Man Utd secure victory to avoid FA Cup upset at Wigan

On 9th January 2024, Manchester United avoided an FA Cup upset by defeating League One side Wigan with a score of 2-0. This victory marked their first away win since November and provided some relief for manager Erik ten Hag. The win also secured a favorable fourth round draw against either non-league Eastleigh or Newport County. For United, the FA Cup represents their final chance for silverware this season, as they have struggled in the Premier League and have already been eliminated from European competitions.

In the match against Wigan, Diogo Dalot’s first-half goal and a controversial penalty converted by Bruno Fernandes sealed the victory for United. The away side were largely untroubled, with the exception of an early chance from Wigan’s Thelo Aasgaard that tested United goalkeeper Andre Onana. As the game progressed, United gained control, and Sam Tickle made a brilliant save to deny Marcus Rashford, while Scott McTominay narrowly missed a chance to score. United had numerous opportunities to extend their lead before halftime, with Rasmus Hojlund hitting the crossbar with a powerful header and Alejandro Garnacho’s shot hitting the woodwork.

Ten Hag expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance, stating that they created several good chances in the first half. Fernandes’ successful penalty further dashed any hopes of a comeback for Wigan. United now look to build momentum as they head into a two-week winter break in the Premier League, with a match against Tottenham at Old Trafford on Sunday. Closing the nine-point gap on the top four is crucial for United’s aspirations of returning to the Champions League next season. Despite setbacks, Ten Hag remains optimistic and determined to continue working towards their goals.

Rhonex Kipruto’s Incredible World Record Faces Imminent Challenge

On January 14th, 2024, the 10km world record held by Kenyan runner Rhonex Kipruto will be challenged by a group of star athletes at the Valencia Ibercaja road race. Kipruto set the record in 2020 at the same event with a time of 26.24. Among the athletes attempting to break his record are Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda, the reigning half marathon world record holder, and Dominic Lobalu, a runner from South Sudan. Richard Douma from the Netherlands and Pietro Riva from Italy have also confirmed their participation in the race.

In the women’s division, Agnes Jebet Ngetich from Kenya will lead the charge to break the current world record held by Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw. Yehualaw set the record at the 2022 Castellón 10K race with a time of 29:14, surpassing the previous record set by Kalkidan Gezahegne. Although Yehualaw was initially expected to compete alongside Ngetich, she had to withdraw due to a last-minute injury. Other notable runners who have held the women’s 10K world record in the past include Joyciline Jepkosgei and the late Agnes Tirop, both from Kenya. Jessica Chelangat, another Kenyan runner, was scheduled to compete but will not participate this year due to illness.

The Valencia Ibercaja road race is set to be an exciting event with strong contenders aiming to break the current world records held by Kipruto and Yehualaw. The athletes’ performances will determine whether these records will stand or if new champions will emerge.

Okutoyi sets sights on big week after dominating Canadian opponent in USA

Kenya’s tennis sensation Angella Okutoyi is set to compete in the W35 Naples tournament in Florida, USA. The 19-year-old kicked off her campaign with a straight set 6-2, 6-1 victory over Canadian player Louise Kwong. This impressive win has propelled Okutoyi to the second round where she is expected to face Taiwan international Chieh-Yu Hsu. The match is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM.

In addition to the singles category, Okutoyi will also participate in the doubles category at the tournament. Her partner in the doubles event will be Ansari. They will be facing the duo of Kayla Cross from Canada and Sofia Sewing from the United States. The exact time for this fixture is yet to be confirmed by the organizers.

If Okutoyi emerges as the winner in the singles category, she stands to earn a prize money of $25,000. This victory would be a significant accomplishment as Okutoyi started 2023 without a rank but finished the year in positions 586 and 610 in the singles and doubles categories respectively. Her final match of 2023 was against German opponent Lena Papadakis, which Okutoyi won 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 at the Nairobi Club.

The W35 Naples tournament will conclude on Sunday, January 14, and Okutoyi is determined to make her mark in both the singles and doubles events.

KRU Announces Openings for Chipu U20 Head Coach Position

The Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) is seeking applications for the position of Chipu U20 head coach, with current coach Curtis Olago’s contract set to expire next month. The job is only available to Kenyan residents with over four years’ coaching experience. The KRU released a statement on Tuesday, January 9, inviting interested individuals to apply for the prestigious position.

The coach will be responsible for guiding the under 20 men’s national rugby team, known as Chipu. They will report to the head of KRU 15s program and be in charge of effectively managing the Kenya under 20 team. Interested applicants have until Wednesday, January 17, to submit their information, as provided on the KRU’s social media accounts.

The ideal candidate for the position is a Kenyan resident with a minimum of 4 years’ coaching experience for a club or school team, with a proven record of success. The coach will have various responsibilities, including delivering the playing aims for the season, planning and evaluating training sessions, and preparing for upcoming tournaments.

Curtis Olago, the current coach, has previously played for clubs such as Impala and Mean Machine. He has led the Chipu technical bench during the World Rugby under 20 trophy and Barthes Cup competitions.

The KRU is eagerly awaiting applications from qualified individuals who are passionate about rugby and dedicated to the development of young players.

Namwamba sends a clear message to cartels who have transformed RFUEA into party venues

Sports cabinet secretary Ababu Namwamba has issued a stern warning to cartels who have transformed the RFUEA grounds into a drinking den. Namwamba made his intentions clear during the flagging off of the national 7s sides Lionesses and Shujaa, who are expected to feature in the HSBC World Rugby Challenger Series later this week. He stated that there is a cartel that believes in impunity, but he is coming for them.

Part of the property, which is under the management of Kenya Harlequins, has been rented to the Orchid Lounge and Grills. They have set up an entertainment facility in the area. The RFUEA board chairperson, George Kariuki, disclosed that they are doing everything they can to rectify the current situation.

Additionally, the CS announced the government’s plan to construct a modern training facility for the national rugby teams. He expressed his admiration for a similar center he visited in Stellenbosch, South Africa. He believes that a training facility like that would greatly benefit the players.

On the other hand, KRU boss Sasha Mutai revealed that the union has been forced to pay to be allowed to use the facility along Ngong Road. They have faced threats from some of the tenants while hosting the Safari Sevens tournament, and they were almost evicted. Kariuki mentioned that they have contacted their lawyers to review the whole process, as illegal structures not intended for rugby development have been erected at the ground. They are not pleased with the situation but are taking the necessary steps to resolve it.

Shabana Hires Former Gor Mahia Player Pamzo as New Head Coach

Shabana FC has announced the appointment of Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo as their new head coach. This decision comes after a three-month search for Sammy Okoth’s successor. Pamzo, a former Gor Mahia player and assistant tactician, brings experience to the struggling team. Shabana currently occupies one of the relegation spots in the FKFPL standings with only 14 points.

Pamzo’s appointment was confirmed on Wednesday morning, putting an end to speculations about who would take charge of the team. In a statement, the club’s secretary general, Elizaphan Kerama, expressed pleasure in announcing Pamzo as the new head coach, effective January 10th, 2024. The club wished him success in his new role.

Pamzo is not new to football management. The retired Harambee Stars defender has previously coached several clubs in Kenya, including Zetech University, Sony Sugar, KCB, and Oserian. From 2019 to 2021, he led the technical bench at Posta Rangers before joining Kenya Police, where he was let go in December 2022 due to poor performances.

Pamzo has a successful history in Kenyan football. He played a key role in Gor Mahia winning the Kenya Premier League title in 1993. Additionally, he contributed to Tusker’s triumph in 1994 and 1996. However, his new role at Shabana presents a significant challenge as they currently struggle and are fighting to avoid relegation. With only three wins in 17 games this season, Shabana has one of the worst defensive records in the FKFPL. Only Ulinzi Stars have conceded more goals than them.

Pamzo’s appointment is seen as an opportunity for Shabana to turn their season around and improve their position in the standings. The club hopes his experience and leadership will help them in their battle against relegation.

Kenya Police Seek to Sign Murang’a Seal Talented Player Balecho on a Free Transfer

Kenya Police have expressed their interest in signing Murang’a Seal winger Eric Balecho, according to official documents seen by SportPesa News. The police force submitted their request just before the mid-season transfer window opened. Balecho is currently contracted to Murang’a Seal until mid-2025, but the club has stated that they would be open to a transfer if a suitable fee is offered.

In a letter addressed to Seal, Kenya Police Chief Executive Officer Chris Mmbwanga stated that their management is prepared to sign Balecho if the club agrees to release him during the mid-season transfer window. Balecho has been in impressive form recently, which led to his first call-up to the national football team Harambee Stars in November 2023. Additionally, he was a key player in helping Seal secure promotion to the top-tier league during the 22/23 National Super League campaign.

Both Kenya Police and Murang’a Seal ended the first leg of the season with 24 points each. However, Kenya Police currently sit in eighth place on the table due to a better goal difference, while Seal occupies the tenth spot.

Sports prowess from lesser-known towns in East Africa: Unveiling record-breaking athletes

In East Africa, there are three little-known towns that have produced record-breaking athletes. These towns have become renowned for their elite runners who train, eat, and interact with their colleagues. One of these towns is Bekoji, located approximately four hours’ drive from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. Bekoji is considered the running Mecca of Uganda and has produced numerous athletes, including famous runners like Tirunesh Dibaba, Ejegayehu Dibaba, and Mare Dibaba. It is also the hometown of Derartu Tulu, the first African woman to win an Olympic Games gold medal.

Another town in East Africa known for its exceptional athletes is Kapchorwa. Situated at the Western escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, Kapchorwa is the headquarters of Elgeyo/Marakwet County. This town has been the training ground for notable runners such as Jacob Kiplimo, the current half marathon world record holder, and Peruth Chemutai, the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games gold medalist. Kapchorwa is home to two main training camps, the Cheptegei Training Centre and the Taryet elite athletics training institution.

The third town is Iten, which is also located in Kenya’s Rift Valley region. Iten is famous for producing world-class athletes, including David Lekuta Rudisha, the current 800m Olympic medalist and multiple Olympic Games gold medalist. Other notable runners from Iten include Abel Kirui, Florence Kiplagat, Felix Kandie, Cornelius Kemboi, Raymond Yator, Asbel Kiprop, Mary Keitany, Wilson Kipsang, and Edna Kiplagat. Iten is known for its rigorous training programs and has been a popular destination for elite runners.

These East African towns may not be widely recognized, but they have played a crucial role in shaping the careers of some of the world’s best runners. Their conducive environments and training facilities have produced record-breaking athletes who have made significant contributions to the athletics field.

Real Madrid outshine Atletico in thrilling eight-goal match to advance to Super Cup final

Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid 5-3 after extra time in a thrilling battle to reach the Spanish Super Cup final. The game ended in a 3-3 draw in regular time, forcing both teams to play extra time. Mario Hermoso and Antonio Rudiger scored early headed goals for their respective teams. Ferland Mendy then put Madrid ahead before Antoine Griezmann equalized to become Atletico’s all-time leading scorer. Kepa Arrizabalaga’s own goal gave Atletico the lead, but Dani Carvajal leveled the score, sending the game into extra time. A Stefan Savic own goal and a counter-attack goal by substitute Brahim Diaz secured the victory for Real Madrid. Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti praised both teams for their performance and credited his team’s energy in the final stages for the win.

Atletico Madrid, the only team to have beaten Real Madrid this season, started strong with an early chance from Samuel Lino. They took the lead with Hermoso’s header from a Griezmann corner. Mendy then capitalized on a low cross from Carvajal to put Madrid ahead. Griezmann scored again to level the score, surpassing Luis Aragones as Atletico’s top scorer. Rodrygo came close to putting Madrid ahead, but Oblak made a save. Atletico took the lead with an own goal by Arrizabalaga, although Madrid protested for a possible foul. Carvajal’s late goal equalized the score, and Joselu’s header deflected off Savic into his own net, giving Madrid the lead. With Atletico desperate for an equalizer, Diaz scored a counter-attack goal as Oblak was out of position.

Real Madrid will face either Barcelona or Osasuna in the final, with Barcelona aiming to set up a repeat of last season’s Clasico final. Atletico will face Real Madrid again soon in the Copa del Rey. Atletico coach Diego Simeone disagreed with the notion of revenge in football, emphasizing that the upcoming match will be a new knockout game.

Sancho leaves Man Utd exile to return to Dortmund on loan

Sancho had been frozen out at United since September after becoming involved in a public spat with manager Erik ten Hag. The 23-year-old posted on social media that he had been made a “scapegoat” at the club for poor performances after being left out of the matchday squad for a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal. German media reports the deal will cost Dortmund roughly four million euros and that Sancho has agreed to take a significant cut to his reported £300,000-a-week wages.

Jadon Sancho rejoined Borussia Dortmund on loan for the rest of the season on Thursday, less than three years since Manchester United paid £73 million ($93 million, 85 million euros) for the England winger. Sancho had been frozen out at United for most of the season after becoming involved in a public spat with manager Erik ten Hag. The 23-year-old posted on social media in September that he had been made a “scapegoat” at the club for poor performances after being left out of the matchday squad for a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal. Sancho has not played a minute for the Red Devils since and been forced to train away from the first team. He scored just 12 times in 82 appearances and struggled to hold down a regular first-team place under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ten Hag. But he will hope a return to the club where he made his name as one of Europe’s rising stars can rejuvenate his career.

“Jadon is an absolute difference maker and I’m looking forward to seeing him back in black and yellow soon,” said Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl. “He knows this city, the stadium, our fans and our club. After joining from the Manchester City academy aged just 17, Sancho scored 50 goals and provided 64 assists in 137 appearances during his first spell at Dortmund, helping them to win the 2021 German Cup and 2019 German Super Cup. “When I came into the dressing room today, it felt like ‘coming home’. I know the club inside out, I’ve always been very close with the fans here, and I there was no break in contact with those in charge,” said Sancho.

They sit fifth in the Bundesliga, six points adrift of the Champions League places after a run of just one win in eight games prior to the German season shutting down for its winter break. But Dortmund did win the toughest group in the Champions League, knocking out AC Milan and Newcastle to progress to the last 16, where they will face PSV Eindhoven. United are also hoping that Sancho can show why they splashed out on him to attract a bidding war for his services come the summer. Ten Hag has been criticized for his failure to reconcile their differences and get the best out of one of his star names as United have struggled during his second campaign in charge.

An upturn in fortunes could even revive Sancho’s chances of appearing for his country in Germany later this year at Euro 2024. He was part of the England squad that reached the final of the last European Championship in 2021, missing one of the crucial spot-kicks in a penalty shootout defeat to Italy. But the last of Sancho’s 23 international caps came in October 2021.

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