KISUMU, Kenya, Aug 5- Passenga’s journey to a second successive Airtel Rising Stars national crown was cut short by a sharp Barding side that blanked them 2-0 in the semifinal fixture played before a partisan crowd at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Friday morning.
Benjamin Ojiambo struck twice, five minutes into the match and bang on the stroke of half time to guide the hosts to the championship match in their ARS debut.
Both sides saw red and finished the fixture with 10 players each, Barding’s Dennis “Junior” Oduor and Passenga’s Jimmy Maina dismissed by the match referee.
Barding will now face Laiser Hill who were pushed all the way by Friends School Bukembe, eventually bossing the result courtesy of a 3-2 score at the Kisumu Boys Grounds.
Laiser opened the scoring through Richard Odanda’s 20th minute strike before Joe Waithaka added the second thirteen minutes later. Victor Omondi would pull one back for Bukembe, scoring three minutes to the break as Laiser took a 2-1 lead into the breather.
Harambee Stars under-20 midfielder Kevin Owino would extend Laiser’s lead after the restart, his 50th minute goal from the penalty spot giving the Metropolitan region representatives a 3-1 lead before Omondi landed his double in the 90th minute, too little too late for first timers Bukembe.
Girls defending champions Wiyeta set up the stage for a successful title defence, seeing off hosts Nyakach Girls 2-0 in the early kick off at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
Judith Musimbi was a handful for Nyakach, an ever present danger either with her distribution or finishing. She started and finished her own goal, plundering the ball into the net for Wiyeta’s opening goal after 29 minutes of the first half and before playing a hand in Sheila Anyango’s 63rd minute goal that killed off Nyakach.
They will now face St. John’s Kaloleni who relied on the exploits of keeper Regina Shehe to crawl into the championship match, beating Nginda Girls 6-5 on penalties after the two sides were tied 1-1 after regulation and extra time.
Nginda had gone ahead through Kitaru Christina’s early strike that was cancelled out by Aminah Randi’s 70th minute goal.
Neither side would find the back of the net in the ensuing period and after both sides had gone through the motion of the penalty shootout, Shehe’s save of Mary Wambui’s penalty attempt saw St. John’s return for a first ARS national final appearance since 2014 when they fell to Butere Girls in the final.
Wiyeta 2 Nyakach 0, St. John 1 Nginda 1 (St. John’s win 6-5 on sudden death penalties)
Barding 2 Passenga 0, Laiser Hill 3 Bukembe 2
Third place playoff; Nyakach v Nginda
Final ; Wiyeta v St. Johns
Third Place Playoff; Passenga v Bukembe
Final; Barding v Laiser Hill