KERICHO, Kenya, Mar 7 – Goalkeeper James Murimi was the hero as debutants Laiser Hill Academy beat season one champions Kapenguria Heroes 4-2 on post-match penalties to clinch the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Rift Valley region boys’ title in Kericho on Sunday.
Murimi saved one penalty in regulation time and another in the shootout as the boys from Ongata Rongai clinched the crown on their first time of asking.
The game was forced into penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time, Laiser having come from a goal down to equalize with 14 minutes left on the clock. Shariff Majabe scored from the penalty spot, cancelling out Samson Tanui’s earlier goal for Kapenguria.
On penalties, Kapenguria lost two and scored two while Laiser scored four and lost one.
Majabe stepped up to take Laiser’s first making no mistake and on the response, Gregory Kemoi saw his penalty hit the post.
Laiser failed to take advantage as Alex Karani’s poor effort was too close to the keeper who collected it easily, but his blushes were spared when his keeper Murimi made a good save to deny Brian Kakuko.
Byron Otieno and Abdirazak Hassan stepped up to score the next two for Laiser with Kapenguria responding through Morgan Ekomais and Stephen Orare.
Skipper Timothy Ouma stepped up to take Laiser’s final and the destiny of the cup lay on his shoulders. He made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way for the crown.
In regulation time, it was a highly contested tie, one completely fit for a final.
Kapenguria broke the deadlock in the eighth minute when Tanui broke the deadlock with a low finish inside the box, picking up the ball after Laiser keeper James Muimi clashed with his own defender as he raced out to pick a cross.
It was a good start for the former champions as they had shown intent from the first minute, taking the game to Laiser and not being afraid to attack.
But it was a very closely contested duel at a fully packed Green Stadium with the two sides locked in a midfield battle, each trying to find their way into the final third.
While Laiser struggled to make it count in the area of truth, Kapenguria should have had themselves 2-0 up after 31 minutes but they lost a penalty, Alfred Tanui seeing his effort brilliantly saved by Muimi who made amends after his earlier mistake.
Wesley Mtai was brought down inside the box by Isaac Teigong after dribbling his way into the area.
They had another chance a minute to the break but Mtai couldn’t guide the ball into the net with a header after a cross from the left was knocked down by Alfred.
In the second half, Laiser came back a different outfit and were menacing in attack and compact in defense. Skipper Timothy Ouma was outstanding, doing well to drive his team from the back.
Just three minutes after the restart, Ouma did well to dribble past his markers on the right before cutting back a brilliant cross, but Stephene Owino blasted the ball over from 10 yards out.
Peter Loishorua had another brilliant effort with a looping header off a cross from the left going over as the boys from Ongata Rongai kept the pressure on.
They were rewarded in the 76th minute when Majabe scored from the penalty spot after he was axed inside the box by Brian Kakuku.
The score maintained at 1-1, sending the game to the penalty lottery.