|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!!