Clean sweep for Kenya in Elgon Cup

By francis marangu
Jul 19, 2021
  • Philadelphia Olando who missed the first leg scored two tries against lady Cranes in the return leg of Elgon Cup at the RFUEA ground. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

It was a show of might at the RFUEA ground on Saturday as Kenya overran Uganda to collect three trophies at the close of the two-legged Elgon Cup.

Kenya A convincingly bounced back from a 14-21 loss to Uganda Cranes in the first leg to win 34-0 and retain the trophy on a 48-21 aggregate. The target at the beginning of the match was seven unanswered points.

It took only five minutes for the hosts to score. Flyhalf Isaac Adimo's penalty attempt bounced off the posts, Kenya regained possession set up a quick ruck that culminated in Kelvin Omiyo grounding the ball.

Three minutes later, Uganda’s sustained forward play paid off with a penalty but Ivan Makmot missed a penalty attempt. In the 12th minute, Makmot squandered another penalty as the Uganda Cranes dictated the pace.

It was a see-saw affair at the rucks and lineouts but Kenya’s perfection and confidence grew as the clock ticked. The hosts had a big setback after 30 minutes when Justin Kimono, their speedy winger sustained an injury.

He was replaced by Lawrence Wakabi. Before being substituted, Kinono was a constant threat with scintilating runs that kept the Kenya A backs busy.

The change worked to Kenya’s advantage as Nato Simiyu scored a try four minutes afterwards. Adimo’s conversion stretched the lead to 12-0 going to the breather.

On resumption, the Ugandans’ confidence seemed to have taken a dip with poor ball handling and lack of communication severally denying them possession. The biggest culprit was fullback Solomon Okia who could not contain a Kenyan kick in the 44th minute.

Winger Godfrey Mbeya was quick to capitalize on the blunder sprinting to touch down for a 17-0 lead. Adimo could have extended the lead in the 52nd minute but had his penalty kick go wide.

Two minutes later, Eden Agero burst through on the right wing, evading leaving three Ugandan players to score a try which Adimo converted. Substitutes Jacob Ojee and Victor Brown scored a try each in the last ten minutes of play.

Good interchanges

“We wanted to break them down in the first 40 minutes since we knew it would have been difficult to recover,” said Kenya A coach Dominique Habimana. “The good interchanges between Agero, Adimo and Simiyu raised the game’s tempo and the substitutes killed it off for us.”

Kenya Lionesses continued from where they left by beating Lady Cranes 39-10 for a 72-25 aggregate.

Both teams were cautious in the opening minutes. Kenya Lionesses struck first with a Rachael Adhiambo try in the 15th minute but Uganda replied immediately through Asha Nakityo to tie the game at 5-5.

Up to the half hour mark, it was an even contest until Philadelphia Olando broke the deadlock in the 34th with an unconverted try. Captain Doreen Remour added the third try two minutes to the breather and Janet Awuor converted for a 17-5 lead at halftime.

Irene Awino extended Kenya Lionesses’ lead in the 50th minute with a try converted by Awour before Beatrice Atim pulled one back for Uganda in the 63rd minute.

Janet Akello’s try in the 68th, Awino’s penalty in the 74th minute and Camilyne Oyuayo’s try four minutes to full time sealed the victory. Awour stroked in one conversion.

“We sucked in their defense creating a line for us to attack. It was painful for us to lose by a slim margin last year and that is why we were determined to make this our year of revenge,” Remour remarked.

Hope to bounce back

Warry Ssekunfa, her opposite number admitted the game was lost in Kampala last week. “The whole imbalance for us was losing at home. It would have been different if we won but the competition was also tight this year. Simple mistakes have cost us and we hope to bounce back next year.”

The Kenya under-19 side completed Kenya’s rout with a 27-12 win over Uganda under-19.

Kenya was 3-0 up in the seventh minute courtesy of a Marlin Mukolwe penalty. Michael Wanjala added the second in the 14th minute with Mukolwe converting for a 10-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Pius Ogena replied for Uganda with an unconverted try as both teams tied at 20-20 aggregate score. Winger Edgar Khafumi ensured Kenya enjoyed a 27-20 halftime lead scoring a try which was converted by Mukolwe.

Two minutes after the restart, Billy Isabwa touched down for Kenya and Mukolwe converted extending the lead to 24-5. Mukolwe added a penalty at the hour mark with Uganda touching down through Edrine Kayima’s converted try but still trailed 12-27.

Both sides were a man down moments later as Kenya’s Tyson Okoth and Uganda’s Isaac Tago were shown yellow cards. Another yellow card to Herman Humwa reduced Kenya to 13 players but Uganda could not capitalize on their numerical advantage as the hosts held on to win.

Elgon Cup Results: Kenya A 34 Uganda Cranes 0 (Aggregate 48-21), Kenya Lionesses 39 Uganda Lady Cranes 10 (Aggregate 72-25), Kenya under-19 27 Uganda under-19 12 (Aggregate 37-27).