NAKURU, Kenya, Dec 14 – Kenya’s St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale will tackle Nigeria in Saturday’s inaugural Copa Coca-Cola African Cup of Nations after seeing off Zambia 1-0 in a hotly contested final at the Nakuru High School on Saturday.
While Kenya was forced to work by the Zambians, Nigeria eased past a hapless Botswana hitting the Southern Africans 5-0 in the other semi-final.
David Leon scored Kenya’s all important goal from the penalty spot in the second half and head coach David Mayoyo says they will be going in for the title on Saturday.
“I am happy that we’ve made it to the finals. It wasn’t an easy match but the boys fought really well and got the important win. When we scored we relaxed a little and invited a lot of pressure but luckily we managed to see them off to qualify for the final,” Mayoyo noted.
He added; “We want the trophy to remain in Kenya. We will do our best in the final and hopefully get a win.”
The game should have had more goals, as Kenya dominated the first half of the game, creating numerous goal scoring chances.
First it was Jacob Onyango whose shot was cleared off the line in the second minute. Fred Kendigi then saw his freekick saved by Zambia keeper David Minganja while Wisdom Naya missed a sitter shooting over the bar from inside the penalty area.
Zambia’s first chance fell to Isaac Banda but his shot was way off target.
Kenya kept attacking in search of a breakthrough with the impressive midfield trio of Maina, Wisdom and Issa Rashid running the show. The first half ended barren.
The first chance of the second half went Zambia’s way but Benny Kalombo’s shot failed to hit the target.
Against the run of play, Kenya went ahead from the penalty spot.
Substitute Haron Kibiwott was brought down inside the area and defender Leon David stepped forward to expertly convert.
Kibiwott nearly doubled his team’s tally a minute later but he hit the side-net from a prime position.
Zambia’s late pressure led by Phiri and Patience Chulu yielded no fruits and Kenya qualified for the final where they will face Nigeria.
In the second semi of the day, Nigeria ran riot against Botswana.
Williams Gift, James Oghenetega, Hussain Mohammed and Henry Williams scored for the West African team in this one-sided encounter.
“The players made it look easy but I don’t think it was an easy game. They executed our game plan well, we scored some good goals and I am satisfied with both the performance and result,” said Nigeria coach Gilbert Igwe.
The Nigerians showed early dominance and nearly went ahead in the third minute but Omodara Olamilekan failed to keep his composure in front of goal and eventually shot went wide.
The goal did finally come in the 15th minute through the impressive Williams who fired past a Djoka Tumisang in Botswana goal on a one-on-one scenario.
The match transformed into a one-sided affair but the West Africans failed to add to their tally before the break.
Nigeria continued dominating the clash in the second stanza and eventually added a second goal three minutes after the restart through Oghenetega.
Hussain Mohammed made it three-nil in the 44th minute before Williams compounded the Southern Africans’ misery with two-quick goals in the 59th and 62nd minutes.