Kenya hits Namibia to clinch maiden Barthes Cup
After years of playing second fiddle to Namibia, Kenya’s Under-20 team has finally breached the gap after beating the Southern Africans 21-18 to clinch this year’s Barthes Cup at the KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka.
Pre-final, head coach Paul Odera had vowed to cut down Namibia’s dominance and wanted his charges to use the home advantage to nail the trophy they have lost to Namibia thrice in a row. This they did in nail biting fashion.
With the scores tied at 18-18 and only three minutes left on the clock, Chipu won a penalty and decided to go for the points. Man of the match for the second consecutive game Andrew Matoka stepped up and made no mistake to hand Kenya the title on home soil.
The Namibians started brighter and went ahead through a penalty from Delron Brandt, but the hosts, pushed on by a good crowd at the KCB Lions Den , went 10-6 up at the break with Brian Amaitsa and Peter Ogeta dotting down.
Chipu would have stretched the lead even further, but the impressive Dominic Coulson had a penalty go off the upright.
Namibia came back strongly in the second half and were rewarded for their industry when Shaun Van Wyk went over to hand his side a slim 11-10 lead. Kenya fell seven points behind as Brandt scored a try after Chipu was reduced to 13 men when Emanuel Silungi and Were were sin binned.
Nonetheless, the never say die Chipu pushed and skipper Boniface Ochieng led from the front, tying the game at 18-18 after they won a penalty and kicked for the line out. From the resultant maul, the skipper stretched over, Kenya drawing level.
The game seemingly was headed into extra time, but Matoka had other ideas, striking sweetly between the sticks with three minutes left on the clock.