|Stephen Ayoo of Kenya Sports Journalists in action against Wazee wa Kazi in an exhibition match before COPA finals|
Mathare North’s Otto Benecker edged out their Nairobi rivals, Beijing Girls, 1-0 in the girls’ final match while JMJ scored 3 goals in the first half to beat Kisumu 3-1 and ensure the 2013 COPA titles remained in the capital this year.
Otto controlled the game from start to finish but had to wait until the 86th minute to score their and the match’s only goal courtesy of Flora Wanjiku. The Mathare outfit won the match in spite of being reduced to 10 players after Sheryl Angachi received her second booking in the 63rd minute. Beijing, who lost 4-2 to Otto in the group stages, failed to capitalize on their extra player advantage and were actually on the back foot for much of the game.
JMJ had Musa Masika to thank after his first half brace saw them cruise 3-1 against Kisumu Lakers. Lloyd Kim opened the scoring for JMJ in the 14th minute before Masika netted his brace. Kisumu scored their consolation in the 67th minute through Ibrahim Ochieng.
Otto and JMJ’s wins saw them walk home with Kshs. 500,000 each while Beijing and Kisumu pocketed Kshs. 200,000 each. Meanwhile Mercy Akinyi’s 63rd minute goal helped Murhanda to a 1-0 win over Kisumu Queens in the girls’ third-place playoff match. The boys’ 2nd runners-up slot went to Gunners FC after South Africa-bound Joseph Luchenga scored the second goal for the Rift Valley team in their 2-0 win over Malindi United Academy. Wesley Omaiyo netted the opener in the 27th minute with Luchenga putting the game beyond Malindi’s reach with a screamer just after the interval.
The Gunners and Murhanda took home Kshs. 100,000 for their efforts.
Meanwhile the All-Star boys team who will be travelling to South Africa for a two-week boot camp was also announced. The team included 5 members from champions JMJ; golden boot winner Musa Masika, John Ochieng, John Ronaldo, Llloyd Kim, and Edwin Okoth as well as Kisumu Lakers quartet Joseph Bwire, Patrick Ochieng, Ibrahim Ochieng and Ian Samuel. Others in the team include Gunners trio Zadock Ombewa, Joseph Luchenga and Richard Otuomo as well as Nathaniel Kadenge and Hassan Ali of Malindi United.
Murhanda’s danger man Hilton Isutsa and his compatriot Elphas Shiveka also made it to the 16-man list. The selected team will not travel back to their homes but will pitch camp in Nairobi before they depart for the South Africa boot camp in the second week of September.
At the camp, they will meet 14 other countries including new entrants from Central Asia Kazakhstan, North Africa’s Algeria and Egypt, hosts’ South Africa as well as East Africa’s Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. Defending champions Rwanda, Zimbabwe, DRC, and Congo will also grace the 2013 event where the players will receive first-class training from Chelsea FC coaches.