Monday, 3 September 2012

Kenya post mixed fortunes in Copa Coca-Cola in South Africa

By Fred Maingi
Kenya Under `17 soccer team posted mixed fortunes in the COPA
Coca-Cola inter-country tournament in Pretoria South Africa. Kenya won
one match against Tanzania, drew one against Nigeria before going down
 to Zimbabwe.
     Kenya started on a wrong footing in the first match after going
down by a solitary goal from Zimbabwe’s Thaboka.
   Kenya were the better side in either half though and could have
killed the game before the interval were it not for some wasteful
finishing by front-men Geoffrey Alwala and Omar Mwinyi.
  In the first match,Kenya put up a gallant show to edge Tanzania 3-2.
The Tanzanians went into the East Africa derby match in high spirits
having held one of the tournament favourites, Nigeria, to a 0-0 draw
in their first match. However, by the end of the first half, it was
the Kenyans who were partly celebrating after pulling ahead courtesy
of a Eugene Moses penalty at the quarter hour mark.
Goalkeeper Edwin Mukolwe double Kenya’s lead barely two minutes into
the second half when his goal-kick looped on top of a helpless
Tanzania custodian Bakaria Hamadi. Kenya’s third would soon come via
the skilful Mohamed Said who collected Alfred Wekesa’s cross before
slotting home to give Tanzania a huge mountain to climb.
Kenya’s defence seemed to have gone to sleep thereafter as they
allowed Bakari Hamadi to blaze in two quick fire goals that gave
Tanzania some hope. It was not to be though as Kenya U17 team beat
their Tanzanian counterparts.
In their third and final match of the day, Alfred Wekesa blasted in a
second half equalizer for Kenya in their 1-1 draw against Nigeria
Mwinyi was the first to get a clear view of the opposition goal in the
7th minute but his whisked effort was an inch too far.
Kenya piled on more pressure for the rest of the half but could not
find a way past the stubborn Zimbabwe defence.
They maintained the same tempo after the interval with Mohamed Saidi
and Eugene Moses dictating the pace of the game in the midfield.
Zimbabwe struggled to get any ball inside the Kenyan penalty area
thanks to the defensive pair of Christopher Oruchum and Sadam Abdulahi
who mopped up all that came their way.
Kenyan, however, were hit by a sucker punch 11 minutes into the second
half when Kevin Otieno headed the ball into the path of Zimbabwe’s
Thaboka who simply slotted home past Kenyan keeper Edwin Mukolwe.
Coach Arthur Apiyo made substitutions introducing attacking wide-man
Castro Mwaura for Alwala but the Zimbabweans held on for a vital win.
The Kenyans players bowed out of the match a disappointed lot but what
they did in their second match against Tanzania was impressive albeit
they conceded two goals in the match.
In other matches, Jonathan Katzombe and Dennis Saidi were both on
target as Malawi shrugged off Uganda 2-1 with Mayanja Brian scoring
the consolation for the East Africans.
Nigeria, again, fired blanks against Mozambique in their barren draw.
Zambia’s Chipolopolo drew 0-0 against Central, East and West Africa
(CEWA) combined team before cruising 2-1 past Zimbabwe. Uganda beat
CEWA 1-0 in their second match.
On Tuesday, the Kenyan team will tackle their Zambia’s Chipolopolo
before taking on Mozambique and archrivals Uganda respectively. The
team that gathers the most number of points come Wednesday will be
declared winners.

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