Kabkara United FC from Bungoma County were crowned champions of the Lwandanyi Ward Youth Football tournament that ended on Sunday at Kabkara Primary School ground.
Kabkara United which comprised the youth drawn from various learning institutions participated in the branch league went on the offensive from the word go, with David Kibet, Haron Kibet, Micah Kipyegon and Nick Papaka launching sporadic attacks.
Their efforts paid off dividends when Dan Kibet fed Kipgyegon with a clinical pass to beat Korosiandet goalkeeper Genye Ndiema with a low drive shot that they held onto to the final whistle in the match officiated by Joel Olinyo assisted by Oscar Chemiat and Stephen Muragwa.
In the semi-finals on Saturday, Kabkara United ensured a ticket for the finals after beating Machakha 1-0 in the with a 114th minute extra time goal through Micah Kipyegon.
The two teams had battled to a goalless draw in regulation time.
In the second semi-final encounter at the same venue, Barcelona and Korosiandet settled for a 1-1 draw with Joseph Kiso scoring for Korosiandet in the 6th minute and Edgar Obare netting for Barcelona two minutes later.
Both goals came through penalties awarded by centre referee Stephen Maragwa.
Owing to darkness, the match could not proceed to extra time. Organizers led by sponsor James Eumonit rescheduled to Sunday, which Korosiandet won 1-0 with Titus Simatwa tapping home the lone goal from a Gerald Wafula perfect cross from the right flank.
Kabkara captain Haron Kibet thanked his teammates for the splendid job, noting that their opponents’ defense foiled their efforts before securing one chance that saw them carry the day.
Korosiandet captain Joseph Chemengo said a team can’t force victory when lack is not on their side, attributing their lose to playing two consecutive games in one day, noting that it made the striking force reduce their momentum.
The event sponsor James Eumonit urged area leaders and businessmen to support youths, noting that they have what it takes to steer Lwandanyi Ward to greater heights.
“We shall go far if we endeavor to embrace the spirit of empowering our youths to tap their talents,” he said, adding that plans are at an advanced stage to start under 18 tournament for ladies.
Eumonit sponsored the tournament that was co-sponsored by Hassan Gatimwa. Machakha FC boycotted the playoff match against Barcelona.
Gatimwa thanked sponsor Eumonit for the kind gesture, noting that they will sponsor a similar event in December with four more teams to make it 12.
Kabkara used the week-long tournament to recruit players to boost the team in the next level of the league they will feature during the 2023/2024 season.
Among prominent sports personalities who watched this bruising encounter included former Western region athletics head coach Livingstone Otwane between 1971 and 1986, tournament chairman Damascas Okanya, organising secretary, Hassan Gatimwa, club team manager Isaac Iutai Lwandanyi Assistant County Commissioner Samson Rotich among others.
Winners Kabkara United received Ksh5, 000 and a MIKASA ball worth Ksh4, 500, with the runners-up Korosiandet taking home Ksh3, 000 and a ball.
Barcelona, which took third position, received Ksh2, 000 and a ball with other participating teams, including Machakha, Lwandanyi, Tororo, Tamlega, and Akobwait receiving a ball each.
Titus Simatwa of Korosiandet fc emerged top scorer, best goalkeeper Kevin Etyang of Kabkara, and best player Joseph Chepkoy, also from Kabkara received playing boots each.
Event organizer Damascas Okanya thanked Emumonit and Hassan for offering to sponsor the event, adding that it will go a long way in tapping talents that abound in the area.
“The event, he added, will also go a long way in putting the youths together, especially during school holidays, adding, youths need to be involved and in meaningful activities.
Akobwait FC staunch supporter Haggai Imwene told the club management to address the performance which saw it finish last, noting that it’s demoralizing.
By Gilbert Ochieng
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