After a largely successful Karemba Tournament, the best teams from Runyenjes went up against their counterparts from South Imenti on Sunday. The action brought together four teams at Runyenjes DO grounds. They were facilitated by Runyenjes MNA Eric ‘Karemba’ Muchangi and his Imenti South Kathuri ‘Ka Mashinani’ Murungi.
Gikuuri FC, runners up in the December 2019 tourney, kicked off the action against South Imenti’s B side. The sides went toe to toe and matched each other in every department. Everything was pointing towards a draw, but a lucky goal midway through the match saw the visitors emerge 1-0 winners at the end of 90 minutes.
If not for anything else, the largely entertaining match worked to set a high tempo for the day’s finale. With a friendly cloud gathering to shield the stadium from the scorching sun’s rays, the match between Kathanjuri and South Imenti A had a lot of expectations to live up to.
Both members of the National Assembly were on hand to kickstart the action. They were preaching peace and friendship, describing the action as an extension of their personal friendship to footballers and all constituents.
However, that message of friendship immediately dissapeared once the match got underway. It was an immediate physical battle as both teams went for each other’s throats; no indication of a friendly match whatsoever.
Again, it was end to end action with both MNAs following from the sidelines. The crowd was again bursting at the seams at the town-located ground. There were equal cheers for both teams, the Imentians refusing to fade away simply because of their inferiority in numbers.
Eventually, it was the home side who drew first blood. Towards the end of the first period, James ‘Zlatan’ made a quick run into the box looking to pounce on a well threaded through pass. He was floored by the last outfield defender with the goalkeeper onrushing. He was calm enough to send the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards and hand his side a 1-0 lead going into the break.
The second half began in similar balanced fashion, but the visitors appeared to gain dominance as it progressed. Kathanjuri, in action throughout the month of December, lost their legs as the half got on. Without so much quality on the bench, their substitutions did not improve them whatsoever.
The absence of Peter Mwangi and Hustler ‘Wan Bissaka’ could be clearly felt. Eventually, they paid for it with an equalizer deep into the half. A cross from the left found a pin-point accuracy header at the far post, leaving goalkeeper Dere ‘Mchafu’ with no chance at all. 1-1 late into the match and the score stood at 90.
The game progressed into extra time despite being a friendly, by which time Murigi Boys looked totally diminished. By the time they conceded a second goal, they appeared desperate to end it all. They were, however, able to keep up the fight and maintain that decent scoreline at the end. Kathanjuri 1-2 South Imenti A.
The visitors were beyond elated at the final whistle, celebrating wildly on the pitch. It was a great show of the hunger they have for victory, celebrating a friendly win with such gusto. For them, the bragging rights were more than enough.
All teams ended the day well, each receiving a Ksh. 20,000 appreciation in a day that ended with light showers. They also received quality match balls and a promise of a competitive tournament between the constituencies in April.
As the skies opened up, it was a sign of a blessed year of football. Light showers accompanied the awards session and ceased as the teams broke for a joint late lunch.
A good start to the footballing year, that. Get in!