10 December 2012

Tanzania: Cecafa 'Robs' Ngassa, Bocco

MAINLAND'S Kilimanjaro Stars duo of John Bocco "Adebayor" and Mrisho Ngassa were robbed of the top scorer's award as the regional championship, CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup reached its climax in Kampala, Uganda on Saturday.

Uganda striker Robert Ssentongo was awarded the 2012 CECAFA Senior Challenge Golden boot amidst controversy that he did not deserve the award. While Bocco and Ngassa each had five goals to their credit in the tournament, Ssentongo had four goals to his name, prior to the finals, having scored against South Sudan, Ethiopia in the quarters and a brace against Tanzania in the semis.

However, the former African Lyon player was awarded a goal against Kenya, a goal that replays showed was an own goal by Kenya skipper Antony Kimani. Ngassa, attacking midfielder scored five goals in the last group B match against Somalia, breaking a record of many goals to be scored in one match.

Bocco, meanwhile, scored a brace in the opening game against Sudan, two against Somalia and Rwanda in the quarters. The pair did not succeed to write his name on scoreboard. Uganda swept all the awards in the tournament, including Best player which was given to Brian Umony despite having last featured for the Cranes at the quarter finals stage. Umony was injured and missed both the semis and the finals.

Hamza Muwonge who conceded only a single goal in the whole tournament was named as the goalkeeper of the tournament. Meanwhile, Kilimanjaro Stars returned back home yesterday from Kampala, Uganda where the team finished in fourth place after losing 6-5 to their Zanzibar Heroes brothers on post-match penalties in the play offs match on Saturday.

Meanwhile, national team coach Kim Poulsen is today expected to name Taifa Stars squad for the friendly match against Zambia. The Taifa Stars, who are sponsored by the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) under its Kilimanjaro Lager brand, are scheduled to host reigning African champions, the Chipolopolo of Zambia in a much-anticipated international friendly encounter at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on December 23.

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and their Zambian counterparts (FAZ) have lined up the match to gauge the latter's readiness before launching the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title defence in South Africa next year, as well as provide the Tanzanian outfit a strength-testing platform.

The climax of the regional showpiece means that, Taifa Stars, which is traditionally formed by players from both Kilimanjaro Stars and Zanzibar Heroes can now start preparations ahead of their clash against Zambia. After their match against Zambia, the Stars' players will have a two-week break before they resume training on January 6 to 20 when the team is expected to play two more friendlies in preparation for the World Cup qualifier against Morocco.

Poulsen has revealed plans to beef up the goalkeeping department with the third goalkeeper to provide cover-up for Juma Kaseja and Deogratias Munishi, who are first and second choice respectively.

The Dane also spoke of his intentions to add more young players to the Stars set-up from the U-17 and U-20 sides; Serengeti Boys and Ngorongoro Heroes respectively. Poulsen is also expected to call some new faces from the Isles after monitoring the Zanzibar Heroes' progress during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala.

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