18 April 2019

Tanzania: Serengeti Boys Still in Remote Chance to Semis

Tanzania's Serengeti Boys almost bowed out of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals, following the humiliating 3-0 loss to Uganda Cubs at the National Stadium yesterday.

It was the second consecutive defeat for the home team after losing 5-4 in their opening group A match against Nigeria on Sunday.

Despite the big loss, there is a slim chance for Serengeti Boys to advance to the semis due to the situation in the group.

Still the answer will be known on Saturday during the final group stage matches. On the day Nigeria, who have reaped six points and already qualified, will play Uganda with three points, while Serengeti Boys, who sit bottom of the table without a point will host Angola with three points.

The hopes for Serengeti Boys to qualify will be revived if Nigeria beat Uganda by a big margin and Serengeti record the same in their match against Angola.

It means by that all three; Uganda, Tanzania and Angola will end with three points; hence the winner will be decided on superior goal average or head to head.

The youthful Tanzanian envoys are mathematically not out, but they must beat Angola in their last group match on Saturday.

It was all quiet at the fully packed National Stadium where Tanzanian football fans watched in dismay their team conceding so many unanswered goals contrary to their tournament's opener against Nigeria.

It was evident the team lacked a team-work basis as what the best displayed by the team was individual skills.

The team's key scorer Kelvin John was tightly marked and failed to show what makes him a future prolific scorer.

Nigeria who defeated Serengeti Boys in the group's opener, have already sailed to the semis following their 1-0 win over Angola at the same venue yesterday.

Serengeti Boys started well the match attacking the Ugandan goalmouth, but failed to see an opener.

They conceded an easy goal in the 15th minute when goalkeeper, Shaaban Hassan failed to clear a cross from the right side.

It all started from left wing back, Arafat Swakali, who failed to block a Ugandan winger to cross in for Andrew Kawooya to score from a tight angle.

Things went from bad to worse in the 27th minute, when Uganda Cubs netted the second, again capitalising on another defensive mistake by Serengeti Boys.

Defenders Omary Omary and Ben Starkie were found wanting, giving Asaba Ivan space and time to score from inside the box.

From then on, Uganda were pushing forward in numbers in search for more goals and in the 45th minute Serengeti survived a scare as a shot came off the post.

Uganda Cubs were home and dry in the 73rd minute, when Najib Yiga headed home the third after Serengeti Boys failed to clear their lines from a short corner kick.

Meanwhile, Nigeria's Golden Eaglets have qualified for the semi-final of the ongoing 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania after beating Angola 1-0 at the same venue yesterday.

It was the second win for Manu Garba's side at the tournament after beating Tanzania 5-4 in their first Group A game.

The five time winners of the competition have also picked a ticket for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil later this year.

Olakunle Olusegun scored from the penalty spot in the 20th minute after an Angolan defender handled the ball in the penalty box.

The Golden Eaglets had so many chances in the first half with five attempts on goal out of the seven shots fired.

The Golden Eaglets will face Uganda in their final group game on Friday. Today Cameroon will face Morocco, while Senegal will battle it out against Guinea.

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