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Fatuma and Musa: Siblings who are carrying Kenya’s hopes

If you’ve been following the news for the past two weeks, chances are that you know about the two major sporting events that are scheduled to take place on Saturday evening in Nairobi.

What you may not know, however, is that two siblings are expected to play a pivotal role in both events; the first being Kenya’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Ghana, which will be followed by the epic fight for the (WBC) World Super Bantamweight belt later in the night.

The siblings are Harambee Stars defender Musa Mohammed and World Super Bantamweight champion Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika, who will roll up their sleeves and wear their gloves as they undertake the task of representing their country in their respective disciplines.

Zarika, a 34-year-old mother of two, will face her Mexican opponent Yamileth Mercado at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre starting 9pm in the fight for the coveted WBC belt, as her younger brother joins Harambee Stars as they fight for a ticket to next year’s Afcon finals with a clash against Ghana’s Black Stars at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.

GOOD BOXER

Zarika and Musa are both heavily decorated in their respective disciplines, and they currently spend most of their time honing their skills outside the shores of this country.

Musa, 27, plies his trade in Zambia with Zambian top flight club Nkana FC and is in the country only briefly to honour national duty, while Zarika has just returned from the United Kingdom where she undertook an intensive training program under tutelage of her managers John Gillies, Joe McNailly and Steve Reeves.

“I have been training in Liverpool for the last six months but that was just part of my training extension where I wanted to be in the hands of good coaches and trainers who will point out my mistakes. I am glad I achieved that hence I am ready to rumble,” Zarika declared earlier this week.

The two sporting events have drawn considerable interest from sports enthusiasts, and the two siblings have boldly declared their intentions to post victory in their respective duels.

“I know people are talking about knock outs but a good boxer rarely talks about that, but rather focuses on a good show and leaves the rest to Allah,” said Zarika, adding that she will defend her title to the last sweat.

DECORATED FOOTBALLER

This will be Zarika’s second title defence, having outclassed former WBC bantamweight champion Catherine Phiri from Zambia to retain her title in December last year at the Carnivore (Nairobi).

Musa, her younger brother, is equally decorated as a footballer, as he won the Kenyan Premier League title a record four times while at Gor Mahia between 2013 and 2016, and has 25 caps for the national team.

“I always strive to give my best in every match and, today, I will endeavour to do the same,” he said.

Musa makes for a superb defender – formidable in the air, a hard but fair tackler and an intelligent reader of the game.

In Saturday’s match against Ghana, the former Gor Mahia captain may be called upon to wear the captain’s armband as an emergency replacement to the absent Victor “Mugabe” Wanyama and his injured assistant David “Calabar” Owino.