NAIROBI, Kenya, July 14- Similar to the AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia ‘mashemeji derby’ rivalry, Metropolitan region football boys Laiser Hill and Upper Hill’s contest went to the extreme on Friday afternoon after their semi-final match for the 2016 Airtel Rising Stars competition was called off due to a stalemate over the match venue.
The match had initially been set for the Nyayo National Stadium, but Upper Hill who had finished second in their pool refused to move a few kilometers down to the Nyayo Stadium from their school, leading to a delay for almost four hours.
Ultimately, Laiser made the trip up going to Upper Hill and were greeted with deafening jeers and boos from the home school students.
The drama picked up a notch higher with the two teams already in the field ready to play, but Laiser teachers refused the match to kick off citing lack of security with allegations that their goalkeeper had already been hit with a projectile.
“Football rules are very clear; we topped our group and are the home side. So it is the opponents to come to where we are. Olympic were second in our pool and they came here to play with Brother Beausang. Why not Upper Hill come to Nyayo to play us?” angered Laiser Hill School teacher Sylvanus Opot posed.
Approaching to 5pm, Opot further said it would be impossible to play the match since there are no floodlights in case the game would go to extra time and penalties.
The Metropolitan region organizing committee called for an urgent evening meeting with representatives of both teams and a venue will be decided upon, the game being set for Saturday 8am.
With the unavailability of Nyayo Stadium and the vulnerability of Upper Hill, the match will be played at a neutral venue, most likely Highway Secondary School.
It will however be a disadvantage for either of the two teams heading into the final as they will meet a fresher Olympic High School side who won 4-3 on post-match penalties against Brother Beausang to storm the final.
Olympic keeper John Mburu was the hero of his side, saving two penalties from Bob Onyango and Eric Amuhanda. Beausang scored through Fabish Otieno, Godfrey Bandi and Innocent Serete.
Olympic scored through Erick Olago, Stephen Oduor, Ali Khamisi and Brayan Taka. Captain Shawn Odhiambo missed but it wasn’t enough to deny them a chance in the final.
In the girls’ category, Olympic High will have their girls in the final as well up against Matuu Memorial in a match that is set to be explosive.
While Matuu were 3-0 winners over Kikima from Machakos, Olympic were in emphatic form, seeing off Maina Wanjigi 4-0 with Sheryl Angachi hitting a brace in between Shaunah Odhiambo and Lucy Akoth’s goals.
In other regions, pre-match favorites St. Anthony’s Boys from Kitale were stunned by Bungoma’s Bukembe who beat them 2-1 in the final of the Nzoia region.
Wiyeta were crowned girls’ champions after a 2-1 post match penalties over arch rivals Tartar after a barren stalemate in regulation time.
Cheptenye will represent the Mau Region in the boys’ final to be hosted in Kisumu after emerging victorious 4-3 on post-match penalties against Nakuru top side Menengai High School. Itigo sailed through to the girls nationals with a 1-0 win over Kapcherop.
In the Coast region, Harambee Starlets striker Mwanahalima ‘Dogo’ Adam steered St. John’s Kaloleni into the finals after a 2-0 win over Kwale Girls.
They had earlier crushed Hongwe 13-0 and Moi Forces Academy 26-0, matches that saw Adam, a Kenyan international, score a total of 13 goals in the preliminaries.
Kaloleni will meet Waa High School in the final.
In the Metropolitan region volleyball, boys’ and girls’ defending champions Hospital Hill and Kwanthanze Girls strode to the final after winning their respective semi-final matches.
Hospital Hill made easy work of Katangi winning in straight sets of 25-11, 25-13 and 25-16. They will meet Utithi who also won in straight sets but were made to sweat, winning in scores of 28-26, 25-23 and 25-19.
“The match was good despite that we did not play our best but we are happy with the win. Our aim was to reach the final and we are going to prepare well for it and look at defending our title,” Hospital Hill coach Francis Mwangi said after the win.
Kwanthanze who beat Utithi by straight sets of 25-10, 25-14 and 25-6 will face off with Soweto who beat Nembu Girls by straight sets of 25-8, 25-11 and 25-13.