The curtains for the 2012 COPA Coca-Cola U17 youth football tourney came down today at Mbaraki Sports Grounds bringing to an end a competition that has been used to select Kenya’s official FIFA U17 national team.
Sixteen players picked from across the country made the cut in both boys’ and girls’ disciplines with Coast and Rift Valley players getting more slots in boys’ and girls’ categories respectively.
The boys’ U17 national team will include goalkeepers Stephen Ogweno from Nyanza and Western’s Edwin Mukolwe who was named goalkeeper of tournament. The defence will comprise of James Mazembe (Rift Valley), Saddam Abdullahi (North Eastern), Christopher Orchum (Western) and Kevin Otieno from Nairobi. The midfield will include Coast quartet Ahmed Mahfudh, Eugene Moses, Omar Mwinyi and Mohamed Said supported by Nyanza’s Geoffrey Alwala, Rift Valley’s Ramadhan Abdulmalik, Castro Mwangi and Haroun Nyakha from Central and Western respectively.
The girls’ team was dominated by national champions Rift Valley who had a player represented in goal, midfield and striking force. The province’s Metina Awinja who was also named the best goalkeeper in the tournament will be assisted by Nairobi’s Dorcas Kisugu in goal. Faith Imai and Nekesa Wafula from Western made the cut to man the defence where they will be joined by Coast’s Winnie Achieng’ and Rift Valley duo Mercy Mutua and Abigael Cherotich.
Nairobi’s Florence Awino and Diana Wachira will partner with Faith Musinzi (Western), Pauline Musungu (Rift), Mwanalima Adam (Coast) and Eastern’s Naomi Njeri in midfield.
Rift Valley twins Miriam Chelagat and girls’ player of the tournament and topscorer Ruth Chebungei have been unplayable during the competition and their efforts will see them partner each other in attack with Chebungei the target man and Miriam on the right wing. Coast’s Linda Kahindi will support the two from the left wing.
The 16 selected players will travel to South Africa this August for a two-week international football camp.
Meanwhile Chebungei scored in the 20th minute to help Rift Valley to a comfortable 1-0 win over Western in the girls’ national finals match. The strong-willed striker netted in the 20th minute to take her tally to ten goals which saw her claim both the golden boot and golden ball.
Coast girls gave the home fans something to cheer about after easing past Nairobi ‘B’ 2-0 to take the second runners up position.
In the boys’ third-place playoff, Robert Mutua hit a brace to help Central dismiss Western 2-0.
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