5 December 2012

Africa: Kenya and Uganda Into Cecafa Semi-Finals

Kenya and Uganda stormed into the semi-finals of the 2012 CECAFA Tusker Challenge Cup with entertaining football under fine conditions at the Nelson Mandela National Stadium, Namboole on Tuesday.

They will join Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland -- qualifiers from Monday's quarter-finals at Lugogo Ground -- for the semi-finals at Namboole on Thursday.

Kenya edged Malawi 1-0 via a brilliantly headed goal by veteran striker Mike Baraza from a sublime long pass on the left flank by Harambee Stars full-back Abdallah Juma.

Geoffrey Kizito and Robert Ssentongo smacked the ball into the Ethiopian goal on either side of half time to give the defending champion, Uganda Cranes an emphatic 2-0 over Ethiopia, the only nation in the CECAFA region who will be attending the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa next January.

The Challenge Cup semis will, therefore, be a rare all-East African affair, the original members of the competition -- Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar -- having a contest reminiscent of the days they battled for the then Gossage Cup.

Started in 1926 as an annual battle between Kenyan and Uganda, the Gossage Cup was forerunner to the Challenge Cup, the longest running competition in Africa.

Currently, 12 nations are members of Cecafa, an acronym for Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations. This year's competition was launched by Dr Issa Hayatou, the Cameroonian who is the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

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