29 November 2012

Tanzania/Eritrea: Zanzibar Stun Amavubi

Namboole stadium pitch was very poor and so was Amavubi Stars in their 2-1 loss to Zanzibar in a group C encounter of the Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup played yesterday.

Striker Khamis Micha Khamis netted twice for Zanzibar Heroes in either half and second hall substitute Dady Birori scored Amavubi's consolation.

Some parts of the field resembled more of a potato garden than a football playing ground, but the Zanzibar Heroes seemed to adapt to it better than their opponents, the Wasps.

Amavubi went into the match fresh from a 2-0 win over Malawi in the group opener on Monday and coach Micho emphasized a need to keep it tight at the back, but it took Zanzibar, who drew 0-0 with Eritrea in the first match, just nine minutes to take the lead through Khamis.

The Azam FC striker profited from slack defending in the heart of Amavubi backline and more poor judgment by goalkeeper Jean Claude Ndoli to score in an empty net, and Micho's team never fully recovered from going behind.

Despite dominating possession and creating several scoring chances, Amavubi players lacked real cohesion in their play due to the muddy Namboole pitch.

Jimmy Mbaraga, Jerome Sina and Anthony Uwimana missed Rwanda's best chances in a rugged first half and goalie Ndoli, looked suspect throughout the evening.

Micho's team started the second half stronger, creating a couple of good opportunities and one or two half chances but without causing much trouble for Zanzibar keeper.

As Amavubi continued to press in search for the equalizer, Khamis, once more took full advantage of more terrible defending by Ismail Nshutiyamagara and Hamdan Baringaya to extend Zanzibar's lead.

The Serb reacted by introducing Birori for Tumaine Ntamuhanga and the Vita Club striker, who hit the cross after coming as a second half substitute on Monday, reduced the deficit in the 80th minute.

But it was just a consolation as Zanzibar Heroes held on for an important win that takes them top of the group with four points and on course for a place in the quarterfinals.

Rwanda and Malawi, who beat Eritrea 3-2 in the day's first match, have three points each, which leaves this group wide open going into the last group matches on Sunday. Rwanda faces Eritrea, while Malawi will play Zanzibar.

Burundi through:

Meanwhile, Burundi snatched a 1-0 win against Tanzania as Sudan beat Somalia 1-0 in a Group B on Wednesday. The win sees Burundi through to the quarterfinals with a match to go and they become the second team after Uganda to qualify.

Burundi will play Sudan in their final group match. They currently lead group B with six points while Tanzania are second with three.

Today's action will see Group A teams wind up their group matches, with Ethiopia needing a win of any kind against Kenya's Harambee Stars to book a slot in the quarters.

The Walya Antelopes have one win from two matches and a draw against Kenya would mean they exit the tournament on goal difference basis. They are currently third on the pool behind leaders Uganda and second placed Kenya.

Cecafa Tusker Cup:

Yesterday, Group C

Eritrea 2-3 Malawi

Rwanda 1-2 Zanzibar

Today, Group A

Kenya vs Ethiopia

South Sudan vs Uganda

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