Vihiga’s champion Ebwali Boys and Compel Sportif from Bungoma will be facing off in the boys finals of Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Western region tomorrow at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County.
The 2022 national secondary school champions Ebwali defeated The Menace from Kakamega to secure a 3-2 win in the last match of the day-long semifinals to join Sportif who had earlier one beat John Osogo in the first semifinal at the same venue.
Ebwali took the lead in the 12th minute through Austin Ondongo as Sharif Muranda leveled for The Menace via a freekick that sailed all the way through 10 minutes before the break before Tom Oserio restored their lead with Captain Derrick Oketch making it 3-1 in the 65th minute following a six-yard box melee. The Menace made the final minutes nervy, after Muranda scored his second goal via a penalty 7 minutes from time but Ebwali hang on to win and sail into the Western region final.
“We were a bit lax in the final 20 minutes due to fatigue, but we are happy to make it through, and our goal is to get a slot for the nationals. I am inspired by Benson Omalla and I hope that I can follow in his footsteps,” said Oketch of Ebwali Boys.
In the first boys semifinal, Compel Sportif’’s booked their spot in the final after sinking Busia’s John Osogo on 5-3 penalties aftera 3-3 draw in regular time. Titus Gambo, fired a hat trick for Compel Sportif as Ibramovic Twalaha, Victor Mango and Silvester Adundo scored a goal each for John Osogo.
“It is really amazing to score a hat trick. Though the game was tough, we keptpressing especially at the second half to earn the drawand we are thankful we emerged victorious in the shootout. We promised our fans to win this trophy and we are going to deliver,” said the hat trick hero, Gambo of Compel Sportiff.
In the Girls’ category, the home team and region’s reigning champions Lugari Progressive demonstrated theirpedigree to beat Maroon Queens from Vihiga County 3-0, courtesy of Marion Musanga’s goal in the 44thminute, Linda Achieng’s strike3 minutes after the break and Mitchel Jepkogoi’s header in 11 minutes from full time.
Lugari Progressive coached by former Kenyan international Fred Serenge will now face off against Brenda Girlsfrom Bungoma, who secured their slot in the finals after hammering Chakol Mixed 4-1. Brenda Girls bounced back from going a goal down at the break to score four times in the second half courtesy of a brace by Esther Mukhwana and goals by Lavenda Nasambu and Joina Namukuru.
“We started off badly in the first half, but we managed to bounce back in the second half. I am happy about the victory as we now shift our focus to the finals scheduled for Sunday. We thank Safaricom for such a well-organized tournament as it has truly helped us to witness amazing talents here at the grassroots,” said Dickson Simiyu, Coach, Brenda Girls.
The Saturday matches were preceded by players and coaches clinics at Bukhungu which involved training on various aspects of the football tournament, including the use of GPS wearable vests, which Safaricom has introduced to aid in the scouting of players by collecting data and building the players’ footballing profiles.
The winners of each winning team (boys and girls) will take home KES. 250,000 and book a slot to represent the region at the national finals set for early next year in Nairobi. The runners-up teams will take home KES. 150,000 each. The Most Valuable Player (MVP), Best Goalkeeper and Top Scorer (boys and girls) will each receive KES. 30,000.