Laiser Hill, St. John’s Kaloleni lift Rising Stars titles
Ten-man Laiser Hill beat Barding High 3-1 on post-match penalties to lift their maiden Airtel Rising Stars/Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association national title in an absorbing boys’ final staged at Moi Stadium, Kisumu on Saturday.
Both sides settled for a one-all draw in normal time before substitute goalkeeper Frankline Otieno led his side to victory in the shootout, saving three from Shemi Oluoch, Arnold Onyango and Ndemi Keagan.
Otieno came on in the 59th minute after first choice goalkeeper Emmanuel Juma was stretched off injured before crushing the dreams of the home side.
Laiser converted through Evans Mutuse, John Macharia and Chris Owino while Kennedy Mwangi sent his wide after hanging on when Sheldon Ouma was sent off for a second bookable offence in the second half of extra time.
Ibrahim Mohammed scored Barding’s opener in the 46th minute, and the eventual winners had to wait until the 85th to restore parity through Geoffrey Ouma.
Earlier, former champions Passenga saw off Bukembe 3-2 in post match penalties to take the second runners up position, after a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time.
In girl’s category, St. John’s Kaloleni dethroned champions Wiyeta Girls to also celebrate a maiden title where an Elizabeth Katungwa’s brace and Hadima Nuru’s goal lifted the Coastal Region representatives a 3-1 victory.
Stella Anyango scored the consolation for the ousted champions.
Nginda Girls, who produced the female player of the tournament in Christine Kitaru, beat Nyakach Girls 2-0 in another game decided through spot kicks following a barren stalemate in the regulation and extra time to leave the home sides without victory as curtains came down.
Triza Manyala, Mercy Airo, Lencer Akinyi and Velma Juma all lost their spot kicks as Kitaru, and Levenda Anyango converted Ngida’s to carry the day. Rachel Muema lost the second penalty for the Aberdares side.
In the grand finale at a fully packed Moi Stadium, the end to end encounter started with Barding as the favourites with backing of the noisy crowd as both coaches started with their finest, some of them making a comeback after resting during the Friday’s semi finals.
Laiser’s John Macharia combined with Masika in the fifth but the former’s shot was blocked by Barding defender John Oginga, before the Ayub Timbe’s young brother Masika, missed narrowly, hitting the side netting eight minutes later.
Laiser continued to dominate the early spell of the match, but failed to capitalize on three successive corners in the 21st minute with the hosts looking overawed by the occasion.
Two minutes later, Masika’s well-taken free kick from outside the box flew inches above the bar.
Barding had the most promising chance of the first half at the half hour mark when; Clement Okring unleashed a powerful shot to force the impressive Juma to tip the ball over the bar for a corner that bore nothing.
Nine minutes later Benjamin Odhiambo wasted another chance to put Barding to the lead in a one on one situation against the keeper as they grew into the game.
After the restart, Laiser’s coach John Mwaura pulled out injured Kevin Owino for Chris Owino, but he had barely had s feel of the pitch when Barding sprung the counter to take the lead.
Confusion in the Barding’s box rewarded Laiser’s efforts five minutes to time with Ouma clinically finishing a cross by Kennedy Mwangi to send the match into the extra time and the eventual conclusion via the lottery of penalties.
With Kenya being the East Africa Secondary Schools (EASS) Games host later this month in Eldoret, the top four teams in both girls and boy’s categories will feature in the tournament.
For the boys, Passenga, Bukembe, Laiser Hill and Barding Boys will play while the Nyakach, Nginda, Wiyeta and St. John’s flying Kenya’s flag for the girls.
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