Kevin Ochieng’ scored with two minutes left for a 4-3 win against Ofafa Jericho on Saturday at Lenana School as Upper Hill High claimed their maiden Nairobi Airtel Rising Stars Term Two ‘B’ football crown.
National and East Africa girls football champions Archbishop Njenga were shocked 1-0 by minnows Ibinzo in the Western Region final, while 10-time national champions, Kakamega High, won 3-2 on post-match penalties against Friends Misikhu, after a 1-1 draw in normal and extra time.
In Mombasa, Coast boys’ champions Tononoka High School confirmed their superiority after they defeated Mavumbo 3-1 in the final at Shimo La Tewa, while in the girls’ category, St John’s edged out Kilifi Mixed 5-4 on post-match penalties.
In Eastern, Kibirichia Boys from Meru Central and Chogoria Girls were the winners in the Eastern Region. Kibirichia defeated Kathungi Secondary School 2-0, while Chogoria defeated Barazani from Makueni 1-0.
In the Rift Valley finals, champions Tar Tar Girls were in a stupendous form as they dispatched Itigo 7-0 in a lop-sided final. In the boys’ category, former national winners, St. Anthony’s, Kitale were stretched by Kapenguria before they wrapped up the regional title with a 4-2 score in post-match penalties.
Pulled one back
In Kakamega, the Green Commandos’ captain Michael Wandera wasted a chance to put his side ahead after 23 minutes, but fired wide from the spot after Michel Gavogi’s foul in the danger zone.
“The Green Commandos are back and all teams better watch out,” Timothy Otieno, Kakamega’s lead striker warned after the final whistle.
In Nairobi, Upper Hill were quick from the whistle, as they raced to a 3-0 lead in the first 35 minutes through Ronald Ochieng (24th minute), Timothy Luda (33rd) Michael Olunga (35th), but were shocked as their opponents gathered enough courage and ensured parity in the second half.
Anthony Gicho pulled one back for the 1991 national champions after 65 minutes, Anthony Waweru added the second 10 minutes later before Stephen Odhiambo equalled the score with 10 minutes left to full-time.
But as the match was headed for extra time, Ochieng’s effort outside the 18-metre box made all the difference, leaving Ofafa Jericho’s fans shell-shocked. “Wow! I can’t believe that we’ve made it to the finals. It has been a long journey, but we are happy that we’ve achieved what we couldn’t in the past years,” Upper Hill’s head coach, Charles Okere said.
Won on post-match penalties
In the girls’ category, captain Fatime Omar and Maurine Kinabudori were on target as Olympic retained the Nairobi regional title following their 2-0 win against St .Teresa’s. It took only 20 minutes for Fatime to tap in from inside the box before Kanabudori extended the advantage five minutes after resumption with a deft free kick from the edge of the box.
“We are matching to the nationals and our aim is to claim the title in two weeks when the games kick off in Mombasa,” Olympic coach Joseph Oraro said.
On their debut at the games, Makongeni finished third after they beat Maina Wanjigi 3-1 in post-match penalties, while Olympic Boys had it easy against New Jogoo Road in the boys’ play-off. They won 4-0.
In Mombasa, St John’s Girls coach Joseph Oyoo said he was happy with the victory but said they did not play well in the final due to rivalry between the two location neighbouring schools.
“We’ve won many of our matches convincingly but I knew my girls would not play their usual patter taking into account soccer rivalry of the two teams,” said Oyoo.
St John’s scored their penalties through Gerada Akinyi, Rehema Fondo, Janet Mbeyu, Diana Akinyi and Rehema Mwachao while Everlyne Akinyi’s shot was saved by Kilifi keeper Lilian Fondo.
Reports by Sammy Kitula, Muneni Muthusi and Abdulrahman Sheriff