The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya/Tanzania: Azam United Target Mieno

Tanzania outfit Azam United are targeting Sofapaka midfield maestro Humphrey Mieno. Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa said Azam want him on a six-month loan deal with a view to sign him on a permanent deal later.

"We have started negotiations and we will see how things go," added Kalekwa. Azam coach Stewart Hall identified Mieno before quitting Sofapaka recently

Kalekwa observed they were not keen to have the player on loan deal at Azam. "It would be better if they bought the player permanently. However, we are still talking," he added.

Mieno has received trail offers from Cyprus and Portugal and he is expected to head there after the ongoing Cecafa tournament.

Mieno was on the verge of joining Tunisian giants Club Africaine last year but the deal fell through on the ground that the club had exceeded its quota of foreign players.

Kalekwa hopes they will get a good deal for the player as he seeks to re-invest in the club after finishing disappointing fourth. "We have major plans coming next year and we have to look for a new coach and start signing players to challenge for the title next season," added Kalekwa.

Kalekwa confirmed that they have released Congolese import Robert Binja and John Onami. Kalekwa said the club was keen to retain the services of striker Bob Mugalia and extend his contract. " He has been one of our key players for the last couple of years and we want him to stay. We will give him a contract extensio. Mugalia was last season linked with a move to Gor Mahia.

Meanwhile, eight teams will battle it out for top honours of the Rift Valley Provincial mini-league set to kick off on Friday at Hill School, Eldoret. Pool 'A' will comprise St. Andrew (Naivasha), Matrix and Marulla (Kericho) and St. Joseph while Hot Spring, Koisagat, Suam Orchard and Black Stars will form Pool 'B'.

St. Andrew will start against Koisagat while Matrix face Black Stars in Pool 'A opening matches while in Pool 'B' Hot Spring take on St. Joseph and Suam Orchard clash Marulla. The mini-league will be used as a yardstick to identify that team that will be promoted to the Nationwide One league.

"Preparations for the league are going on well. We want to get the best team that will represent the region in the Nationwide League," FKF North Rift chairman Joseph Kiptach said. The three-day action will be presided over by the Football Kenya Federation chairman Sam Nyamweya.

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