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The 2016 edition of the annual Magharibi Michezo Awards was launched on Friday morning in Nairobi with organizers announcing plans to train over 50 community youth coaches in the coming season.

Celebrated as The Premier awards ceremony in Western Kenya, MMA is  geared towards rewarding the achievements of the region’s athletes as well as encourage the next crop of sporting talent.

First held in 2013 and celebrating its fourth edition this year ,the Magharibi Michezo Awards also seeks to recognize the efforts of those individuals who have in one way or another nurtured sporting talent from the region. This year, the team trained 25 community youth soccer coaches with a mission of  upgrading the technical growth of the game in the region.

This year's edition of the Magharibi Michezo Awards Gala will be held on Saturday December 17th in Bungoma County. This will then be followed by an exciting Skates Festival that promises to thrill fans in Bungoma town.

Last year , as part of the Magharibi Michezo Awards celebration, the MMA Organizing Committee organized and held a successful skating event in Bungoma dubbed the Ignite Bungoma International Skates Festival that attracted skaters from all over Kenya. Leveraging on this fast-growing sport in Kenya, the team will again host the skating festival in Bungoma on 18th December, 2016. This year's event will feature competitors taking part in four categories.

The highlight of the festival will be the 42KM senior and 21KM Junior open races that have attracted the best skaters in the region. It is highly expected that since this will be the first ever competitive full Skates marathon in Kenya ,new national records will be set.

Magharibi Michezo Awards Secretary George Njuguna, speaking at the launch in Nairobi, said, "We aim to provide alternative sports for young people in Kenya and encourage talent development to make Kenya a sporting nation. Other than the Skates Festival, we will hosting a gala dinner on 17th December, 2016 the eve of the Skates Festival to celebrate and recognize sports heroes and heroines from Western Kenya.

"During this dinner, some of the finest athletes in the region together with community coaches  will be honored and appreciated for their talents and contribution to the sports industry in Kenya."

Njuguna added: "The highlights of the awards will be the The Community Coach of the year Award that will be given to the coaches at the grassroots level who make the champions."

Also present at the function was 2016  Kenyan Premier League Top goal scorer John Mark Makwata, himself a Magharibi Michezo Award winner in 2015.

The Ulinzi Stars marksman underscored the importance of  supporting community coaches as they play a crucial role in nurturing future champions: "I am here because I am a living testimony of a community coach who has shown great commitment  and played an integral role in shaping me to where I am today.

"Magharibi Awards is a blessing to all those who play the role of  guidance and are sometimes not recognized." he noted.

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Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Premier League defending champions, Butali Sugar Warriors, have pulled out of the forthcoming Africa Club Championship.

This is the second time the formerly-named Kisumu Simba, considered the richest hockey club after Butali Sugar sponsorship last year, has pulled out of the continental games. Last year they withdrew from the Bulawayo games citing lack of sufficient funds caused by the delay of the deal which saw Butali Sugar take over team naming rights.

This year though the club – though yet to release official statement – cited lack of quorum as the main reason for their withdrawal according to sources close to the club.

Their withdrawal leaves regular participants, Telkom Orange, as the only Kenyan side to have confirmed their participation at the continental games.

Kenya Police who also qualified to the games by finishing behind Butali and Strathmore University are yet to confirm their participation.

The women’s competition has attracted eight teams while the men’s campaign will have 12, if Police confirm their participation.

Women’s Teams:

Weatherhead (Uganda), Lusaka Sharks and DE Stars (Zambia), Yobe Queens (Nigeria), Telkom Orange (Kenya), Ghana Ladies (Ghana), Sharkia (Egypt)

Men’s Teams:

Rockets and Wananchi HC (Uganda) Sharkia (Egypt ), Kenya Police, Hippo (Zimbabwe), Lusaka Sharks, DE Stars (Zambia), Eastern Company (Egypt), Trustees (Ghana), Niger Flikers, El-Kanemi Flikers (Nigeria) and  Alsabah HC (Libya)

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