so far, but made an error by allowing FKF president Nick Mwendwa to stay in office because any work that is remaining at the federation should be done by the Secretariat and not the presidency “, Mohammed, who was speaking at the Mombasa Municipal Stadium Wednesday , said.

According to him, having a normalization committee will restore confidence in all those interested in elective posts and allow stakeholders to choose leaders of their choice without fear of victimization. 

According to Mohammad, Kenya has had four normalization committees in the past and does not therefore see anything strange with the government putting one in place with Kenyan football at crossroads. 

Mohammed said the decision by Nick Mwendwa to skip the SDT virtual hearing on Tuesday was a clear pointer that he was no longer interested in peaceful transition and should therefore be ignored.

“Mwendwa should first clear his name with the Directorate of Criminal Investigation on several scandals surrounding his tenure at the federation before thinking of any elective positions in future, because as things stand now, no one is interested in his leadership”, Mohammed said.

Mohammed said Mwendwa’s continued stay in office poses real danger to the FKF finances, which he still has access to.

“It is laughable when we are told that Mwendwa should stay on to wait to hand over. That is not his work, because any NEC member and the secretariat can easily hand handover when that time comes”, he said.

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Cash-strapped Gor Mahia put up Paybill number to raise funds

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By DAVID KWALIMWA

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By CECIL ODONGO

As a financial crisis bites through the local football scene, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has reached out to landlords of members of his team’s playing unit to exercise patience.

And in a related development, the 18-time Kenyan champions have, through Gor Mahia Augmentin Fund (GMAF), set up a Paybill number which members, supporters, and well-wishers can contribute money to the club in form of cash and ‘Bonga points.’

Bonga points is a loyalty scheme for all of Safaricom’s pre-paid and post-paid customers.

The points can be used to redeem prizes and goods at selected supermarkets.

Rachier has sought to strike a deal with the landlords of his players following consistent delay in rent payment by the players. This has been occasioned by financial crisis at the club that has caused salary delays.

“We have not paid salaries for five months,” Rachier said Wednesday.

“I keep writing to their landlords just to understand and I want to thank those landlords that have extended a good time for them (players) to be able to pay when we are able to pay,” he said.

Rachier spoke at an event where a section of club supporters and players, led by Lawrence Juma, Joakim Oluoch and Samuel Onyango as well as members of group called ‘Kulundeng original’ donated foodstuff worth Sh100,000 to the Fikisha Rehabilitation Centre. 

The function was held at the Lutheran Centre in Kawangware, Nairobi.

Gor players each received a Sh10,000 monthly stipend from the government last week in a bid to cushion them from the effects of coronavirus pandemic which has paralysed football activities in the country.

Most of the Kenyan Premier League clubs have benefited from the scheme launched by the government in conjunction with various partners.

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NOC-K moves to cushion Olympic veterans from Covid-19 effects

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya’s Olympic officials have moved to end the misery of retired internationals by offering Sh500,000 in seed money for their upkeep.

The officials from the National Olympic Committee Kenya (NOC-K), Kenya National Sports Council (KNSC) and Kenya National Paralympic Committee (KNPC) say the initial amount is meant to fend off effects of the coronavirus pandemic from the veterans.

NOC-K acting secretary general, Francis Mutuku, told journalists at the programme’s launch Wednesday that the initiative will first target “Team Kenya” athletes who competed at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and African Games.

They must have retired by 2004. These are the athletes identified as the most vulnerable.

However, the support will extend to others, subject to raising of requisite resources.

“We first of all want to appreciate the support that the government, and the Ministry of Sports in particular, have given to our active athletes,” Mutuku said.

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“We know the pandemic has affected our athletes greatly and most of them have been inactive for three months.

“The government support has, therefore, greatly eased the burden being experienced by the active athletes.

“We encourage our sports people to use these funds very wisely.

“It is instrumental to note that NOC-K carried out a webinar on management of finances and trust that the lessons derived will be useful”, Mutuku added.

The initiative by the umbrella bodies is, therefore, meant to go beyond what the government has done.

“Food support has been identified as a critical and priority need area of focus for the next three months.
“We want to give food support to the retired athletes. After consultation, we felt food aid will be of greater assistance as we continue looking for other partners in this initiative,” remarked Mutuku.

A pay bill number will be launched on Monday next week to enable the public to contribute to cushioning the needy athletes during this tough period.

“We are very grateful to the national federations who have started working on some form of support for sports persons.’’

“NOC-K has committed Sh500,000 to kick start the programme. This amount will only cater for food because this is a key area.

“According to an athletes’ survey conducted by NOC-K, they cited finance, food, wellness and fitness as their areas of concern and even as we appeal for more support, it’s all systems go.

“The government has already dealt with the financial bit and we hope to continue this initiative as long as possible,” Mutuku added.

KNSC treasurer, Charles Nyaberi lauded NOC-K for setting the ball rolling with the latest initiative as they seek to cushion sports people of all cadres from the effects of coronavirus.

“We thank the Ministry of Sports for taking care of first and second tier athletes.

“We implore federations to also try and come up with a support system for their sports people. We have requested NOC-K to start a pay bill to rally the public behind this noble initiative,” said Nyaberi.

“The government will continue for the next two months to support our active athletes with most of them having already received Sh10,000 each as ordered by the Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

“We will support the umbrella bodies going forward to ensure the program for our sports people who have represented us since independence is a success,” said Sports Commissioner, Japson Gitonga.

NOC-K is in the process of creating a database of all national level athletes, which will be extended later to include retired athletes.

According to Mutuku, such information is key because they will be able to profile and effectively find ways of addressing

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