Harambee Stars begin their Cecafa title defence with victory over Tanzania
Rodgers Ndegwa in Kampala
Kenya’s Harambee Stars began their Council of Eastern and Central Football Association (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup title defence on a high after dispatching their neighbours Tanzania 1-0 in an entertaining Group B match played at KCCA grounds in Kampala, Uganda yesterday.
Stars, who came into this regional clash as favourites on paper, lived up to the billing as they scored a quick goal in the fourth minute of the high-octane match after Gor Mahia’s Samuel Onyango collected a loose ball in the midfield before setting up Abdallah Hassan on the right wing.
The Bandari attacker fired a low shot in the left corner to beat Tanzania’s custodian Aishi Manula.
A hungry Stars then went in search of a second goal and their efforts would have borne fruit after skillful quick passes between David Owino and Antony Kimani disorganised their challengers only for Hassan’s shot to go wide to the disappointment of the partisan crowd.
Sensing danger, Taifa Stars head coach Juma Mgunda brought in Singida’s United striker Herman Mpepo in place of Lucas Kikoti and that gave some impetus to the game as they prodded the Stars backline without much success.
After the break, Kenya’s tactic was to protect what they had with their backline constantly thwarting any attempts thrown at them by the Tanzanians.
Kenyan’s head coach Francis Kimanzi brought in Cliffton Miheso and Whyvone Isuza in place of Kimani and Hassan to help shore up the defence and got just that as Stars held on for the win.
Stars now lead their group with three points ahead of Sudan and Zanzibar who played to a dramatic 1-1 all draw in the early kick off.
Mussa Khamis netted for the Zanzibari after a goalmouth melee before his efforts were cancelled by Osman Montasir in the 88th minute.