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Manyatta, Al-Ahly clash in Chapa Dimba final

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Alhyl’s Sahib Jamal tackles South B United’s Kepha Wanjala in the Chapa Dimba na
Safaricom boys semifinals at Kinoru stadium in Meru. Alhyl won 3-2 on a penalty
shoot out.

MERU, Kenya, June 22 – A mouth-watering clash is expected at the Kinoru stadium on Sunday as Manyatta United FC from Nyanza take on Rift Valley’s Al-Ahly FC in the boys’ National grand finale of the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Youth tournament.

The Kisumu based Manyatta United edged out the champions of Western, Lugari Blue Saints to qualify for finals scoring 2-1 in a semi-finals dubbed Mashemeji derby considering the origins of the teams.

It was a tough call for both sides that sought dominance in the game played in a fully packed Kinoru stadium.

“The game was tensed and so tough. We had tough opponents who were equally fit. This was not easy but we did our best. We will face our opponents tomorrow in the finals with courage and hope to triumph,” said Ibrahim Ochieng, Striker, Manyatta United.

Al-Ahly FC from Rift Valley also qualified for finals after putting up a stunning game against South B United from Nairobi scoring 3-2 in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw in regulation time.

Alhyl’s Abdirahman Abdulahi (C) scores the first goal as South B United’s Brian Ngolo
(L) runs to save the ball in the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom boys semifinals at Kinoru
stadium in Meru. Alhyl won 3-2 on a penalty shoot out.

“This win is a great opportunity to us and honestly it has not been very easy. The game was tough as our opponents kept equalizing each minute we scored. We still have a tough match tomorrow but remain hopeful to win,” said Abdirahman Abdullahi, Captain Al-Ahly FC

Manyatta will therefore face Al-Ahly FC in the grand finale tomorrow. The game is expected to be a do or die match as the two teams fight for the National glory.

Kitale Queens and Acakoro Ladies from Nairobi will also face off in the girls grand finals tomorrow.  Kitale Queens and Acakoro Ladies qualified for the grand finale after beating their opponents Barcelona Ladies from Central 6:1 and Changamwe Ladies from Coast 4-2 respectively in the girls semifinals held yesterday.

The losing Semifinalists, Lugari Blue Saints and South B United pocketed Ksh250,000 cash reward each.

The winner in the tomorrow’s finals will take home Ksh 1million while the losing finalist will walk away with Ksh 500,000 among other individualized prizes.

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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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From farm girl to ‘invincible superhero’: the remarkable rise of China’s Zhu Ting

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By AFP

SHANGHAI

Zhu Ting stands tall in China — and not just because she is a towering 1.98 metres (6ft 6ins).

The 25-year-old farmer’s daughter has emerged from a poor village life to become a totem of the sporting ambitions of the world’s most populous country.

As captain and figurehead of China’s women’s volleyball team, the reigning Olympic champions, Zhu is one of the country’s biggest stars.

State television once feted her as “an invincible and dominant superhero” and she is held up by Chinese authorities as a shining example of what can be achieved by hard work and dedication to her country.

Her stature with China’s ruling Communist Party is such that she was present at its once-a-year congress last month in Beijing.

Underlining Zhu’s broader popularity, a nurse fighting coronavirus at the epicentre city of Wuhan in March posted a photograph of herself wearing a white protective suit with a picture of the volleyball star drawn on it.

Also scribbled were the words: “Proud that I was born in the era of Zhu Ting.”

Zhu, named MVP at the Rio 2016 Olympics as she dragged China to gold, has earned numerous adoring nicknames down the years. Many fans call her simply “Queen”.

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She is the most prominent sportswoman to emerge in China since Grand Slam-winning tennis player Li Na, with a rags-to-riches life story that has played prominently in the country’s patriotic press.

LOW PROFILE

Despite the attention piled on Zhu, Bai Junhong, an editor of an unofficial online fans’ group, describes her as “low-key”.

She is not the type to boast, Bai says, and does not post often on Weibo — hence why the fan group has 5.2 million followers on the Twitter-like social media platform, compared to Zhu’s 4.1 millon.

Bai tells a story of how when Zhu learnt that a fan was terminally ill, she contacted the supporter through social media and sent a signed gift.

“She is a role model — willing to learn, has the courage to try anything and can steel herself to face difficulties when she encounters them,” the 32-year-old Bai said.

“It is a perfect interpretation of the spirit of the women’s volleyball team that the Motherland is supreme, united, tenacious, hard-working and never fails.”

Zhu hails from a village in the central province of Henan, her parents are farmers and she is one of five daughters.

TOP SCORER

From an early age one thing was clear — she was tall. By 13 she already stood more than 1.75m.

“When she was a little girl our family was so poor that we could not afford a photo of her,” her father Zhu Anliang told state media after her heroics in Rio, where she was the tournament top-scorer with 179 points.

“Now our lives are better, but when she comes back to the village she is still just an ordinary farm girl from an ordinary farmer’s family.”

All of Zhudalou village has benefited from Zhu’s success with local officials replacing a dirt path to the entrance with a concrete one.

Villagers branded it “Zhu Ting road”, according to the state-run Global Times, which called Zhudalou “an obscure and poverty-stricken place”.

After swapping village life for a state-run sports school — where the young Zhu cried for her parents at the outset — she made her debut for China in 2013.

HIGHEST PAID

Following the Rio Olympics, she moved to Turkey to play for VakifBank and reportedly signed a Sh120 million ($1.2 million) contract, making her one of the highest-paid players in volleyball.

In January last year, Under Armour added Zhu to its list of athletes – joining Tom Brady and Stephen Curry – and said she was “a face of Asia-Pacific” for the US brand.

She returned to China to play for Tianjin in October last year, in preparation for helping her country defend their crown at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The Games have been moved to summer 2021 because of coronavirus.

It is a measure of her humble personality that each time praise comes her way, Zhu deflects it away from herself.

“Me being the captain is just an idea to the public, but within the team, I’m not really ‘leading’ my team-mates,” Zhu said in an interview published Friday.

“They don’t call me captain, they call me Zhu.”

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