BAD weather and a demanding playing surface at the Nelson Mandela National Stadium were not the only Cecafa Tusker Challenge Cup spectacles on Thursday as Zanzibar stunned hot championship favourites Rwanda with a 1-0 defeat, qualifying for the knock-out stage.
Malawi just survived a come-back from Eritrea to escape with a 3-2 in the first match of a very wet afternoon.
Qualification for other teams from Group 'C' was therefore left balanced on a knife-edge and Eritrea versus Rwanda, on Saturday, will be a no-holds-barred match. Malawi will need to take at least a point from Zanzibar on the same day.
Zanzibar's only Challenge Cup title since joining the championship in 1947 -- in the forerunner Gossage Cup between Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar -- was in 1995; and as a probable good omen for the Zanzibaris this year, the tournament, then, took place in Uganda.
Khamis Mcha Khamis gave Zanzibar a ninth minute lead and Saif Rashid Abdalla made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute. Dady Birori pulled one back for Rwanda in the 79th minute after coming off the bench in the 67th minute.
Zanzibaris were clearly more confident, and in relative good control of the atrociously muddy conditions, than the Rwanda. But it was a rarely strong Zanzibar side comprising nine players in the Tanzania Mainland Vodacom league; five of them -- Ally Mwadini, Samih Haji, Aggrey Morris, Abdulgani Gulam, Mcha Khamis and Saif Abdallah -- of leading Dar es Salaam side, Azam FC.
Faced with a do-or-die situation after losing their opening match on Monday against Rwanda, guests Malawi completely ignored the pitch conditions and raced into a second minute lead against Eritrea, kingpin Chiukepo Msowoya getting the goal.
Then Miciam Mhone made it 2-0 in the 10th minute before Msowoya got his second in the 56th minute.
A strong rally from Eritrea produced a Yosief Ghide goal in the 68th minute and Hermon Tecleab's second, two minutes into added time, came perhaps too late for them to share the spoils.
Kenya and Ethiopia, then South Sudan and Uganda, play on Friday at 4pm and 6pm, respectively. But these will be the last group games at the Mandela Stadium as organisers desperately seek alternative grounds for weekend action to give the Namboole venue a much needed rest and patch-up before knock-out fixtures next week.
Hardly adequate grounds at Lugogo and Wankulukuku will host the weekend matches and television partners, SuperSport International, likely to bring the "live" action from Lugogo.
Malawi 3 Eritrea 2
MALAWI - 16. Charles Swini: 2. Steve Changoma, 3. Moses Chavula (captain), 5. Foster Namwera, 6. John Lanjesi, 8. Patrick Masanjala (17. Ndaziona Chatsalira, 75'), 10. Josephy Kamwendo (13. Innocent Bokosi, 90'), 18. Miciam Mhone, 15. Chimango Kayira, 11. Rodrick Gonani (20. George Nyirenda, 80'), 4. Chiukepo Msowoya
Reserves not used - 1. Owen Chaima, Gk; 7. Bongani Kaipa, 14. Green Harawa, 12. Bernard Harawa
Scorers - 4. Chiukepo Msowoya (2', 56'), 18. Miciam Mhone (10')
Coach - Kinnah Phiri [Malawi]
ERITREA - 12. Fitsum Kelati: 8. Yohannes Nega, 18. Essey Kiflom, 11. Yuhannes Tilahun, 3. Merhawi Kesete, 14. Hermon Tecleab, 6. Medhanie Redie, 4. Yosief Ghide, 10. Daniel Alexandar, 9. Tesfalem Tekle (16. Haile Merhawie, 46'), 13. Yonatan Solomon
Reserves - 20. Daniel Goitom, Gk; 5. Mekonen Kibrom, 7. Ahmed Abdurahman, 17. Kuluberhan G'Tensae, 15. Aman Habteslus
Scorers - 4. Yosief Ghide (68'), 14. Hermon Tecleab (90+ 3)
Coach - Teklit Negash [Eritrea]
* * * * *
Referee - Dennis Batte [Uganda]
Assistant ref - Jesse Erasmo [Tanzania]
Asst ref - Mohamed Idam [Sudan]
Fourth official - Mohammed El Fadil [Sudan]
Match commissioner - Ahmed Maazal [Sudan]
Referees' inspector - Haruna Kebba [Uganda]
Rwanda 1 Zanzibar 2
RWANDA - 18. Jean Claude Ndori: 15. Emery Bayisenge, 2. Hamdani Bariyanga, 13. Ismail Nshutiyamagara, 3. Mwemere Ngirinshuti (12. Jean Claude Iranzi, 47') , 7. Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, 8. Haruna Niyonzima (captain), 5. Jimmy Mbaraga, 10. Jerome Sina, 14. Jean D'Amour Uwimana (6. Fabrice Twagizimana, 24'), 16. Tumaine Ntamuhanga (9. Dady Birori, 67')
Reserves not used - Jean Claude Ndayishimiye, Gk; 19. Barnabe Mubumbyi, 11. Imran Nshiyimana, 4. Michel Rusheshangoga
Scorers - 9. Dady Birori (79')
Coach - Milutin "Micho" Sredojovic [Serbia]
ZANZIBAR - 1. Ally Mwadini: 13. Nadir "Canavarro" Haroub (captain), 2. Nassor "Cholo" Masoud Said, 6. Samih Nuhu Haji, 15. Aggrey Morris Ambrose, 16. Sabri Alliy Makame, 3. Abdulgani Gulam Abdalla, 8. Khamis Mcha Khamis, 9. Jaku Juma Jaku, 12. Saif Rashid Abdalla (17. Adeyom Saleh Ahmed, 89'), 7. Suleyamn Kassim Suleyman
Reserves not used - 20. Abdalla Rashid Abdallah, Gk; 18. Twaha Mohamed Ally, 14. Azizi Shaweij Azizi, 19.Abdallah Otham, 10.Issa Othman Alliy, 11. Amir Hamad Omar
Scorers - 8.Khamis Mcha Khamis (9'), 12. Saif Rashid Abdalla (63')
Coach - Salim Nassor [Zanzibar]
* * * *
Referee - Ali Kalyango [Uganda]
Assistant ref - Mussie Kinde [Ethiopia]
Asst ref - Peter Sabatia [Kenya]
4th Official - Ronnie Kalema [Uganda]
Match commissioner - Ashenafi Ejigu [Ethiopia]
Referees' inspector - Robert Anangwe [Kenya]
2012 CECAFA TUSKER CHALLENGE CUP:
November 24 - December 8
(Pools, with Africa -World rankings)
(22 - 86)Uganda
(28 - 102)Ethiopia
(39 - 130)Kenya
(51- 200)South Sudan
Ethiopia 1-0 South Sudan
Uganda 1-0 Kenya
South Sudan 0-2 Kenya
Uganda 1-0 Ethiopia
(29 - 102)Sudan
(38 - 128)Burundi
(41 - 134)Tanzania
(48 - 193)Somalia
Burundi 5-1 Somalia
Tanzania Mainland 2-0 Sudan
Somalia 0-1 Sudan
Tanzania Mainland 0-1 Burundi
(27 - 101)Malawi
(37 - 122) Rwanda
(47 - 192) Eritrea
Zanzibar 0-0 Eritrea
Rwanda 2-0 Malawi
Malawi 3-2 Eritrea
Rwanda 1-2 Zanzibar
* * * * *
(Qualification: Group 'A' 1st and 2nd, Group 'B' 1st and 2nd, Group 'C' 1st and 2nd, plus two best qualifiers from all groups qualify to quarter finals)
RESULTS & FIXTURES:
Saturday, November 24:
1. Ethiopia 1-0 South Sudan, Gp 'A'
2. Uganda 1-0 Kenya, Gp 'A'
Sunday, Nov 25:
3. Burundi 5-1 Somalia, Gp 'B'
4. Tanzania Mainland 2-0 Sudan, Gp 'B'
Monday, Nov 26:
5. Zanzibar 0-0 Eritrea, Gp 'C'
6. Rwanda 2-0 Malawi, Gp 'C'
Tuesday, Nov 27:
7. South Sudan 0-2 Kenya, Gp 'A'
8. Uganda 1-0 Ethiopia, Gp 'A'
Wednesday, Nov 28:
9. Somalia 0-1 Sudan, Gp 'B'
10. Tanzania Mainland 0-1 Burundi, Gp 'B'
Thursday, Nov 29:
11. Malawi 3-2 Eritrea, Gp 'C'
12. Rwanda 1-2 Zanzibar, Gp 'C'
Friday, Nov 30:
13. Kenya v Ethiopia, Gp 'A', Namboole, 4pm
14. South Sudan v Uganda, Gp 'A', Namboole, 6pm
Sat, December 1:
15. Sudan v Burundi, Gp 'B', Lugogo, 2pm
16. Somalia v Tanzania Mainland, Gp 'B', Wankulukuku, 2pm
17. Malawi v Zanzibar, Gp 'C', Lugogo, 4pm
18. Eritrea v Rwanda, Gp 'C', Wankulukuku, 4pm
Sun, Dec 2:
Mon, Dec 3:
19. C1 v B2, Lugogo, 2pm
20. A1 v Best Q2, Lugogo, 4pm
Tue, Dec 4:
21. B1 v Best Q1, Namboole, 4pm
22. A2 v C2, Namboole, 7pm
Wed, Dec 5:
Thur, Dec 6:
23. Winner 19 v Winner 20, Namboole, 4pm
24. Winner 21 v Winner 22, Namboole, 7pm
Fri, Dec 7:
Sat, Dec 8:
25. Loser 23 v Loser 24, Namboole, 4pm
26. Winner 23 v Winner 24, Namboole, 6pm