Wazalendo HC had a successful tour of the coastal town of Mombasa for two KHU Premier League matches. The resident teams of Mombasa Sports Club (MSC) and Mvita XI, were left wondering what hit them, as Wazalendo stormed their backyard and left with the available 6 points, scoring 6 goals and conceding only 1 goal.
Saturday 21st at 4PM was the push back time for MSC Vs Wazalendo match. Wazalendo had just landed in the coastal city after a 9 hour bus ride from Nairobi. The ‘jetlag’ was evident as the visiting team started slowly and took time to settle on the grass pitch. The weather wasn’t helping things either, but the lads were going for nothing short of the 3 points on offer.
On the 10th minute, Nelson ‘Franco’ Shilaku opened his accounts for the season by scoring a fantastic field goal, weaving through the MSC defence before placing the ball in the top right corner of the hapless MSC goalkeeper. This was shortly followed by a tap in by the new boy, Sam Wekesa, after receiving a defense-splitting pass from the Man of the Match, EllyMwanzi on the 16th Minute. Wazalendo seemed to release the pedal and this allowed MSC to draw one goal from a goal-mouth melee, after the goalkeeper, Bright Kezengwa had saved a hard short from Obedi Ototo.
On the breather, the Wazalendo Head Coach, Wycliffe Ongori, reminded the players the game strategy and the need to kill the match off. His talk seemed to re-ignite the fire as Wazalendo took control of the 2nd Half. The rather poor officiating from the umpires resulted to a denied early 2nd half goal. Fidhelis Kimanzi was found unmarked inside the D and deflected the ball towards the goal. The ball hit a MSC defenders stick and flew in to the goal. As the Wazalendo celebrated the goal, the umpire of the side, Moses Otieno, a former MSC player, gave a 16 yards free hit to the amusement of Wazalendo and watching crowd. Complaints from the Wazalendo players landed on deaf ears, but Wazalendo soldiered on.
Undeterred by the disallowed goal, Wazalendo pushed to kill the match and on the 62nd Minute, Fidhelis Kimanzi put the match to bed by deflecting a hard pass from Ell Mwanzi and ensuring that Wazalendo collected the valuable points.
The Sunday match kicked off at 10AM on a sunny morning. Wazalendo started the match better than the previous day as they seemed to have acclimatized and gotten used to the grass pitch.“We knew Mvita were going to hard at us after they watched our match against MSC. We set up our midfield to handle all the long passes and we stuck to our game plan of playing short passes and dictating the midfield play” Assistant Coach, Fidhelis Kimanzi asserted. On the 3rdMinute, the former Kenyan U21 international, Stanley Chege sounded the boards from a penalty corner set up by the Skipper WickyMbeda.
The goal seemed to rattle Mvita as they came out looking for an equalizer. This gave the Wazalendo Marauding forward line of Titus Ngolia& Franco, spaces to raid the Mvita goal at will. A second penalty corner of the day, on the 13th minute and Wazalendo made it 2-0, courtesy of another former U21 international Nelson Shilaku. By half time, Wazalendo were on cruise control and destined to win the match.
The second half was pretty much a damage control and that happened quite well and even better as Peter Mulati added the icing to an already sweet cake with the 3rd goal on the 63rdminutes.
The final whistle was received with mixed reactions with the opponents seeing it as an end of misery while the visitors a fun-cut-short. When the final analysis was done, the whole coast experience was quite something to talk for many weeks if not months. With 2 matches remaining in this shortened league, Wazalendo showed the signs of a team ready for international hockey and qualifying for the pay-offs and disproved the bookmakers that no team goes down coast and return with maximum points.
Speaking to the Wazalendo Media Team, the Assistant Coach, Fidhelis Kimanzi assessed that “This team is gelling well. We started the league slowly as we had couple of players from the Youth side who had not played at premier leave.” He continued, “These players have gotten used to the Premier league pace and are giving us the lift we need. We have one team in the league this season and this has helped, as we have depth in our squad and thus can rotate and rest players as the need arises”.
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