NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – Capital FM showed a character of a champion to successfully defend the local Road to Anfield title after beating Letshego Rangers 1-0 in a hard fought final at the St. Mary’s School ground on Saturday.
The World Champions progressed to the final unbeaten and in a tough match, mercurial Jeff Ooko provided the killer punch with less than two minutes left on the clock against a tactically defensive Letshego in front of a fully packed pitch.
Capital FM, who won the world title last year in Anfield, home to English Premier League side Liverpool FC, will now head to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Friday for the regional tournament involving hosts Tanzania and Uganda.
The winner from this final tourney will qualify for the Standard Chartered Trophy Final in Anfield in May.
“It was very tough this time around because every team was coming to beat us as the champions. But we were also ready and we are pleased to have defended this title. That was our primary target,” skipper Lassie Atrash said after the match.
“The work is not yet done. We are headed to Tanzania for the East Africa tournament and we hope to keep the good work and make a return to Anfield.”
The Best Mix of Music team had played Letshego in the group stages winning 2-0 and when they came into the final, they were psyched and breathing revenge against the tournament favorites.
Knowing of the ball playing nature of the Capital FM team, Letshego who had a fantastic goalkeeper defended in numbers, putting up a defensive wall with an aim of forcing the game to penalties.
They had their goalkeeper to thank after pulling two superb saves to deny tournament top scorer Solomon Okeyo and captain Atrash.
But the never say die attitude of the defending champions prevailed to the final minutes when Ooko broke from deep in his own half, powered past two markers and fired an unstoppable shot that the goalkeeper could only pick from his own net.
The team defended perfectly in the last two minutes to win the title for a second consecutive time and write history as the first team to defend the title since its inception in 2013.
To progress to the final, Capital FM had beaten Resolution Insurance 3-1 in the semis, a match that Kristian Malumbe scored a breathtaking goal.
— Capital Sport (@CapitalFMSport) February 28, 2017
Atrash and Okeyo had scored before Resolution pulled one back, but Malumbe’s well timed scissor killed off the game.
In nine matches, Capital FM only conceded twice. They started off the day with a 2-0 result against the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation with Atrash and Okeyo finding the back of the net.
In the second match, Capital FM kept the tempo winning 4-0 against East Africa Breweries Limited where Okeyo grabbed a hat-trick with Atrash scoring the fourth.
Okeyo kept his scoring boots against Letshego, adding the second after Malumbe had opened the scores. The final group match was a tough one but Okeyo once again came through with the solo goal in a 1-0 win.
When it came to the business end at the knock out phase, there was no stopping the wheel.
Okeyo picked up a brace with Ooko netting the other in a 3-0 win over Nation Media Group in the round of 16. The boys from the ‘Twin Towers’ have never beaten Capital and were determined to write off the poor history.
They had started with pace and Capital FM Sports Editor Alex Isaboke standing between the posts was forced into two good saves before Okeyo and Ooko scored in quick succession.
In the quarters, Capital faced a tough Diageo side but still managed a 2-1 score, Okeyo and Ooko coming through with the goals.
A spirited Capital FM also featured Timothy Olobulu, Ali Athman, Shaffie Soud, Team Manager Duncan Kikata and coach Ahmedin Gulu.
Meanwhile, a special category for the Standard Chartered staff fielded for the first time where Akilis FC booked a ticket to Anfield.