ELDORET, Kenya, Jul 28- Henry Atola struck in stoppage time as Kakamega High School clinched their 14th National Secondary School Games football title with a 1-0 win over Central Region’s Olbolosat at the Hill School in Eldoret on Saturday afternoon.
The full-to-capacity Hill School in Eldoret burst into frenzy after the full time whistle with enthusiastic Kakamega fans thronging the pitch in celebratory dances, some belting loud isikuti drum sounds with the triumphant players carried shoulder high.
Debutants Olbolosat had put in a good show defending well but Atola glanced in a header at the near post with virtually the last kick of the game as the Green Commandos clinched the crown they have waited for since 2014 when they won it on home turf in Kakamega.
“It was a very tough match, frustrating at some point because we dominated but couldn’t crack them. But credit to them they fought hard and were in the final on merit. They beat St. Antony in the semis which is a very good team,” Kakamega head coach Brendan Mwinamo said.
He added; “This is our 14th title and I am very pleased that we have won. Now the focus is on the East Africa School Games. Last time out we finished third but now we want to go and challenge for the top prize,” the tactician further added.
Kakamega were the better team in the entire match and had pinned Olbolosat in their own half in almost the entire match without any scoring luck.
They had their first chance of the game in the ninth minute when skipper Alpha Onyango’s shot from distance was turned behind for a corner by the keeper after some good build up from the Green Commandos with the fans applauding in approval.
Three minutes later, Kakamega were knocking, this time Evans Odhiambo skipping away from his markers on the left before unleashing a stinging shot that the keeper turned behind for a corner.
The Olbolosat keeper Victor Mwangi, aptly nicknamed ‘Ospina’ by his teammates was the difference between Kakamega and the first goal. He earned his full pay, pulling save after save denying the 13-time champions.
In the 27th minute, he was at hand once again to thwart Kakamega after Atola had raced onto a rebound when Alpha’s freekick from the right rattled the crossbar.
Olbolosat had their first chance at goal three minutes from half time when Silah Wangila surprised the Kakamega backline with a snap shot from almost 40 metres out but the effort went over the bar by inches.
In the second half, Kakamega kept their front playing style and should have been ahead in the 63rd minute but Odhiambo’s cracking effort from the right was beautifully saved by ‘Ospina’.
In the 68th minute, Joshua Otieno who seemed jaded after putting in a shift in Friday’s semi final tried his luck with another rasping effort from distance but it flew a few millimeters over the bar.
Kakamega pushed and pushed and at some point it seemed the game was headed for extra time with Olbolosat defending in numbers, leaving only one player upfront while everyone else played behind the ball.
They were nipped at the stroke of full time, Atola rushing in to the near post to glance in a header past a forest of defenders from Samson Otieno’s corner.
Earlier on in the girls category, Kwale Girls shocked pre-game favorites Arch Bishop Njenga from Western beating them 4-1. Saumu Baya scored twice with Lucy Kwekwe and skipper Elizabeth Kioko who have been brilliant for the team adding one each.
Violet Wanyonyi scored Arch Bishop Njenga’s consolation.