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New York Cosmos centerhalf David 'Cheche' Ochieng and Royal Antwerp midfielder Johanna Omollo are among 11 foreign-based players that have been called up for Harambee Stars upcoming friendlies against Uganda and DR Congo.

The duo have been missing from the set up lately as Stars played friendly matches against among others the Cranes and Congo.

Cheche has been a mainstay for Cosmos who he joined in February 2016 while Omollo recently helped Antwerp gain promotion to the Belgian topflight league.

The were called up by coach Stanley Okumbi ahead of the Uganda friendly set for Thursday March 23 at the Machakos Stadium with the Congo match taking place three days later on Sunday at the same venue.

Also called up to the squad are Zesco United trio Antony Akumu, David Owino and Jesse Were as well as Eric Ouma of FC Kolkheti, Michael Olunga of Guizhou Zhicheng and captain Victor Wanyama.

The 11 foreign based players will link up with the 26 local players who were unveiled two weeks earlier. Uganda and Congo are both expected in the country today (20). The teams will use the matches for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers set for June, with Kenya first playing Sierra Leone while Uganda and Congo will take on Cape Verde Islands and Congo respectively.

The Full Squad

Goalkeepers

David Okello (Tusker), Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers)

Defenders

David Mwangi (Mathare United), Eugene Asike (Tusker), Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers), Maurice Ojwang (Western Stima), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards), Sammy Meja (Thika United), Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Abud Omar (Slava Sofia, Bulgaria), David Ochieng (New York Cosmos, USA), Erick Ouma (FC Kolkheti, Georgia), David Owino (Zesco, Zambia), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg, South Africa)

Midfielders

Amos Asembeka (Sony Sugar), Benard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards), Erick Johanna (Un-attached), Francis Kahata (Gor Mahia), Humphrey Mieno (Tusker FC), Joseph Kuria (Posta Rangers), Kenneth  Muguna (Gor Mahia), Noah Wafula (Tusker FC), Ochieng  Ovella (Kariobangi Sharks), Osborne Monday (Kariobangi Sharks), Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars), Whyvonne Isuza (AFC Leopards), Anthony Akumu (Zesco, Zambia), Johanna Omollo (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe, China), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs, England)

Strikers

Jeremiah Wanjala (Kakamega Homeboyz), Mark Makwatta (Ulinzi Stars) and Vincent Oburu, Jesse Were (Zesco, Zambia), Michael Olunga (Guizhou Zhicheng, China)

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Gor Mahia FC midfielder Kenneth Muguna (R) celebrates with teammate Karim Nizigiyimana after scoring against ...

Zoo Kericho went into their Saturday afternoon clash against Gor Mahia following what many pundits agreed was an inspiring display against Posta Rangers last weekend despite them going down 0-1.

It is these positives that many thought would inspire the men from the tea zone to a result over league bosses, Gor Mahia, when the latter hosted them at their 'adopted' home turf;  Kisumu's Moi Stadium.

Like it's the norm with Kogalo's matches, Moi Stadium was filled to the brim, setting a mood for a tense clash between the league's Goliath and a potential David.

Gor on their hand were coming into this match on a back to back winning streak, beating Tusker and Kariobangi Sharks, scoring four goals in the process and conceding just one. What better form to face a new comer who already lost its first match.

The home team had the ball rolling at 1500hrs, and after a few back and forth knocks of the ball, Kogalo were already in control.

The clash would go on with Kogalo constantly threatening to pull  ahead, with the clearest of chances falling to one Geoffrey Walusimbi. Karim Nzigiyimana picked the approaching free offensive attacker on the blind side of the Zoo defence, but the Ugandan international's right footed attempt blazed well over the crossbar.

It didn't take long as moments latter, Kenneth Muguna, the former Western Stima man announced his arrival to the Green Army base with an absolute beauty of a goal. After a give and go between Francis Kahata and Walusimbi, the ball found its way to Muguna, who confidently and unbelievable wriggled his way past three Zoo players before riffling a right footed venomous shot past a well beaten Vincent Misikhu in the visitor's goal.

It was an early goal of the season contender and the lad's celebration said it all as he constantly showed the fans the back of his jersey, perhaps wanting them to take note.

Kogalo went into the break holding a 1-0 lead which they deserved.

The second half was a mere copy paste of the first half, Kogalo constantly attacking and Zoo desperately defending. The best scoring chance of the second interval fell to Jacques Tuyisenges in the 80th minute when, instead of trying a first time shot from inside the area, the Rwandese talisman tried to go past the defenders only for his efforts to be thwarted by a determined Zoo defence.

Zoo, would finish the match a man less, after a second yellow for Nixon Omulanda for a late lunge on by all means, the man of the match, Muguna.

Kogalo however were unable to exploit their numerical advantage with second half substitute George Odhiambo being the hungriest for a goal late on, increasing the tempo of the clash every time he got the ball.

His efforts however remained just that as the full time whistle blew.

The victory leaves Kogalo in a familiar position: at the summit of the league after two wins from two.

In other matches, initial table-toppers Nzoia United played to a barren draw with Mathare United, a result that was imitated by Posta Rangers and Bandari. Chemelil Sugar were also held to a 1-1 stalemate by visiting Kakamega Homeboyz.         BY KEVIN RAY                      Photo: Sportpicha/Citizen

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AFC Leopards made a perfect start to their 2017 Kenyan Premier League campaign as they thrashed topflight debutants Nakumatt FC 3-0 at the Thika County Stadium.

Gilbert Fiamenyo, Marcellus Ingotsi and Mungai Kiongera were on target for the 12-time Kenyan champions.

There was a sense of uncertainty with fans not sure of what to expect from a team that was almost completely been overhauled following a disastrous second half of last season.

However, on Sunday, Stewart Hall and his young Leopards stepped onto the Thika United pitch with only one mission, have a positive start to their delayed 2017 league campaign. 

Ingwe began the match on a high, pressing Nakumatt in their own half and almost got the reward in the 2nd minute when new signing Whyvonne Isuza’s header whistled just wide of the post.  

Duncan Otieno, another off-season acquisition, then forced a brilliant save from Sammy Okinda in the 14th minute and this seemed to have inspired the Ingwe who kept pushing forward. The opener came just before the break as Fiamenyo rose highest to head past Okinda from a Robinson Kamura corner to give Ingwe a deserved first half lead.

Nakumatt, who had former Ingwe strike Kepha Aswani leading their line and Eugene Ambulwa at the back, also had moments of brilliance but they clearly looked flat with all departments failing to click.

Mungai Kiongera came close to extending Leopard's lead in the 59th minute from a Marcus Abwao cross. In the 75th minute, Fiamenyo was replaced by former AFC Leopards U20 player Marcellus Ingotsi and the youngster made an immediate impact, scoring eight minutes after his introduction.

The icing on the cake was done in stoppage time when Kiongera bundled in the third to give Ingwe a perfect three points ahead of the international break. 

Nakumatt 

Starting XI: Sammy Okinda, Nicholas Meja, Eugene Ambulwa, John Njoroge, Kennedy Onyango, Peter Nzuki, Ronald Musana, Clinton Kisiavuki, Boniface Akenga, Kepha Aswani, Robert Omunuk.

Subs: Charles Ouma,  Cresten Mwanzo, David Naftali, Donald Mosoti, Erick Ochieng, Kelvin Thairu, Obadiah Ndege

AFC Leopards:

Starting XI: Ian Otieno, Robinson Kamura, Salim Abdalla,Joshua Mawira, Duncan Otieno, Mangoli Bernard(C), Dennis Shikhayi , Marcus Abwao , Whyvone Isuzza, Paul Kiongera , Fiamenyo Gilbert

Subs: Andika Gabriel, Ramadhan Yakubu, Mao Ellias, Ingotsi Marcellus, Nyakha Haroun, Allan Kateregga.

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AFC Leopards coach Stewart Hall wants his young squad to be hungry if they want to make a mark in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) this season.

Ingwe signed 14 new players at the close of last season, releasing almost the same number after a disastrous season that saw them finish 13th in the league.

With renewed hopes, confidence and belief buzzing in Hall’s young squad, the gaffer believes that the team can sweep all trophies available if they stick together with time.

He has singled out a couple of youngsters whom he believes will be key to the team’s crescendo this season. Lack of goal scoring prowess is surely a headache but Hall says he knows exactly what to do.

‘The reason why we don’t know is because the squad is young and we don’t know who matures quickest and who moves forward quickest.’

‘You look at young Ingotse and Ouma, they are both very good and each fighting hard to make it into the first eleven.’

‘They both have unbelievable talent and it is upon each of them to show that they can take each and every available opportunity.’

‘We have very good young midfielders and to be honest I don’t know who will be a regular in the team, but it also depends with who gets less injured and who adapts quickest,’  

Hall however admits that he will have to beef up his squad in June.

‘We are not going to do all those crazy signings but we have to reinforce the squad with the right players, those who will help us move forward,’ he said.

The new Leopards squad was unveiled at the club’s training base in Limuru on Friday morning ahead of their league opener against Nakumatt FC at the bumpy Thika County Stadium.

With no injury worries, the team looked to be in great spirits and was treated for lunch courtesy of the club’s hierarchy led by Chairman Dan Mule.

Mule stressed the need for maximum discipline within the playing unit if glory days are to be back in the Den.

‘Gone are the days we used to chase players around, we believe that all of us are responsible for our professional lives so let’s make Ingwe proud.’

‘Let us all avoid incidences that will tarnish our image.’

Mule hinted at the club getting a new sponsor in the next one month, but, we have to get the results right,’ he quipped.

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Ulinzi Stars FC players celebrates Omar Mbongi's goal against Smouha of Egypt during their CAF ...

Kenya's Ulinzi Stars came to within a goal of forcing an initially inconceivable penalty shootout against Egypt's Smouha after they won the second leg of their Caf Confederations Cup clash 3-0, but which was not enough to take them through to the playoff round following a heavy 4-0 defeat in the first leg.

The Soldiers had been drubbed away in Alexandria a week earlier and it looked like Smouha had assured themselves of a ticket to the second round but they were in for a shock.

Samwel Onyango's first half brace had given the four-time Kenyan Premier League champions a 2-0 lead at the interval at the Machakos Stadium. The local lads needed the exact number of goals after the breather to force the match into penalties but they got just one more, fullback Omar Mbongi sinking home a freekick to put the home side 3-0 up on the day but 3-4 behind on aggregate. 

Mbongi's goal came just 8 minutes to the final whistle and almost predictably, the North African giants ran down the clock by feigning injuries time and again.

The sending off of John Kago just seven minutes into the second half perhaps played a part in the Soldiers' inability to find the fourth but they put on a brave fight. However, conceding four goals in the first leg was their main undoing and although they threatened to pull off a Barcelona-esque comeback, Ulinzi Stars are not Barcelona.

They now turn attention to the 2017 Kenyan Premier League campaign which entered its second round this weekend. Photo: Sportpicha

Also Read: Muguna Strikes Past Zoo as Kogalo Go Top

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Just a day after their status in the 2017 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) campaign was confirmed, Sofapaka FC have taken steps to get themselves ready for their first game of the season.

The Batoto ba Mungu, alongside Muhoroni Youth, were this past Wednesday cleared to compete in the new topflight season contrary to the wishes of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) who had found them short as far as their compliance to club licensing was concerned. However, they were cleared by the Sports Dispute Tribunal and Sofapaka have hit the ground running.

The 2009 KPL champions have made a couple of changes to their Technical Bench and team leadership.

Former Harambee Stars Team Manager Willis Waliaula has been appointed the new Team Manager, replacing Leon Diallo who served in the role last season. Waliaula was last seen trending in the Kenyan football scene in December 2015 when he was detained in Ethiopia for 'unpaid bills' during the reign of former FKF boss Sam Nyamweya.

Diallo takes back his former position as the Team’s fitness trainer.

A new skipper and his assistants have also been named by head coach Sam Ssimbwa who will be deputized by the legendary John Baraza.

The changes are as follows:

Head coach: Sam Ssimbwa

Assistant Coaches: John Baraza, Martin Ndagano

Goalkeeper trainer: Abdul Sebale Kigenyi

Team Manager: Willis Waliaula

Team Trainer: Leone Diallo

Captain: Maurice Odipo

Assistant Captain: Mathew Kigonya

2nd Assistant Captain: Johnston Bagoole

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