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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ambira are the 2011 COPA Coca-Cola Champions

Ambira's Nelson Nyakha tussles for the ball with Chavakali's Alufwani during the COPA finals
Nyanza’s Ambira High successfully defended the COPA Coca-Cola title after beating Chavakali 2-0 in the finals played at Kisumu’s Jomo Kenyatta Stadium.

The win for Ambira ended the week-long tourney which has seen 9-teams participate for the coveted title. The two teams were meeting for the second time in the tournament after squaring off in the opening match which Ambira won 3-0.

Any thoughts of a win for Chavakali were somewhat extinguished when Ambira coach George Owoko fielded a strong team which included danger man Rodgers Oyaro and twin whizkids Nelson and Aaron Nyakha in either side of the flanks. Captain Bernard Ochieng’ was once again manning the defence.

Ambira’s entry into the slippery field was greeted by loud cheers from the crowd who were not shy to declare which side they were on. And they wasted no chance in wowing the crowd with Oyaro’s aerial presence and the speed of the Nyakha’s consistently troubling the Chavakali defence.

It took the defending champions 18minutes to breach the Chavakali defence when Rodgers Oyaro collected a loose ball before tucking it past a hapless Chavakali keeper George Musale to make it 1-0.

The goal spurred none but Ambira who continued to press for the second as the half wore on. The second half was no different with Chavakali failing to create any clear chances. Ambira on the other side were menacing to say the least and after Nelson Nyakha hit the post in the 54th minute, he extended his team’s lead five minutes later when he hit a delightful overhead kick which eased past Chavakali keeper to make it 2-0 and give Ambira the win.

It was a triple victory for Ambira who not only won the title but also the best defender and best scorer in the tournament. Dependable defender and captain Bernard Ochieng’ won the best defender award while Rodger Oyaro’s six goals bagged him the topscorer’s award. The two players will head to Chelsea for a 2-week camp together with Gituru’s George Kimani who was named the best infield player.

In the third place playoff, Rift Valley’s Mombwo and Nairobi’s JMJ Academy were involved in a seven-goal thriller with the latter winning 4-3. 

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It’s Ambira v Chavakali for COPA Finals

An Ambira player (in red) tussles for the ball with a Chavakali player. The two teams meet in the Copa finals
Nyanza’s Ambira High and Chavakali from Western Province will contest this year’s COPA Coca-Cola finals. Ambira made light work of the industrious JMJ Academy from Nairobi beating them 3-0 while a superb first half goal from Alvin Asunda was enough for Chavakali to send Rift Valley’s Mombwo packing.

Ambira and JMJ were meeting for the second time in the tournament after they had earlier settled for a compelling 0-0 draw in the group stages. However, Ambira had the fire power this time round using their aerial supremacy to their advantage.

Ambira started the match dazzlingly with twin brothers Nelson and Aaron Nyakha keeping the JMJ defence alert. After threatening to score for some time, Ambira finally got the breakthrough when lanky marksman Rodgers Oyaro nodded in his fourth goal of the campaign.

JMJ simply had no answers to Ambira’s organized play and the home team doubled their lead five minutes later when Nyakha and Oyaro exchanged neat passes before the latter breached JMJ’s goal for the second time in the game. The half ended 2-0 to Ambira.

After the interval, JMJ got a chance to maneuver a late comeback when they won a penalty in the 65th minute courtesy of a foul on Dennis Njoroge. Andrian Otieno stepped forward but hit his spotkick weaved past the post. The lost penalty proved to be JMJ’s only chance in the second half and Oyaro punished them two minutes before time when he beat the offside trap to score Ambira’s third goal and his fifth of the campaign.

Ambira are yet to concede a goal in the tournament and this is good news for their keeper Abdul Jalin who might as well get the goalkeeper of the tournament award which will guarantee him a trip to Chelsea. With five goals, Rodgers Oyaro leads the scoring chart, tied with Lasalle’s Victor Mwangi but should the Ambira frontman get the back of the net in the Sunday final, he will join his teammate to Chelsea.

Ambira will go to the finals confident of a win against Chavakali who they gunned down 3-0 in the group stages. However, the boys from Western have been improving as the tournament advances and they shouldn’t be any pushovers.

Meanwhile, a Kisumu media select side lost 3-1 to a Luo Veterans side which was mainly composed of former Harambee stars players. The veterans scored two goals in the first half and the other on the second while Eric Ochieng' scored the consolation goal for the pundits who have been covering the COPA Coca-Cola national finals in Kisumu's Jomo Kenyatta stadium.

The Sunday final will be preceded by a third-place playoff match between Mombwo and JMJ.

The final will be screened Live by local TV station KTN from 11.30am.

And That's thesteifmastertake!! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Champions League Draw: Barca Face Milan, Man City in Group of Death

Defending UEFA Champions League champions Barcelona have been drawn in the same group with seven-time European Champions AC Milan. The two teams will clash starting September 14 and will be expected to easily come out of their group which also includes Belarusian side Bate Borisov and Czech league champions Viktoria Plzen.

However, the main battle will be in group A which contains German side Bayern Munich, Italy’s Napoli, Span’s Villarreal and English side Manchester City who will be making their debut in the European competition.

Group B will see 2009-10 winners Inter Milan battle it out with CSKA Moscow, French Ligue 1 defending champions Lille and Turkish outfit Trabzonspor who replaced crisis-hit Fenerbahce.

Last season’s losing finalists Manchester United were drawn in a relatively easy group that contains Benfica, Basle and Romanian debutants Otelul Galati, while Real Madrid and Lyon will renew their unending rivalry in Group D that also has Ajax and Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb.

Group E will provide Chelsea winger Juan Mata a chance to play against his former club Valencia while Michael Ballack will also face his former players when he steps on the field for Bayer Leverkusen who are in the same group. Belgian sides Genk complete the group E line-up.

Arsenal, who secured a place to the group stages courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate win over Udinese, will face Olympique Marseille, Olympiacos and Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund in group F, as Europa League winners FC Porto face Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit and Apoel FC.

The group stage matches will kick off on September 13-14. The winners of each group and the runners up will advance to the last 16 with teams finishing third dropping to the Europa League.

Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli

Group B: Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor

Group C: Manchester United, Benfica, Basle, Otelul Galati

Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb

Group E: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk

Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiacos, Borussia Dortmund

Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit, Apoel FC

Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Nyakha Hat-trick Powers Ambira to Semi-Finals

Ambira's Nelson Nyakha (left, red) and teammate Rodgers Oyaro fight for the ball against Ainul

Nelson Nyakha hit a hat-trick and set up another to help Ambira advance to the semi-finals of the ongoing COPA Coca-Cola national finals in Kisumu.

The short but stalwart forward was on an imperious form against their opponents Ainul Qamar as he led Ambira’s frontline in the absence of his twin brother Aaron Nyakha who was serving a suspension after being red-carded earlier in the tournament.

Ambira raided their opponent’s goal from the off but had to wait until seven minutes when Nyakha overpowered and dispossessed Ainul’s Sadak Abdirizak in the box before burying the ball past Sheikh Yussuf who was manning the goal for the team from North Eastern. The lone goal brought the first half to an end.

Ambira picked from where they stopped after the interval and lanky forward Rodgers Oyaro extended their lead just five minutes into the second half, heading Nyakha’s cross above the head of Ainul keeper to make it 2-0 to the defending champions.

Rashid Abdiaziz stung Ambira keeper Abdul Jalin’s palms with a low drive five minutes later before Nyakha scored his second with a delightful volley to make it 3-0 and put the result beyond doubt.

Ainul simply had no answer to Ambira’s play and were dominated in all areas of the field. Naykha completed his hat-trick five minutes before the final whistle when hit a shot that Ainul substitute keeper Abdirizak Hassan palmed into his own net.

In another quarterfinal match, Festus Sigei’s first half goal was enough to send Mombwo into the semis at the expense of Gituru High from Central Province. Nairobi’s JMJ Academy registered their first goals in the tournament, giving Lasalle Youth a 3-2 hiding.

Louis Misiko opened the account for the Academy side heading James Muoni’s cross into the net in the 23rd minute. Misiko doubled their lead five minutes after the break and diminutive Musa Wanyama completed the rout after some good tiki-taka with Antony Miano. Lasalle got a consolation goal through Victor Mwangi who now leads the scoring chart with five goals.

In the fourth quarterfinal, Chavakali survived a late comeback scare from Mombasa United to qualify for the semis with a 2-1 win. Ayumba Ronny scored both goals for Chavakali in the first half while Hasan Mohammed got the consolation for Mombasa.

Mombasa players caused a fracas after the match and tried to beat up the referee but the security team were able to restore order.

The teams take a break on Friday and will be back on the field for the semis on Saturday. Ambira will meet JMJ Academy for the second time after the teams had met in the group stages, while Chavakali will square it off with Rift Valley’s Mombwo.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seven-Man Taqwa FC Go Down Fighting as Copa Enters Quarterfinals

Gospel artiste Daddy Owen performs during Copa opening ceremony in Kisumu

Seven-man Taqwa FC produced one of the finest performances in the ongoing Copa Coca-Cola national finals but still bowed out of the competition after losing both of their games.

The team from North Eastern, who fielded only seven players in all their matches after half of their team members were disqualified for various irregularities, will have themselves to blame after missing glorious opportunities during their encounter with a full strength Lasalle Youth side.

Taqwa were the more impressive team in either half of the game and were the first to provide a real threat just after kickoff when Mohammed Adan put the ball at the back of the net but the referee ruled him offside. They continued to press with Abdisalem Ibrahim wasting three clear-cut chances in succession as Lasalle failed to deal with Taqwa’s determination and relentless pursuit for the opener.

Abdisalem finally found the back of the net just before the interval but his cheeky handball earned him a yellow card and another disallowed goal as the first half ended in a stalemate.

Taqwa continued to press after the interval but they were given a sucker punch when David Njoroge headed Lasalle in front, rising higher than Taqwa keeper Abdinasir Rashid.

Taqwa responded six minutes later when Abdinoor Wario raced clear and tossed the ball above Lasalle substitute keeper Kevin Ndegwa to make it 1-1 to the delight of the fans who were clearly behind the team from Isiolo.

However, a mistake from Taqwa’s Ramadhan Ali who switched from goalkeeping to defence proved costly when he headed the ball into Victor Mwangi’s path and the unforgiving Lasalle captain buried the ball home to put his team 2-1 ahead. Mwangi leads the scoring chart with four goals after hitting a hat-trick against Ainul Qamar in the first match and he is now in the driving seat for the coveted topscorer’s award.

In another match, Yusuf Abdulhalim and Shef Ali were both on target for Mombasa United as they beat Rift Valley’s Mombwo 2-1 but both teams qualified for the quarterfinals. Baris Nge’no scored the consolation goal for Mombwo.

The three teams joined Ambira, Ainul Qamar, Gituru, JMJ and first best loser Chavakali who had all booked their place for the quarters. The quarterfinal games will all be played on Thursday and will see Ambira square off with Ainul Qamar, Gituru face Mombwo, Lasalle aim to go past JMJ Academy while Mombasa will need all their energy to beat Western’s Chavakali.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ambira First Team to Qualify for COPA Quarters

Ambira high player (right) tussle for the ball with a Chavakali player in a Copa match
Nyanza’s Ambira High became the first team to qualify for the COPA Coca-Cola national quarterfinals after forcing a barren draw with Nairobi’s JMJ Academy as the finals for the U-17 youth football tourney entered its second day in Kisumu. The two teams kept the fans at the edge of their seat with a highly intense match that saw Ambira striker Aaron Nyakha and JMJ coach Shaban Baraza dismissed.

Ambira captain Bernard Ochieng’ was impregnable in defence and his commanding display must have caught the eyes of the scouts present at the tournament. The draw gives Ambira four points from two matches after defeating Chavakali 3-0 in the opening game on Sunday.  Chavakali and JMJ will meet to decide who else qualifies for the quarters from the group.

Meanwhile Gituru High’s John Gatonye scored a brace to steer his team to a 2-1 win over Mombasa United.

The two teams had an entertaining match in the first half which saw Mombasa United hit the post twice inside the opening two minutes. However, it was Gituru who took the lead against the run of play when Gatonye latched onto a through pass and hit a low shot past Mombasa keeper Maanun Arafat.

The goal sparked Mombasa to life but all their running and effort were undone by some poor finishing from their front men.  Gatonye on the other hand was proving to be a menace to the United defence and he extended his team’s lead at the quarter-hour mark when he perfectly timed his run behind Mombasa’s defence and lobbed the ball past Arafat to put his team in control.

Mombasa pulled one back before the interval when Seif Ramadhan won and converted a penalty after being pulled down in the box by Gituru’s Dennis Maosa.

The second half was evenly fought out with Mombasa United having the clearest of chances but some fine goalkeeping from Gituru keeper Ethan Mwangi kept them away as the game ended 2-1 to Gituru high.

In the second match of the day, Lasalle Youth captain Victor Juma led from the front as he scored a hat-trick in the second half to give his team a 3-1 win over Ainul Qamar.

Qamar drew the first blood courtesy of a long range effort from Yahya Ahmed. The team from North Eastern were arguably the better one in the first half but ran out of steam in the second half, allowing Juma and his charges to come from a goal down and nick the win.

The COPA national finals will continues this whole week with the finals set for Sunday 28 August.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!