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Daily Nation : February 7th 2014
DAILY NATION Friday February 7, 2014 Sport 69 ‘Nation’ to reward top performing locals at Kenya Open BY LARRY NGALA @larryngala firstname.lastname@example.org The Nation Media Group ANTHONY OMUYA | DAILY NATION Nation Media Group CEO Linus Gitahi (left) presents a cheque to PGK chairman Rizwan Charania at Muthaiga Golf Club yesterday. has promised to reward any professional golfer from the east African region, who will emerge the winner in this year’s Barclays Kenya Open, with a cool Sh1 million. Nation Media Group Chief Executive Officer Linus Gitahi said that any professional from the region who will finish among the top 10 places during the event will also be rewarded. Gitahi said Kenyan pros need encouragement and support in order to perform well in international events such as the Open. Speaking after presenting a cheque of Sh1.2 million to the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) as prize money for the pros in six of the seven Nation Media Group-sponsored events, Gitahi said NMG had taken the initiative to encourage other corporate bodies to follow suit. “If we want our pros to win the Open or other major events, then we must invest in them. “This is why we at Nation have decided to include them in our series. Our support will go a long way in helping them sharpen their skills,’’ said Gitahi. He said NMG was committed to supporting the game in RUGBY | Elite South African tournament begins in March and will feature World Cup class players Namibia wary of Kenya’s SA trip NRU boss De Beer says playing in Vodacom Cup will improve team’s tactics and conditioning BY AYUMBA AYODI @AyumbaAyodi email@example.com 15 in Cape Town, South Africa. Namibia Rugby Union chief execu- N tive officer, Sybrand de Beer said in local media this week he welcomed Kenya’s participation in the Vodacom Cup but added it would come with both advantages and disadvantages. The Vodacom Cup appearance will come as a major boost for Kenya ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup qualification where they will face favourites Namibia, Zimbabwe and the host nation Madagascar at the end of June. The tournament doubles as the Confederation of Africa rugby (CAR) Group 1A Africa Cup. The winner will automatically qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, while the runner-up will still have a chance to qualify via a play-off match against a European nation. Kenya have replaced Argentina’s Pampas who withdrew from the South Africa competition due to financial constraints. The competition will give Kenya much needed prepa- They run the risk of injuries while big losses in the Vodacom Cup will not be good for their morale” Sybrand de Beer, Namibia rugby Union chief officer ration as the squad will play seven matches in three months while based in Cape Town. De Beer told the Namibian news- paper that most of Kenya’s players are local-based so being together for about three months and competing at a higher level of intensity will definitely improve their conditioning as well as their tactics like defensive play. “But at the same time, they run the risk of injuries while big losses in the Vodacom Cup will not be good for their morale,” he noted. Namibia competed in the Vodacom Cup in 2010 and 2011 but financial constraints forced them to withdraw thereafter. “We would need to budget about N$4 million (Sh36m) to participate in the Vodacom Cup, but most NATION | FILE Kenya forward Wilson K’Opondo charges at the Ugandan defence during the Nairobi leg of the 2012 Elgon Cup. K’Opondo will captain Kenya in their South African tour where they will play in the tough Vodacom Cup league. of our players are working and they cannot afford to take two months off, like Kenya who will be staying in Cape Town. “The fact that only about 12 of our local based players are in the World Cup squad will also not help much, because our foreign-based players will join a few weeks before we go to Madagascar,” he added. Treu’s men look for inspiration from last year at Wellington 7s BY AYUMBA AYODI firstname.lastname@example.org New Zealand’s Wellington Sevens that is the fifth leg of the IRB World Series has always been a good hunting ground for Kenya. The beautiful memories of last year’s event will play at the back of the Kenyan players’ minds when they take to the Westpac Stadium at dawn today to face tough Pool D opponents. Kenya, who narrowly lost the Main Cup final 19-24 to England in sudden death, take on South Africa Sevens bronze medallists Samoa at 3:42am before meeting Gold Coast Cup finalists Australia at 6:51am. The team will wrap up its pool matches against Tonga, on paper, the weakest side in the pool, at 9:17am. Kenya lost to Fiji 0-36 in Plate final at Gold Coast and 19-24 to Wales in the Plate semis in Dubai. They also succumbed 5-52 to Fiji in Plate semis in South Africa before slumping 0-35 to the same opponents in the Bowl final in USA. Samoa, who lost 7-14 to South Af- rica at the USA Sevens Cup final in Las Vegas, and Australia will present Kenya’s coach Paul Treu with yet another litmus test. Plate semis Samoa lost 26-31 to Fiji in Gold Coast Plate semis but would drop to Bowl where they lost to 14-19 to Australia in the semis in Dubai. The Samoans were to edge out Argentina 21-7 to win bronze in the Cup play-off in Port Elizabeth before losing 19-22 to Canada in the play-off in Las Vegas. On the other hand, Australia lost 19-40 to New Zealand in Cup final at Gold Coast, won Bowl by beating Portugal 17-12 in Dubai before losing at the same level to England 19-28 in South Africa. They yet again fell to England 24-26 at Plate final in Las Vegas. Tonga only took part at Gold Coast. Today’s matches in Kenyan time: Kenya v Samoa (3:42am), Kenya v Australia (6:51am), Kenya v Tonga (9:17am). amibia is squirming in discomfort as Kenya prepares to debut at the Vodacom Cup on March the country and added that the company is willing to work with other corporate organizations towards that end. “We are not closing the door and any corporate organization willing to come on board in our series is welcome,” Gitahi said. The PGK tournament director Elisha Kasuku said with support locals pros can excel globally. The Barclays Kenya Open is set for Karen Country and Golf Club from March 6 to 9. BRIEFLY FOOTBALL Isiolo the team to beat at Eastern mini-league Isiolo Youth will be the team to beat as the Eastern region FKF Mini-League takes centre stage today at the refurbished Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. Some 12 teams from Eastern will battle it out for Division Two league promotion. Isiolo Youth will parade, not only the youngest team in the three days Eastern affair, but also a well blended team with players of almost the same age group. Having played together since they started the art of kicking football team spirit at the Isiolo Youth is sky high. Another surprise package in Machakos would be the lads of Methodist University College, KeMU, who are a collection of soccer talent from all over the country. GOLF Mickelson aims to get back on track Phil Mickelson has plenty of good memories to draw on as he tries to get his 2014 US PGA Tour campaign on track this week at Pebble Beach. The world number four is a four-time winner of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and he’ll be hoping a return to the iconic course on the northern California coast will mark a change in his recent fortunes. After a runnerup finish in the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi in January, Mickelson was forced out of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines with a sore back. After a cross-country trip to seek treatment in Atlanta he teed it up last week in Phoenix. CYCLING German Kittel wins Dubai Tour 2nd stage German cyclist Marcel Kit- tel, from team Giant-Shimano, secured his first victory this season after winning yesterday the second stage of the Dubai Tour 2014. The 122-kilometre (76-mile) race started from the Dubai World Trade Centre, with 127 cyclists from 16 teams spanning around desert highways before concluding at the tip of the manmade Palm Island. American Taylor Phinney won the inaugural stage on Wednesday. Many roads were closed for the tour and several schools closed in fear of traffic problems. The fourstage race is, held for the first time in the Gulf emirate is 416.9kilometre (259-mile) long.
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