In a remarkable display of talent and determination, Ebwali Boys from Vihiga County and Brenda Girls from Bungoma claimed victory in the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom Western Region finals held on Sunday, August 21st, at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County.
Ebwali Boys demonstrated their prowess by triumphing over established clubs, a feat that highlighted the growing strength of school teams on the competitive stage. Facing off against Division 2 side Compel Sportif from Kakamega, Ebwali Boys secured a narrow 1-0 victory. The lone goal of the match was delivered by Austine Odongo in the 47th minute, propelling Ebwali Boys to a well-deserved victory. Despite the spirited resistance from Compel Sportif, Ebwali Boys’ determination proved insurmountable.
The significance of this win was underscored by the fact that Compel Sportif were the reigning champions of the 2023 Football Kenya Federation Division 2 Zone A. Ebwali Boys’ journey to the finals saw them overcome strong opposition, including a tense 3-2 victory over Kakamega’s The Menace in the semifinals.
On the girls’ side, Brenda Girls exhibited their prowess by outplaying Lugari Progressive with a 2-1 win in the finals. Brenda Girls’ Esther Wafula set the tone with an early goal in the 15th minute. Despite a spirited comeback by Lugari Progressive, who managed to equalize with a goal from Marion Musanga in the 75th minute, Brenda Girls held their ground. Esther Mukhwana’s clutch goal in the 84th minute secured the championship for the Bungoma County representatives.
Coach Dickson Simiyu of Brenda Girls expressed his elation at their victory, emphasizing the hard-fought nature of their journey and praising the tenacity of his players. The team’s remarkable comeback in the semifinals, bouncing back from a goal down to win 4-1 against Chakol Mixed, showcased their resilience and determination.
Simiyu also commended the organization of the tournament by Safaricom, recognizing its role in nurturing and showcasing grassroots talent. The competition featured an impressive total of 441 participating teams from Western Kenya, with Kakamega leading the charge at 162 teams, followed by Bungoma (152), Busia (64), and Vihiga (63).
As the champions of their respective categories, Ebwali Boys and Brenda Girls earned KES. 250,000 each and the honor of representing the Western Region in the national finals slated for the early months of the following year in Nairobi. Runners-up in both divisions will receive KES. 150,000 each. In addition, the tournament recognized outstanding individual performances, awarding the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Best Goalkeeper, and Top Scorer in both boys’ and girls’ categories with KES. 30,000 each.
The Western Region Chapa Dimba na Safaricom finals not only showcased the extraordinary skills of young football talents but also highlighted the growth and potential of school teams in challenging even the most established clubs. The triumphs of Ebwali Boys and Brenda Girls stand as a testament to the power of dedication, teamwork, and passion for the sport that thrives in the heart of Western Kenya