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Barca, Arsenal in tough UCL groups

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Seven-time European title holders AC Milan, knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona in the last two seasons, were drawn with the Catalans in the group stage of this season’s competition on Friday.

Nine-time champions Real Madrid will meet Juventus in two mouthwatering clashes in Group B which also features Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen.

Holders Bayern Munich landed CSKA Moscow, Manchester City and Czech champions Viktoria Plzen in Group D, giving them a seemingly straightforward passage to the knockout stage.

Chelsea, champions two seasons ago, face Schalke 04, FC Basle and Steaua Bucharest in Group E, having beaten the latter pair on their way to winning the Europa League last season.

Three-time European Cup winners Manchester United meet Ukraine’s Brazilian-inspired champions Shakhtar Donetsk along with Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad in Group A.

AC Milan and Barcelona have met six times in the last two seasons and the Catalans have come out on top.

The Serie A side lost 4-2 on aggregate in the round of 16 last year and 3-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals two seasons ago, when the two sides also met in the group stage.

The pair were drawn in Group H, alongside four-time winners Ajax Amsterdam and 1967 champions Celtic, who faced Barcelona in the group stage last season and memorably beat them at home.

“It is a well-known group, with prestigious stadia, historical ones, with teams who have already won the Champions League,” AC Milan vice-president Umberto Gandini told reporters.

Antonio Conte, who played under Carlo Ancelotti at Juventus for two years and now coaches the Serie A champions, will face his former manager when his side play Real Madrid.

TOUGH GROUP

“It’s a tough group with fascinating matches. Real are among the favourites for the title and… Galatasaray are a team to be feared,” Conte told Italian television.

“Unlike last season, we know what awaits us and the difficulty we will meet when we face the best teams in the world.”

Real beat Galatasaray in the knockout stage last season.

Bayern are clear favourites to progress from their group but the treble winners are taking nothing for granted.

“We have to go into the competition with a lot of respect and a lot of focus from the very start,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“We have to be especially careful not to underestimate CSKA Moscow and Manchester City. This will not be an automatic qualification but our aim is to make the knockout stage.”

Group F was arguably the toughest, pitting last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund against Napoli, Olympique Marseille and Arsenal.

“This is a brilliant, balanced group with four teams who have what it takes to survive the group stage,” said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp.

“The fact is we have to get something to put right (past results) against Arsenal and we have something to put right against Marseille,” added Klopp, whose side finished bottom of a group featuring both teams two seasons ago.

“I have not been to Napoli but I am already looking forward to the atmosphere there.”

Austria Vienna, the only debutants in the draw, were placed in Group G along with former Champions League winners Porto as well as Atletico Madrid and Zenit St Petersburg.

Big-spending Paris St Germain drew Olympiakos Piraeus, from austerity-hit Greece, and Anderlecht in Group C in what should be a fairly easy stroll for the French side.

THE DRAW

Group A: Manchester United, Shakthar, Leverkusen, Real Sociedad
Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen
Group C: Benfica, PSG, Olympiacos, Anderlecht
Group D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Man City, Viktoria Plzen
Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucuresti
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Dortmund, Napoli
Group G: FC Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit, Austria Vienna
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic

 

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Kickboxer Patricia Apolot set for rematch with Kenya’s Joyce Awino

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Uganda’s top-ranked female kickboxer Patricia Apolot has vowed to crush Kenyan fighter Joyce Awino in their rematch slated for this weekend at Smiles Corner Hotel in Kireka, Kampala.

Known to many by her stage name “Black Pearl”, Apolot will return to the ring against Awino in the African title fight dubbed “The Reveletion Night of 1000 Punches” on Saturday, August 31. The fight is in low kick style sanctioned by both Uganda Kickboxing Federation (UKF) and World Kickboxing Federation (WKF).

The two fought in April this year in Tororo and Apolot won by knockout.

“I have trained hard and very ready, so my fans should come expecting the best from me,” Apolot said, adding that “I wish to thank my sponsors, Hima Cement, for their consistent financial and moral support towards my kickboxing career.”

Hima Cement Marketing and Pricing Manager, Charles Mugasi said that the sponsorship is intended to enable her perform to her best and inspire other young girls in Uganda to join the kickboxing sport.

Apolot who has been involved in 21 professional fights winning 12 by knockout has changed the kickboxing landscape in Uganda with her unique techniques and unmatched determination to grow the at different levels more especially young girls.

She has won several tittles from home, continental, and intercontinental fights which makes her the holder of the largest number of belts and gold medals in the sport in Uganda and Africa at large.

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Bamasaaba Sports Tournament gets Ugx 50 Million boost

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Pilsner Lager, a beer produced by Uganda Breweries, has announced a UGX50 million sponsorship package towards the upcoming Bamasaaba Sports Tournament 2019. The tournament will start on August 15 th and run up to October.

Organised by the Bamasaaba Sisimukha Club (BASC), the games bring together various teams from Masaaba communities in both Uganda and Kenya with the aim of honouring culture, promoting unity and the development of the Bamasaaba people through sports and games.

This year’s sponsorship package was announced at a press briefing held at Uganda Breweries’ head offices in Luzira.

While announcing the sponsorship, Edgar Kihumuro, the Pilsner Lager Brand Manager, said, “We live in an era when it is crucial for us to hold our cultural and traditional values close to heart. Pilsner Lager, as a brand, understands and cares about the pride associated with a deep African heritage and this commitment has seen us invest in the development of local sports potential, for example, with the ongoing Pilsner Super 8 Tournament. By sponsoring the Bamasaaba Sports tournament, not only are we advancing a passion for sports but also for the traditions that bring people together.”

The tournament has, in the past, attracted various teams drawn from over 20 clans from the districts covering Mbale, Bududa, Sironko, Manafwa and Bulambuli in Uganda and the Bamasaaba Kenya Chapter which covers Trans Nzoia and Bungoma.

“The Bamasaaba Sports Tournament continues to be a wonderful opportunity for our people to come together in celebration of our culture and tradition. In addition, our youth are encouraged to stay in touch with their rich heritage through sports, which inspire, entertain and give them an opportunity to showcase their talent,” said Israel Koboi, Chairperson of the Bamasaaba Sisimukha Club.

The sports tournament places an emphasis on football and netball that will be played in a series of group knockout stages.

“This year, we plan to include new activities like bicycle riding, a marathon, bull riding and shortput and we are glad for the support of partners like Pilsner Lager for being part of this journey,” Koboi added.

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Kawempe S.S dominates Airtel Rising Stars Kampala Regional Tournament

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Last weekend, Airtel Uganda hosted the best youth football teams from Kampala district at Sendi grounds in Wankulukuku for the Airtel Rising Stars Kampala Regional tournament – the first regional tournament of the 2019 competitions.

The 3-day tournament, which had 16 boys’ and 8 girls’ teams, saw Kawempe Muslim SS dominate on both fronts with their boys team defeating 2018 winner Kampala Junior Team (KJT) 5-4 in penalty shoot-outs following a goal-less draw after 90 minutes.

The Kawempe Muslim SS girls’ team also defeated Uganda Martyrs 2 -1 in an exciting and nerve-wracking match watched by Honorable Nabilah Nagayi, the Kampala Woman MP, FUFA leadership led by 2nd Vice President Darius Mugoya and Airtel Uganda Brand and Strategy Manager Ms. Noela Byuma.

Following their victory, both Kawempe Muslim boys and girls teams walked away with a trophy, gold medals each and 1.5 million shillings each. Runners up KJT (boys) and Uganda Martyrs (girls) also took hom a trophy, silver medals for the players and 1 million shillings. Uganda Martyrs’ Kevin
Nakachwa was named girls MVP while Jeremiah Jabel from St. Mary’s took home the boys MVP accolade.

Commenting about this tournament, Airtel’s Noela Byuma congratulated the winners and encouraged all the other teams to continue training for their comeback in the 2020 tournament.

“The talent that we have seen over the past three days has been a clear indicator for the need to continue investing in grassroots talent development. These youth are skilled, passionate and determined and these are the values that Airtel Rising Stars aims to develop as they go on to pursue professional careers in football,” she noted.

Since 2011, the Airtel Rising Stars grassroots football tournament has given talented boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 an opportunity to compete against fellow youth from across the country with hopes of being scouted to join the local league, football clubs all over the world and the Uganda national team. Today, the Uganda national men and women football teams both consist of a number of players who took part in this tournament.

Kampala Region has named thirty boys (30) and 30 girls who will prepare for the Airtel Rising Stars National finals due in early September.

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