Kenya to face Burundi, Zanzibar tackle Uganda in CECAFA semis

By alex wafula
Dec 12, 2017
  • Kenya Vincent Oduor celebrates his goal against Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya Ernest Wendo in action against Tanzania Yassin Muzamiru. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Kenya Vincent Oburu beats Tanzania Erasto Edward and Wilson Juma. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Harambee Stars ensured they finished top of Group A at the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup to qualify for the semi finals and set up a date with Group B’s second placed team Burundi.

Kenya beat Tanzania 1-0 to finish top after leaders Zanzibar lost by a similar margin to Libya who finished third.

In Group B, Burundi drew 0-0 with South Sudan in the final group match seeing them finish with five points, same as Uganda but an inferior goal difference.

Heading into Monday’s crunch fixtures, Kenya were facing the scare of elimination if they went on to lose to Tanzania.

Libya had started off the afternoon matches with a 1-0 win over Zanzibar. Their only hope was that Kenya loses to the Tanzanians for them to sneak in.

However, Kenya delivered when it was needed most. Youngster Vincent Oburu struck the lone goal in the 20th minute in his first start for the national team.

“It is good we have qualified off a tough group. Coming into this game we were under pressure but we managed to hold on and get a win. The confidence has been building and now I believe we can go on and win this tournament because we are playing at home,” Paul Put, the Harambee Stars coach said.

Kenya should have gone ahead as early as the fifth minute when Ovellah Ochieng was gifted with the ball from a poor defensive clearance from Erasto Nyoni, but his effort one on one with the keeper went over.

The positive start by Kenya was rewarded in the 20th minute when Oburu tapped home from three yards out after racing into the box to pick up a low cross from Ovella Ochieng.

Dennis Sikhayi came close to his first ever Harambee Stars goal with a 32nd minute shot from distance which however went wide.

Tanzania, despite the fact that they were already eliminated put up a fight and benefited mostly from Kenya’s own misgivings.

Chris Oduor who had been started behind the forward line and Ovellah on the right were guilty of losing many balls.

However, the Kilimanjaro Stars could not take much advantage of the gifts and failed to get past Patrick Matasi in the Kenyan goal.

Few chances

In the second half, chances were few and far in between with the closest being a George Odhiambo stinger that was parried away by the Tanzanian keeper.

Put made changes, bringing out Oduor who had a bad day in office for Whyvonne Isuza.

Meanwhile in the early kick off, Alharaish Zachariah’s 24th minute thunderbolt handed Libya their only win of the tournament having drawn 0-0 in all their previous three matches.

Zachariah planted a thunderbolt into the top left corner of the Zanzibari goal after winning back possession at the edge of the box.

Zanzibar came close in the 12th minute when Adeyum Ahmed’s curling left footed freekick deflected against the wall and was pushed to the crossbar by the Libyan keeper.

In the second half, Zanzibar were almost punished for sloppiness at the back when Abdul Aziz Makame lost the ball cheaply in a dangerous area.

Almaryami picked the gift and launched a one-time shot which came off the crossbar.

In the 70th minute, Zanzibar were also denied by the bar, a hard working Mudathir Yahya winning the ball off the Libyan backline before launching a ferocious shot that came off the woodwork.

Libya keeper Azzaqah Ahmed was forced to work overtime in the final 15 minutes saving shot after shot.

In the 74th minute he stretched out well to palm away a curling effort from Ibrahim Hamad who had found space on the right. Zanzibar’s Suleiman Hemed is upbeat that his side can go all the way to the final and has warned anyone not to underrate them.

“We came in here as the underdogs and no one was talking about us. Now everyone is looking at Zanzibar. We want to maintain this tempo and we promise we will surprise more,” Hemed, nicknamed ‘Morocco’ said.

The semi-final matches will be played in Kisumu with the final set for Machakos on Sunday.


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 Tanzania1, Kenya 0 Zanzibar 0; December 10: Ethiopia 1 Uganda 1; December 11: Libya 1 Zanzibar 0, Kenya 1 Tanzania 0, South Sudan 0 Burundi 0.


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.