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Thika Queens crowned WPL champions

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The 2016-2017 Women Premier League champions Thika Queens receive their trophy from Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on February 4, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4- Goals in either half from Catherine Wangeci and Mercy Achieng’ handed Thika Queens the 2016/2017 Football Kenya Federation Women Premier League title after a 2-0 result over Vihiga Queens in the play-off final at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on Saturday.

Thika, winners of Zone A of the WPL were delighted with the title, though they admitted it wasn’t an easy final.

“It was a very tactical match for us because we knew Vihiga is a good side. We sat back, sucked in the pressure and hit when we had a chance. I am very happy with this title and hopefully we can defend it next season,” Thika coach Richard Kanyi told Capital Sport after the match.

Playing infront of their governor and patron Moses Akaranga who is the Vihiga Governor, the Western Kenya based girls who topped Zone B of the WPL started the match brighter but lost footing especially after Thika scored the first goal.

“We played well, but our weakness was that we didn’t use the chances that we had. Our second half performance was great because we changed our team shape and put more people in midfield because Thika were outplaying us. If we were sharper in front, the story would have been different,” Vihiga coach Alex Alumira noted.

Twice, Vihiga came close after dictating play in the opening exchanges. Lynder Choka blasted a shot over from the edge of the box after Thika keeper Monica Karambu punched a corner to the edge of the box.

On the opposite end in the 22nd minute, Lucy Mukhwana saw her header go straight to the keeper after picking up a deflected shot from Wangeci.

Thika Queens and Harambee Starlets midfielder Christine Nafula controls the ball under pressure from Vihiga’s Maurine Ager and Myline Awuor during the final of the Women Premier League play off at Camp Toyoyo Ground on February 4, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

On the turn, Vihiga had the best chance of the game but a break in communication saw them lose the opportunity.

The Impressive Mercyline Anyango had broken on the left before cutting back a cross, but Selphine Muyongo and Phoebe Owiti collided going for the same ball.

They were punished for the missed chance in the 26th minute, Wangeci’s dipping curled effort from the left evading the Vihiga keeper and into the net.

Harambee Starlets midfielder Christine Nafula almost grabbed a second for Thika with her well struck low shot from the edge of the area being smothered away for a corner by the Vihiga shot stopper.

The 2016-17 Women Premier League champions Thika Queens pose with their medals and trophy. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In the second half, Thika had to do with a resurgent Vihiga, but they ensured the game was kept safe with the second goal 15 minutes from time.

Starlets captain Mary Kinuthia slid through a superb pass to Achieng and the pint sized forward made no mistake beating the keeper for a comfortable second.

Vihiga should have pulled some late shocks but once again, the poor attack dropped their ambition.

Lilian Adera missed from close range, Karambu saving with her chest after the Vihiga forward picked out a low cross from Cynthia Shilwatso.

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