Sofapaka take GOtv Shield title
Sofapaka were crowned the 2014 GOtv shield champions after beating hard-fighting Posta Rangers 2-1 in a rain-soaked match played at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Saturday.
A 90th minute 35-yard screamer from winger Clifton Miheso was all Sofapaka needed to beat battling Rangers who were not cowed by the pedigree of their more polished opponents.
Miheso picked his spot from 35 yards out and released a shot which Rangers goalkeeper Ian Otieno misjudged with the ball bouncing in front of him to land into the net.
Both sides seized each other in the cagey 15 minutes of play, with Sofapaka being the more offensive as their opponents sat back and sought to catch them at the break.
The sprightly Rangers keeper Otieno was first called into action in the 18th minute when he saved from a Miheso’s strike inside the penalty box and parrying away a follow up shot by Fiston Razak.
The two teams concentrated their play in the midfield, with Posta Rangers veteran strike Denise Mukaisi managing to outwit the Sofapaka back four but his final shot lacked power before Sofapaka goalkeeper David Okello.
AGELESS PASCAL OCHIENG
The two teams went to the breather tied 0-0 as Rangers , led by the ageless Pascal Ochieng and Jacob Opere stopped surging runs by burly forward Enock Agwanda and Fiston Razak.
A half-time pep talk by the Sofapaka tactician Sam Timbe appeared to rejuvenate his side as they dominated midfield play through Maurice Odipo and Anthony Ndolo.
Nine minutes after the restart, Sofapaka scored after Ndolo picked out Razak with a pinpoint pass on the right wing. Razak raced to the by line unchallenged, squaring the ball to the charging Agwanda who scored with a simple tap in.
Rangers started to dictate pace with the nibble footed, midfield anchor-man, Joseph Mbugi becoming more prominent aided by wide man Edwin Mwaura.
The two controlled the middle of the pack with Dennis Mukaisi becoming more involved upfront, with numerous upward forays, otherwise thwarted by the steady Eugene Asike and Felly Mulumba.
However, Sofapaka lead lasted for only 10-minutes after Rangers won two successive corners taken by Mwaura.
In the 60th minute, a corner taken by Mwaura was met by the Rangers captain Ochieng, who rose high tio score.
Undone, Sofapaka continued pressing on the slippery ground. There was no denying Miheso in the dying minutes of the match as he scored what was perhaps the goal of the season to hand ‘Batoto Ba Mungu’ a continental berth.
Sofapaka Coach Sam Timbe was elated with the victory terming it “hard earned.” “Rangers is definitely a good side and gave us a run for our money. They were worthy opponents…the slippery ground also made it hard for the players to control the ball,” said Timbe.
His Rangers counterpart George Maina hailed his charges for putting a brave fight and playing according to instruction.