Voice of Sport

Uganda, Sudan win while Harambee Stars brace for battle with South Sudan

Sserunkuma’s familiarity with pitch gives the Cranes the edge as he scores late winner at Nyayo National Stadium

DANNY Sserunkuma of Kenyan Premier League side Gor Mahia struck fiercely to give his national team , Uganda,  a 1-0 victory over Rwanda at the Nyayo Stadium,  while at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, Sudan’s experience proved the difference between them and Eritrea who they thrashed 3-0.

This was in Friday’s the Cecafa Challenge Cup Group ‘C’ matches which were threatened by rain.

Both set to take place in Machakos, only the 2pm fixture was risked at the soggy Kenyatta Stadium after heavy overnight rains on Thursday while Uganda and Rwanda were hastily asked to meet in Nairobi.

On Saturday, the host nation’s Harambee Stars, who drew 0-0 with Ethiopia on the opening day will try to gain as much advantage as they can against South Sudan at Nyayo, kick off 4.00pm which will be preceded by Ethiopia taking on day one winners Zanzibar.

Sudan 3-0 Eritrea

At Kenyatta Stadium, the end result would suggest a thrashing but it was far from it. Eritrea, a team with plenty of skill and determination found things not going their way on the day.

Salah Ibrahim concluded a spectacular movement by Sudan into the Eritrea box in the fifth minute and hammered in a brilliant goal with his left foot past the near-post, but his second was a cruel punishment of Eritrea’s naivety. They gave away the ball to Ibrahim who was more 40 yards away. The Eritrean goalie had come way off his line and Ibrahim deftly returned the ball lobbing it over into an empty net for 2-0 in the 26th minute.

Good recovery

Mohannad Tahir then made it 3-0 from the right before Eritrea would recover from serious shock.

They then amazed themselves with complete lack of fortune when they failed to find target with a free kick and their attackers messed the simplest of chances, twice.

But Sudan’s history of stout performances in Africa Cup of Nations always gives confidence to their players against lesser sides as the young Eritrean nation and it seemed to have been repeated on Friday.

Uganda 1-0 Rwanda

At Nyayo Stadium, a pitch he is so familiar with, Danny Sserunkuma seemed to immensely enjoy himself and made some very good running for his Uganda team, the defending champions of the Challenge Cup.

When it appeared the match was headed for a barren draw, Sserunkuma got possession from 35 metres out, then raced entering the box from the edge on the right before firing hard to score the Cranes’ winner against fierce rivals Rwanda.

Goalie Benjamin Ochan  was outstanding keeping Rwanda attackers at bay. Otherwise, Meddie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge were threatening and  missed chances early in the match.

Another Ugandan who also plays regularly on the Nyayo turf was Tusker midfield king pin Khalid Aucho who produced a great performance for the Cranes; passing accurately to Joseph Mpande and Brian Majwega.

More good chances

Emery Bayisenge’s free kick from the edge of the box was dealt well by Ochan at the half hour mark while Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza could only see his long range effort go wide.

Hamis Kiiza too did have a go at goal; a header that Rwandan ‘keeper Jean Claude Ndayishimiye did well to punch clear for a corner. Then Kizito spurned another good chance in the 43rd minute, shooting wide after being set clear by Sserunkuma.

Rwanda’s best goal scoring opportunity was in the 47th minute when Kagere crossed to Tuyisenge but the midfielder hit the post with a volley.

The Cranes’ goal was the Gor Mahia striker’s second in three international matches, the first having come on his debut, against Rwanda.