|The Copa crown tussle|
Over the weekend of Saturday April 2, this home of champions hosted the Copa Coca-Cola U-17 youth football tourney which attracted seven boys’ and four girls’ team from the extensive Marakwet county.
In the boys’ category, Tambach High School entertained the fans with great attacking football but they had to work hard to beat Chebiemit High school 3-0. A diminutive Kevin Kipkoech, who could pass out as a standard three pupil, put Tambach on the lead just nine minutes into the game as he directed a cross from the right handside into the net.
The goal spurred Chebiemit into life as they started fighting for the equalizer. However, all their forward forays only ended up at the feet of Tambach Boys’ defensive linchpin and Captain Japheth Ouko. Kevin Kipkoech on the other hand was proving to be a nightmare in the Chebiemit defence. A defensive mix up in the 24th minute presented him with a chance but his shot was deflected for a corner, which Japheth headed just over the bar.
Kipkoech then forced the goalkeeper into two fine saves before the referee blew the whistle for half time. Into the second half, Tambach picked the tempo from where they had left. They had three clear-cut chances just 10 minutes into the game but they were unable to convert and put the game beyond their opponent’s reach.
Tambach goalkeeper could have grabbed a coke and a seat to watch the match as his team dominated their opponents who provided limited resistance. In the 65th minute, Matanda Fortune grabbed Tambach their second goal with a clinical finish that was applauded by the watching spectators. Any hopes of Chebiemit coming back into the game were extinguished by their own player, Macdonald Kimaiya, after he handled the ball inside the penalty area with a minute to the final whistle. The captain, Achieng’ Ouko stepped up and drove a powerful effort down the middle to end the game 3-0 in favour of Tambach.
In another match, Dennis Chemweno and Fidelis Korir both registered their names in the score sheet as Marakwet boys emerged 2-0 winners over Kapcherop Boys. Elgeyo Marakwet County team, which was made up of only primary school boys, taught Kipsoen Boys High School a football lesson as they dominated their opponents from start to finish and eventually ran out with a 3-1 win. Kibet Rotich, Isaac Kiptoo and Timothy Kiprono scored in the 24th, 46th and 64th minute respectively for the county team, while Patrick Baraka provided Kipsoen with their only blessing when he drove a thunderous shot past the goalkeeper at the half-hour mark. In their second match, Chebeimit twice came from a goal down to force a 2-2 draw with St. Patrick. St. Patrick drew the first blood in the 3rd minute through Brian Kipkoech before Hillary Chebet equalized for Chebeimit eight minutes later. Felix Kemboi then scored three minutes into the second half for St. Patrick but Chebeimit managed to draw level in the 55th minute. Marakwet Boys and Elgeyo Marakwet County could only manage a 0-0 stalemate in their second match of the day.
Only four teams participated in the girls’ category with Kaptum Secondary the big winners after beating Singore Girls 2-0. A goal each from Joan Kiprotich and Joyece Kendagor on either side of the half were enough to guide Kaptum to the win. Beatrice Chemweno’s powerful 53rd minute strike was enough to see her side beat Mokwo Girls 1-0. Mokwo then drew 1-1 with Singore Girls in the last match of the first round.
Mokwo were the first team to register on the score sheet, thanks to a goal by Rose Chepkirwak in the 18th minute. Singore girls equalized in the 52nd minute as the match ended in a stalemate.
The next second round games in the Elgeyo Marakwet county will be played on the 7th of May.
A 6-0 drubbing for Sagana Sports over Kiine Boys and a 5-2 thumping for Kamuiru Secondary school over Kabonge primary were the main highlights in Kirinyaga county. Kabonge were then pipped 1-0 in their second match against Gift of Nature, while Kamuiru Secondary, also playing their second match, were held to a 1-1 draw with Mwea boys. Kabonge also lost their matches against Kiine boys and Heart Beat by a solitary goal to nil.
In the girls competition, Kiine Girls lost their first match 2-0 to Karoti girls, but they saved their face with a 1-0 win over Reality Stars, who then drew 0-0 with Kaburia Girls.
The games were played in four other counties including Makueni, Bomet, Vihiga and Nyamira.
Games continue on Saturday April 9 in the counties of Machakos, Narok, Tharaka-Nithi, Bungoma, Busia, Mombasa and Isiolo.
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