EMBU, Kenya, Nov 26 – Mwingi Juniors from Kitui and Ngaaka Talent Centre from Makueni are the champions of the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Eastern Region after winning the boy’s and girl’s finals respectively played at the Moi Stadium in Embu on Sunday.
The entertaining boy’s match had to be decided on the post-match penalties after both Mwingi and Taqwa FC from Isiolo County played to 1-1 draw in regulation time.
Mwingi shone in penalties winning 5-4 after their keeper Ambrose Kathini saved one as his team-mates converted all the five spot kicks.
In the corresponding women’s race, Ngaaka Talent Center from Makueni County comfortably took the title after demolishing Sakuu Queens from Isiolo 6-1.
Mwingi received much support from fans who turned up for the match and they did not disappoint as they headed to the break leading 1-0.
The goal came at the half hour mark when Eric Zakayo brought the stadium into a frenzy when he rose high to powerfully head home from a cross that came against run the run of play from the left wing.
This is after Mwingi came close to finding the opener in the 22nd minute when the diminutive Zakayo received a fine through pass, but Taqwa keeper came off his line to deflect the ball for a fruitless corner.
Taqwa squandered two opportunities from set-pieces that skewed over the bar.
The Isiolo based team wasted another good chance with the keeper only to beat as the striker blasted wide before Kathini denied Mwingi a second goal, diving right to saw a well taken free-kick.
Mwingi found themselves in trouble in the 38th minute when they were reduced to 10 men after John Musyoka received a second yellow card for a harsh tackle.
Just three minutes into the second half, Mwingi could have doubled the lead but the Taqwa’s outstanding custodian thwarted their effort.
There was more drama as Taqwa were also sized down to 10 men after one of their player was sent off after receiving a second bookable offence, first for intentionally stamping on the Mwingi keeper.
Minutes later, the player was handed his second yellow after committing a foul.
With both teams now equal to a man less, Taqwa upped their game to be the better side in the second half, forcing the Mwingi keeper to be the busiest of the two.
Taqwa’s hard work paid off as Hussein Abdijabar found the equalizer in the 61st minute to make a comeback in the game.
They had a goal ruled offside by the referee before coming very close when one of their strikers beat the entire defence including the keeper, only to see the ball miss the target by a whisker as it rolled inches wide on the right side of the post to see the match head to penalties after a 1-1 stalemate in normal time.
The two sides will represent Eastern Region in the nationals to be held in Nairobi March 2018.
The winner of the nationals will take home Sh1mn and a trip to United Kingdom where they will meet the tournament’s ambassador, Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama who plies his trade for English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.