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Orange win record ninth title, wasteful Police lose out on shootout

Telkom Orange ladies celebrate winning their fifth consecutive African Hockey title and the ninth overall. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15- Telkom Orange were crowned African women’s hockey club champions for a record ninth time and fifth consecutively after a well calculated 2-0 win over Ghana Revenue Authority at the City Park Hockey Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Their male counterparts, Kenya Police were not as lucky in their first ever appearance in a continental final after losing out to Egypt’s Eastern Company 3-2 on post match penalties after a barren draw in regulation time.

Local champions Orange were in a class of their own in the early afternoon kick off, winning their third title on home soil coming on after their 2006 and 2009 success.

The record champions conceded only two goals in the entire tournament. Last year, they conceded three goals and Openda has once again challenged his players to go for a clean sheet in the next edition.

Telkom Orange’s Bettsy Omala tries to drive the ball forward under pressure from Ghana Revenue’s Addison Firdawa during an African Club Championship match at the City Park Stadium on January 14, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“We did it and we did it convincingly. Our target was to win the tournament without conceding a goal, but unluckily, we didn’t achieve that.”

“It was always going to be a tough match against Ghana and going into the match, our plan was to tame their number 10 (Elizabeth Opoku) and we managed to put her under check,” a delighted Telkom Orange coach Jos Openda said after the match.

Joint tournament top scorer, Jackline Jow and Terry Ann scored Orange’s two goals in the 12th and 47th minutes.

-Police fire blanks, flanked down in shoot-outs-

Kenya Police skipper Brian Saina attempts to block a shot from an Eastern Contractors player during an African Club Championship match at the City Park Stadium on January 15, 2016. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Richard Birir, Kanu Calvins and Robert Masibo all missed their shoots for Police in the shoot-out.

The home boys who were chasing their first continental trophy, will have themselves to blame after they squandered several chances in both halves to allow the Egyptians successfully defend the title.

The match was punctuated by poor officiating and missed chances and at the end of the 70 minutes, the home crowd pegged their hopes on goalkeeper James Kayieko to anchor the ship that would deliver a first men’s continental title in 19 years.

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Defunct Jeshi was the last and only club to win the men’s title for Kenya way back in 1998.

But it was never to be as the experience of the Egyptians played out.

“We had the opportunity to kill the game but we lost several open chances which unfortunately cost us the title. We are not entirely disappointed though we should have done better. Last time out we won bronze, this time we won silver. So maybe next time, we can win the title,” said a disappointed Police captain, Brian Saina after the match.

Police had beaten the Egyptians 2-1 in the group stages and were firm favorites on paper ahead of the final but they could not sound the board this time round.

The home side struggled in the opening 10 minutes after the back-to-back champions earned two quick short corners which they failed to convert.

Kenya Police midfielder Moses Cheplaiti attempst to go past Eastern Company’s Ahmed Amr in an African Club Championship match at the City Park Stadium on January 15, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Ken Kaunda’s men could have opened the scores in the 15th minute but a wasteful Kanu failed to connect George Mutira’s cross after he rounded the keeper with a quick break from the midfield.

Kanu again combined with Moses Cheplaiti upfront but the Eastern goalkeeper, Shehata Farahat justified his new title as the goalkeeper of the tournament with a timely clearance.

Just six minutes later, Mutira fed Kanu with a clean ball but was once again denied by Farahat.

The home side who last won the local league in 2013 failed to take the numerical advantage even after Ahmed Morgan was sent to the sin bin for taping the ball away after the referee’s whistle had gone.

Police upped their attacking game in the second half, but still the final shot inside the arch was missing despite creating chances both from open play and short corners.

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Pushed by a full to capacity City Park Stadium, Police pushed to get that vital goal but their efforts were thwarted by an apt Eastern defense and the push was dealt a bigger blow when Mutira was sent to the sin bin after protesting a decision from the referee.

Part of the action during Kenya Police and Eastern Company’s final match at the African Club championship on January 15, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

With the clock ticking away, Eastern chose to slow down the game, swinging passes from one end of the pitch to another, knowing their strength in the shoot-out. They successfully managed to push the game to be decided on the lottery, just like they did in the semis against Butali.

Willis Okeyo gave Police the lead in the shootout after he rounded Farahat but Aboutaleb Mohamoud leveled the scores.

Kanu took to the spot for Police’s second, but he saw his effort come off the outside of the bar. His keeper Kayieko made amends when he closed down Elnaggar Ahmed quickly forcing him to shoot wide.

Mutira swung the favor right back to Eastern after sending his effort wide and Ahmed Amr took the favor with both hands to score, despite the Police players protesting he had scored outside the eight allocated seconds.

Ibrahim Amr then extended the defending champions’ advantage when the referee awarded a penalty flick after he was brought down by Kayieko in the drive in. Birir then sent his effort off target in the final shot and there wasn’t any need for the visitors to take their final effort.

Butali Warriors earlier on won the bronze medal after beating Ghana’s Exchequers in the play-off.

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