Lakers who finished runners-up to JMJ Academy in last year’s national finals survived solid competition in the Nyanza playoffs played at Gusii Stadium, their experience proving the difference.
The Lakeside outfit cruised past Gucha Star Boys 2-0 in their knockout match courtesy of goals from Collins Omondi and Basil Ochieng. The win set them up for a clash against their Nyanza North counterparts Bondo United with the two teams having already met at the group stages. The match lived up to its billing with neither teams able to break the deadlock, thanks in part to Joseph Bwire’s heroics between the posts for Lakers.
With the match ending barren, the two teams squared off on penalties where Bwire was for the umpteenth time the hero saving two penalties to help Lakers overcome Bondo 2-1. With Aspire Youth claiming a 5-4 penalty shoot out victory over Rachuonyo Boys in the other semi final, the duo clashed under rainy conditions to decide who will represent Nyanza in this year’s national finals battle slated for mid August in Nairobi.
It was Lakers who took the lead after exerting persistent pressure on Aspire’s back four, Erick Ochieng at the end of a well-worked team move. The goal sprung Aspire to life but all their threats on goal ended on Bwire smothering every attack aimed at him.
Lakers started the second half on a wrong footing, goal scorer Ochieng receiving his marching orders after a second bookable offence. However, Aspire failed to capitalize on their one man advantage and it was the defending champions who doubled their lead, Frankline Otieno’s sublime freekick skidding to the back of the net.
Two soon became three after Benson Ochieng added his name to the scoresheet just before the final whistle as Lakers won 3-0 and earned themselves a return ticket to the nationals.
There was no joy however for Lakers’ sister team, Kisumu Queens, who were locked out of contention by eventual champions Nyamira Ladies. The two teams looked to have been heading for a penalty shoot out until Nyamira were awarded a controversial last minute penalty which they expertly converted to claim a 1-0 win and bundle the defending champions out.
Cyprian Magadhi netted the only goal in a 1-0 win over Gucha Ladies in the semis and she went even one better in the finals match scoring a brace as Nyamira claimed a 2-0 win over Onjiko Girls Talent that saw them claim the Nyanza provincials title and a slot in the national finals.
And That's thesteifmastertake!!