On-form Oketch leads Homeboyz comeback over Nzoia Sugar

Right-back Benjamin Oketch struck twice for Kakamega Homeboyz as they staged an incredible comeback against Nzoia Sugar to win 3-2, round 22 Kenyan Premier League tie hosted at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega from 3 pm.

Nzoia, taking the lead through Peter Gin, would make it 2-0 by half time through Phillip Muchuma. However, resilience won it all in the contest as Homeboyz pulled one back through Allan Wanga before Oketch came forward for his match-winning brace.

The match did not take long before Homeboyz poured forward, asserting their dominance in the very early stages with Christiopher Masinza on the end of a cross from Peter Thiong’o but saw his tap in go inches wide.

What followed was cagey play from both sides, the hosts careful enough not to allow Nzoia fast breaks and the visitors thorough with their last line of defense. In the 21st minute, Homeboyz would break, and Gaetan Masha cross weaved its way past the remaining host defense lines to find Peter Gin. The Homeboyz veteran drilled this into the far-post, far beyond the reach of Geoffrey Oputi in goal for the home side.

Ahmed Ali Bhai, captaining Homeboyz on the day, believed his 27th-minute pile-driver of a shot had gone in only for it to bounce off the cross-bar and back in play. Nzoia had survived an equalizer.

Coach Nicholas Muyoti replaced injured Shami Mwinyi with Stephen Etyang as his side sought to get back a foot in the tie. However, it would be Nzoia to stretch away.

Phillip Muchuma had been silent for a better part of the game and when a Barari Randy free-kick was swung into the Homeboyz box in the 41st minute, he was there- ready to head it in for 2-0.

Nzoia enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break.

Rama Mwenda of Nzoia Sugar takes down Chris Masinza in the tie. [IMAGE- Fabian Odhiambo]
Second Half

Muyoti threw in Allan Wanga upon the resumption in the place of Masinza while his opposite number withdrew Gaetan Masha who had suffered a knock and had hi place taken by Kasembeli Leonard.

With no goal coming, Thiongo Peter had to be withdrawn and his place taken by Ronald Omino, still- Muyoti’s men struggled as the sugar millers smelled the possibility of three points. Goalkeeper Humphrey Katasi went into the referee’s book for time-wasting and this could have triggered the Homeboyz attack.

Two minutes later, Allan Wanga pulled one back.

It didn’t take long before Oputi was summoned to thwart a one versus one against Kasembeli as Nzoia rallied to reclaim their two-goal lead. Two minutes later, Benjamin Oketch happened, heading home from close range to score in his third successive match.

The tie was level and when the fourth official indicated five minutes of added time, the home crowd raptured in support. They knew a win was now a possibility from a tie that had seemed long gone.

Oketch then happened once more- for the final time in the clash, having completely abandoned his defensive duties- to head in for 3-2. Nzoia Sugar fell apart, and the home side claimed the full set of three points.