On Saturday 21 October Isiolo’s Taqwa FC led four other teams to the Eastern Regional Chapa Dimba na Safaricom finals set for 25 and 26 November at the Moi Stadium, Embu.
The five were joined by Yatte FC of Embu and Sildan Academy of Tharaka on Sunday in the regional finals after the completion of Lower Eastern branch games at the Moi Stadium, Embu.
The weekend saw all three branches of Eastern – Southern, Upper Eastern and Lower Eastern hold its finals by assembling their respective sub branch winners, with each fronting a boys' and girls' team for the regional finals.
Upper Eastern however had part of its games hived off due to special consideration, hence a Marsabit-Moyale affair to give the two areas, otherwise considered marginalized, a chance to bring forward the fourth teams to the regional finals.
While Taqwa booked the boys ticket from Upper Branch, Karugwa Girls claimed the girls ticket, in games played at Meru School.
Mwingi Junior Stars and Ngakaa Talent Academy from Makueni upset the form book to win the Southern Branch boys' and girls' finals, respectively, from games played at the Scotts grounds in Machakos.
Out in Marsabit, hosts Saku United lived to their billing as they whipped out visiting Mabu Girls from Moyale 2-0 in games played at the Moi Girls school grounds.
Saku will however wait a little longer to know which boys’ team will accompany them, as a one-off tie between Butiye FC of Moyale and Saku United of Marsabit failed to hit the 90th minute mark, stopped prematurely due to a disputed penalty.
Upper Eastern Branch
At the Meru School, an organized and clinical Karugwa Queens coached by Elvis Wafula hit Thinyaine 2-0 in a one-off final to proceed. Sammu Wangare and Mway Madrine shook the net to lead their side to the regional finals.
While it was a first for Karugwa, it was third time lucky for Taqwa who once again conquered Meru to return for a third stab at the regionals in as many attempts – having qualified to the same stage during the Sakata Ball years in 2010 and 2011.
Taqwa won a three-team round robin pool with two straight wins to advance. They started the day by watching Meru North champions Bidii Sports hit their counterparts from Meru Central Athuri Rujiine 3-1. Mwenda Zakariya, Dennis Mwiti and Kelvin Mbae scored to hand Bidii an early advantage.
Taqwa took out Athuri Rujiine 5-1 in the next game after overriding an early 1-0 with a five goal blitz.
Abdisalan Ibrahim banged a hat trick as Ali Mustapha and Abdrahman Mohammed each scored once to complete the great comeback.
In the showstopper that followed, in a winner takes-all affair, Taqwa managed a 1-0 win over Bidii Sports under fading lights to advance from the same venue where they hit Kibirichia in 2011 to make it to the regionals.
Abdisalan Ibrahim’s goal proved the difference though Bidii will feel hard done as a curling corner earlier on was disallowed for offside.
Marsabit was host to perennial rivals Moyale, and from Moi Girls School fields it is the hosts Saku Queens that booked a ticket to Embu with a 2-0 dispatch of Mabu Girls. Goals from Dida Kulla and Kabale Halakhe ensured Saku claims the spoils and bragging rights.
In the boys final that followed, an ill-tempered and high tension clash between Saku United and visiting Butiye failed to end as the former disputed an awarded penalty leading to a premature end to the proceedings’.
At the Scots grounds, travelling Mwingi Junior Stars denied home team Katoloni FC a place at the next stage after claiming the final game on post-match shoots. They won it 5-4 after regulation time left the two tied at 1-1.
For a place in the final, Mwingi beat fancied Kathungi Secondary – the 2011 Eastern region losing finalists, in the semis, as Katoloni FC dismissed St. Martin’s B – who replaced disqualified Tumaini Educational Centre 4-3 on penalties in the other semi.
In the girls’ edition, a nine-person Ngakaa Talent Center from Makueni sub branch hocked a full strength Athi River Queens 1-0 in the semis then went on to see off Kitui Ladies 5-0 in the final for a place in Embu at the tail end of November.
Evelyne Anita, a dribbler gifted with explosive speed and hot shots was the go to person for Ngakaa as she scored the loner against Athi River Queens before adding four in the final for a haul of five on the day. Margaret Mutua complemented her goals with one of her own against Kitui Ladies.
To book eventual winners Ngakaa, Kitui Ladies had seen off Kyanika from Mwingi 2-0 in the semis.
Lower Eastern Branch
At the Moi Stadium, Sildan Academy from Tharaka whipped Chuka’s Green starlets 3-0 in the final game of the day to book the girls' ticket. Fatuma Nthiga scored a brace as Jackline Kagendo scored once in the the rout.
In the previous game Sildan had gone down 2-1 to hosts BMW and needed nothing short of the convincing win over Green Starlets to advance. In the first game Kamwimbi had beaten BMW 2-1.
In the boy’s final, Yatte FC put one past Mbeere’s Kambaru Boys to follow on the path of Embu Sportive that participated in the Eastern regionals back in 2011. Chakanda Juma Ali scored the winning goal.
For a place in the final, Yatte FC, coached by Njue Nyaga, beat Chuka’s Kamwimbi 4-2 as Kamabaru were 5-4 aggregate winners over Tharaka’s Panga FC. The two were locked in a 1-1 stalemate in normal time.
Summary of Eastern winners to contest regional finals on 25/26 Nov 2016
Girls: Ngakaa Talent Academy (Makueni)
Boys: Mwingi Junior Stars (Mwingi)
Girls: Sildan Academy (Tharaka)
Boys: Yatte FC (Embu)
Girls: Sakuu Girls (Marsabit), Karugwa Queens (Meru Central)
Boys: Taqwa (Isiolo), Butiye (Moyale)/Sakku United (Marsabit) – yet to be decided