Thus far the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament has been fantastic, a season played out with the emergence of new tantalizing talent, and is producing superb games and show of skill at each level.
During this past weekend, Nairobi converged at the Stima Club Sports Ground in Ruaraka, where the Nairobi region finals took place. The best eight teams from Nairobi region; South B, Slum Dwellers, Kamukunji Boys, Gor Mahia Youth, Acakoro Ladies, Soweto Queens, Kangemi Ladies and Beijing Raiders, came to battle for a place in the national finals. Saturday’s heavy rains were just a blip on the radar of the teams as the teams fought and toiled on the slippery and muddy pitch.
Come Play Your Passion! With the prospects of taking a flight to London to train with superstars what needed to be done was done! In between falls, slips, and tackles, the fans shouted for goals and the players delivered. Gor Mahia Youth (Boys) and Beijing Raiders (Girls) will represent Nairobi Region in the National Finals at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega from 22-25th March,2018.
Saturday, 17th March 2018
As the last regional finals to be held before winners from the eight regions meet in Bukhungu stadium for the finals, our media team took the opportunity to cover the games and report on the showcase of talent at the venue.
The day’s opening match was between Beijing Raiders and Kangemi Ladies that set the tempo by delivering such thrill and so many goals. Beijing Raiders made their intentions clear by hitting the back of the net thrice by the stroke of halftime and placing their opponents in a difficult position. The second half started more evenly as Kangemi Ladies, provided a challenge but it was well beyond them as they conceded four more goals even though they scored two goals. Sarah Atieno netted a hattrick for Beijing Raiders, with Salvine Kasowa and Annet Matinde each bagging a brace. Lucy Chesanga and Mecyline Achieng scored the two goals for the Kangemi Ladies.
FT Beijing Raiders 7-2 Kangemi Ladies
The second girls’ semifinal pitted Acakoro Ladies against Soweto Queens in a match that was rather defensive, with both teams cautiously probing each other but failing to convert their chances. It took 29 minutes for Sylvia Makungu to tap in a sitter that would decide the game and ensure Acakoro Ladies proceeded to Sunday’s final.
FT Acakoro Ladies 1-0 Soweto Queens
The first boys’ semifinal was between Gor Mahia Youth and Kamukunji High. One would think that this was the final game of the tournament judging by its intensity, passion and drama. These two foes had a legacy to protect and for them, this was for all and nothing. Indeed, they did give their all. Kamukunji is a giant in the national football scene and has been the nursery of exceptional talent such as Dennis Oliech, McDonald Mariga and his brother Victor Mugubi Wanyama. These are Kenyan stars that have gone to shine in the biggest leagues in world. On the other hand, Gor Mahia Youth team is a feeder for the most successful Premier League side and national champions, Gor Mahia and for them, the heritage of the club was at stake. They had a name to protect and fight for. As predicted , the game was fast paced and both teams created chances to score. Within only five minutes, Musa Ismail (Gor Mahia Youth) had placed the ball in the back of the net. Minutes later as the clock struck 23′, Otieno Selassie (Gor Mahia Youth) doubled his team’s advantage. The scores remained the same as the match went into the half time break. The second half started with a resurgent Kamukunji clawing back to steal a goal through Cyrus Onyancha’s penalty. It was a tough match for Gor who now played one-man less after Omwenga Dickson was sent off for rough tackling. However, they managed to hold on and even score though Peter Kamau five minutes to stoppage time, to all but end the battle.
FT Gor Mahia Youth 3-1 Kamukunji High
The last boys’ semifinal match was in tough conditions as the rains pounded the venue making the grass surface slippery. South B United faced Slum Dwellers in the match that also delivered the promise of Chapa Dimba’s Play with Passion tagline. Wilson Anguli (South B United) and Musa Masika (Slum Dwellers) both scored one goal for their teams even though South B United lost one man through a red card in the dying minutes of the game. The match had to be decided on post-match penalties where Slum Dwellers edged out South B United 3-1. Slum Dwellers would now face Gor Mahia Youth in the finals on Sunday.
FT Slum Dwellers 1-1 South B United (3-1 pens)
Sunday, 18th March 2018
To escape the punishing conditions that result after heavy downpour, the organizers decided to move the two final games to start earlier in the day. Their efforts yielded fruit as both the boys’ and girls’ final were played in dry weather.
The female finalists opened the fixtures of the day with a highly anticipated game between Beijing Raiders and Acakoro Ladies. Coming from a decisive thumping of their opponents in the semi finals, Beijing Raiders had only one thought in mind. Continue the demolishing and harrassment of whoever stepped in their way. They did not disappoint and the writing was on the wall after a brilliant effort from Kasowa Salvine (Beijing Raiders) in the 25th minute put them ahead. Just before Acakoro could recover from their deflated mood after the goal, Rhobi Maximilla (Beijing Raiders) added salt to injury and doubled the lead less than three minutes later. Hopes for Acakoro would later emerge after they were awarded a penalty, which Veronica Awino unfortunately failed to convert. Acakoro would rue the missed opportunity and the game went into half time while they were two goals down. Atieno Pauline (Beijing Raiders) would later scored a brace and Matinde Annet (Beijing Raiders) would add a fifth to put the game beyond the reach of Acakoro. A haul of 12 goals in two games by Beijing Raiders was truly spectacular.
FT Beijing Raiders 5-0 Acakoro Ladies
Most bets were on Gor Mahia Youth to ease into this game and win it.
They did after outplaying Slum Dwellers and putting three goals past them in the first half. Gor would later fend off all attempts from Slum Dwellers in the second half and finish the game proud to have qualified for the National Finals in Kakamega.
We are very proud of our victory today. The game was tough and the field was muddy but we won! We remain hopeful to win the National finals come 25th of March,” said,Chris Alpher, Captain – Gor Mahia Youth FC.
FT Gor Mahia Youth 3-0 Slum Dwellers
Golden Gloves/Best Keeper
· Kisia Esnas– Beijing Raiders
· Caleb Omondi- Gor Mahia Youth FC
Golden Boots (Girls)
· Sarah Atieno – Beijing Raiders(3 goals)
· Annet Matinde – Beijing Raiders(3 goals)
· Selvine Kasowa – Beijing Raiders (3 goals)
Golden Boots (Boys)
· Otieno Selassie – Gor Mahia (3 goals)
· Hashila Diana – Acakoro Ladies
· Mathew Mwendwa – Gor Mahia Youth FC
The two winning teams (boys and girls) each received a cash reward of KES 200,000 and will now proceed to the National finals set for the 22nd to 25th March, at Bukhungu Stadium.
“The regional finals have ended today and all the regional champions from across the country are gearing to go. We have already done the draws for the National finals and each team is aware of their challenger as at now. We applaud all the winning teams for the job well done and wish them all the very best in their quest for National victory,” said, Sylvia Mulinge, Director -Consumer Business Unit, Safaricom.
At the grand finale, the winning teams will walk away with KES1 million each and an opportunity to go for an international training and mentorship camp in London in April 2018.
Over 270 games were played across the entire Nairobi region with 174 teams taking part in the competition that kicked off with group stages on of 13th January 2018.
Safaricom has invested KES100 million towards the program which includes Sh10m worth of prizes as well as funds for renovation of select community pitches through a legacy programme.
Special Thanks to Kendi Fransisca for the comments and contributions to this piece.
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