NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Alfayo Oyugi stepped off the bench to score a superb 91st minute free kick as Mathare United won the August edition of the Kenyan premier League under-20 championship at the Nyayo National Stadium on Friday afternoon, a match watched by CAF President Issa Hayatou.
With the game seemingly headed for penalties, Mathare won a free kick at the edge of the box, Oyugi stepped up, breathed in deep, looked at the goalkeeper and his wall and sent a rocket of a shot in, bouncing on the underside of the bar before crossing the line.
It was a huge heartbreak for the Gor juniors who had the better of the chances in the second half but wasted all much to the dismay of the handful of fans who had braved the cold to cheer on their side.
“I feel really great as a coach because it is something we have worked hard for and here are the fruits. I hope this win will spur the management to revive the Mathare Youth team because it shows there is so much potential in our young boys,” Gabrial Kingi, the Mathare under-20 head coach told Capital Sports.
Mathare had a better start to the match, showing more urgency from the first whistle. They came close to opening the score in the 5th minute, but Gor centre back Stephen Otieno cleared the ball off the line after Lawrence Luvanda lifted the ball over the advancing keeper.
Dennis Kamau was enterprising on the wings with his swift runs for Mathare, but he failed to get it right when it mattered most, floating in the crosses.
Gor picked up as the game progressed and had their first opportunity in the 21st minute and it was from a training ground routine free kick.
Musa Ismail started the ball short from the left to Kevin Otieno at the edge of the box, with the latter pulling a belter of a shot that flew inches over the bar.
A minute later, the two combined again with a one-two interchange of passes with Otieno’s shot being an easy pick for Mathare keeper Job Ochieng.
Gor had another brilliant opportunity in the 29th minute, Henry Juma shooting wide with a decent opportunity from the edge of the box and a clear view of goal.
In the second half, the K’Ogalo juniors started with as much pace but once again, their poor finishing cost them.
Martin Ongori wasted two glorious opportunities, first shooting wide one on one with the Mathare keeper after breaking the offside trap before shooting meekly after breaking through on the right.
Towards the final minutes of the match, both sides seemed to tire off, but Mathare’s last minute moment of brilliance which sent them into frenzy earned them the title.
They were handed their trophy by Hayatou alongside his senior vice president Almamy Kabele Camara and CAF Secretary General Hicham El Amrani.