Kenya wins Copa Coca-Cola under-16 Africa Cup of Nations as they claim boys' and girls' titles

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Sunday, December 16th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Kenya celebrates after beating Nigeria during the Coca -cola under 16 Africa Cup at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on December 15, 2018.Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard

Kenyans lift Copa titles

Kenyan teams offer a befitting closure of the inaugural Copa challenge.

Kenya completed an impressive double as they claimed the boys' and girls' titles at the inaugural Copa Coca Cola under-16 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament which concluded at the Afraha Stadium, Nakuru on Saturday.

Kenyan boys won a dramatic penalty shootout 3-2 against Nigeria after the sides settled for a barren draw in normal time.

Kenya coach Peter Mayoyo said his charges deserved the title. "This game should not have gone to penalties because we dominated from start to finish while Nigeria just sat back," Mayoyo said.

Kenyan keeper Issa Emuria saved two penalties from Williams Gift and Mohammed Hussian while Jerry Umeke saw his penalty go wide to send the home fans into frenzy. Kumater Shina and Omodora Olamilekan converted.

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Kenya, on the other hand, scored theirs through Haron Kibiwott, David Leon and Isaiah Abwal. Lukes Maina had his penalty saved by Nigerian keeper Moses Aluko as Rashid Issa sent his spot kick wide.

Buoyed by a partisan home crowd, Kenyan dominated proceedings from the onset with top scorer Jacob Onyango troubling the Nigerian defence with a wave of attacks. He had the game's first chance after eight minutes but his crisp shot missed the target narrowly.

That set the pace for the remainder of the half as Kenyans threatened but could not penetrate the Nigerian defence. The first half ended with Kenya leading all stats.

Kenya girls celebrates after beating Zimbabwe during the Coca -cola under 16 Africa Cup at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on December 15, 2018.Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard

The second half saw the hosts confine their opponents to their half but were yet again frustrated as they failed to find the break through forcing match to go into penalties.

Mercy Njeri's eighth minute goal was enough to give Kenya the girls' title. The victory saw the Kenyan girls complete a double against their guests, who they had beaten 2-0 on day one of the championships. 

An ecstatic Njeri said teamwork earned them the trophy. "Our dream of winning an international trophy came true. We worked very hard in preparation for the tournament and I'm glad that our hard work, disciple and dedication paid off but above all, teamwork won us the trophy," Njeri said.

Botswana took bronze after beating Zambia in a third place playoffs match. The match ended in a 1-1 draw setting the stage for the decisive penalties. Pono Bonolo, Ricardo Pintes, Lebogang Onkabeste, Kgholo Tlotlo, Djoka Tumisang scored for Botswana. In reply, Benny Kalombo, Boniface Phiri, Thomas Tembo, Lickson Ngambi were on target for Zambia while Isaac Banda missed the crucial penalty forcing his side to settle for fourth.

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