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Tusker rally to slay Kariobangi Sharks

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JEFF KINYANJUI

By JEFF KINYANJUI
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Luke Namanda’s second half brace helped Tusker edge Kariobangi Sharks 3-1 in an entertaining Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match at Kasarani on Friday afternoon.

Kevintom Machika had given Sharks the lead heading into the breather but the brewers were clearly the best side after the break with George Odhiambo grabbing the equaliser in the 69th minute before Namanda finished the job with a brace in the 79th and 87th minutes.

Tusker coach Robert Matano lauded his players for the good second half show.

“We were not sharp in the first half so I had to make some tactical changes after the break and I am happy it worked out for us. Football is a game of key moments and we utilized ours. The players played according to instructions in the second half and that’s why we won,” said Matano.

Sharks coach William Muluya cut a desolate figure after the match and admitted the bad results were taking a toll on them.

“We lacked character and conceded three goals in 20 minutes which is unacceptable. At such moments when a team is not doing well everyone within the set-up gets anxious and gets caught up in the moment. I think one good result will lift the spirits of everyone in the team and get us out of the bad spell,” said Muluya.

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With their lead striker Erick Kapaito out with a calf injury, the goal-getting duties have been handed to Machika and Muluya admits it’s too heavy a burden for the youngster.

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“I think he has too much weight to carry and he doesn’t get the necessary support from the midfielders when we have the ball upfront. I will also have to look for a good striker when the window opens,” he added.

Sharks had taken the lead just before the break, Machika pouncing on a rebound after James Mazembe’s shot had been blocked. Tusker brought in Marlon Tangauzi for the injured Vincent Ngesa three minutes after the breather, Sidney Ochieng was rested for George Odhiambo in the 56th minute while youngster Eric Zakayo came in for captain Michael Madoya at the hour mark.

Sharks also brought in Sven Yidah for Patilah Omoto while John Mazembe was rested for Harrison Mwendwa.

The changes seemed to have worked in Tusker’s favour as they now looked a much rejuvenated side with former Gor Mahia star Odhiambo a constant threat with his dangerous runs and pinpoint crosses from the right.

He equalised in the 69th minute, capitalizing on a goalmouth melee to thump in past Sharks custodian Brian Bwire. 

Bwire denied Odhiambo four minutes later, going full stretch to his right to parry a close range volley. David Majak’s header was partially cleared in the 79th minute and Harambee Stars trialist Luke Namanda reacted first to put Tusker ahead.

Tusker academy graduate Zakayo then left Geoffrey Shiveka and Erick Juma for dead before playing a beautiful pass into path of the onrushing Namanda who calmly tapped home to put the result beyond doubt.

After the win, Tusker remain second on the log with 24 points from 12 matches while Sharks, who last won a match in October, are 16th with 8 points having played 12 matches.

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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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