Late goal sees Uganda qualify for CECAFA semi finals

By alex wafula
Dec 12, 2017

Uganda Cranes, the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup defending champions progressed to the semi-final of the 2017 edition courtesy of an 86th minute equalizer from Derrick Nsibambi to draw 1-1 with Ethiopia.

The Walya Antelopes were eying a shocker and a ticket to the last four until Nsibambi booted home from inside the box after a goalmouth melee.

The result sees Uganda move to five points after their final group match. Ethiopia remain with four and the only way they can progress is if South Sudan beat Burundi on Monday by a huge margin.

Burundi who are on four points will be seeking to finish top. With a win, they will skip over Uganda. The Cranes had to finish the match with nine men after two red cards in the final 10 minutes.

Isaac Muleme was sent off 10 minutes to time for a second yellow, as well as Timothy Awany whose second booking was late in stoppage time for time wasting.

Abdela Abubeker broke the deadlock for Ethiopia in the 21st minute, tapping home a rebound after Uganda keeper Ismail Watenga spilled a shot from Yele Firew.

The Cranes shaken from the shocking result against a side that had lost 4-1 to Burundi sought an immediate response and Muzamiru Mutyaba made an attempt with a header but it went over.

Ethiopia however managed to hold their lines well and keep their 1-0 advantage into the second half.

However, the defending champions came back with pressure in the second period.

Moses Basena, the Uganda Cranes coach introduced former AFC Leopards winger Allan Katterega for Mutyaba, going all out for pace in attack.

On the hour mark, Uganda came close again, this time Milton Karisa’s header going inches wide from a Joseph Nsubuga cross.

Karisa came close again in the 75th minute with a stinging shot saved by the Ethiopian keeper. The pressure bore fruit four minutes to time when Nsibambi tapped the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.

Zanzibar takes on Libya

On Monday, Group A’s representatives in the semis will be known when Zanzibar takes on Libya in the early kick off while already eliminated Tanzania tackle hosts Kenya.

Zanzibar has already progressed but will be keen to top the group. Zanzibar and Kenya each have a qualification chance.

A win for Kenya who are on five points will see them go through and if Zanzibar drop points against Libya, Kenya tops the group.

Libya who are on six points needs to beat Zanzibar and hope Tanzania beat Kenya.

“It will be war against Kenya. We can’t bow out of the tournament with just one point. We have to fight for our pride. We know it will be tough, but Kenya should expect a fight,” Ammy Ninje, the Tanzania coach said.

Paul Put, his Harambee Stars counterpart remains optimistic that his charges will get maximum points off Tanzania.

However, he is worried with his blunt strike force that has scored only one goal from open play in three matches.

“The system is working well because we create the chances. But we are not lucky and also I do not have a big squad to choose from. But I know we have to win against Tanzania and I am confident the players will deliver,” the coach said.

Massoud Juma who picked up an injury against Libya and missed the Zanzibar match on Saturday will still be out.

With only Kepha Aswani as the recognized out and out striker in the squad, Put doesn’t have much of a choice.


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 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.