AllStars prodigy Kennedy Owino was yesterday named the 2014 Kenyan Premier League - Young Player of the Year, during an awards gala event that was held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
Owino, who finished the league season with 15 starts and 2 goals beat Nairobi City Stars' duo of Kevin Omondi and Nicholas Kamau, together withTusker FC goalkeeper Farouk Shikhalo and Sony Sugar's Andrew Anthony for the accolade.
"It is such a huge joy to have been named the best in my category after my league debut season. I am very overwhelmed with joy because I rely never thought that I could even get a nomination after my first season in the top flight. I had been put up together with very strong candidates and I want to thank all four of them for congratulating me."
"I am sure that the grace of God is upon me and this is just but a reward for my hard work. I also would strongly like to thank the AllStars technical bench, the management, and most of all, the CEO (Robert Muthomi) who had faith in young players like me and gave us the platform to showcase our talents and technical abilities."
The player finished by saying that he dedicates his award to all the AllStars fraternity and the Nakuru AllStars fans who followed up with the team for the whole entire season.
The AllStars team had a total of three nominations, with the other two being for the Fair Play Team of the Year - where the team finished as the second runners up, and the Fair Play Player of the Year where Maurice Odhiambo had been nominated.
The AllStars B team had a busy schedule last weekend with two consecutive away matches falling on Sunday and Monday, where they looked to maintain their contention for the Rift Valley Provincial League title.
On Sunday, the team made the trip to Ravine in Nakuru County, where they had gone to face off with Poror FC for an afternoon encounter.
After a very tightly contested encounter between the two sides, it was the hosts in the end who registered a slender 1-0 victory over the traveling AllStars team.
As the nation was celebrating the Mashujaa Day (Heroes' Day) celebrations on Monday October the 20th, the AllStars B team had a task in hand - and it came in the form of a trip to Naivasha where the team had gone to play against Sunderland FC.
It never took so long before the AllStars made their intentions known in the heavily rained on match as they took a 10th minute lead from a spot kick. Forward Hassan Yusuf had done so well to dribble his way into the opponents' box, only for him to be brought down in the danger area prompting the referee to award the visitors a penalty kick. On form striker Kevin Rubi made no mistakes as he calmly slotted the ball at the back of the net to make it 1-0 for coach Jimmy's side.
In the 25th minute, Sunderland managed to stage a comeback by scoring the equalizing goal to make it 1-1. It took only five minutes for the AllStars to restore their lead, this time through Peter Mwangi, who finished well after receiving a pass from William Ochieng.
The team's next match is set for Saturday October 25th, where the team will be playing host to Olkalou Youth FC for a 1pm kick off match.
AllStars field captain Peter Ng'ang'a has stated that despite the barren draw on Saturday afternoon against Bandari FC, the midfielder was pleased by how the team played against their Mombasa counterparts.
The two teams had met at the Mombasa Municipal Stadium for a Tusker Premier League - round 27 fixture.
The 3pm kick off match started on a low tempo, maybe because of the very hot climate of the coastal town.
The seventh minute saw Bandari's Victor Ndinya blast his shot wide over the bar. Moments later, Alloyce Mangi almost gave the hosts the lead when his headed effort was comfortably saved by AllStars keeper Shaban Odhoji.
AllStars forward John Ndirangu almost netted in the opening goal in the 10th minute of the match, but his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line. The player hit the shot after Bandari keeper Obungu had punched the ball back to play from a well delivered Maurice Odhiambo's corner kick.
AllStars defender Stanlaus Akiya was the first to get his name on the referee's book with a 14th minute booking, after the player was judged to have made a dangerous and unlawful tackle on Ndinya.
John Ndirangu tried to test the keeper from a long range with a 22nd minute shot, but his effort went wide over the target. Moments later it was the AllStars who were defending, and Bandari almost capitalized from a Shaban Odhoji spill, but central defender Arthur Weyula was on spot to block out Lazaro Simba's goal-bound shot.
Bandari captain Sharif Mohammed led by example as he tested AllStars keeper with a long-range effort in the 29th minute of the match, but the keeper was well alert as he tipped the ball over the bar. Maurice Odhiambo also made an audacious attempt from long range but the ball went way wide off the intended target.
AllStars made their first change of the day in the 56th minute by bringing on Michael Kamau for Geoffrey Maina. A minute later Anthony Nyangor hit a shot wide from a difficult angle, before AllStars defender Dennis Sikhai canceled out a dangerous looking cross that was headed towards an awaiting Bandari forward.
Keeper Odhoji showed his heroics in the 67th minute by making a double save, and three minutes later, a shot off a Bandari forward went way wide off the AllStars goal.
Michael Kamau should had given the AllStars a 71st minute lead after he was put through by a defense-splitting pass, but the player - on his weaker left foot - saw his shot saved by Obungu. A tired looking John Ndirangu was then taken off the field of play in place of Erastus Mwaniki.
The hosts almost stunned the AllStars in the 74th minute when Kanamuli missed the ball as he tried to head it clear, but his defensive partner Arthur Weyula was there to spare his teammate the blushes by making a last-dip tackle to dispossess the opponent.
Nyangor tried his luck from way outside with a direct free kick that went wide off the mark - and two minutes later the AllStars survived a scare when a headed effort off a corner kick missed the goal by just inches.
Sebastian Muchera became AllStars' third substitute when he was introduced in the 87th minute in place of Anthony Nyangor, and the player almost made his mark when he hit a shot in the 91st minute off a counter, but the player visibly had a better option in Maurice Odhiambo, who was making a good run on the right wing. Odhoji made a comfortable save from Majid's weak effort for the last goal-scoring opportunity of the match.
"We clearly played well. We controlled the tempo for the most part of the match and we created chances. It was a good overall performance from both teams." Ng'ang'a said.
The draw left the AllStars still rooted at the bottom of the league table with 17 points off 27 matches.
The AllStars senior team will be making the long journey to the coastal city of Mombasa, where they are scheduled to play a Tusker Premier League - round 27 match against Bandari FC on Saturday October 18th.
The match - which will all-but-be the team's fate decider - will determine whether the AllStars will be facing the relegation axe, or whether they will be able to keep their slim hopes alive.
The AllStars currently sit at the bottom of the league table, where they have 16 points from 26 matches - 9 points off the safe zone. The team has so far recorded 3 wins, 7 draws, and 16 losses. The AllStars have a total of 11 goals scored and have conceded 32 times, leaving them with a goal difference of -21 - which is so far the league's lowest this season.
The AllStars' away form has not been at the level the team might have liked, as they have won just one away match and it is in away matches that they have conceded the most goals. Out of the 12 matches that they have played away, they have won just once, have drawn 3 matches, and have lost 8 times. The team has managed 3 away goals, and have conceded 18 in the process.
Looking for six points to avoid the drop, Bandari lie on the 13th spot of the 16-teams table with 27 points from 26 matches. Their points total comes as a result of 5 wins, 12 draws, and 9 losses. The team has so far managed to score a total of 20 goals, and have let into their own net five goals more than they have so far scored, leaving them with a goal difference of -5.
Just like the AllStars, Bandari will be coming into this match off a backdrop of a loss, and with a winless streak that extends to the last nine previous matches.
The AllStars will be hoping for a turn-around, as they have lost all of their last seven matches.
The AllStars will be officially relegated in the event that they lose to Bandari and the 14th placed team KCB FC wins their weekend's match that will be played a day later.
The first leg of this encounter ended in a barren draw between the two sides, in a match that was played on the afternoon of April 9th at the Afraha Stadium.
The match will be played at the Mbaraki stadium and is set to kick off at 1500 hrs.
Man-of-the match Kevin Rubi netted a first half brace in today's afternoon Rift Valley Provincial league match pitting his side versus Karatina FC, where the AllStars kept their 2nd leg perfect record intact with a 3-0 victory.
The AllStars - who have now won both of their two opening second leg matches - had beaten their day's opponents by scoring three times in the 1st leg's corresponding fixture on a 3-1 score.
The afternoon got off to a good start for the AllStars, who had a good shot by Rubi saved during the opening exchanges of the match. The player would then link well with the speedy Robert Arot who fired a lethal shot wide off the crossbar.
The visitors first threatened the AllStars goal through a long-range effort, then from a corner kick that was well defended and which set up a counter attack that the AllStars never capitalized on, despite the fact that they had lined up a forward line that comprised of very pacy forward.
The deadlock would soon be broken by the AllStars, with the assist of the goal coming from a very unfamiliar source.
After collecting the ball to cancel out a dangeroud looking cross from his opponents, AllStars keeper Harry Sabatia made a drop kick that went all the way to find a running Rubi, who wasted no time by firing the ball straight into the net to make it 1-0 from a perfectly taken volley.
Karatina looked well offended by the goal, and they showed that by the way they got off their half of the field to try and create a goal of their own. They made a couple of crosses into the AllStars box but all to no avail, but then almost grabbed the equalizer through their forward who was played through at goal but only to see the ball off his shot go just slightly wide off the intended target.
On the 25th minute and after a period of end-to-end action, Rubi doubled his side's lead by slotting the ball in the net to make it 2-0. Looking dangerous on the left wing, Peter Mwangi dribbled past a defender, then put a low cross into the ball before Rubi tapped the ball for his second of the day.
Benson Wagema should had made it 3-0, but the Karatina goalie had other plans as he made a brilliant save to deny the AllStars forward. Karatina also tried to pull one back a few minutes before the break, but the AllStars keeper was wide awake.
After the break, AllStars mid fielder Charles Mirugi tried his luck from a long effort, and minutes later, Arot made his way into the box from the right wing, but his squared ball found nobody to connect with. Karatina threatened again from a free kick that dissapointingly went wide off the AllStars goal.
The hosts never showed any signs of letting go off their two goal lead, as they tried as much as they could to keep the ball to themselves. They used this tactic in good effect to frustrate they opponents, who seemed very exhausted and beaten.
The last quarter of the match saw the visiting team trying their best to ruin the AllStars party, but William Ochieng ensured that that would be the case when he put the final nail to their coffin by netting in an 80th minute free kick.
The referee blew the final whistle after the few minutes of added time elapsed.
Speaking after the match, AllStars coach, coach James Angila stated that even though it was a tough match, he was very happy that his boys went to the field of play with a winning mentality, n in the end, that was the big difference between the two sides.
"Well, it was a tough match, but thank God we came out three goal winners and managed a clean sheet in the process. My boys went in the match looking for nothing but a win, and in the end they did their desires proud." the coach said.
The second leg of the Rift Valley Provincial league is set to resume this coming weekend, where the AllStars B team is scheduled to kick off with a double-fixture weekend.
The team will on Saturday October 3rd travel to Kericho, where they are to play away to Chepngaina FC - in a match that will be played at the Chepngaina School and is set to kick off at 1pm.
The team will then on Sunday October 4th welcome Ulinzi Warriors at the Nakuru Athletic Club grounds for a 1pm kick off league encounter.
The AllStars will be hoping to carry their fine 1st leg form into the 2nd leg, as the team managed a 3rd place finish to the closure of that round of matches - just 4 points less than leaders Olympic Youth, and a point less than second placed team Ulinzi Warriors. They finished with a total of 31 points from 15 matches, where they won 9 matches, drew 4, and lost just twice.
The AllStars were the second highest scoring team of the 1st leg with 31 goals, just 7 goals shy of Ulinzi Warroirs. They were also the 3rd best when it came to defensive matters, as they conceded 14 times, while Ulinzi conceded 11, and league pace-setters Olympic Youth conceded only 8 goals.
Speaking before the team's afternoon session, coach Jimmy was adamant that his boys will live up to expectations, and stated that all the players are raring to go.
"We did not start the season very well, but the boys gradually picked up with the other teams and managed to make the goal we had set - which was a top three finish. We had earlier promised ourselves a top two finish, but finishing just one point off that mark was not so bad." the coach said.
"The second leg is always where the real challenge comes in and thats where I expect my team to be at their best. My players have got all that it takes to finish this league as the best. Both our weekend matches are not easy, but we must make sure that we start the second leg on a high note."
AllStars B coach, Coach James Angila had everything to smile about yesterday afternoon, after he saw his team complete a double win of their two Rift Valley Provincial league weekend matches.
The two matches were the team's final first leg matches, and the team was very determined to finish their first leg on a high - something the coach had earlier promised of.
On Saturday, the team was playing against Ol Kalou Youth FC for a 1pm kick off match that was hosted at the Nakuru Athletic Club grounds. Playing at their own backyard, the AllStars made sure they made proper use of their home advantage by taking a 20th minute lead through a Jesse Otuko goal, with some credit going to Benson Wagara for the assist. The team then lost their focus and allowed their opponents to get back into the match to give the match a 1-1 half time score.
After the break, the AllStars stepped back into the pitch looking to restore their lead - of which they did through Hassan Yusuf. The player received a sublime pass from Moses Nderitu, and he did not let his provider down as he ensured the ball ended at the back of the net to make it 2-1 - a result that stood till the final whistle of the match.
The team was on Sunday afternoon hosting Shalima FC for their final match of the 1st leg, and their second match of the weekend. The match kicked off brightly for the AllStars, who created a lot of goal scoring opportunities and denied their opponents the ball by ensuring that they commanded possession. Benson Wagara should had given the AllStars an early 9th minute lead after being played through by Ochako Ongoro, but the forward - one-on-one with the keeper blew away the opportunity by shooting straight at the keeper's hands.
In the 14th minute Ochako's run was well spotted by Meshak Wanyama, who played a long ball to the forward, but Ochako's dangerous looking cross found nobody in the box to make an easy connection. The AllStars would then take a deserved lead through Robert Arot, who finished a fine move by tapping the ball into the net after connecting well to Peter Mwangi's cross.
Shalima almost got the equalizing goal in the dying stages of the 1st half after dispossessing the AllStars goalie, but they never capitalized on the keeper's blunder. The visitors then threatened again with a shot form the edge of the area, but the ball went wide off the intended target.
The AllStars showcased their might in the second half, where they played with ease and made things very difficult for their opponents. Having a very good day on the pitch, Meshak Wanyama provided Kevin Rubi with a decisive pass, and the latter made no mistake as he scored to double his team's lead. The hosts would then ensure that they bag all the three points with a convincing 3-0 victory by netting in the third goal, this time round Meshak being the scorer off Charles Mirugi's assist.
The AllStars now sit on the third spot of the league table with 33 points from 15 matches.
The AllStars team continued to plunge more into the relegation zone this afternoon with a 1-0 loss to Chemelil Sugar FC, in a just concluded Tusker Premier league match that was played at the Afraha Stadium.
The 3pm kick off match was a match that the AllStars needed to get a positive result from, as the team started the day six points adrift the safe zone. But the match never got of to a good start for the home side as they went down in the 14th minute, and never found a way back.
Before the goal, the AllStars had started the match well - where they went forward as well as defended strongly, as they were playing against a side that sits on the top five position of the table.
The first effort of the match fell to Chemelil's Likonoh Georson, who's 4th minute shot at goal was well stopped by AllStars goalie Shaban Odhoji. Six minutes later, it was the AllStars who were on attack and a nice move ended with a fierce shot by Eratus Mwaniki, though that shot never hesitated the keeper as he made a dive to put the ball into his gloves.
On the 11th minute, Daniel Kamau got injured in an aerial challenge - where he was left with a cut to the back of his head after he met with an opponent's elbow. After a good assessment to his injury by the team's physios, he was whisked away to the hospital for further treatments, and that prompted the introduction of Wilson Andati in his place for an AllStars' 12th minute substitution.
Looking very dangerous on the left wing for Chemelil, Likonoh was a constant threat to the AllStars defense, and he proved just that by producing the assist to the Chemelil goal. The player swung in a corner from the left and the AllStars failed to clear the ball, and it fell to Daniel Murage - who's first attempt at goal was saved by Odhoji, before ensuring he got his name into the score sheet by slotting in the rebound.
The goal acted as a wake up call to the AllStars, as they now had to come out in numbers to try and get an equalizer. In the 26th minute, John Ndirangu blasted his shot wide off the target off a free kick, and AllStars' best chance came three minutes later, where Peter Ng'ang'a was denied a goal by the Chemelil keeper after he tried to tap the ball into the net. The moved had started well with a short corner by Ndirangu and Achesa, before the latter found Ng'ang'a by delivering a low cross into the Chemelil box.
With the match nearing the third quarter of the first half, the heavens opened up and the playing surface became a bit tricky for the players, thus minimizing the chances for attacks. Peter Ng'ang'a went into the referee's book in the 45th minute for a bad tackle on an opponent, just before the referee sent the teams into the dressing rooms for the half time break.
The rains became heavier into the restart to the second half, and the player from both sides seemed to struggle more because of the slippery surface. Much play was switched to long balls, with both teams looking to try to get to their opponent's in the quickest of ways possible as a counter tactic due to the nature of the pitch.
On the 50th minute, a tired looking Titus Achesa was taken off in place of Teddy Siwa for the AllStars' second substitution of the day. Wilson Andati then tried his luck three minutes later with a shot from the edge of the 18-yard area that looked to be heading in but went slightly off the intended target, with his team piling all sorts of pressure on their visitors.
Teddy Siwa should had at least made the keeper work with his 69th minute effort, after he had been played by Ndirangu - who had dribbled his was from the right wing - but Siwa instead hit a shot that went wide off the crossbar, for what was a good chance for an equalizing goal. AllStars' next chance after that came in the closing stages of the match, where Dennis Sikhai missed the target by a mile from a free kick, and the AllStars almost got punished for a defensive blunder. Odhoji punched the ball from a shot and decided to come out of his box to chase after the ball, but a Chemelil forward was first to the ball and delivered a cross that was met by David Nyanzi - who failed to head the ball into the unguarded goal.
Mwaniki's 91st minute header off a long ball was well saved, before Chemelil caught the AllStars on a counter attack and almost scored the second but the effort went wide.
With the three minutes of added time having already gone, the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the match.
The loss leaves the AllStars at the bottom of the table, with 16 points from 24 matches.
Coach Peter Okidi yesterday stated that his men are in great shape, and have all cocked their guns in readiness for tomorrows battle against Chemelil Sugar FC. The coach today echoed in his same words from yesterday, but did add a lot of emphasis on two words; focus and belief.
"We will be lining up against a good team that has been good throughout the season, but if we go into tomorrows match with a lot of focus and a lot of belief in ourselves and our abilities, then I really don't see how we cannot come out the winners. It is a do-or-die match for us."
Currently bottom of the league table with 16 points from 23 matches, the AllStars will be coming into tomorrow's match off the backdrop of a 1-0 win the team got at the expense of Thika United, where they recorded their first away win of the season - a match that was played about three weeks ago on August 24th. The AllStars have won 3 matches, have drawn 7, and have lost 13 matches. The team has so far netted in a total of 11 goals and have conceded 27 times, leaving them with a goal difference of -16.
Even though the last time the AllStars played at home they recorded back-to-back defeats against Mathare United and Sofapaka FC respectively, it is at home where the team has seemed to be having a better form. They have won twice, have drawn four and have lost six times. It is a better record compared to their away where they have won once, have drawn three and have lost seven.
Fourth placed Chemelil Sugar have a total of 38 points from 23 matches - just 4 points adrift of the league leaders Gor Mahia - who have played two matches less than Chemelil. They have won 9 matches, have drawn 11, and have lost 3 times. The sugar millers have so far netted in 18 goals, and have conceded 10 in the process.
Boasting of having the strongest defense in the league for conceding only 10 goals so far in the season, it is Chemelil who are the side that has so far conceded the least number of goals. Added to that is the fact that they are also the only team who are yet to lose an away match.
The first leg of this corresponding fixture ended in a 2-0 win for Chemelil, where both goals were scored on either half by now AllStars forward Anthony Nyangor, who might have the chance to face off against his former employers during tomorrow afternoon's match.
AllStars will have all their players up for selection, except for Lawrence Juma who is still nursing a shoulder injury.
The match is set to kick off at 1600 hrs and will be played at the Afraha Stadium.
The battle for places in the starting eleven for the team's next fixture seems to be brewing up - with team coach Peter Okidi admitting that every player seems to be in great shape as they prepare to host Chemelil Sugar FC on Saturday afternoon for their next league match.
Speaking after today's training session, the coach said that he was pleased by the players for their efforts, and encouraged them to keep their focus and their belief alive.
"They (the players) have been great throughout the week. We have been training so hard and very well. Every player is aware of the current position that we are in and they are really doing their best to ensure that we change that for the better. All I ask is for them to keep their improvements on a high, and also keep believing that their efforts will be duly rewarded on the pitch." the coach said.
The coach went on to state the advantages of having a strong team in the camp, as the team is slowly closing in on the final matches of the season.
"It is every coach's blessing to have a fully fit squad and having the players compete for places, while its every coach's nightmare having your players either on the injury list or just out of shape. Having a good squad means that you always put your best players on the field, and you always send your best men to the field of battle to go and collect all the points available in a match. Right now this team is in perfect shape so it means that we will be sending the best team go out on Saturday to play against Chemelil."
Coach Okidi finished by saying that, "We have all our players very fit - except for Lawrence Juma who is still on the long term injury list - and the players who recently came back from injury are showing that they are also hungry for success."