Kenya named its preliminary squad Tuesday for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, after qualifying for the tournament for the first time in 15 years.
The 30-man squad announced by coach Sebastian Migne includes Christopher Mbamba and John Avire making their debut for the Harambee Stars in Egypt.
Sweden-based striker, Mbamba, 26, made the switch to Kenya after being granted his citizenship earlier this year. He was born in Zimbabwe to a Namibian father and Kenyan mother.
Victor Wanyama, who captains the national side, is expected to join the squad after featuring for Tottenham against Liverpool in the European Champions League final on June 1.
Kenya will hold a nearly three-week training camp in France, including warm-up matches against Madagascar and Gambia, before flying to Egypt ahead of the Cup.
The Stars lost just one of their four qualifying matches under Migne, who said Kenya would “not travel to Egypt as tourists”.
“We are going to look to try and rewrite the history of Kenyan football,” he told reporters.
Kenya has never won the biennial competition, which for the first time will include 24 teams, up from 16.
Kenya was drawn in Group C against Algeria, Senegal, and neighbours, Tanzania who return to the Cup for the first time in nearly four decades.
Cameroon were the original 2019 hosts for the tournament, but delays in preparations and security concerns forced a switch to Egypt, who will stage the tournament a fifth time.
The tournament starts on June 21 and ends on July 19.
Kenya preliminary squad:
- Patrick Matasi (St George/ETH)
- Farouk Shikalo (Bandari/KEN)
- John Oyemba
- Brian Bwire (Kariobangi Sharks/KEN)
- David Owino (Mathare United/KEN)
- Brian Mandela (Maritsburg/RSA)
- Musa Mohammed (Nkana/ZAM)
- Bernard Ochieng (Vihiga United/KEN)
- Joseph Okumu (Real Monarchs/USA)
- Joash Onyango (Gor/KEN)
- Eric Ouma (Vasalund/SWE)
- Aboud Omar (Sfantu Gheorghe/BUL)
- Philemon Otieno (Gor/KEN)
- Victor Wanyama (Tottenham/ENG)
- Ismael Gonzalez (Las Palmas Atletico/ESP)
- Anthony Akumu Zesco/ZAM)
- Dennis Odhiambo (Thika United/KEN)
- Johanna Omollo (Cercle Bruges/BEL)
- Francis Kahata (Gor/KEN)
- Paul Were (AO Trikala/GRC)
- Eric Johanna(IF Brommapojkarna/SWE)
- Clifton Miheso (Olimpico/PRT)
- Ovella Ochieng (Vasalunds/SWE)
- Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe/CHN)
- Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol/CHN)
- Masoud Juma (Al Fujairah/LBY)
- Christopher Mbamba (Oddevold/SWE)
- John Avire, Allan Wanga(Homeboyz/KEN)
- Whyvhonne Isuza (AFC Leopards/KEN)
Sevilla arrive Tanzania ahead of friendly with Simba
Sevilla will face newly crowned Tanzanian league champions, Simba on Thursday in a friendly match.
Hundreds of fans and media thronged the Julius Nyerere International Airport as Sevilla FC arrived Tanzania ahead of their season-ending East African tour.
They are the first Spanish top flight side to visit East Africa, one year after Atletico Madrid ’s planned trip to Kenya was aborted due to lack of a suitable stadium.
Sevilla will face newly crowned Tanzanian league champions, Simba on Thursday in a friendly match. Manager, Joaquin Caparros named an 18-man squad which includes Jesus Navas, Quincy Primes, Munir, and Wissam Ben Yedder.
According to SportPesa director of Administration and Compliance, Tarimba Abbas, the eagerly awaited clash will kick off at 7pm local time on the 23rd of May at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
“Sevilla’s tour will, among other things, help tourists and investors discover the uniqueness of Tanzania as a travel and business destination.” – Tarimba Abbas
“We invite top teams from Europe and other parts of the world to promote tourism and ensure that young footballers get the opportunity to train and learn from the very best,” he added.
While in the country, Sevilla officials will also conduct a coaching clinic for young players at the Uhuru National Stadium.
The objective is to pass on football tips to local young talents, according to Abbas.
The match and coaching clinics are part of the La Liga World Challenge powered by SportPesa, which sponsors the country’s football heavyweights, Simba and Young Africans.
According to Tanzania Football Federation competition director, Salum Madadi, FIFA badged referee Herry Sasii will handle Thursday’s match between Simba and Sevilla.
He will be assisted by Mohammed Mkono from Tanga and Soud Lila of Dar es Salaam.
Formula One in talks to make African comeback
Morocco and South Africa have hosted world championship grands prix in the past.
Formula One is considering making a return to Africa with four countries currently under consideration. Speaking on Thursday, Commercial Managing Director, Sean Bratches revealed that the Moroccan city of Marrakesh and South Africa’s Kyalami circuit are keen on hosting a race.
Rwanda and Nigeria have also expressed an interest.
“It’s a marketplace in which we would like to race,” Bratches said at a Sport Industry Breakfast Club event, two days after Formula One announced the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in 2020 after a 35-year absence.
Morocco and South Africa have hosted world championship Grands Prix in the past, Casablanca in 1958 and South Africa in East London in the 1960s and Kyalami 20 times between 1967 and 1993.
“We race on five continents now and the last habitable continent that we don’t race in is Africa,” said Bratches.
“We’ve been having very productive conversations in South Africa and to a lesser extent in Morocco about bringing a grand prix… we’re on it. It’s really important to us.”
Bratches said there was a “high degree of interest” from Morocco in a circuit race in Marrakesh, with the authorities seeing Formula One, owned by U.S.-based Liberty Media, as an economic engine for growth and tourism.
The all-electric Formula E series already holds an annual street race there.
Yath Gangakumaran, Formula One’s director of Strategy and Business Development, told reporters that Rwanda and Nigeria were also keen to be involved in fan events.
“I think Rwanda in particular have seen the benefits of the Arsenal sponsorship deal,” he said. The Premier League club has had a ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo on players’ left shirt sleeves since last year.
“There’s a lot of interest not just for races but for actuations throughout the continent.”
“We just feel rejected”. Kenya’s Wambui fears testosterone rules will end career
The IAAF has maintained that the rules are necessary for fair competition.
Kenya’s Olympic 800 metres bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera Wambui can feel her career slipping away from her, with no idea when, or if, she will be able to compete internationally again.
The 24-year-old is one of several star female athletes affected by an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling this month that requires women with high levels of testosterone to take medication to suppress it.
Seated at a dirt-track stadium at the foot of the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi where she trains, Wambui has just returned from a disappointing sixth-place finish in the 800m at the Doha Diamond League.
She was meant to leave for the IAAF World Challenge athletics meeting in Nanjing next week, but now her future is one big question mark.
“I am very disappointed, I don’t even feel like going on with the training because you don’t know what you are training for,” she told AFP.
The new IAAF rules took effect on May 8 after South Africa’s two-time Olympic 800m champion, Caster Semenya lost a legal challenge against them.
For about a decade, Semenya has been the symbol of a furious debate worldwide about questions of gender, women with elevated testosterone, and physical advantage.
However, other athletes such as Wambui, who finished third behind Semenya in the 800m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the silver medallist from Burundi, Francine Niyonsaba, are also affected.
Physical advantage debate –
The IAAF has maintained that the rules are necessary for fair competition, arguing that athletes with high levels of testosterone benefit from increased bone and muscle strength similar to men who have gone through puberty.
However, critics highlight that the very nature of elite athletic success is down to one physical advantage or another, such as swimmers with disproportionately big hands or feet, or basketball players who are taller than the average person.
“Why, when you have a high level of testosterone in men, you are likely to perform well and we celebrate that? But when it comes to women, we have to tell them to lower it and we draw them out of competition. Why?”
She further asked;
“Why don’t we take maybe men with low testosterone and categorise them as women?” -Wambui.
The new rule applies to distances from 400m to a mile, and includes the heptathlon, which concludes with an 800m race.
Wambui said simply switching to another distance like 5,000m was not possible, with different skills and training needed that would take years to reach elite level.
“I am not going to take medication because I am not sick and…those are chemicals you are putting in your body, you don’t know how it will affect you later,” she said.
She said that maybe the idea of having different categories of runners -comparing it to boxing, where heavyweights don’t fight flyweights -might be “a good idea to make it fair.”
We are just natural –
Wambui grew up in Kenya’s central highlands in the town of Nyeri, and began running in primary school. She was thrust into the spotlight when she won a gold medal at the 2014 IAAF world junior championships and has since established herself as one of the world’s top two-lap runners.
Running is “something in me, in my blood, it is something I cannot do without. Now they are telling us we can’t compete, we just feel rejected. We are just natural, we did not dope.”
Wambui, who is tall and muscular, with braided hair and a shy smile, said she had never faced questions about her gender or appearance until the IAAF began cracking down on women with elevated testosterone.
She said she had been forced to undergo blood tests for doping, but did not know when she had been specifically tested for testosterone levels.
“I am worried now about my career,” she said, adding that the ruling had also heaped pressure on her family, for whom she is the only breadwinner.
When she is not training, she is a police officer, and works for Kenya’s prison service.
Last week, Athletics Kenya dropped 100m and 200m champion Maximilla Imali and 400m runner Evangeline Makena from the team for the IAAF World Relays event in Japan over their high levels of testosterone.
South Africa plans to appeal the latest IAAF ruling.
The IAAF argues its ruling is aimed at creating a “level playing field” and denies accusations it was targeted specifically at Semenya.
Wambui said that while Semenya had become a cause celebre in South Africa, fiercely defended by politicians and citizens, she herself had received no support from the Kenyan government.
Athletics Kenya official Barnabas Korir told AFP the body supports the IAAF ruling.
“This has been a simmering issue especially with our very own athletes having complained about running with these women with excess testosterone,” he said.
“We have to be realistic that these athletes have had an advantage over the others.”
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