NAIROBI, Kenya 10 August – Upper Hill defeated newcomers Kathungi secondary school by a solitary goal, to win this year’s Kenya Secondary School Sports association Airtel Rising stars term 2B games and a slot to represent the country to the Airtel inter-country championships in Lagos, in September.
Both teams which had drawn 2-2 in the preliminaries also had two of their players emerge the best in the tournament and will take part in a Manchester United clinic in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Upper Hill will send Gerald Oluoch while Kathungi will be represented by mid fielder Ibrahim Shambi.
With the teams having been informed that only the winning team will represent the country in Nigeria and not an all stars team, the players played a highly attacking game with Kathungi utilizing their mid-field where Shambi reigned supreme.
Upper Hill on the other hand, fired salvos from the flanks but were kept at bay by the joint defence partnership of twin brothers Evans and John Otieno.
Kathungi who emerged as the first team from Northern region (formerly Eastern province) dominated the first half but keeper Ali Kesi, fresh from saving two penalties, had a huge presence between the posts.
Kathungi’s prolific striker Lenny Kiarie who shrugged off a nagging arm injury to start in yesterday’s match, was a constant thorn in Upper Hill’s defence and tormented the last year’s runner’s up.
Kiarie came close to scoring in the 42nd minute when he dribbled past the Upper Hill defence and beat the keeper but his shot hit the woodwork.
In the second half, with both teams under pressure to score, a firework of sorts was ignited which resulted in a see-saw of attacks from both ends.
However, Kathungi defender Evans Otieno picked an injury with coach Ibrahim Naika having exhausted all his substitutes.
Upper Hill capitalized on Kathungi misfortunes and pinned down their opponents using Evans flank.
With 87 minutes played, John Otieno collected what didn’t look like a dangerous ball but failed to clear it on time as striker Cavine Otieno zoomed in, collected it and scored past stranded keeper Benjamin Kilonzi.
Naika praised the fighting spirits of Kathungi whose school was only started in 2006.
“I am contented with qualifying to go to Uganda to represent the country. We have been a team of 20 and only six are in Form 4. We will work hard to win the East Africa event,” he said.
In the playoffs, Wera Boys from Lake region walloped Mombasa representatives 5-0 to emerge third.