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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Murhanda Teams Show their Might in Western as they Book National Finals Slot

The Under-15 COPA Coca-Cola Western provincial finals played at Kakamega High School this past weekend had all the thrill and fun as expected but saw no team upset the form book as favorites Murhanda Boys and Girls cruised to victory to lift the region’s provincial title.

While the Murhanda girls’ team were more emphatic and assured with their performance which saw them win all their matches, the boys’ team only just squeezed in thanks to a superior goal difference.

The first match of the day saw Northwestern branch teams, Kaptama boys lock horns against would-be runners-up Maraka Pefa in the wee hours of the morning. The two teams traded punches in equal measure until the 7th minute when Caleb Kones put Kaptama ahead with a neat finish from a counterattack.

Maraka leveled within two minutes through their unplayable No.9 Kevin Shikami who would then score his second and turn provider for his team’s 3rd before the interval. Kones pulled one back for his team just after the restart but Mohammmed Baraka restored his team’s 2-goal advantage almost immediately.

The rest of the half turned out to be Shikami’s show as he completed his hat-trick before hitting a devastating free-kick that stung the palms of Kaptama custodian Willly Kiptanui and kept him out for the rest of the action. Limo Kones scored a late goal to reduce the scoreline to 6-4.

Murhanda Boys beat Bolimbo Academy 4-1 in the second encounter, Hilton Asutsa netting a brace either side of Brian Lumasukha and Alphonic Memi’s goals as Musa Wang’ona scored the consolation goal for the highly supported Bolimbo. Asutsa and Lumasukha were also on target for Murhanda in their 3-2 win over Kaptama

Bolimbo cruised to a 3-2 win over Maraka but were sent crashing out by Kaptama who hit them for six after coming from a goal down, Caleb Kones and his brother Limo netting a brace each, Michael Kipkorir and Donald Kemei adding to the score-line.

The last match of the day between Murhanda and Maraka Pefa ended in a 2-1 win for the latter.

Ann Ngato was on target for Murhanda Girls in their 1-0 win over Ibinda Girls who revenged the defeat on Nzoia Girls hitting them 3-0, Ruth Omrunga with a brace to add to Marion Analo’s opener. Michele Indochi hit a sublime hat-trick after Lavender Lihemo’s brace to help Murhanda whitewash Amukhura 6-0.

The Murhanda duo not only won the provincial title which guarantees them a slot in the nationals but also went home with a cash price of Kshs. 50,000. The second placed teams in both boys and girls, Kaptama Boys and Ibinda were rewarded with Kshs. 30,000 and a full kit while 3rd placed Kaptama boys and Nzoia Girls left with Kshs. 20,000 and a kit. Bolimbo and Amukhura who finished last in the boys’ and girls’ categories didn’t leave empty handed as they were rewarded with a full kit and a ball.

The last edition of the COPA provincial finals is slated for Kisii this coming weekend. Besides the Western duo, other teams who have qualified for the mid-August nationals are JMj Academy (boys), Beijing Girls and Otto Benecker (girls) from Nairobi, Coast’s Malindi United Academy and Kaloleni Queens, Rift Valley’s Gunners FC and Kapsowar Girls and Black Cats and Maragwa Queens from Central.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Murhanda Duo Favorites for Western COPA Coca-Cola Provincials Crown

Murhanda Boys and their ladies’ team, Murhanda Girls, are odds-on favorites to lift the COPA Coca-Cola Western provincial finals title as the fight for national championships heads to the western region on Sunday at Kakamega High School.

The duo who topped the standings during the Western branch group stage matches are in a fine run of form after both recorded victories in their previous two assignments and will be aiming at the top price when the provincial finals enter its penultimate leg.

The first match will pit Murhanda Boys against their Western branch rivals Bulimbo Academy before Maraka and Kaptama Boys square it off in a Northwestern derby. The latter will take on Murhanda in the third fixture as Maraka aim for an upset against Bulimbo.

In the girls’ fixtures, bookmakers’ favorites Murhanda Ladies will clash against group rivals Ibinda in the first fixture. The last encounter between the two teams ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Nzoia Girls will take on branch nemesis Amukura Girls before the latter clashes with Ibinda Ladies and the former meet Murhanda.

The matches will be played in a round-robin format with the team garnering the most number of points in both the boys’ and ladies’ categories qualifying for the Nairobi national finals.

Coast, Rift Valley, Eastern, Central and Nairobi have all produced their teams for the national finals. The last leg of the provincials will be played next weekend in Nyanza region.

This year’s winners will not only get a cash price of Kshs. 500,000 but will also travel to South Africa for an international boot camp where they will get firsthand training from coaches from Chelsea FC foundation coaches.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Heartbreak for Makadara Juniors as they Bow Out to JMJ at COPA Provincials

They had gone unbeaten for 7 matches, scored 14 goals and conceded only one in process, an impressive run that saw them face a team boasting of almost the same record in the decider.

Makadara Juniors have been by far one of the best teams to grace the 2013 edition of the COPA Coca-Cola Under-15 tournament. Little wonder then that many fans were left heartbroken when they lost out to JMJ in the Nairobi provincial finals decider thanks to a first half strike by Musa Masika for JMJ.

Their impressive run saw them win all their group matches to top the Nairobi East branch league. In the provincial finals, they beat Indomitable Dandora 2-0 courtesy of skilful striker Tyron Xavier and Solomon Mbiti while JMJ shared a barren draw with Vapour for the umpteenth time.

Casey Odhiambo was on target for the Juniors in their second match which they won 1-0 against Vapour while JMJ beat Indomitable with the same scoreline, Biron Otieno with the strike.

The winner-takes-all clash between JMJ and Makadara was water tight as expected. Both teams had their moments but the battle was more on the midfield leaving strikers with little to feed on until Masika struck the game’s only goal that sent his team to the mid-August nationals for the second time in three years.

The girls’ honours went to Beijing Girls and Otto Benecker. Beijing won all their matche,s 2-0 against St. Anne’s, 3-0 against Uweza Queens and 1-0 against Otto Benecker who just about qualified due to absence of a team from North Eastern region.

Meanwhile Humphrey Mwangi and John Luchenga scored a goal each either side of Eric Kipkurui’s brace to help the Gunners cruise past Rangers FC 4-0 as they took the Rift Valley national finals berth while Kapsowar’s Philaries Kaino scored the only goal to help her team beat Nyasita Girls 1-0, a result good enough to see them qualify for the national championships.

JMJ, Beijing Girls, and Otto Benecker from Nairobi as well as Gunners and Kapsowar from Rift Valley have joined Malindi United Academy and Kaloleni Queens from Coast into the national championships. Other teams that have qualified are Maragwa Queens and Black Cats from Central region.

The final leg of the provincial finals is slated for this coming weekend in Kakamega and Kisii where the Western and Nyanza provincial finals will be taking place.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Epic Battle Expected in the Capital for COPA Coca-Cola National Final Slots

Fireworks is expected at Nairobi Technical grounds this Saturday as the COPA Coca-Cola U15 Nairobi provincial finals take place in what many pundits have billed as a high stakes game and a dress rehearsal for a typical national finals  game.

Tension is sky high in the camps of Nairobi East and Nairobi West teams who are preparing for a blockbuster winner-takes-all encounter that will leave many heartbroken and only one boys’ and one girls’ team raising their champagnes as they prepare to dine at the national finals high table.

In one corner will be two Nairobi East teams, Makadara Juniors and Indomitable Dandora, the former yet to taste defeat in the competition. In the opposite corner, Nairobi West teams renowned for their prowess in unearthing football talents, JMJ Academy and Vapour Academy.

The four teams’ road to the provincial finals was, to say the least, impressive. Makadara Juniors won all their five matches scoring 11 goals and conceding only one while their branch counterparts Indomitable demonstrated their pedigree against teams other than Makadara which saw them finish runners-up with four wins and one loss against the table toppers.

In Nairobi West, JMJ topped the standings with 4 wins and 1 draw which came in the final encounter against Vapour Academy who finished runners-up with 3 wins, and 2 draws. Vapour is the only team in the competition who are yet to concede a single goal.

The first provincial match up will see Makadara Juniors face off against Indomitable; the previous encounter between the two teams ended in a 1-0 win to Makadara. JMJ will then take on Vapour with the odds leveled after the two teams’ shared a barren draw in the group stages. Vapour against Makadara, Indomitable against JMJ, Vapour versus Indomitable and Makadara versus JMJ will conclude the day’s matches with the top team advancing to the national finals.
Stiff competition is also expected in the girls’ matches where favorites Beijing Girls will battle it out with fellow Nairobi West team Uweza FC and Nairobi East duo Otto Benecker and St. Anns’ Girls.

“Nairobi will have two girls’ teams in the national finals just like in the previous year because North Eastern region won’t present their ladies’ team in the nationals,” revealed Gerald Chege, COPA Coca-Cola coordinator.

The Nairobi provincial finals should represent a tussle for supremacy in the capital’s youth football and the team which progresses will sure have an upper hand going into the national finals which will be held in the capital.

Meanwhile the expansive Rift Valley region will also host its provincial finals in Eldoret following the conclusion of the provincial playoffs. The boys’ matches will be a close contest between Rangers FC and Kitale Union from Rift Valley B and Gunners and Boca Juniors from Rift Valley A. The girls’ match ups will feature Kapsowar and Kuinet Girls from Rift Valley A against Menengai Ladies and Nyasita Girls from Rift Valley A.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Maragwa Queens, Black Cats March on to COPA National Championships

Maragwa Queens from Aberdares Branch and Ruiru Neptunes from Mt. Kenya will represent Central region in the COPA Coca-Cola U15 national championships after taking the girls' and boys' honours in their respective provincial finals.

Maragwa Queens were in a devastating form as they won all their three matches to pip their biggest challengers Angaza All Stars to the national finals slated for Nairobi in a month's time. Queens whitewashed a hapless Young Heroines side 4-0 before winning the big girls battle 2-1 against Angaza. Maragwa rediscovered their scoring touch in their third encounter thrashing Young Vision 5-1.

Angaza added misery to Young Heroines' day with a 8-0 mauling but the earlier loss against Maragwa proved too costly as they crashed out.

Ruiru Neptunes just about nicked the boys' title after profiting from inconsistent displays from their main rivals. Neptunes handed VYSA Youth their first loss of the campaign with a professional 1-0 win then drew their next two encounters, a barren draw against Nanyuki was followed by a 1-0 stalemate against Heartbeat.

Black Cats from Embu continued their fairytale run as they took the boys' honours in Eastern region. Cats lost 2-1 against Matinyani but qualified for the semis as best losers. Their semi-final match against 2011 national finalists ended 1-1 in normal time with Cats winning 4-3 on penalties to set up a clash against their earlier conquerors Matinyani in the final. The match ended barren in normal time with Cats earning their revenge with a 2-1 win on penalties.

Mukuyuni Redshoooters kept their 100% win record but only advanced via post-match penalties, winning 4-2 against Fun Starlets.

Meanwhile Kitale Union and Rangers FC as well as Kuinet and Kapsowar girls qualified from Rift Valley A provincial playoffs to set up a date against Rift Valley B teams in the provincial finals proper slated for this coming weekend in Eldoret.

Nairobi will also host its provincial finals at Nairobi Tech where a mother of all battles is expected in the boys' matches as Vapour and JMJ Academy from Nairobi West clash with Makadara Juniors and Indomitable Dandora from Nairobi East.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

FKF Cup Lands Sponsorship, Rebrands to GOtv Shield Cup

The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President’s Cup has landed a 5-year sponsorship from Multichoice’s pay TV company GOtv in a deal that will see the top knockout tournament in the country rebranded to GOtv Shield Cup.

The pay TV provider will sponsor the tournament to the tune of Kshs. 6 Million which will go in cash rewards for the winning team up to the 4th placed team. The winners will receive a cash windfall of Ksh1.5 million as prize money as well as KSh500, 000 for CAF Confederations Cup.

The runners up and second runners up will receive Kshs.750, 000 and Kshs. 500,000, respectively, with the fourth-placed team walking away with Kshs. 250,000.

A total of 48 teams, 16 from Kenya Premier League and 32 from Division One and Provincial League will take part in the tournament. The non-premier league clubs will play first round matches but KPL clubs have been given byes into the round of 32. Among the teams that will play in the first round include Nakumatt FC, Comply, Bidco United, Moyas, Kariobangi Sharks, Muhoroni Young, Black Mamba, Gatundu Stars, Shabana FC, Borabu Chiefs, Finlays, and Nairobi Stima among others.

The first round matches pitting Division 1 clubs against Provincial League sides will be played on July 27. The finals are slated for October 20th.

Gor Mahia are the reigning champions of the cup after they beat Sofapaka 3-0 in post-match penalties. The KPL duo have reached the final twice in the last two years with K’Ogalo emerging winners in both the 2011 and 2012 edition.

The FKF Cup was created back in 1956 and has undergone a series of name changes ever since. It was called the FA Cup of Kenya between 1956 and 1975, Mombasa Liverpool winning the inaugural tournament while Tusker FC won the last edition under that name.

The Cup rebranded to Kenya Challenge Cup in the 1976 season where Gor Mahia won it in three consecutive seasons until AFC Leopards took the next two before yet another name change.

Between 1986 and 2002, it was called the Moi Golden Cup, a name borrowed under Kenya’s 2nd president Daniel Arap Moi. Gor Mahia, for the umpteenth time, won the first three editions until 1989 when Tusker beat AFC Leopards 5-4 on penalties to win only their second FKF Cup.

After Moi retired from politics in 2002, the FKF Cup was renamed to Transparency Cup but only for two years when it reverted to Presidents Cup, then changed to KFF Cup, then FKL Cup and finally FKF President’s Cup as of end of last season.

Current champions Gor Mahia are the most successful club having won it on 10 occasions followed by AFC Leopards.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!