Kenya left with must win tie as Zanzibar qualifies for CECAFA semis

By alex wafula
Dec 12, 2017
  • Kenya's Wesley Onguso battles with Zanzibar's Ibrahim Abdalla. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya's Vincent Oburu against Zanzibar's Issa Juma (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Rwanda fans celebrate a win over Tanzania (Photo by Shutterspeed)

As Zanzibar danced and sang in deafening crescendos inside their dressing room after referee Georges Gatogato’s final whistle, Kenya’s Harambee Stars were left scratching their heads ahead of their final CECAFA Senior Challenge Group match on Monday.

Zanzibar held Kenya to a 0-0 draw at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday, earning themselves a ticket to the semis. Kenya will now have to beat Tanzania, who are already eliminated, in their final group match Monday.

Paul Put, the Harambee Stars coach had his face turn red as the boys went for the second consecutive match without finding the back of the net.

“For sure, we are playing well, creating the chances but the problem is that we cannot score. I don’t have many options on the bench and at times I think we are unlucky. It is bad we dropped points today but I am still confident we can progress,” Put said after the match.

With Tanzania coach Amy Ninje already proclaiming a ‘war’ on Monday against Stars, it will be a mountain to climb for Kenya.

Zanzibar will face Libya in their final group match on the same day with the North Africans also having a chance to qualify. With three points, they can progress to the semis if they beat Zanzibar by a margin of more than two goals and Kenya draws with Tanzania.

Also, they can qualify if they beat Zanzibar and Kenya loses to Tanzania.

“We will play all our games professionally. We can’t say that now since we have already qualified we will go easy. No. We want to top the pool and that means we play to win,” Suleiman ‘Morocco’ Hemedi, the Zanzibar coach said.

The islanders needed just a point to qualify for the last four against Kenya and they efficiently ensured that especially with a defensive display in the second half.

Missing Massoud Juma with injury, Put opted to start with Kepha Aswani while Chris Oduor who started in the last match was rested in favor of Ovellah Ochieng.

The change was geared to revert Kenya back to its attacking play of using strength and pace on the wings.

Kenya had the first chance

Kicking off with attacking intent, Kenya had the first chance in the fifth minute when a long throw from Wesley Onguso was not dealt with and the ball fell on Aswani.

However, the Nakumatt forward’s shot was blocked for a corner. In the 23rd minute Aswani came close again, this time rising to head an Ovella corner, but the effort went over.

Two minutes later, Jockins Atudo had a similar effort from a Patillah Omotto cross go over as well.

All this while, though keeping a bit more possession, Zanzibar were yet to register a shot on target against Kenya. Patillah Omotto had two chances go begging in the 32nd minute.

After Kepha Aswani was pulled down at the edge of the box, Omotto’s freekick was punched away by Zanzibar keeper Mohammed Abdulrahman.

Omotto picked up the spills and shot at goal, but his effort hit the side netting. In the second half, there weren’t many chances, but the best fell on Whyvonne Isuza.

Another of Onguso’s long throws was not dealt with efficiently, the ball falling on Isuza who struck at goal, but the Zanzibar keeper made a reflex save.

Zanzibar’s only shot on target of the game was in the 72nd minute when left back Haji Mwinyi’s effort was parried away for a corner by Patrick Matasi in the Kenya goal.

They were to come close 15 minutes from time when Mwinyi’s corner was knocked down by Ibrahim Hamad but Mohammed Issa’s shot went over.

In the late kick off, Rwanda signed off from the tournament with a win, beating Tanzania 2-1. Abeddy Birahimire stepped off the bench to hit the winner after Daniel Lyanga had leveled for Tanzania.

Innocent Nshuti scored the first goal of the match for Amavubi.

Morale boosting win

The Rwandese started the match on a high, seeking a morale boosting win as they head back home to prepare for next year’s African nations Championship (CHAN).

Muhadjiri Hakizimana and Eric Rutanga had the first two close chances for Rwanda. Hakizimana headed wide from the edge of the six yard box while Rutanga’s freekick from the left evaded the target by a whisker.

They broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Nshuti side footed the ball home inside the box from a Fitina Omborenga cross from the right. Lyanga however drew Tanzania level with a diving header inside the box, seven minutes later.

In the second half the game picked pace, each team winless, looking for a win. Tanzania’s Ibrahim Ajib forced a brilliant save off the Rwandese keeper after dribbling past his markers inside the box before shooting low.

Three minutes on the turn, Lyanga was presented with a brilliant opportunity when Ajib’s cross from the left found him unmarked inside the box, but the burly forward fired wide.

But Rwanda registred the winner in the 65th minute when Omborenga registered his second assist of the game, sweeping a low cross from the right before Birahimire tapped it home.


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 2 Tanzania 1, Kenya 0 Zanzibar 0.


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.