NAIROBI, July 31 – Age cheating rocked the Airtel Rising Stars Nationals finals on football after boys’ favourites, St. Anthony and girls’ St. John’s Kaloleni were thrown out of the semi finals.
The pair had booked their last four berths on Thursday but the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) tossed them out under a cloud of scandal and shame after founding them guilty of fielding ineligible players.
Former champions St. Anthony from Nzoia and Coast Region’s St. John’s contravened the rule that requires teams to field players aged below 19 years after their beaten opponents launched complaints with organisers.
The development will see Group A third finisher’s Kathungi replace St. Anthony in Friday’s semis to face Laiser Hill whilst Olympic were elevated to top of Group A to set an easy last four clash against Kobala.
Wiyeta who were eliminated in the girls’ competition were handed a lifeline and will take on Nginda in the other semi.
St. Anthony of Kitale began their finals journey after edging out champions Kakamega High School’s Green Commando 1-0 in a replay of Nzoia regional finals.
KSSSA had ordered the replay after the original match was abandoned in the 75th minute due to crowd trouble when Kakamega who were leading 1-0 scored a controversial goal when the two sides in Busia a fortnight ago.
St. Anthony went on to beat Kathungi and Garrisa Day in their group before falling 2-0 to eventual pool winners, Kisumu Day who remain the strongest bets for the national title.
St. John’s on the other were unbeaten in their pool, edging out, Wiyeta, Kirigara and Kobala.
Besides national honours, the teams are battling for a slot in the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Associations Games scheduled for Rwanda in August.