Kenya U16 have been crowned the winners of the inaugural Copa Coca-Cola African Cup of Nations U16 tournament after seeing off Nigeria U16 3-2 in post match penalties. The two teams headed to the spot kicks to decide the match after drawing 0-0 in regular time, two halves of 35 minutes each. The finals was held at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, home to Kenya Premier Side Ulinzi Stars, which represents the Kenya Defence Forces (army, navy and airforce)
The just concluded tournament featured Under 16 years’ old teenagers from twelve countries namely: Kenya (the hosts), Angola, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Kenya narrowly beat Zambia 1-0 at Nakuru High School to book their place in the finals. Nigeria had thrashed Botswana 5-0 and came into this game full of confidence. The Nigerians started off strongly but allowed Kenya to grow slowly into the game. Kenya squandered a host of chances to break the deadlock in the first half. The hosts would have only had themselves to place had they lost on penalties. Kenya turned on the heat after the break creating a number of chances but failing to capitalize, the Nigerian keeper was superb in goal making two outstanding saves to deny Kenyan winger Kibiwott. Nigeria resorted to playacting to kill time as Kenya threatened to grab a vital goal late on with three Nigerian players booked for time-wasting. The Kenyan keeper saved two penatlies and forced Nigerian into kicking their last effort wide to guarantee the hosts won the tournament.
Kenya's Jacob Onyango won the golden boot after emerging as the competition's top scorer after netting five times. Nigerian Joseph Omeke won the competition's best player award.
Botswana finished third after beating Zambia 5-4 on post match penalties. The third place play-off headed to penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in regular time.
Kenya also won the Copa Coca-Cola AFCON U16 for Girls beating Zimbabwe 3-0 in the finals.
With the current conundrum surrounding the AFCON 2019 Championship, after Cameroon was disqualified from hosting, we'll only be hoping that the governing body CAF can get their act together fast. The continent's future is bright.
At the moment, Kenya Premier League side Kariobangi Sharks take on Ghanaian side Asante Kotoko in the first leg of the second round of the Caf Confederation Cup at Kasarani Stadium.