Libya slows down Harambee Stars’ CECAFA march

By alex wafula
Dec 06, 2017
  • Sabbou Motasem wheels past Kenya's Whyvonne Isuza. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya Whyvonne Isuza dribbles past Mohamed Amer and Tubal Mooahmed. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Paul Put, the Harambee Stars coach was pleased with the performance of the team in the two matches. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Harambee Stars’ run in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup encountered speed-bumps on Tuesday evening as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Libya in Machakos.

In the other Group ‘A’ match played on the same venue, Zanzibar shocked Rwanda beating them 3-1.

Despite the draw, Kenya remained top of the group with four points with Zanzibar leaping to second.

Rwanda’s chances of progressing to the last four now appear bleak after the loss.

Paul Put, the Harambee Stars tactician was pleased with the performance of the team, terming it an improvement from the game against Rwanda.

“Probably the only bad thing about the game today is the lack of goals. But we played really well. We put the ball on the ground and stuck to good tactics. I can say I am impressed and happy with how we played,” the tactician commented.

Worrying for him ahead of the remainder of the campaign though is the absence of striker Masoud Juma who limped off at halftime after suffering an ankle injury.

The striker was taken to hospital immediately and is highly unlikely to play in the remaining matches.

Libya who drew the first match 0-0 with Tanzania knew only a win would guarantee them qualification to the semis.

They began in earnest and came close to the opener in the ninth minute. However, Patrick Matasi came off his line to make an important intervention off Tubal Moahmed who had broken into the box from a swift change of play.

The hosts turned the tide on Libya and had a similar chance when Chris Oduor sent George Odhiambo through on the left, but keeper Azzaqah Ahmed made a save with his feet keeping out Odhiambo’s low shot.

Khalid sneaked in at the near  

It was an end to end opening few minutes with both sides swinging in attack. Libya had another chance on the quarter hour mark when Almaryami Khalid sneaked in at the near post to glance in a header from Albadri Faisal’s corner, but it went over.

Libya were dangerous in set plays, working to win freekicks from dangerous positions. However, the Kenyan backline and keeper Patrick Matasi just but managed to hold off the danger.

Compared to the first game where the two wingers brought pace into the game, Kenya’s attack on Tuesday was more direct, choosing to play through Chris Oduor or Whyvonne Isuza who were perched behind the main striker Masoud.

Kenya should have gone to the break one goal up, but a combination of skipper Khalid and keeper Ahmed at the near post kept off Odhiambo’s fierce shot from the right.

At the start of the second half, Masoud was hauled off for Kepha Aswani. Five minutes after the restart, the Libyan keeper was tested again, this time from a low Jockins Atudo freekick which he saved well.

Put made his second change, bringing on Ovella Ochieng for Chris Oduor after 65 minutes. The change reverted Kenya’s game back to speed on the wings with Ochieng playing on the right while Odhiambo stuck to the left.

Nonetheless, Libya stuck to their attack minded play and they came close with Moahmed’s volley from the right going wide.

Stars came ever so close minutes later, once hitting the bar while the follow up was tipped over for a corner. Substitute Ochieng with his fancy stopovers found crossing space from the right picking up Isuza whose curling effort came off the bar.

Odhiambo’s returning header from the rebound was tipped over the bar by the keeper.

Five minutes to go, Duncan Otieno found some shooting space from range and he took one of his favorites, the ball rising over the bar by inches.

On the other end, Atudo was forced to clear the ball off his line after substitute Saeid Saleh managed to tap the ball away from keeper Patrick Matasi.

Memorable win

In the early kick off, Khamis Suleiman struck the sucker punch for Zanzibar three minutes from time, gifting the island nation a memorable win over the Rwandese.

Muhadjiri Hakizimana had cancelled out Mudathir Yahya’s first half opener, early in the second period, but the Rwandese went to sleep with Issa Juma restoring Zanzibar’s lead in the 52nd minute.

Yahya opened the scoring for Zanzibar, heading into the net a cross from Abdallah Salum Kheri in the 33rd minute with keeper Yves Kimenyi well beaten.

Hey made changes right at the start of the second half, Mico Justine and Birahimire Abeddy coming in for Sekamana Maxime and Mbogo Ali.

The changes worked magic just a minute into the second stanza when Abeddy exchanged passes with Muhadjiri inside the box, the latter finding space unmarked at the far post to easily tap in.

But a lapse in defense saw Zanzibar re-take the lead when Feisal Salum won the ball off the Rwandese backline, feeding Juma who struck past a helpless Yves Kimenyi in the Rwanda goal.

Khamis drilled the final nail on Rwanda’s coffin, finishing off a decent counter attack with three minutes left in the game. 


December 3: Kenya 2 Rwanda 0, Libya 0 Tanzania 0;  December 4: Uganda 0 Burundi 0. December 5: Zanzibar v Rwanda (2 p.m.), Kenya v Libya, Ethiopia v South Sudan


December 6: Rest Day; Dec 7: Tanzania v Zanzibar (2 p.m.), Rwanda v Libya (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos -4 p.m.), Ethiopia v Burundi (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega - 3 p.m.); December 8: Uganda v South Sudan (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega - 3 p.m.); 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 - December 15: Semi finals - Moi Stadium, Kisumu; December 16: Rest Day: December 17: Third and fourth play-off/Final.