Derbies in Copa Coca Cola Africa Cup semis
It will be an East African derby in the semi-final of the Copa Coca Cola Africa Cup when Kenya take on Tanzania at Thika’s M-Pesa Foundation Academy today.
Hosts and tournament contenders Kenya needed a 66th-minute penalty from Mohamed Mbaruk to beat Botswana in the quarter-final yesterday.
The match was tight as either teams struggled to create clear-cut chances with both goalkeepers staying alert. Kenya, who are represented by Serani High School, had opportunities through Elisha Odhiambo and Fredrick Onyango in both halves but the opposing defenders kept them at bay.
Physical encounter ssaw tackles fly at will with medical personnel called regularly on the pitch but the Kenyan side held on to clinch a semi-final berth.
Despite the victory, Kenya’s coach Daniel Lenjo was left disappointed by the display, promising to tighten the loose ends in the next match.
“We have passed through this hurdle and it’s a happy moment for the boys. However, we must work because the performance was not satisfactory. I believe we will improve when we face our next opponents. It’s step by step for us basically,” Lenjo told People Sport.
His counterpart Thabiso Ramosweu blamed the loss on ‘poor officiating’, terming the penalty dubious.
Kenya will indeed have to be at their best against Tanzania as the Bongo boys came from behind to thump neighbours Uganda 6-2 with Paul Nyerere hitting a hat-trick.
Uganda, who had netted 15 goals in their two group matches on Monday, found their match as even after Patrick Duke and Abasi Kyeloni gave them the lead, they could not prevent Tanzania from beating them.
Tanzanian coach Abel Mtweve promised to serve the same dose to Kenya. “Kenya are hosts and defending champions but we have a plan for them. We are improving and we are going for the win if our quarter-final performance is anything to go by,” said Mtweve.
The other semi-final will also be a derby, a south African one, between Zambia and Zimbabwe after seeing off Namibia and Angola respectively.
Zambia thrashed an out of sorts Angola 8-1 while Zimbabwe punished tournament debutants Namibia 4-1.