April 28, 2019 By Kevin Omondi
27 April 2019. The Goan Institute Grounds, Pangani hosted the penultimate stage of, unarguably, the most well-organized youth football tournament in the country to date: Chapa Dimba na Safaricom’s Nairobi Regional Finals.
Much has been said about the embarrassment of talent among our youth, yet that remains even more embarrassingly unexploited due to the dearth of organization from the custodians of our game. The capital’s Regional Finals refused to read from that script and instead hoped to and indeed achieved what we pray becomes the new standard of organization of football, right from the grassroots up. The level of security at the grounds, to the participation of mainstream media; the inclusion of local and foreign scouts, live match commentary, the allocation and exclusivity of the technical areas showcased the grandeur of an event in whose participation, we’re immensely proud.
The be all and end all of this event remains football. The stage had been set and we were excited to see the players take their places. The road to Pangani had been arduous for the eight semi finalists who’d be itching to represent Nairobi at the National Finals in Meru. New faces adorned the canvas in both the Boys’ and Girls’ categories with only South B and Acakoro Ladies making it through from the previous edition. Uweza FC, Jericho All-Stars, Bright Stars were the other boys’ teams joined by Carolina for Kibera, Dagoretti Mixed School, Nairobi County Queens in the pursuit of glory, KES 1 Million and the opportunity to attend a once in a lifetime training camp in Spain.
To use a broad stroked brush, Nairobi’s Regional Finals are held during the wetter months of the year. Yesterday’s semi-finalists didn’t play in a deluge but the previous night’s and early morning showers made them have to contend with a plastic semi-soaked surface. Most of the sides who lost will feel hard done by the soft and slippery surface because of the lack of longer studded boots occasioned a slip and stumble more often than not. If there’s anything to change about this tournament it has to be the adequate kitting of players, especially with regard to the most expensive item on the list: football boots.
Tactically, the evolution of the game and the adoption of what seems to be modern and in vogue was on display. All the semi-finalists seemed happy with and had goalkeepers who could play the ball out from the back to their fullbacks. Strikers had to keep in line as the back fours trusted the officials to flag for offsides and Bright Star Academy seemed to deploy a libero at the heart of their defence. The wide men deployed on the right towards the spectators’ end found themselves in a swamp on their attacks and it was heartening to watch a few, trade in the imminent slip to cutting in inside and meeting the wrath of the no-nonsense centre-halves. A strong case was also made for the importance of conditioning at this level. Better prepared sides took their opponents to the sword in the later stages of the game as they outperformed ‘weaker’ players.
Naturally, this article made an effort to investigate the whereabouts of fan favourites Gor Mahia Youth whose absence from the tournament was deafening silence that cut through the din, which continues to highlight the plight of and challenges that amateur and even professional teams in the country face: poor organization. And like quite a number of youth teams, Gor Mahia Youth wanted to participate in the tournament but for logistical reasons on their end couldn’t make it. Overall, the Regional Finals were entertaining, inspired hope in the organization of our tournaments and should challenge those in sports management to higher standards.
South B United 2 – 0 Uweza FC
2 goals in the Second half had the lads from South B overpower Uweza FC with goals from Victor Ndegwa and Enock Wanyama. South B United also made the semi-finals in the previous edition.
Jericho All-Stars 2 – 1 Bright Star Academy
Bramwell Kavaya from Jericho netted a brace to recover from a goal down by Collins Ambayo from Kasarani’s Bright Star Academy whose directness of play was pretty unique in this tournament.
Carolina for Kibera 0 – 0 Dagoretti Mixed School (4-3 pens)
The only game that went unresolved in regulation time, saw Carolina for Kibera vindicated from the penalty spot to win 4-3
Acakoro Ladies 4 – 1 Nairobi County Queens
Kasarani’s Acakoro Ladies have grown in leaps and bounds. The last time out saw them eat some humble pie and in the spirit of sportsmanship and living to fight another day, gladly served Nairobi County Queens some of that humble pie going 4 – 1 up in the first half against Nairobi County Queens. Syliva Makhungu (2) Florence Achieng’ and Catherine Awuor from Kasarani were on the scoresheet with Millicent Lukoje giving the sole reply from County Queens.
The finals are on today at the same venue:
- South B United v Jericho All-Stars
- Acakoro Ladies v Carolina for Kibera
The Region’s Finalists will travel to Meru’s Kinoru Stadium for the National finals as well as win KES 200,000 and a host of individual prizes; with the runners-up being awards KES 100,000 among other prizes.
The National Finalists will make an All-Star team which will travel to Spain for an exclusive training camp, courtesy of Safaricom’s partnership with La Liga.
Twende La Liga.
Acakoro Ladies from Kasarani and South B United from Starehe are the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Nairobi Region champions.
South B United triumphed in the finals beating Jericho All-Stars from Makadara 2-1. Alvin Kuka cancelled Fabio Otieno’s opener for Jericho All Stars with Meshack Omondi completing the rout. Acakoro Ladies from Kasarani drew Carolina for Kibera FC 1 – 1. Catherine Awuor gave Acakoro Ladies the lead in the 16th minute before Pauline Nyanduko scored the equalizer in the second half. Acakoro won 5-4 on penalties.
- Acakoro Ladies 1:1 Carolina For Kibera FC (5-4 penalties)
Acakoro Ladies 1 (5)
- Catherine Awuor – 16th Minute
Carolina For Kibera 1 (4)
- Pauline Nyanduko – 57th Minute
- Jericho All-Star 1: 2 South B united
Jericho All-Stars 1
- Otieno Fabio– 27th Minute
South B United 2
- Kuka Alvin – 33rd Minute
- Omondi Meshack – 74th minute
- Enock Wanyama – South B United (Boys)
- Hashina Diana – Acakoro Ladies (Girls)
- Golden Boot/Top Scorer
- Bramwell Kavaya – Jericho All-Stars (2 goals)
- Sylvia Makhungu – Acakoro Ladies (2goals)
- Catherine Awuor – Acakoro Ladies (2 goas)
- Best Keeper/ Golden Glove
Caleb Omondi – Jericho All-Stars
Yvonne Adhiambo – Acakoro Ladies
The National Finalists are:
|South B United||Makadara|
|Al- Ahly FC||Kajiado|
|Kitale Queens||Trans Nzoia|
|Lugari Blue Saints||Lugari|
|Bishop Njenga Girls||Lugari|