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Resurgent Dutch on cusp of Euro 2020

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A thrilling crop of young players has Euro 2020 in its sights as the Netherlands prepare for a return to the big stage, while Teemu Pukki’s Finland are on the brink of their first ever major tournament.

Ronald Koeman’s side need just a draw at Northern Ireland on Saturday to guarantee a spot at their first international tournament since coming third at the 2014 World Cup.

The Dutch had been in the doldrums since then until the arrival early in 2018 of Koeman, with the once mighty Oranje missing out on the previous European Championship and last year’s World Cup in Russia.

The 56-year-old has revitalised his country’s dormant national team with the help of a crop of young players who are putting a famous footballing nation back on the map.

Rising stars including Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt have joined more experienced campaigners Virgil van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Daley Blind and Ryan Babel to go top of Group C ahead of the final two rounds of qualifiers.

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They are level on 15 points with fierce rivals Germany but above them on head-to-head record and three ahead of Northern Ireland, who realistically need a win to carry on their battle for a spot in the tournament.

A late double from 25-year-old Memphis Depay, a revelation in qualifying with six goals in five appearances, in Rotterdam last month helped sink the brave Northern Irish and means they just have to avoid defeat at Windsor Park to join the likes of Italy and Spain.

Germany meanwhile just need to better Northern Ireland’s result to make sure of their place.

The Finns are also on the verge of making history, with a win over lowly Liechtenstein in Helsinki on Friday enough to see them qualify for their first ever European Championship.

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They lie second in Group J behind already-qualified Italy thanks to a magical run inspired by the incredible form of star man Pukki.

The Norwich City striker has scored seven of his side’s 12 goals in eight games, with his brace in a 3-0 win over Armenia last time out opening a five-point gap between them and their third-placed opposition.

That win all-but guaranteed them a spot in their first major tournament, and Pukki’s fame in his homeland is such that in September, after a discussion on climate change at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto handed his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron a Pukki replica shirt.

“There are two games left and it’s in their own hands,” said Finland coach Markku Kanerva.

France are among several big hitters also a hair’s breadth away from the main tournament. They might qualify before they even take the field against Moldova at the Stade de France on Thursday.

Didier Deschamps’ world champions will take their place at the finals should third-placed Iceland not beat Group H leaders Turkey, although a win for France over bottom side Moldova would be enough regardless of what happens in Istanbul.

England can rubber stamp what has long looked to be certain qualification with a draw over winless Montenegro at Wembley, with Gareth Southgate’s side another one pushing young players to the forefront.

Raheem Sterling will not play following a brief spat with Joe Gomez in the wake of Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City, although Southgate insisted a line had been drawn under the incident.
“I love all of my players,” Southgate said. “We are like a family and all families have disagreements.”

Reigning European champions Portugal meanwhile will have the chance to defend their title with a win over Lithuania, who have collected just a point from seven Group B games, if Serbia fail to beat Luxembourg.

The Portuguese are a point ahead of the Serbs as coach Fernando Santos recalls Lokomotiv Moscow forward Eder, whose goal won Euro 2016, with teenage star Joao Felix sidelined.

They are also without Everton midfielder Andre Gomes after he suffered a horrific leg injury against Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the month.

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Sewage Menace in Pipeline, Residents Cry For Help

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By Milo George

Residents of Pipeline Transami area are decrying poor drainage system that has caused sewage water to overflow in their area of residence.

The residents claim that the overflowing sewage is not only putting their lives at risk but also causing air pollution.

They have called on Nairobi Metropolitan Services and Nairobi City Water and Sewage Company to come on board and expand the sewer lines before more areas are flooded with raw human wastes coming from the blocked pipes.
“We want Major Badi and our leaders to resolve this menace immediately. It’s terrible many have been forced to shift their businesses because of the foul smell,” they said.
Pastor Joe Ndivoh of Word Evangelistic Explosion Ministries says that they have been forced to call off the Sunday School Service to protect the children from the smelly sewage.
‘‘We now fear that if prompt action is not taken then we will have a bigger health problem than this because we fear there could be an outbreak of water-borne disease anytime,’’ Pastor Ndivoh added.


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Solberg Jnr replaces Pierre-Louis for WRC Safari – KBC

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Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team has made a change to it’s WRC2 team for Safari replacing Pierre-Louis Loubet with 19 year old Oliver Solberg.

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The change of crew hands young Solberg an opportunity to resume his family dream on the fabled Safari which was first held from 27 May to 1 June 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Solberg Senior finished the WRC Safari 5th on the 1999 and 2000 editions driving a Ford Focus and navigated by his eventual Championship- winning navigator Phil Mills. In 200 and 2002, Petter retired on Safari after he lost a wheel and suffering engine gremlins on both occasions.

Oliver was forced to withdraw from last week’s Rally Italia Sardegna after his father, 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg, tested positive for coronavirus.

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Oliver was gearing up for his second top flight World Rally Championship outing with Hyundai at last weekend’s s Italian event.

However having been in contact with his father, Oliver was compelled to remain in quarantine in a hotel in Porto for 14 days as per the FIA Appendix S regulations.

The FIA’s Appendix S COVID-19 protocol and national government regulations offer clear quarantine instructions for those in close contact.

“You can imagine, I am more than disappointed by this news. I am a little bit devastated,” The 19-year-old Solberg told www.motorsport.com last week.

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WRC Safari Rally Event Secretary Helen Shiri confirmed Oliver’s Safari participation saying: “Hyundai WRC 2 team car number 7 has changed the crew from Driver Pierre-Lous and co-driver Florian Haut-labourdette both from France to Oliver Solberg (Swedish) and  Co-driver Aaron Johnston (Ireland). The car, a Hyundai i20 Coupé, remains intact.”

Meanwhile, it’s been a meteoric rise for the son of world champion Petter.

Less than two years after his maiden rally in a four-wheel drive car, the teenage sensation was competing at the WRC’s top level.

Aged just 17, Oliver became the youngest winner of a European Championship rally in 2019.

With a father and a mother from a well-known Swedish motorsport family and a former Production WRC competitor in her own right, there was a sense of inevitability that a career at the wheel was inevitable for Oliver Solberg. 

Solberg’s early years were spent racing in crosskarts.

In 2012 he won the Norwegian Championship before a step up to a higher class brought consecutive title wins in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In 2019 Solberg stepped into R5 machinery, driving a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in the Latvian/Estonian/Baltic Rally Championship. He took to the increased power immediately and racked up five class wins on his way to the championship title.

He also followed in his father’s footsteps to join Subaru Motorsports USA. He drove a latest-spec Impreza STI, winning three of the six rounds

After making his WRC debut at the 2019 Rally GB, Solberg stepped into a full WRC campaign in 2020, driving his own Polo R5 alongside a partial campaign with Skoda Motorsport.

The WRC returns to Africa for the first time since 2002. The Safari of old has evolved to fit the modern-day WRC, but its character remains with challenging closed dirt roads, stunning picture-postcard scenery and exotic wildlife.

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Three more suspected robbers arrested along Southern by-pass – KBC

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Three more suspects have been arrested in connection with the recent spate of robberies targeting motorists along the Southern by-pass.

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The three were arrested in Kibra by detectives based in Langata.

Their arrest follows a detailed analysis and investigations of the robberies, with detectives employing cyber and forensic analysis techniques to identify the beneficiaries of the crimes.

Boniface Winjira Unganyi, the proprietor of Basement Crew mobile shop within Lindi in Kibra, was arrested as the key suspect after a total of 102 mobile phones suspected to have been stolen from victims were recovered from his shop.

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Also arrested were 35-year-old Alex Mboya, who was found in possession of a victim’s phone, and a 16-year-old minor, studying at a secondary school in Langata.

Five other suspects have been arraigned in recent weeks in connection with the violent robberies.

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