ELDORET, Kenya, Jul 27- Kakamega High School went through a tense penalty shoot-out before edging out Nairobi’s Dagoretti High School 4-3 on post match penalties to sail through to the National Secondary School Games final at the Hill School in Eldoret on Friday afternoon.
The game was forced into penalties after a 0-0 stalemate in regulation time and skipper Alpha Onyango who turns out for record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia stepped up to the pressure to score the decider and send Kakamega through.
The result sent the pitch into frenzy with Kakamega fans who had thronged the [itch breaking into song and dance, bellowing Isikuti tunes to celebrate the conquest while some, to calm their nerves that were almost bursting from pressure.
The Green Commandos will now meet Central Region’s Olbolosat who shocked pre-tournament favorites St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale with a 2-0 result in the other semi-final match.
“I am very happy that we have won today. It was tough and I expected it to be that way because no team qualifies to the semis to lose easily. The other side St. Anthony’s has been eliminated and we all saw what they did to us yesterday. It has followed them there and they are out,” Kakamega High School head coach Brendan Mwinamo said.
Last year, Kakamega failed to reach the final after losing to eventual champions Upper Hill High School in the semis.
On penalties, it was a high pressure affair. Simon Omondi stepped up forst for Dagoretti scoring his kick though Kakamega keeper Brian Opondo had a touch on the ball. The Nairobi region were handed a massive advantage when Boniface Ooko struck the upright for Kakamega.
However, they could not ride with the luck as skipper James Peter sent his effort wide despite sending the keeper the wrong way.
Handed a new lease of life, Kakamega embraced the second chance they had and scored their next two through Evans Odhiambo and Joshua Otieno who struck brilliant kicks.
For Dagoretti, Shabaan Machozi scored but his teammate Joshua Onyango took a disastrous weak kick which was easily saved by Kakamega keeper Opondo. Henry Atola took Kakamega 3-2 up with a well struck low effort.
Gilbert Omondi’s fifth strike for Dagoretti was a brilliant take into the top right of the roof, putting the pressure on Kakamega skipper Alpha Onyango in Kakamega’s last effort.
Cool as ice, the Gor Mahia midfielder stepped up to send his side into the final.
It was a tough fought battle between the two sides with the match going to the full length, 120 minutes.
The two sides had close chances to score with Joshua Otieno coming closest for Kakamega with a thunderous shot from distance which the keeper scrambled to punch away.
In the second half, Kakamega were almost punished in the 67th minute when Alpha lost the ball cheaply in midfield, Finlay Osorio picking up and driving into the box but his shot came off the upright.
Five minutes to the end of the regulation 90 minutes, Dagoretti came close again with Mwachozi’s snap shot from range coming off the crossbar.
Dagoretti hit the crossbar once again late in added time when Osorio broke through off a counter to shoot low on the right.
Meanwhile in the girls’ category, Kwale Girls will meet Archbishop Njenga in the final after beating Nyanza’s Kobala 3-2 in an entertaining but tense tie.
Kwale came into the match with confidence especially having eliminated defending champions Wiyeta in the first round.
Red hot skipper Elizabeth Kioko who has been the team’s engine throughout the championship scored a quick double within five minutes, breaking the deadlock after 10 minutes of play with a header off a corner before adding the second with a delightful chip over the keeper.
The hard fighting Kobala however pulled one back, the pressure bearing fruit forcing Keale defender Lencer Achieng to turn the ball into her own net.
In the second half, Kobala came out with force knowing the game was within touching distance, but their pressure was punctured when Lucy Kwekwe struck the third for Kwale with a well taken shot from outside the area.
The girls from Nyanza upped the ante despite being two down and eight minutes from time, hopes of a comeback were up in full force when Anney Matinde scored Kobala’s third after going past her markers before striking a belter.
Nonetheless, Kwale defended well, clearing all the balls that fell within their line.
In the other semi, Arch Bishop Njenga sailed to the final with a 2-0 win over Nginda Girls, Violet Wanyonyi and Brenda Masibo scoring the important goals in either half.