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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Harambee Stars Face Sudan in CECAFA Finals

Thika United winger Clifton Miheso netted a 5th minute strike which would prove to be the only goal as Kenya’s Harambee Stars booked a date in the finals of the ongoing CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup championship.

Miheso who had been drafted into the lineup to replace injured Jacob Keli pounced on a spilled ball by Tanzania’s keeper Ivo Mapunda who could only palm away a stinging shot from his Gor Mahia teammate and GOTV man-of-the-match Teddy Akumu.

The game which had to be moved from a rained off Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos kicked off at 7pm in an almost empty Nyayo National Stadium. Only the VIP stand had some fans who did their best to cheer Stars on in their quest to win the cup they last lifted in 2002.

Adel Amrouche’s Stars started the match the better side zipping the ball from one side of the pitch to the other with relative ease as the visitors struggled to get a grip of the game. A slippery pitch was always going to trouble the flow of football but Stars looked the more comfortable side even after taking the lead.

The defensive pairing of David Owino and Jockins Atudo won everything that came their way and were well protected by club rivals but national team darlings Akumu and Peter ‘Pinchez’ Opiyo. The highly impressive Ediwn Lavatsa was a mouthful for the Tanzania defence to handle, the lanky forward playing in a makeshift wing position where he looked pretty comfortable. He almost got behind the visitor’s backline on two occasions while Francis Kahata and Allan Wanga were a constant thorn as the half ended with Kilimanjaro Stars failing to trouble Kenya custodian Duncan Ochieng.

The second half began with Tanzania dictating the play as they looked for the equalizer. A moment of hesitation from Kenya keeper Ochieng almost led to goal when Frank Domayo’s freekick escaped everyone in the box but went inches wide. Mbwana Samatta almost broke Kenyan fan’s hearts with a stunning strike from 20-yards which rattled the post. With Kenya pinned almost in their own half, Tanzania got more adventurous but could not get the elusive goal as Kenya held on for a clean sheet and a slot in the final.

Harambee will meet 3-time champions Sudan in the finals. The Falcons edged out guest team Zambia 2-1 in extra time after the two teams played to a barren draw in normal time. With the scores still leveled at 0-0 at the end of the first half of extra time, Zambia took the lead in the 113th minute through Ronald Kampamba.

However, Sudan hit back barely four minutes later with substitute Miaaz Abdelrahim findin the back of the net from a Amier Kamal cross. The winner came from Mohamed Abdelmonem who netted his fifth goal of the campaign to send the Nile Crocodiles to the finals and closer to their first title since triumphing against Rwanda in 2007.

Kenya and Sudan have never met in the CECAFA Cup final since it was rebranded in 1973. The final will be played at Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday December 12.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!