June 24, 2019 By Orero Levi
For some players– perhaps those unfamiliar with what it means to be national champions – the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom medals and prize money was a vivid dream in front of thousands at the Kinoru Stadium on Sunday.
An end to a crazy journey from the qualifying wins and close calls. Manyatta United, from Nyanza and Kitale Queens, from Rift Valley, went home dazzled, and still dealing with what they had just achieved. Players make history and not the other way round. When skillful boys and girls take the opportunity to make things happen, the world stops to listen.
The Girls’ Final
Kitale Queens got lucky from an easy skip over the quarterfinals after Bishop Njenga Girls from Western opted out of the competition. They earned more time to rest and train, which could be why luck smiled at them. A rather sad pummelling of Barcelona Ladies gave them a spot in the finals against Acakoro Ladies and they kept fighting.
An early opener from Sylvia Makhungu( Acakoro) set the ball rolling before the champions pulled one back before the stroke of half time. Acakoro hit again to resume the lead after the break but Kitale Queens forced a draw. The match ended 2-2 and proceeded to penalties, which decided who pockets the one million shilling prize money.
Kitale Queens 2-2 Acakoro Ladies
Kitale Queens (2)
· Agneta Marondo -22nd Minute
· Daisy Busia – 71st Minute
Acakoro Ladies (2)
· Sylvia Makhungu – 15th Minute
· Rachel Adhiambo – 68th minute
The Boys’ Final
An entertaining and physical boys’ final ended with Manyatta United proving to be too much for a strong Al Ahly side. Two goals by Dennis Ayot and Benson Ochieng’ for Manyatta tilted the game in favor of the Nyanza regional champions. Already trailing by two goals after the break, a penalty by Al Alhy was not enough to bring back hope.
Speaking to the media, Nicholas Munangwe (Manyatta United) goalkeeper said: It is a good feeling to win against such a tough opponent. We have fought hard and we have come a long way. Today is a big day for us and we are so happy. Our win today makes us proud because we are taking home the glory and KES 1M that will go a long way in helping the academy. This is a big thing for us.
Manyatta United 2-1 Al-Ahly
Manyatta United (2)
· Mark Ochieng’ – 23rd minute
· Benson Ochieng’ – 38th minute
Penalty – 60th minute
Individual Awards – National Finals
· Daisy Busia – Kitale Queens (Girls)
· Abdurrahman Abdullahi – Al-Ahly FC (Boys)
- Top Scorer
Dennis Atsenga –Lugari Blue Saints
Mark Ochieng – Manyatta United
Benson Ochieng – Manyatta United
· Jane Njeri – Barcelona Ladies
- Best Keeper
· Nicholas Munangwe –Manyatta United
· Phyllis Chemutai – Kitale Queens
Manyatta United and Kitale Queens each bagged the coveted prize of KES 1M among other individualized prizes. The losing finalists, Acakoro Ladies, and Al-Ahly FC pocketed KES 500,000 cash reward and silver medals each.
This tournament edition saw 32 boys and girls scouted from across all regions during the eight regional finals to form The Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom All-Stars who attended a ten days training camp in Spain early last month.
On the sidelines
As things quieten down, many go back to the drawing board to plan for the next edition of the competition. While Manyatta United and Kitale Queens will fight to retain their titles, their rivals will not sleep. Fair play dictates that you congratulate your opponent. However, it does not, in any way, mean that you give them an easy pass next time. Congratulations to the future stars of Kenyan football! May they continue working and creating a dream of a nation that loves and supports footballing talent.