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Beijing Renhe winger Timbe recalled to Kenya squad

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Chinese Super League side Beijing Renhe winger Ayub Timbe Masika is one of the two players recalled by the Kenyan football head coach Sebastien Migne in his squad for their 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.

Timbe was handed a three-match ban and fined 10,000 U.S. dollars by the continental governing body CAF in May following an incident that occurred during the opening round of the qualifiers last year where Kenya lost 1-2.

In his absence, Kenya stunned Group F side Ghana 1-0 before drawing 0-0 and then beating Ethiopia 3-0 to take control of the pool with seven points, three above the latter.

However, the return tie against Sierra Leone in Nairobi scheduled for Nov. 18 hangs in the balance following the suspension of Sierra Leone by FIFA on May 5 over government interference.

The CAF subsequently cancelled their double header against Ghana earlier this month, but with no official word yet on their fate, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) said they were not taking chances, giving Migne the green light to name his squad.

“We are operating as if Sierra Leone will come. It is stated nowhere that they have been withdrawn from the competition. Until now, no one says they are out,” FKF president Nick Mwendwa said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

“We know the ban is still in place but what would happen if Sierra Leone shows up on Nov.14? Kenya is ready for the AFCON, if they come, we (will) beat them, if they don’t, we will take the points and move on,” he added.

Mwendwa further confirmed Kenya was lining up a friendly in the next FIFA international window that will run from Nov. 12 to 20 against a yet to be announced country.

Besides Timbe, Frenchman Migne also recalled striker Masoud Juma who recently joined Dibba Al Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates following the inglorious end of his stint at South African Premier Soccer League side, Cape Town City FC.

England based duo, Henry Ochieng and Jonah Ayunga earned their maiden call-ups in a largely unchanged squad.

Since his appointment in May, Migne has led Kenya to the brink of AFCON qualification, winning two and drawing the other qualifier where he was in charge.

His charges only have to finish second in Group F to make the expanded finals that will feature a 24-team tournament for the first time in Cameroon.



Olympiad Margaret Wambui plots Semenya’s downfall of 800m dominance

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Olympic 800m bronze medalist Margaret Wambui believes she will finally emerge from the shadow of South Africa’s Caster Semenya and beat her at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019.

Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday, Wambui says Semenya, who is both world and Olympic champion, is beatable and believes she is the one who will finally puncture the aura of invincibility that the South African has over the two-lap race at international level.

“Competition is about winning and losing and nobody is indispensible. Everyone is beatable,” said Wambui, who was fourth at London World Championships in 2017.

“Semenya is beatable. Her day will come but let her enjoy the moment. My time is yet to come,” she added.

Semenya remains unbeaten since 2015 and a lack of serious competition has prompted her to branch out into the 400m and 1,500m distances.

“It has always been my dream to win a major competition and my target next year is to win the World Championships in Doha and then we will see what happens at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Wambui said.

Also hoping to compete at the Doha worlds is Francine Niyonsaba, who holds a personal best of 1:55.47, run in Monaco in 2017.

Like Wambui, Niyonsaba has largely played second fiddle to Semenya, finishing second in both the 2017 worlds and the 2016 Olympics.

The trio will relaunch their rivalry early next year, starting with the indoor circuit before moving outdoors with the Diamond League series, with the Doha worlds representing the culmination of the 2019 season.


Kenyan hockey teams on war path to recapture Africa Cup of Clubs titles

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Telkom hockey team head coach Jos Openda is under pressure to recapture the African Cup of Clubs Championship, which will be held in Abuja, Nigeria from Dec. 17-24.

Speaking in Nairobi, Openda said Telkom’s loss to Ghana Revenue Authority in Accra last year was good for the sport as the Kenyan side had dominated the competition in the last decade, winning nine out of ten titles.

But he believes the loss has awakened the giants in them and the players will go all-out to stake claim to their title and restore the pecking order as it is supposed to be.

“Telkom is hungrier than before to win the Africa Club title. Maybe the players took the rivals for granted and we paid dearly for the loss. Now we have the chance to reclaim the title and bring competition back to the continent events,” said the coach Tuesday in Nairobi.

Ghana and Nigeria clubs will remain the real danger to the Kenyan charge at the continental championships.

However, the coach wants his players to focus on training hard and later enjoy their time at the continental fiesta.

Kenya is parading four clubs in the Africa competition, which has attracted over 16 teams.

Alongside Telkom, there will also be United States International University-Africa (USIU) Spartans in the women’s competition, while the men’s teams will be the Kenya Police and Butali Sugar Warriors. The men’s team skipped last year’s competition citing financial constraints.

Spartans team coach Willis Okeyo says while the focus will be on Telkom, he intends to creep up the ladder and stake claim to the title even as they make their debut at the African Cup of Clubs Championship.

“There are a lot of expectations. Our aim is to expose the players and at the same time try to give a good account of ourselves,” said Okeyo.

With over 16 teams getting ready or the women’s contest, the Africa club hockey competition will be one of the top sports events in the continent in 2018.

Alongside the Kenyan teams, there will be Ghana Revenue Authority, Trustees from Ghana, former champions Eastern Company Hockey Club and El Sharkia from Egypt, along with Niger Flickers and Police Machine from Nigeria.


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