Rodgers Ndegwa and Lynette Matheka @obel_barry
South B Combined were crowned the champions of the 40th edition of annual off-season Koth Biro Cup Tournament after hard-fought 1-0 win over a stubborn Team GAA Huruma during an entertaining final clash held at legendary Ziwani’s Umeme grounds.
A star-studded South B with likes of Zesco’s ace Teddy Akumu, Harun Shakava of 16 times Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia dominated the early minutes of the match and they would have broken the deadlock in the 12th minute when they lead striker Patrick Mugambi found himself unmarked inside the danger area but his feeble shot was easily saved by God Above All (GAA) Huruma custodian Kevin Omondi.
South B would continue to dominate the most part of the first half with the only instance that their opponents made an attack been in the 37th minute when KPL’S Sony Sugar player Amos Asembeka exchange world class passes with his scoring partner Michael Kavenji before firing a wide shot.
Despite both teams whom made their maiden debut in the oldest off season in this edition putting up a spirited fight to lift the cup for the first time none was successful to find the back of the net until the half time whistle.
Upon resumption, both teams seemed rejuvenated but it was South B whom would register first in the score-sheet in the 57th minute when Patrick Mugambi redeemed himself after dribbling from the midfield and fired a thunderbolt that caught Huruma’s backline and the goalie napping sparkling wild celebration in the fully packed ground.
National Super League (NSL) side Nakuru All Stars’ coach Ezekiel Akwana who doubles up as Huruma’s coach introduced Tyson Otieno, Joseph Mbugi, and Peter Njoroge to replace Michael Keveji, Eugene Chege and Patrick Macharia respectively but their efforts to try and level the playing field was heavily thwarted by well erected south B wall until the final whistle.
“It is a good feeling to be crowned champions. Since we began the competition two months ago we took one match at a time and have kept a good record all along and it was no different in the finals. The defence worked well for me and that gave the other players ample time to press for goals,” said an elated South B coach Charles ‘Korea’ Omondi.
On their part, Huruma who had a fine run on their way to the finals, having defeated FIFA Best in the semi-finals by a 3-0 scoreline after a goalless draw were a disappointed lot.
“The match was ours to lose but we failed to utilise the numerous chances that we created in either half of the match. Football is a game of chances and our opponents made use of theirs and won, not because they were better than us but because we let them. It was a poor show for us. Our strategy from the beginning was win every match but we live to fight next year,” said Huruma coach Ezekiel Akwana.
Akwana was however quick to say that the loss cannot be blamed on the players but serve as a lesson as the team regroups for the 41st edition later in December.
“We registered for the competition a bit late and that cost us most of our players and they signed for rival teams. We will begin our preparations early as we gun for the trophy,” added Akwala.
The 40th edition of the annual competition saw Musa Masika bag the Most Valuable player award while Umeme’s Ramadhan Emeka was named the most promising player.
Young fan Flaita Lalur who won people’s hearts after a photo of him being wheeled to a match by his friends went viral was awarded the most outstanding player’s trophy.