Ikuu Spider slay favourites to clinch SportPesa’s 2nd Tujiamini Cheza Dimba tourney in Meru

May 13, 2024
Stephen Ochieng
  • The second Tujiamini Cheza Dimba tournament was staged at the Kinoru Stadium in Meru.
  • Ikuu Spider stunned local favourites Al Azizia 5-4 on penalties to win the day long competition.
  • The win secured them a 3-year sponsorship from the Tujiamini initiative powered by SportPesa

Thousands of fans were left disappointed as tables turned in the Eastern leg of SportPesa’s Tujiamini Cheza Dimba Football Tournament staged at the Kinoru Stadium in Meru County when crowd favourite Al Azizia lost to local rivals Ikuu Spider FC.

Al Azizia’s formidable dominance witnessed throughout the game caved after a barren result at full time left their fate to penalty shootouts, where they lost 5-4 to the dismay of the fans who had turned up to cheer on, the enterprising side.

In an exciting day of football that attracted huge numbers to the stadium, Ikuu Spider secured themselves a 3-year sponsorship worth KES 250,000 annually from SportPesa as they also walked away with a brand new set of home and away playing kits following their surprise win.

Speaking after receiving their award, their head coach Elijah Maore attributed the team’s success to regular training and readiness for competitions, if not a stroke of luck.

With ambitions to play in the National Super League, the stoked tactician expressed satisfaction with the win, a windfall for the community team that like most budding clubs struggle to meet player obligations and related match fixture requirements.

"I am grateful to the team for showing up and staying spirited all through the tournament. This win will go a long way in facilitating our match fixtures in competitions moving forward," said Maore.

The captain Isa Muriki, welcomed the sponsorship, similarly admitting it would help raise the fortunes of the Maua based club in Meru County.

A delighted Muriuki acknowledged the intimidating presence of Al Azizia FC, saying he was certain the two archrivals would ultimately clash in the finals where Ikuu Spiders piqued the in the hotly contested match.

“We have lost players in the past due to limited funds and exposure challenges. With this win, we have shown our contention and readiness for the big leagues which we will now pursue with added confidence.

I am sure my squad will be even more energized and focused as the league progresses”, he said.

Al Azizia team captain Dennis Gikundi, though disappointed, expressed optimism quipping that the team will go back to the drawing board with a view to improving their penalty-handling skills.

“This tournament has been a significant motivation and an eye opener with other equally competitive community teams looking to uplift themselves and their talents just like us,” he said while encouraging young football players to stay steadfast and maximize on opportunities such as Tujiamini’s Cheza Dimba.

The tournament that pit 6 teams from Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Machakos Counties, kicked off on a high with Embu's Kiangima FC, opening the goals onslaught when they beat Tharaka Nithi's Nturiri FC  2-1.

Kiangima's goals were scored by Brian Kelly in the 11th minute and Collins Ochieng in the early minutes of second half, soon after followed by Nturiri's Dennis Mwiatui's consolation goal.

In the second match, Al Azizia FC easily outclassed fellow home side Kaguma FC 3-1. Fred Mureithi, Edu Oyoo and Sudi Juma scored in the 8th, 9th and 15th minute respectively. Kaguma's goal was scored by Mathias Simiyu in the 10th minute.

In the third match, Ikuu Spider FC settled for a 1-0 victory in a hotly contested match that saw Kiangima FC concede a penalty in the 20th minute, scored by team captain, Isa Muriki.

Meru's Kaguma FC lost 2-0 to Machakos based Kakutha Green Eagles when Sammy Wambua and Dennis Wambua found the net in the 26 and 27th minute respectively.

In what was a highlight of the tournament, Al Azizia proved why they are the top dogs in Meru County in the 6th match of the day when, in a relentless drive for goals, they rained multiple volleys of near misses against the Eagles.

Playing a well-coordinated and patient game, Al Azizia shone in the fair weather of Meru, piling on the pressure against their opponents with the clear blue skies up above almost beckoning them to wrap things up already.

They soon reaped the dividends, when the Eagles conceded a hand ball in the box, giving Al Azizia their first penalty in the 4th minute, quickly converted by Tony Musa to a wonderful reception by the home fans.

As if responding to the fans, the homeboys were at it again raiding the Eagles' nest to steal two goals in quick succession, one from the penalty spot converted by Fred Murithi in the 15th minute with Musa scoring in the 22nd minute from a well-timed shot in the box, that settled the game at 3-1 to Al Azizia. The Eagles' goal was scored by Kimani Kelvin in the 7th minute.

The Tujiamini Cheza Dimba regional football tournament, powered by SportPesa continues to heat up with the conclusion of the Eastern region leg of the grassroots football talent showcase.

The initiaive now moves to North Rift region with promises to deliver in what is otherwise known to be a talent hotbed.