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Soccer/Football

‘Be thankful for every point earned’ – Mbungo tells AFC Leopards

Ingwe were able to gain a point from a 0-0 draw against the Brewers on Sunday at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos

AFC Leopards need to be thankful for every point they pick from Kenyan Premier League (KPL) matches, coach Casa Mbungo has said.

The club fought and picked up a point from their goalless draw against league leaders Tusker and Mbungo says the point is very important especially because it has been earned during very trying financial moments for the club.

“For every point we get, I always thank God because he is the one who gives us the energy to do what we have to do especially in our trying moments as a club,” Mbungo told reporters during his post-match interview.

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“We have had very few training programmes and not all players do show up even for those sessions and getting a point gives us a chance to thank our God.”

Mbungo has confirmed he will still remain Ingwe’s head coach despite earlier assertions he had resigned due to unpaid salaries.

“I am still here [at AFC Leopards] and we will prepare for our match against Mathare United on Sunday but I will leave for the Christmas holiday and come back later,” he revealed.

The Rwandan coach further praised his players for sticking to their game plan and said, without financial problems, AFC Leopards has a good team that can deliver great achievements in the future.

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“Tactically, we were superb and we had a lot of shots on target, unfortunately, we did not manage to get a goal. We would have actually scored from the chance Vincent Oburu failed to convert late on but we will fight another day,” he concluded.

“AFC Leopards have players, the staff, the technical bench and visionary officials but the only problem is lack of money. If there is money this is a strong team but if there is no money to run this club then it will be a big challenge even in future for everyone.”

They are eighth with 19 points after 13 matches.

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Soccer/Football

Don’t just look at Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, Kenyan football is dead – Aduda

The K’Ogalo boss openly claims clubs are suffering in the local league and something urgent should be done before it is late

Gor Mahia official Omondi Aduda has revealed the state of Kenyan football is in ICU and will need radical changes to be revived.

The K’Ogalo CEO now says the current state of the sport is affecting all those involved, including Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clubs, and not only giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.

“All is not well in Kenyan football, let’s call a spade a spade and state the things the way they are and not only Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards are suffering, but the whole fraternity is suffering,” Aduda told Goal on Monday.

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“It is not easy for clubs in [KPL], teams are suffering, look at Chemelil Sugar, a good team from the past seasons but now conceding six goals and above anytime they are playing, is that the Chemelil we used to know? I don’t think so, we should stop lying to ourselves and state the issues the way they are.”

On Gor Mahia players skipping training for the last 11 days, Aduda told Goal: “Let’s be realistic here we are human beings, those players have families to take care of and what they are demanding is their money which is acceptable.

“The players need to pay bills and even take their kids to school. All we can do as Gor Mahia is to work hard and get the money to pay them, there is nothing to discuss here, they have opted to stay away, and so we must get money to pay them.”

Aduda also wondered where on earth are clubs competing in any top league are ordered to pay matchday officials.

“How on earth did they reach the decision to ask clubs to pay referees? Aduda questioned. “What kind of a league will you have if you ask the same teams to pay match officials, not a good sign and such issues will bring down the league.”

Aduda also said it was wrong for KPL to give broadcasting rights for free saying they are supposed to generate revenue.

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“How on earth to do you give live broadcasting rights for free, what is [KTN] doing with the rights, [FKF] should sell the rights not give for free,” Aduda continued.

“You see now in Ghana the new FA is a month old and already they are giving clubs money, balls and that is the way to go, we don’t have a brand in Kenyan football and that is the reality for now.”

The Kenyan league has already witnessed Sony Sugar being relegated after skipping three matches owing to financial constraints.

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Sports

Russian F1 GP confident it’s safe from country’s four-year WADA ban

Russian Grand Prix officials are “confident” that the future of the Formula 1 race is not under threat, despite a global ban on the country hosting major sporting events

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Sports

Mercedes completes 18-inch F1 Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi

Pirelli has completed its final two days of 18-inch Formula 1 tyre testing this year, with Mercedes and George Russell completing the 2019 programme in Abu Dhabi

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NBA

Marcus Smart’s holiday grift List

Denver Nuggets v Boston CelticsPhoto by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Celebrate Marcus Smart with your friends and family this holiday season.

The holidays are fast approaching. You may be wondering what kind of basketball-centric delight to share with your loved ones. Well, we’ve got good news for any and all Celtics fans. Rugged point guard/wing/center Marcus Smart has a tried and true collection of grifts that are suitable for friends and family of all ages and persuasions. Enjoy!

5. The Classic Flop

For the traditionalist in your life. Smart has perfected the art of selling interactions that live in the grey between foul and non-call in his favor. Catch him lightly in the chest, and he’s likely to kick his legs out and fall flat on his back. Knock him solidly to the ground, and Smart will launch himself sliding along the floor as though he’d just been hit by a train.

You may, for example, recall the following sequence of events from last season:

These types of antics are often derided by opponents and their fans, but such condescending critiques belie the talent needed to pull them off effectively. A flop can only be performed if a player has the timing, intelligence, and athletic ability to position themselves appropriately and the willingness to take the additional beating of tossing themselves to the ground repeatedly, all qualities Smart has in spades. He deserves to be appreciated for that fact, not rebuked.

4. Working the Refs and Critiquing Opponents

One of the most truly magical parts of Smart’s on-court persona is that he doesn’t just complain to the referees when he disagrees with a call, but he actually becomes particularly aggrieved when opposing players execute grifting strategies similar to his own. Keep an eye on the Cetics’ bench as the following play unfolds. Smart’s indignation at Patrick Beverly’s dramatics – which mirror his own – is special.

It’s an ironic bit of psychological warfare he uses to further sell the idea that his own flops and feints are actually every bit as legitimate as they may appear in real time. Plus it comes with the added fun of really riling up opposing fan bases. You can’t put a price on that.

3. The Defensive Head Pop

This is, perhaps, Smart’s most reliable tool in his grifting tool box. Arms and elbows are constantly flying in NBA games. Players rarely contest a foul call when they accidentally catch an opponent in the face or head. It’s hard to argue against such actions as infractions, even if committed without intent.

Referees are on the lookout for fakers, but the game moves incredibly fast, and it’s difficult to distinguish the differences between a true shot to the face and a close call that may have been enhanced with a bit of acting. Smart applies such techniques with aplomb, sometimes even pretending to have been hit when no contact has been made.

Toss in a patented grab of the face and a bit of writhing on the ground in faux pain, and officials can be duped. There’s a danger in being outed using this strategy with the current prevalence of replay reviews and newly implemented coaches challenges, but only the truly egregious grifts – those in which Smart goes untouched and still crumples to the floor – are at real risk of being reversed. Those are few and far enough in between not to be a major concern.

2. The Box Out Flail

On occasion, Smart will stick his nose down among the tall trees, position himself for a rebound, realize its not headed his way, and then violently throw himself sideways, as though someone had undercut him in mid-air. This strategy gave us what many consider to be his most theatrical and insane grift attempt (seen below).

Smart has turned to the box out flail with less frequency in recent years. Perhaps due to the physical toll it extracts, or maybe simply because he hasn’t found it to be particularly effective. In either case, it’s a classic that deserves to be celebrated.

1.The Offensive Head Pop

The offensive head pop is, as one might have guessed, a close relative of the defensive head pop. The strategy behind the two is essentially the same. Feel a slight touch of contact or see a limb fly closely by your face, and act like you took a shot from Mike Tyson.

We’ve given it the top spot here not because of its beauty or even its effectiveness, but rather because of its nature as an offensive grift. So much of what Smart does to help his team comes on the opposite end of the court. He’s inarguably one of the best defensive players in the league.

Smart’s defensive flops are mixed in a bag full of plays that make you say “how did he do that?” They exist as part of a tapestry of defensive brilliance that just feels right. Smart’s offensive play is less plainly impactful, which make his grifts all the more pure. Each deserves to be celebrated this holiday season, but none more than this.

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NBA

Gordon Hayward says: “tomorrow’s a possibility”

Brooklyn Nets Vs Boston Celtics At TD GardenPhoto by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After missing 13 games following hand surgery, Hayward is looking to return

After today’s practice session, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward spoke to the media and flagged a possible return from injury as early as tomorrow. Per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.

Gordon Hayward has spent a month on the sidelines following a November 9th clash with LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio. The 16-5 Celtics host the 5-17 Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night at 7:30pm.