December 31, 2011

Homa Bay Cultural Festival

In the final Ladies match in the Homa Bay County Cultural Festival, Victoria FC from Kendu Bay and the Suba Lakers from Mbita entertained the fans at Homa Bay Stadium with a very exciting match.  The two rivals locked horns knowing that a win would earn them a 1st place finish because they were playing in a league format.  In case of a draw, Victoria would emerge as the champions due to their superior goal differential they earned when they thrashed Sophia Queens 4-0 in the opening match.  The Suba Lakers had to struggle to a 1-0 win over the same Sophia Queens when Leah Ongojo made a superb individual performance taking the ball from the center line and beating the defenders before she smashed it against the goal post, but with a never say die attitude she circled back to collect the ball again and place it past the goalkeeper and inside the far post for the win. 
Against Victoria, the Suba Lakers started slow and were dominated in the first half though it remained scoreless.  The momentum changed in the second half with the Lakers taking control, but Victoria was the first to score on a rebound shot with 8 minutes remaining.  Undeterred, the Lakers responded within a minute to even the score at 1-1 on a beautiful header by Judith Oketch.  Both teams battled to put one more across the line in the closing minutes, but it remained 1-1.
For their efforts, Victoria was crowned the champs with a trophy and given sh. 15,000 with a promise that sh. 35,000 would be paid later.  The Suba Lakers were given sh. 10,000 with a promise that sh. 20,000 would be paid at a later time. 

Chairman's Cup

In Action at the Nyanza West Branch Chairman's Cup in Rongo the Suba Lakers Girls reached the semifinals by winning all three preliminary matches The first one was a 7 to 0 victory against Migori Women on four goals from Dorothy Adhiambo (hat trick in the first half), and goals from Irine Achieng, Caren Akeyo and Leah Ongojo.  That was followed by a 2-0 win over Kuria Umoja with goals from Achieng and Ongojo.  In the final preliminary immediately before beginning the semifinal, the Suba Lakers defeated Rawofo 1-0 on a goal from Sharon Bismark after a beautiful cross from Liz Wanjere.
The Rongo women's team consisted of several players from Mathare United and the coast.  They also reached the semifinals in impressive fashion by whipping Kuria United 2-0 and Rapedhi 5-0.  In one semifinal Rongo defeated Rawofo from Rangwe 5-0.  In the other semifinal the Suba Lakers struggled to finally get a goal in the closing minutes when Sharon Bismark tapped in a rebound that just barely crossed the goal line before the keeper picked it up.  They totally controlled the game and had so many chances, including a 2nd half penalty kick.  Every ball was just barely missing the goal or was collected by the goalkeeper and it looked like it would end in a draw until Bismark's hard work finally bore fruits in the battle around the goal. 
Playing in their third consecutive match in three different locations, the Lakers battled hard in the first half of the Finals against Rongo and it remained scoreless until injury time when the much more experienced Rongo team fired a hard shot that the Lakers goal keeper wasn't able to handle properly.  In the 2nd half Rongo added several more to pull away in impressive fashion 5-0.
For winning the tournament, Rongo was awarded with sh, 10,000 and the opportunity to represent Nyanza West in the Regional league set to begin in 2012.  The Suba Lakers received sh. 7,000 for finishing in 2nd place and Kuria United received sh. 3,000.  Each of the 8 participating teams was also promised a new set of uniforms in January from the Branch Chairman, Mr. Phillip Owuoti.

December 22, 2011

Semifinals and Finals

In the Ladies semifinals for the Suba Council of Elders Tournament in Sindo, Mfangano defeated Kaksingre 1-0 on a goal that came off of a corner kick from Leah Ongojo.  In the other semifinal Gembe defeated Gwassi 5-0.  After missing numerous 1st half opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net, Gembe capitalized in the 2nd half with 5 goals.  One each from Syprose Akoth, Alicent Awuor and Irine Achieng and 2 goals from Sharon Bismark.
In the finals, Gembe scored a classic goal late in the second half after a corner kick bounced around in the box and Alicent Awuor pounced on it and sent a laser past the flat-footed goalkeeper.  It was the just reward for their domination of the ball possession throughout the game.  The winners received The Senior Chief Damianus Ajwang Memorial Trophy donated by Roseline A. Onyuka.  Unfortunately the set of uniforms that was supposed to go to the winners was given to the boys runners up instead.  Some of the invited guests contributed some cash awards for the young ladies. 
In the entire tournament, every goal that was scored was by a Suba Laker.  Having our players spread out and playing for their home regions led to a very competitive tournament. 

December 21, 2011

Council of Elders

The Suba Council of Elders is sponsoring a tournament at Sindo for the Greater Suba/Mbita.  Teams are competing in Men's and Women's Football, Volleyball and Netball from Mfangano, Rusinga, Gembe, Kaksingri and Gwassi.

Instead of taking the Suba Lakers as a team, we allowed our girls to play for their home regions.  Six of them are playing for Mfangano Island, two others are playing for Kaksingri and our Gembe team is made of entirely of Suba Lakers from around Mbita (some in primary and some in secondary) 
In Girls football, the Gembe region (our team) defeated Mfangano 3-2.  Gembe started strong in the first half on two goals from Irine Achieng.  The first one was on a penalty kick and the second one on a good shot from just inside the box.  At the beginning of the second half, it looked like Gembe would cruise to an easy victory when Sharon Bismark scored to put them up by three goals, but Mfangano would not give up that easy as Leah Ongojo (another Suba Laker) fought hard to pick up two goals to bring them within one.  Though it was too little, too late and the game ended 3-2.  Mfangano came back in their 2nd game defeating Gwassi by a score of 1-0 on a goal by Dorothy Adhiambo (Suba Laker). 
In the final game of the day, Gembe scored an early goal from the smallest player on the field, Teresa Atieno (6th grader), in the 7th minute after a nice pass from Primerose Achieng.  Gembe created numerous chances, but couldn't add to their lead and the game finished with Gembe defeating Gwassi 1-0.  Primerose hasn't played much football over the past couple of years because she is on a basketball scholarship at one of the top secondary schools in Kenya.  So most of her time is spent in basketball.  She is only home for about a week, but was ready to come and play football with us.  It is great to have her back with the team.   
In the semifinals on Thursday, Gembe will face Gwassi while Mfangano will take on Kaksingre. 

December 17, 2011

Finals of the Holiday Classic

The Suba Lakers Holiday Classic Tournament concluded on Friday with very competitive matches in the semifinals and finals. 
In the first semifinal played at Mbita High School Beatrice Robai opened the 1st half with a goal to put Victoria ahead against Kisumu Leeds.  Leeds was able to equalize on a strong shot by Eunice Herald.  In the end Engesa Teresia hit a blazing shot past the keeper to seal the win for Victoria and punch their ticket to the finals.  In the 2nd semifinal, highly favoured Rongo Constituency drew first blood when Jacky Ogol collected the ball outside the box and struck it into the top left corner.  The Hosts Suba Lakers fought hard and were finally rewarded when Judith Mayor headed in a cross from Caren Akeyo to tie it at 1-1.  In the final five minutes Rongo captilized on a goal keeping error to slot home the winner by Christine Avilia. 
In the fifth place match Goretty Girl and Sindo Stars battled hard, but were unable to score in regulation and.  In extra time Goretty girls had a golden opportunity with the ball in the box at in the dying minutes, but failed to capitalize.  Sindo Stars emerged victorious on penalty kicks by a margin of 2-1. 
In the third place playoff, rivals Kisumu Leeds and Suba Lakers played each other for the 2nd straight day.  Previously they had drawn 0-0 in a high intensity battle.  In this game Suba Lakers dominated the first half.  They thought they had scored early on by a free kick, but the celebrations ended prematurely when the ref signaled that it was an indirect kick and gave the ball back to Leeds.  In the second half, Leeds began taking control of the game and their hard work resulted in a goal halfway through the final period by Herald Eunice. 

In the finals, Victoria from Kendu Bay met up with Rongo Constituency.  It was a well-played, entertaining game that thrilled the fans from around Mbita that came out to enjoy quality ladies football.  The Rongo team had several players that just returned from Lesotho where they had played for the National Under 20 team.  Rongo broke through in the 2nd half to defeat Victoria for the 2nd straight day 1-0. 

1st Day of Suba Lakers Holiday Classic

The Suba Lakers Holiday Classic Tournament kicked off on Thursday and will conclude on Friday.  At the beginning, Madam Lillian Ombori shared with all of the participants about the importance of choosing good friends and how negative peer pressure can impact your future.  She used demonstrations to show how good water can be polluted with just a drop of something bad.  It was a very good lesson that kept the players interested. 
In the first match of the day Suba Lakers drew 0-0 in a hotly contested match with Kisumu Leeds United.  In the second match there were fireworks with Rongo Constituency defeating Sindo Stars 6-1.  In the third match the Suba Lakers drew once again with Goretty girls, a young up and coming team from Mbita.  In the 4th match Rongo Constituency continued their winning ways by defeating Victoria Ladies FC from Kendu Bay 2-0 in a very rugged game.  In the 5th game Goretty girls fought hard against Kisumu Leeds United to even the score at 1-1 on a goal by Christine Jael before a late winner from Leeds.  In the final match of the day Victoria Ladies FC defeated Sindo stars 5-0.
So in Pool A, Kisumu Leeds United topped the group with the Suba Lakers coming in second.  In Pool B, Rongo Contstituency topped the group, followed by Victoria Ladies FC.
The semifinals will kick off on Friday morning at 8:00 with Leeds United facing Victoria Ladies, followed by Suba Lakers taking on Rongo Constituency.  The finals will begin by 1:00 pm.    

The teams are playing for these awards:

No.1      Trophy, Ksh. 10,000, t-shirts, one certificate.
No.2      Trophy, Ksh. 7,000, one certificate.

No.3      Trophy, Ksh. 3,000, one certificate.
*All other participating teams will be provided with a certificate for participation

Back from Kitale

The Suba Lakers returned from Kitale on December 13th.  It was a great experience spending 4 days in a new place, meeting new people, hearing new ideas and playing against strong competition.  The players liked the place very much, except for the cold weather.  For young girls that have grown up at sea level on the equator where the temperature is consistent year round, the high elevation "cold" weather was a bit of a shock to their system.  It was hot during the day, but cooled down to around 50 degrees F at night. 

The first two mornings the players participated in group sessions with the girls from other teams where they discussed how to keep their dreams alive.  They shared challenges they face and how to overcome them so they can build a better future.  During the discussion times and even during the nights, the girls formed strong bonds with the other teams from various parts of the country that were there. 

On the field the team couldn't take advantage of their leads to finish off the games.  In the first match we opened with a goal from Dorothy Adhiambo in the first ten minutes and controlled possession against SEP from Oyugis.  Unfortunately we had a let down in the 2nd half and allowed them to equalize, finishing in a 1-1 draw.  On the 2nd day we played the hosts TYSA, a very strong team.  Again we jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Irine Achieng.  Within a minute TYSA scored to keep the game even.  The 2nd half was back and forth until TYSA scored a second goal to win 2-1.  In the last group game we domintated against KYFA, winning 2-0 on goals from Dorothy Adhiambo and Irine Achieng.  Unfortunately we finished 1 point behind the other two teams and missed out on playing in the finals.

We were thankful for the opportunity to travel to Kitale and make new friends while being exposed to a new area of the country.  

December 8, 2011

Holiday Classic

The Suba Lakers Holiday Classic Girls Football Tournament is still on schedule for 15th and 16th December at Mbita High School.  So far teams from Kisumu, Kendu Bay, Rongo and Sindo have confirmed their participation along with two of our own teams. 

Wasichana Tunaweza

The senior team is leaving today for Kitale to participate in the Wasichana Tunaweza Tournament (Girls, We are Able).  TYSA is hosting the event as they celebrate 10 years of youth football.  The morning times will be filled with encouragement for the girls to stay in school and work hard academically to acheive their dreams.  Guest speakers will be sharing with them and they will also have time for discussions in large groups and small groups.  An ongoing tournament will take place in the afternoons with the finals coming on December 12th.  None of us have ever been to Kitale before so we are excited about the opportunity to see a new place. 

Special Clinic

This week we hosted internationally renowned coach Bob Oyugi in Mbita.  Bob has been one of the main men in Kenyan football for the last 25 years.  He has spent time coaching some of the biggest clubs and national teams and has travelled to every continent of the world attending coaches trainings and conducting clinics and camps.  He has been certified as an trainer of coaches in several countries and is also a representative of the National teams, National Youth Talent Academy and UNICEF.  Even though he has been to every continent and the U.S. over 20 times, he has never been to Mbita before this week.   

Bob worked with 60 of our players during his three days in Mbita and at the same time conducted a coaches training for over 25 local coaches from all over the sub-branch.  He was also assessing our players to see if some of them could be invited to the Under 17 trials in Nairobi next month.  It didn't take him long to see that we have some of the best young girls in the country.  He left Mbita very impressed at what he saw. 

It was a very successful week as the club was able to help the players and all of these local coaches with this opportunity.  We hope that as an ambassador of Kenyan football, Bob will be going back to Nairobi with a good report of what we are doing in Mbita so that other partners may be able to join us in developing girls youth football in the country.