St Anthony's Boys Kitale were on Saturday crowned this year's under-19 football champions after a 5-4 post-match penalties win over Nairobi's Dagoretti High School on the final day of the National Secondary Schools Term Two Games at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu.
The two sides were locked in a 0-0 stalemate after normal and extra time forcing spot kicks to decide the winner.
It is St Anthony's, popularly known as the Solidarity Boys, fifth crown and their first since 2012 when they beat Mombasa High School 1-0 also in Kisumu. They succeed last year's winners Kakamega High School, who failed to reach this year's nationals.
The two teams will represent the country in the discipline at the East Africa Secondary School Games set for Arusha, Tanzania later this month.
Speaking after the match, St Anthony’s head coach Peter Mayoyo attributed their victory to dedicated practice and support from home fans, who had travelled in large numbers.
“Our opponents were more physical than us and most of the time we were forced to use long balls. However, we expected to win though I knew the match would go the wire," he said.
He further noted that they had once again practised penalties after also coming through their semi-final against Ebwali High School through spot-kicks.
On his side, Dagoretti coach Joseph Makhoha said he was satisfied with the second position as they will get to play in the regional games.
“We were playing against an experienced team and put in mind that we were playing these games for the second time and it was our first time to reach the final," he said.
In the playoff, Ebwali thrashed last year’s finalists Olbolosat Secondary School 3-0 to grab the third position.
While the two teams displayed quality football in a final that was attended by hundreds of fans, players had difficulties playing on the artificial turf which was very hot following the 12.30pm kick-off.
The centre referee was forced to spare atleast five minutes in first and second half for players to have a water break.
The two sides created equal scoring opportunities, but neither was able to break the deadlock.
In the 65th minute, St Anthony’s Daniel Wamalwa’s strike came off the cross bar as the 2002 East African champions went close.
Daniel Musamali, Tyson Kapchanga, Godwood Okoth, Godfrey Onchwati and Cedrick Mushina scored from the spot for St Anthony's, while Simon Omondi, Paul Odhiambo, John William and Mohamed Abdi netted for Dagoretti.