Stars pip Tanzania, qualify for Cecafa semis
Harambee Stars stormed to the semi-finals of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup on Monday afternoon after holding their nerves to overcome gritty Tanzania 1-0 in a tough group ‘A’ match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Vincent Oburu’s 20th minute goal proved the difference as the Paul Put coached Stars stood strong to earn the semis berth, in front of a fair home crowd.
The win hauled Stars points tally to eight, topping the group and will now meet Burundi’s Swallows in the semis.
“We deserved to win, I think the media did not expect it. The most important thing is that we have won, now we shift our focus to the semis,”Stars coach Paul Put said after the win. “The changes I made were informed of several factors, including resting some players who I felt were tired, but I also need to see what every player can offer.”
“Oburu was good, Ovella too, but we have to give it to the entire team. We are not there yet, but we are making progress. From here we go to analyse Burundi and plan for them, hopefully our injured players will be fit by the time we play next,” the Belgian added .
His Tanzanian counterpart Ammy Conrad Kinje decried massive wastage, saying his charges deserved at least a point.
“We had our chances, had we converted at least 20 percent of them it would have been different.
“Of course we gave some players who had not featured in the previous matches a chance to play, but it should not be an excuse. We have a duty to do, and we learnt important lessons in this tournament,” said Kinje.
Tanzania managed just a point in the four matches; the draw against Libya, and losing against Rwanda, Zanzibar and Kenya.
Thus, they finished last in Group ‘A’ while Zanzibar, who lost 1-0 to Libya in an earlier kickoff, settled for second spot with seven points ahead of Libya with six. Rwanda, who exited earlier, finished fourth with four
Elsewhere at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, South Sudan drew 0-0 with Burundi, meaning the latter and Uganda Cranes are tied on five points, but the Cranes top the pool on a superior goal difference.
The Cranes will now tackle Zanzibar in the semis as Stars face Burundi. The semi final matches will be staged at the Kisumu County Stadium on December 14 and 15.
Patrick Matasi (GK), Musa Mohammed (C), Jockins Atudo, Dennis Sikhayi, Wesley Onguso, Ernest Wendo, Patillah Omotto, Vincent Oburu, Chrispin Oduor, Ovella Ochieng, George Odhiambo
Gabriel Andika (GK), Boniface Oluoch (GK), Said Tsuma, Bernard Ochieng, Samuel Onyango, Masoud Juma, Wellington Ochieng, Charles Momanyi, Kefa Aswani, Issack Kipyegon, Duncan Otieno, Whyvonne Issuza
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