AFC Leopards will face Mathare United in the final of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Under 20 championship. The Cubs put on a fine first half display to see off Sofapaka 2-1 in the second semi final played at the Jericho Camp Toyoyo on Thursday afternoon.
Heading into the semis, the Boniface Ambani led Cubs thrashed Bandari 5-1 in what was arguably the game of the tournament.
Sofapaka started the match on a high, forcing Edwin Mukolwe into making a save inside the first three minutes. The Cubs however gathered themselves and found the back of the net in the 10th minute through livewire Vincent Ouma. The bullish striker found space inside Batoto ba Mungu defence to slot past the keeper. Lucky Safari got the second five minutes to halftime, this time round pouncing on a rebound following a blocked Austin Otieno’s shot.
Missing Haroun Nyakha, Eric Kinuthia and Matthew Kono, the Cubs played their hearts out and even the void left by the trio could not be felt. Ouma was a constant threat to the Sofapaka defence and was unlucky to have his brilliant effort shave the crossbar in the 70th minute a few seconds before the Sofapaka got the consolation goal.
Coach Boniface Ambani has told afc.leopards.co.ke that his side what it takes to take on the defending champions in the final to be played on Saturday at the Camp Toyoyo.
‘We have always believed in ourselves and it is a journey we knew was going to be tough,’
‘Collective responsibility and team effort has enabled us reach the final and we are almost there,’
‘We will put more effort to ensure that we come out victors,’
‘The fans who came here gave us tremendous support and this has really motivated us,’ he said.
AFC Leopards Cubs made a meal of Bandari Youth FC, thrashing them 5-1 in the quarter final of the KPL U20 tournament played at the Camp Toyoyo grounds.
The Coast side began the match on a high, rattling the upright twice inside the first 15 minutes of the game but this did not raffle the junior Leopards who got back into the game, toying their opponents at will. Haroun Nyakha was the engine in the team, cutting Bandari’s movements from the midfield and knitting passes to the livewire forward line led by Austin Odhiambo and Vincent Oburu.
The first goal was a collective team affair with Austin Odhiambo bursting through the left flank, cutting a cross that was put away by Brian Kipruto. The first half would end 1-0 in favor of the Cubs. On resumption, Austin Odhiambo got rewards for his hard work later, scoring the second goal for Boniface Ambani’s boys, sending the capacity crowd at the Camp Toyoyo into frenzy.
The second goal seem to have inspired the Cubs as minutes later, Oburu scored the third with Eric Kinuthia also scoring in between another Kipruto goal. Geoffrey Oremo got a late consolation for Bandari who otherwise had a poor outing.
AFC Cubs coach Boniface Ambani believes that the strides made by his team in the KPL U20 championship will go a long way to helping the senior team in the near future.
With the club changing its policy of signing only young players, Ambani says the move will encourage the youngsters work even harder and make it to the big stage. A couple of young players have been drafted into the senior team and according to Ambani, many may follow suit if they continue working hard.
‘The boys are really trying hard. All we have to do is to ensure that we nurture them well and make them better players.’ ‘This tournament (KPL U20) is one that we take seriously and from what we have seen, there is a bright future at Ingwe, ‘he told afcleopards.co.ke
The Cubs take on Bandari in the second quarter final of the tournament on Tuesday 27 December at 10:30am.