23 December 2004

Kenya/Ethiopia: Kenya Beaten By Ethiopia

Addis Ababa — Hosts Ethiopia beat Harambee Stars 5-4 in post-match penalties yesterday to qualify for the Challenge Cup final in Addis Ababa.

The home team will take on Burundi who edged out Sudan 2-1.

Ethiopia and Kenya were level 2-2 after 90 minutes of play and an extra thirty failed to break the deadlock. In the shoot-out, new Harambee Stars defender Pascal Ochieng' blasted over the bar to miss his penalty and spoil a day when Kenya had made a great comeback from 0-2 down in regulation time to force the extra-time play.

Earlier, after getting their precious 2-0 lead with a goal in each half, Ethiopia resorted to time wasting. Players fell to the ground with each challenge even after Kenya had grabbed a goal and trailing 1-2. The home fans were shocked by a Mike Baraza equaliser five minutes to time.

Baraza who had come in for John Baraza capitalised on a headed flick-on by substitute Kevin Oliech.

However, a blatant bad call by the Ugandan referee gave the Ethiopians the early 1-0 lead from an off side position. The Ugandan referee and linesman conjured not to have seen three Ethiopian strikers who fell off-side before one put the ball past a desperate Victor Onyango.

Twelve minutes from time, Mark Sirengo was roughed up in the box but the referee waved a play on sign. McDonald Mariga failed to impress in the midfield causing lapses that saw the hosts dominate.

Mike Baraza who came in for John Baraza brought back the Stars who had already panicked. Mariga's shot from the right was bundled out for a corner. Yellow carded Mike Mururi hit in Kenya's opener in the 66th minute.

Captain Tom Juma was shown a red card in the 13th minute of the extra time when pushing and jostling among players threatened to totally disrupt the match which the referee had totally lost control of.

In the shoot-out Harambee Stars' penalties were scored by Mike Baraza, McDonald Mariga, Zablon Amanaka and Victor Onyango while Ochieng missed. The Ethiopians scored all their five.

In the earlier semi-final Burundi upset Sudan 2-1.

Meanwhile off the soccer pitch on the athletics track, the man behind the clutch of world beating Ethiopian long distant runners Woldemeskel Kostre has one word of advice for his Kenyan counterparts: Control.

"We control our athletes. We do not refuse to let them go abroad and compete in races for money. But when the national team gets together for a major competition we do not allow the athletes to do what they want. There has to be control," Kostre, the long term Ethiopia national team coach said.

Athletic Kenya has time and again had to grapple with the absence of national team members in camp ahead of big competitions. The Kenyan athletes routinely disregard directives from the federation to stay in camp and instead prefer to race in the money circuits of Europe.

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