Kenya thrashed Ethiopia 11-1 as the inaugural Copa CocaCola Under-16 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament got underway at the Nakuru High School grounds on Monday.
By MACHARIA MWANGI
The toast of the match was the pacy Jacob Onyango, who netted four times in a 10-minute spell during the second half as the visitors chased shadows.
The exciting Onyango, a constant menace for the clueless Ethiopians, scored spectacular goals.
Issa Rashid helped himself to a hat-trick in the lopsided encounter with Mike Kendigi grabbing a brace.
Kenya coach Peter Mayoyo was impressed with the good start but warned that his charges have yet to hit top form.
“It was important to get a good start and that now allows us to work on getting better. We still have more to offer and our opponents should watch out,” Mayoyo said.
It took Kenya only three minutes to find the back of net through Fred Kendigi who capitalised on a blunder by the Ethiopian defence marshalled by Tesgay Mikiyas.
The visiting team’s tactic of playing an offside trap backfired badly as the ruthless Kenyans exploited space behind their defence with crisp football.
The midfield duo of Cedric Muchina and Lucas Maina ticked brilliantly allowing Rashid to run the show.
Rashid netted the second in 13th minute after beating the overworked Abel Nyang in the Ethiopian goal. He was to complete his hat-trick with further strikes in the 21st and 44th minutes.
The left-footed Kendigi scored his second in the 36 minute as the Kenyan side ran riot.
Ethiopia found their consolation at the hour mark through Tsegaye Dawit after the Kenyans failed to clear their lines following a corner kick.
Second half substitute, Harun Kibiwott wrapped up the high score in the dying minutes of the game to cap a bright start for the Kenyan side in a match handled by experienced referee Raphael Nduati.
The win puts Kenya in good stead of qualifying for the quarter-finals ahead of their final pool A match against Botswana on Wednesday.
The top two teams in the four pools will qualify for the quarters. Twelve teams are taking part in the week-long event.