ELDORET, Kenya, Jul 24- In the absence of defending champions Upper Hill High School from Nairobi, pre-favorites St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale and Kakamega High’s Green Commandos showed early intent after winning their opening games of the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association boys’ football on Tuesday in Eldoret.
St. Anthony’s Kitale thumped debutants Ringa Boys from Nyanza 5-0 in a mini Mashemeji derby, a game that attracted a huge number of fans while Kakamega High School won 4-1 against Eastern Region’s Kathungi.
“I am very pleased with the result today. Winning the first game with a good margin is good and it has given my boys confidence. I know we are in a tough pool but I am not afraid. I have played in these championship so many times before and winning has been a part of me,” said a confident George Owoko, the St. Anthony’s Kitale head coach.
Owoko, a former Tusker FC and Bandari FC assistant coach who won the national and East Africa title in 2016 with Kisumu’s Barding says he is confident they will win the crown.
Debutants Ringa were keen to show they were in it on merit and had an early chance after five minutes when Bill Clinton broke through with only the keeper to beat, but his finishing was wanting sending a shot straight to the keeper.
But, Owoko’s boys blew from the shadows of Ringa to break the deadlock after 12 minutes when Eli Sakenyi’s shot from distance somehow managed to grease through the butter fingers of Ringa’s custodian Roswel Otieno.
In the second half, ST. Anthony’s came back wit more venom after being restricted in most of the first half and Sakenyi doubled his tally for the game with a 66th minute goal tapping home from a defensive error.
Owoko’s boys finished off the job in the final 15 minutes of the game, James Kibendi stepping off the bench to score a late brace to see the team start off positively.
In the other pitch, Kakamega whose last conquest in the national games was 2008 in Machakos showed their intent to reclaim the trophy with a comfortable win over last year’s semi-finalists Kathungi.
Kakamega were powered by Gor Mahia midfielder Alpha Onyango and Sony Sugar’s Joshua Otieno and used their experience playing in the National Super League to make minced meat of the Eastern region reps.
“That NSL experience has really helped us to grow but in these school games, you can’t underrate anyone. We are taking a game at a time and hopefully we go on to win. It is tough but we are equal to the task,” said the Green Commandos coach Brendan Mwinamo.
Kakamega however had to come from a goal down with Kathungi breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute through Rashid Abdulrahman.
But, the hard fighting commandos went back level eight minutes later through Kevinton Machika before Otieno showed his worth with a 21st minute thumping goal from the right after the keeper failed to give the ball a powerful punch.
Machika completed his brace late on in the first half before Dan Oloo sealed the win six minutes into the second half.