By: BRIAN YONGA
Passenga Boys from Aberdare region and Wiyeta Girls from Nzoia region on Saturday won football titles as the Airtel Rising Stars secondary schools Term Two ‘B’ national games came to an end at Machakos Boys School.
Passenga beat Metropolitan’s Region Laiser Hill 1-0 in hard-fought boys’ final while Wiyeta edged Kobala Girls from Lake Region 1-0 in the girls’ final to be crowned the new champions.
John Avire’s sixth-minute strike settled the pulsating final as Passenga made history by becoming the first school from Aberdare region to win boys’ national football title since the games started in 1970.
Passenga, who had eliminated Lake region’s Kisumu Day 4-3 on post-match penalties in the semi-finals, avenged their 2-1 loss to Laiser Hill in the preliminaries. Laiser Hill on their part beat Kathungi from Highlands region 2-0 in their last four encounter.
Avire attributed his team’s success to team work and fighting spirit that carried them all through the week-long tourney.
“It is an amazing feeling to win the title, we have worked hard despite not hitting the top gear. We gave it our all, rode our luck at times but in the end we are the champions and now we can celebrate our hardwork,” Avire who finished on four goals told Sunday Nation Sport.
Avire scored with his team’s first attack of the game finishing off a sweeping move as he fired past Laiser Hill keeper Samuel Wanjema. Laiser Hill with Musa Masika, skipper Flavius Chamla and Kennedy Owino in attack tried to find their way back in the game but were thwarted by the Passenga defence.
Masika hit the post in the 35th minute with a ferocious shot that had beaten Passenga keeper Daniel Likoko. The half ended with Laiser dominating but Passenga had the all-important goal. Laiser Hill continued to press after the break and had the ball in the back of the net in the 67th minute when Owino headed home but his goal was disallowed for off-side.
Laiser Hill sent bodies forward in search of the equaliser but the Passenga defence stood firm as they held out for the famous win.
“The early goal affected our game plan and we tried our best in trying to find the equaliser but it was not to be. I am proud of my boys, they gave their all and we live to fight another day. We will come back stronger in the regional games in Rwanda,” said Laiser Hil coach John Mwaura.
In the girls’ final, Judith Musimbi’s 64th minute penalty gave Wiyeta their sixth national title and their first since 2008 when they beat Archbishop Njenga in the final which was also played in Machakos.
Wiyeta had initally failed to make the semi-finals but won an appeal against St John’s Kaloleni from Coast region who fielded an over age player. Wiyeta beat Aberdare Region’s Nginda Girls 3-1 in their semis while Kobala beat 2013 national champions Olympic Girls in the other semi.
In the play-offs, Kisumu Day beat Kathungi 5-4 on penalties in the boys’ encounter while Olympic beat Nginda 3-1 also on penalties in the girls’ category.