NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – The Capital FM Football team inched closer to lifting the Neymar Jr’s tournament after mercurial Jeff Ooko produced a man of the match performance to see the Best Mix of Music edge out Liberty Academy on sudden death in one of the Nairobi finals hosted at the University of Nairobi Ground on Friday.
Capital FM, the Kenyan masters of the 5-aside football, will now face the winner of the second Nairobi final set to be played on Saturday at the Camp Toyoyo Ground, with the victor in this clash earning a ticket to represent Nairobi in the grand National Finale scheduled to be hosted at KICC on May 26.
The winner of the Nationals will earn a ticket to fly the Kenyan flag in the global showpiece to be staged in Brazil after the 2018 FIFA World Cup with superstar Neymar Jr set to grace the showdown.
“The players showed a character of a champion and I really thank my team-mates for the effort they have put. Being a tough tournament, we upped our game when we reached the knock-out stage and we executed it well,” captain of the day Kristian Malumbe said after the match.
Pooled in Group D, Capital FM outsmart the rest of the teams to emerge the top after winning 8 and drawing 2 in the 10 matches they played out of 42 teams that registered.
The team that was skippered by Malumbe opened their campaign with a bang, demolishing MIK FC from Kibera 5-0 where Malumbe led by example by netting a brace to set the stage for Vincent Otieno, Shuyaib Shabir and Kaysha Shakava who scored a goal piece.
The second match against Junior Kings ended in a 1-1 draw despite Capital FM taking an early lead through goal wizard Solomon Okeyo after the opponents restored parity.
However, the Best Mix of Music recovered swiftly to thrash German Team A 3-0 thanks to goals from Malumbe, Otieno and talisman Solomon Okeyo.
Capital FM won the fourth match 1-0 courtesy of Okeyo’s breath taking goal that he scored from a tight corner-kick before the team was held to a goalless draw in their final preliminary match against Cabin Crew.
In the round of 16, Capital FM braved a tough match to eliminate Kakamega FC on sudden death with credit going to Ooko who scored with just one touch in one-on-one to reach quarters.
In the quarters, they romped into a 4-0 victory against Young Boys from Kibera, with Okeyo netting a brace while Ooko and Shabir netting once each to complete the rout and storm into the semi finals.
In the last four, Capital re-enegized their tempo to outdo Kibera based The Reds 2-0 with Ooko converting a penalty before Okeyo found the second with a clinical finish after leaving a defender for dead before calmly smashing the ball into the net.
The decider against Liberty was not easy either as Capital FM had to fight it out despite scoring an early goal from Okeyo’s head flick. This is after Liberty found their footing following a lapse of concentration from Capital FM’s Shakava who miscued a long ball that went straight into the net.
Both sides fluffed chances that could have killed the game before the regular time but none could find the target forcing the match to head into sudden death.
Just as he did in the round of 16, Ooko stepped up and he did not disappoint as he took the Liberty player one-on-one that lasted for two minutes when he turned to head towards goal for the winner.
The tournament is of different format compared to other five-asides where at the Neymar Jr’s tournament it comprises of five players but with no goalkeeper and for every goal scored, the opposing team loses a player. The game is 10 minutes long.