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.
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