Kenya, Libya draw as Zanzibar edge Rwanda in Cecafa ties

Tuesday December 5 2017

Harambee Stars

Harambee Stars' Whyvonne Isuza (left) fights for the ball with Libya's Madeen Muhanad during the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County on December 5, 2017. PHOTO: VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VINCENT OPIYO
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Guest team Libya held hosts Harambee Stars to a barren draw in the second Group A Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup encounter played at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County on Tuesday afternoon.

In the early kickoff, Zanzibar Heroes beat Amavubi Stars of Rwanda 3-1.

The last time the Hemed Suleiman' side played an international match, they beat Harambee Stars 3-1 in Addis Ababa. On Tuesday, they again proved why they deserve to be recognised by world football governing body, Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) by edging a side preparing for the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (Chan).

Singida United midfielder Yahya Mudathir opened the scoring in the 33rd minute but Hakizimana Muhadjiri levelled two minutes after the break. Issa Juma restored Heroes’ lead six minutes later before substitute Kassim Suleiman scored the third in the 85th minutes.

Kenya tops Group A on four points followed by Zanzibar, Libya, Tanzania and Rwanda in that order.

DROPPING POINTS

Elsewhere in Kakamega County, Ethiopia kicked off their campaign with a 3-0 win over South Sudan at Bukhungu Stadium to go top of Group B.

Stars' coach Paul Put was pleased with his boys’ performance despite dropping vital points. “For me, it’s important to see the progress of the boys," Put said after the match.

"We created chances in both halves but couldn’t convert, I must say I am satisfied because we were playing an organised team. I am not in panic mode heading into the next game, hopefully we will win and advance to semis,” said the Belgian who meets Zanzibar in the next encounter.

PRAISED STARS

Libyan tactician Omar Elmatyami, who appeared contented with a draw, praised Stars’ game approach.

“They (Stars) were fast on the flanks and we were forced to change formation in the second half but still they threatened our goal area, I am happy that we didn’t concede,” he added.

Stars would blame themselves for squandering chances in both halves. SportPesa Premier League top scorer Masud Juma and George Odhiambo both tested Libya custodian Azzaqah Ahmed in vain.

Harambee Stars custodian Patrick Matasi was called to action in the ninth minute when he parried Almaryami Khalid’s shot.

Put was forced to make changes at the start of the second half, when he pulled out injured Juma for Kepha Aswani and later introduced Ovellah Ochieng’ and Vincent Oburu for Chris Oduor and George Odhiambo respectively.