NAKURU, Kenya, Dec 15 – Kenya’s St. Anthony’s Boys were crowned COPA Coca-Cola Africa Cup champions on Saturday following a dramatic 3-2 post-match penalty triumph over Nigeria in a pulsating finale at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.
The game was forced into penalties after the tournament’s best two teams played to a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
In the penalties, Haron Kibiwott, David Leon and Isaiah Abwal scored for Kenya while Lucas Maina and Rashid Issa missed. Williams Gift, Mohamed Hussaini and Omeke Jerry missed three of Nigeria’s five kicks to hand Kenya the title.
Earlier, the Kenya Girls team also won the overall title following a solitary triumph over Zimbabwe in the final.
In the Boys game, the start was feisty with crunching tackles witnessed as both teams looked to take charge of the duel.
Kenya’s midfield trio of Wisdom Yana, Lucas Maina and Rashid Issa were particularly impressive in the middle of the park.
For Nigeria, their pacy attack led by Omodara Olamilekan, Omeke Jerry and Gift Williams caused Kenya a few problems.
Kenya’s semifinal hero David Leon failed to connect to a Haron Ruto corner kick in the 12th minute and the ball flew across goal, missing a glorious chance.
Jacob Onyango rattled the side net moments later with a ferocious shot and moments later he was denied by Nigeria keeper Moses Aluko who pulled a point blank save with a superb block.
Nigeria left-back Kumater Shina forced a superb save off Kenya keeper Issa Emuria with a ferocious shot in the 33rd minute.
The second half was equally balanced with both teams creating half chances.
Kenya’s Leon saw his effort fly over the bar while his compatriot Salim Badi cleared the ball off the line after an error from Emuria.
Kenya captain Cedric Muchina missed a huge chance shooting over the bar from a free kick in the the 53rd minute.
Nigeria keeper Aluko pulled some late superb saves to deny Onyango and Rashid and sent the game to post match penalties where Kenya won.