Cranes smell last four after South Sudan rout

By alex wafula
Dec 09, 2017
  • Hood Kaweesa and Milton Kalisa celebrate one of the five Uganda Cranes goals. (Photo Courtesy

Uganda Cranes, the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup defending champions will need just a point off Ethiopia in their final group match on Sunday to confirm their place in the semi finals.

They beat South Sudan 5-1 in Friday at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega to go top of Group B on goal difference, with Burundi second.

Ethiopia, whom they play on Sunday still have a chance of making it into the last four if they upset Uganda. Burundi will face the group’s whipping boys South Sudan in their final group match.

After failing to score in their opener against Burundi, the Cranes showed their intent going two up just within 10 minutes of their game against the South Sudanese.

Derrick Nsibambi who went on to score two picked out Milton Karisa inside the box in the eight minute and the forward wasted no time, slapping the ball past the keeper.

Hood Kaweesa then took the game to a comfortable distance, striking one from range to give Uganda a 2-0 advantage.

But a resilient South Sudan fought back to score their first goal of the tournament, Atak Luak Wol responding to Kaweesa’s thunderbolt with one of his own, beating Benjamin Ochan from distance.

However, the joy of a shocking comeback was cut short just five minutes on, with the game seemingly set for thunderbolts.

Nsibambi scored one from distance after picking up the ball and driving into shooting space. Uganda would comfortably keep their two goal cushion to half time. He completed his brace 10 minutes after the restart flicking in a corner at the near post.

Right back Nico Wadada made it six with seven minutes left with a solo drive from deep his own half before pulling an unstoppable shot past the keeper.

Crucial fixture

On Saturday, Kenya’s Harambee Stars will be in Group A action, taking on pool leaders Zanzibar. The match will be crucial as a loss would see Kenya’s semi-final hopes dashed, leaving them with a must win last tie against Tanzania.

“I have seen Zanzibar play. They are a very good team, organized and with speedy players. They play long balls and have players who are good with headers inside the box. We should be very wary of them and we can’t afford to underrate them,” Paul Put, the Harambee Stars coach said.

Zanzibar remains unbeaten having won against Rwanda and Tanzania.

Coach Suleiman ‘Morocco’ Hemedi is not getting carried away despite the good form and says he expects a tough tie from Kenya.

“They are the hosts and it is always difficult to play against the hosts. However we know how they play and we will go there for a win,” the tactician stated.

Zanzibar beat Kenya in their last CECAFA meeting in 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Morocco knows the Kenyans will be coming for revenge.

A win for the Stars will guarantee them a last four spot as they will rise to seven points. Zanzibar will remain second with six and if Tanzania fails to beat Rwanda, then they will as well head to the finals, provided they pick at least a draw against Libya on Monday.

Tanzania, on two points are still hanging on to hopes of getting to the semis. “All is not lost and our target is to beat Rwanda. We have seen our mistakes and I am hoping the players have learnt from them. The players should rise to the occasion. As much as eyes are on the coach, he cannot go into the pitch and play,” Tanzania boss Ammy Ninje said.


December 3: Kenya 2 Rwanda 0, Libya 0 Tanzania 0;  December 4: Uganda 0 Burundi 0. December 5: Zanzibar 3 Rwanda 1, Kenya 0 Libya 0, December 7: Tanzania 1 Zanzibar 2, Rwanda 0 Libya 0, Ethiopia 1 Burundi 4; December 8: Uganda 5 South Sudan 1. 


December  9: Rwanda v Tanzania (2 p.m.), Kenya v Zanzibar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos- 4 p.m.); December 10: Ethiopia v Uganda (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega - 3 p.m.); December 11:Libya v Zanzibar (2 p.m.), Kenya v Tanzania (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos - 4 p.m.), South Sudan v Burundi (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega -4 p.m.); December 12/13 : Rest days; December 14/15: Semi finals - Moi Stadium, Kisumu; December 16: Rest Day: December 17: Third and fourth play-off/Final.