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Troubled Stars face Egypt in Alexandria

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Harambee Stars players during a past training session at the Kasarani Stadium. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13 – Harambee Stars will look to put a troubled pre-match build up behind their backs as they start their campaign to qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations with the opening Group G match against Egypt’s Pharaohs in Alexandria on Thursday night.

Stars have allegedly not yet paid for their accommodation in Alexandria due to the ongoing tussle between Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa and Sports Ministry principle secretary Kirimi Kaberia and they might be blocked from leaving unless the dues are paid.

As at Wednesday night, the players were comfortably staying in the hotel after returning from their last training session at the Borg el Arab Stadium even as the hotel waits for the bills to be cleared.

But, that notwithstanding, Stars have a gigantic task ahead of them as they go in search of back to back qualifications to the Cup of Nations.

Head coach Francis Kimanzi believes it will be a tough tie, even as the real litmus test of his tenure starts. Kimanzi was appointed in August to take over from Frenchman Sebastien Migne who was fired after Kenya failed to qualify for the African nations Championship (CHAN).

Kimanzi has been in charge for two matches, a 1-1 draw with Uganda and a 1-0 loss to Mozambique, both in friendly matches in Nairobi.

“Both Kenya and Egypt are in transition because I was also not the head coach for the last AFCON just like Egypt have a new coach. History favors them as they have been dominant in Africa but that will be a motivation for us, that we are playing against one of the best teams in the continent,” Kimanzi told Capital Sport.

He added; “It is the first round so we can’t panic much. We know we can do it but it is all about the character we have to put on the ground on Thursday.”

Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi during a past training session at the Kasarani Stadium. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Kenya has always not fared well against North Africa opposition, more so at their own backyard.

But that besides, Stars have a dream to qualify for the Cup of Nations again.

“We have been there, we know how it feels and we definitely want to be back there again. It will be a tough match but as players we are ready for the task ahead. We have a good squad which has a good blend of new and experienced players and all we will play for is a positive result,” skipper Victor Wanyama opined.

The Egyptians will be without star player Mohammed Salah who has been ruled out with an ankle injury but even in his absence, the Pharaohs are still a strong outfit.

Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan has been in fine form for his club Aston Villa and will be looked at as the man to get the goals for the home side.

Stars will meanwhile rely on the ever present Michael Olunga who has been in hot form for his Japanese second tier club Kashiwa Reysol and he is expected to carry his goal scoring form to Egypt.

Harambee Stars forward Michael Olunga powers past Mozambique’s Francisco Muchanga during an international friendly match at the Mou Sports Centre Kasarani on October 13, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Jesse Were is also in the fray and despite also enjoying good form in Zambia with Zesco United is yet to score a goal for the national team, a statistic that saw him alienated by former coach Migne who openly stated he was not the right man for Stars.

The only major absentee for Kimanzi’s charges will be defender Brian Mandela who is still recovering from a knee injury he picked before the 2019 AFCON. His absence was seen when Kenya lost two matches against Senegal and Algeria.

But, he will continue relying on the partnership of Joash Onyango and youngster Joseph Okumu who paired in both friendly matches against Uganda and Mozambique.

A positive result away in Alexandria will be a welcome boost for Stars who will travel home to take on Togo on Tuesday night in a schedule that is set to test the endurance of Kimanzi’s charges.

But, the tactician is unfazed.

“We all have the same situation but if we are lucky enough in the two matches, then we can go back home with a small edge,” Kimanzi said.

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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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