Resilient Kenya Police put up a spirited fight to beat men’s defending champions Eastern Company of Egypt 2-1 in their men’s pool A match of the ongoing hockey Africa Cup for Club Championships at City Park. Vincent Odindo’s 61st minute goal was enough to help Kenyans break the jinx of losing to Egyptian clubs over the years.
Kenyans have endured heartbreak, suffering one loss after another in the hands of their Egyptian counterparts at both club and national level. However, the Kenyans got enough of the beating and it was payback time as the law enforcers turned tables. Not even Eastern Company’s emphatic 14-0 conquest over Uganda’s Weatherhead in their opening match could deter Police from bagging maximum points.
Police coach Kenneth Kaunda said his charges stuck to their game plan and he was pleased their strategy worked. “They put all we had learnt in training into practice and I’m glad it worked for us. They also stuck to our game plan and I believe that that was our strong point because that way everybody knew what to do and when to do it,” Kaunda said.
He added that they will not let the win get into them lest they lose focus. “We can’t say that with that victory we are better than other competitors because we still have more matches to play. Until the job is done we are still determined to work harder so we can achieve our objectives.”
The match was balanced with Police not ready to concede an early goal pressing deeper into the opponent’s territory. Their efforts could have paid off in the eighth minute through a penalty stroke after Oliver Echenje was fouled in the circle but international Willis Okeyo’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Shehata Farahat.
The law enforcers refused to let the missed chance dampen their spirits and three minutes later George Mutira tapped home Richard Birir’s shot to give the home boys a 1-0 lead. Police gained more confidence after the goal and they almost added a second through a short corner but Moses Cheplaiti shot wide.
With numerous threats in their space Eastern’s Ahmed Elnaggar retaliated outwitting the Kenya Police defence for a one on one encounter with police goalie James Kayieko. The former Kenya one goalkeeper was equal to task to save his side from conceding. City Park broke into song and dance in the 29th minute when fans thought that police had doubled after Odindo’s shot beat Farahat but his goal was disallowed for a 1-0 score at the break.
On resumption, Police intensified their hunt for more goals but it was Eastern who levelled the score first in the 55th minute through Ibrahim Amr. Odindo finally put his name on the score sheet with his winning goal after being set by Robert Masibo with nine minutes remaining.
Police will take on in-form Bank of Ghana’s Exchequers in their last pool match this evening while holders Eastern Company will tackle Uganda’s Wananchi.