Voice of Sport

Harambee Stars recover to take grip of own destiny as Ethiopia boom past Zanzibar

A day with many goals to celebrate, paving way for Sunday crucial matches between Somalia and Tanzania Mainland (2pm) and Zambia against Burundi at 4pm

KENYA thumped South Sudan 3-1 after Ethiopia had drubbed Zanzibar 3-1 in high scoring group ‘A’ encounters of Cecafa Challenge Cup tournament at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on Saturday.

It was a day with many goals to celebrate paving way for Sunday crucial matches between Somalia and Tanzania Mainland (2pm) and Zambia against Burundi at 4pm.

Guest team, Zambia, recent Africa champions from who a lot is expected, reported they had been hit by injuries ahead of what they termed as difficult match against Burundi.

Jimmy Chisenga, Felix Katongo and Kondwani Mtonga all picked up injuries during Chipolopolo’s 1-1 draw against Tanzania on Thursday, a match played at a wet Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.

A man in doubt

Zambia team doctor Joseph Kabungo said that Chisenga was a doubt for Sunday.

“We have worrying injuries; Chisenga has a sprain on the left ankle, Katongo has a strain in the left calf while Kondwani has a contusion in the left quadriceps,” the doctor said.

“We have more doubts on Jimmy [Chisenga] than anyone else and hope that he will have a fast recovery. The other guys have better chances of inclusion in the squad.”

Burundi, who beat Somalia 2-0, are leading Group ‘B’ on three points, two more than Chipolopolo and Tanzania, who have a point each. Chipolopolo must beat Burundi to stand a chance of finishing top of the group ahead of their final Group ‘B’ match against Somalia on Wednesday.

Kenya 3-1 South Sudan

Harambee Stars’ Jacob Keli and Noah Wafula had a great day on earning their first full international caps; Wafula supplying the ball that Keli scored for Kenya’s second goal.

Joakins Atudo had scored the first for the hosts through a penalty kick that was cancelled by a free kick converted by South Sudan captain Richard Lado. Defender David Owino scored the third goal to ensure a comfortable win for Kenya.

The result saw Kenya go joint top of Group ‘B’ with Ethiopia on same points, goal difference and head-to-head record.

Both sides have four points while Zanzibar, who beat South Sudan 2-1, on the opening day have three.

Final pool match in Machakos

Kenya plays Zanzibar in the final game in Machakos on Tuesday and assistant coach James Nandwa hopes the result will favour the Stars.

“We are all happy with the result. We have shown tremendous improvement from our first game and we look forward to the next game,” he said.

Adel Amrouche returns

The Kenya head coach Adel Amrouche reappeared on the Harambee Stars bench after missing the first match.

It is now known he has many grievances with the Football Kenya Federation [FKF],  including non-payment of his salary for months, and a row with a federation official who he claims interferes with the selection of his squads.

There were changes in the Harambee Stars line-up from their last match with Ethiopia. David Gateri, Edwin Lavatsa and injured Musa Mohammed started on the bench and in came Wafula, Keli and veteran James Situma as starters. There was also a debut appearance for David King’atua on the 90th minute [for Wafula].

On the day, captain Francis Kahata and Allan Wanga missed several clear-cut chances. Wanga thrice had only the Southern Sudan ‘keeper, Juma Jinaro, to beat but just could not get his shot out before he was substituted in the 52nd minute.

Desperate for victory

Coming into the match, Harambee Stars were desperate for a win after their barren draw from their first fixture.

It was Keli who had the first chance at goal but his effort was stopped by Jinaro. Then a good play between Wanga and Wafula allowed the latter to send in a perfect cross from the right flank. Wafula’s effort was blocked in the 11th minute and one minute later, the home team got their first corner of the match as they kept up the pressure.

The Stars showed a lot of urgency for goals as Wanga combined with Kahata, allowing the latter to have a shot at goal but this was blocked by the ‘keeper for Kenya’s third corner.

In the 16th minute, Kenya were awarded a penalty after a South Sudanese defender handled in his box and Atudo made no mistake, scoring from the spot.

Delayed with goalie beaten

Four minutes after the goal, Wanga should have added a second but he delayed to pull the trigger after rounding the ‘keeper.

But after this South Sudan gained confidence and looked dangerous as they made a go at the Kenyan defenders forcing them to make blunders.

After the Atundo penalty, the visitors responded through skipper Richard Justin’s stunning free kick that dipped over the wall and dropped just inside Duncan Ochieng’s bottom right corner for 1-1.

But the South Sudan joy was short-lived. Three minutes later, man of the match Keli met the industrious Wafula’s cross at the back post with a thumping header to restore Kenya’s lead.

Good performance

Kenya should have scored twice in the final five minutes of the first half, with Kahata first being denied by Jinaro after a neat lay off from Keli and then Keli himself smacking his header against the crossbar from a Wanga’s delivery.

After the break, Kenya resumed from where they left off. In the 51st minute Kahata put through Wanga but the striker was foiled by Jinaro after he attempted to round the goalie on a one-on-one situation.

Moments later, Keli headed Kahata’s delivery over the top before the former won another penalty in the 69th minute when he was hacked down inside the box by Jinaro.

Again up stepped Atudo but his low effort was turned round the post by Jinaro. At that point, Kenyan strikers seemed to have run short of ideas of nailing the Sudanese team.

Held off his man

But ten minutes from time centre half David Owino popped up at the end of a search ball on the right flank and did extremely well to hold off his man before toe poking the ball underneath Jinaro for Kenya’s third goal.

There was concerns, however, when Keli limped off towards the end of the match with what looked like a ankle injury. Kenya will play Zanzibar in their final group match.

Ethiopia 3-1 Zanzibar

This early kick-off match was a thriller as action swung from end to end.

It did not take long before Ethiopia opened their goal account when industrious captain Asfan Fasikja slotted home from close range in the fourth minute — the tournament’s fastest goal so far.

Seven minutes before the break Salahadin  Bargicho stepped up  to  convert  from  the spot after prowling winger Manaye Fantu was upended in the box by Zanzibar’s defender Saleh Ahmed.

Leading 2-0 at the break, the Walia Antelopes stuck to their game plan of launching their attacks from the wings.

Over the bar

Fantu, playing wide on the right was a constant thorn in the flesh of his Zanzibar markers. At the quarter hour mark, Fasikja and Fantu combined again but Fasikja headed the final ball over the top.

Towards the end of the first half, Zanzibar created a couple of chances which they, however, failed to convert.

The second half was a different tale with Zanzibar taking the game to Ethiopia. They were duly rewarded in the 68th minute when captain Awadh Issa Juma met a right wing cross with a diving header.

There were loud penalty shouts from the islanders three minutes later when Sabri Makame tumbled inside the box but the centre referee ignored their appeals.

Regret the wastefulness

They almost vindicated themselves from the resultant corner but Awadh Issa scooped Makame’s cut back over the crossbar.

They would live to rue their wastefulness in the 80th minute when Asfan picked out Yonatan Kabede whose initial header came off the upright but his second attempt beat Zanzibar goalkeeper Abdallah Rashid for 3-1.

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