Kenya’s Serani recover to reach Copa quarters

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 00:00 |
Marcos Odhiambo of Kenya tussles for the ball with Alja Chiwastir of Zimbabwe during the opening match of the Copa Coca-Cola tournament in Thika yesterday. Photo/PD/PHILIP KAMAKYA

Kenya’s representatives in the 2019 edition of the Copa Coca Cola Africa Cup Serani High School will take on Botswana in the quarter-final of the continental today after finishing second in their group yesterday.

Kenya had a false start, going down 3-1 to Zimbabwe at the M-Pesa Foundation Academy in Thika yesterday before they recovered to hammer Mozambique 3-0 to proceed as the second best in the three-team group.

In the opening match, waterlogged pitch due to the ongoing rains did not prevent Zimbabwe’s Luke Musikiri from scoring a hat-trick after endlessly troubling the Kenyan backline.

His first goal came in the 21st minute against the run of play when a loose ball from the Zimbabwean midfield was not well cleared by Kenya’s captain Mbaruk Juma and Musikiri simply pounced on to slot home.

Kenya then tried to push for a quick response and their efforts yielded dividends in the 35th minute when deadly Joel Elisha poked home from close range to make it 1-1. 

Musikiri got his second of the match in the 59th minute after a miscommunication between custodian Ismael Tole and his defender Khamid Hamis left him with an easy tap in before completing his treble nine minutes later. 

“They played according to instructions despite the bad pitch and weather. It is never easy to win away from home but we did well. We are here on a mission to take the trophy home,” said Zimbabwe coach Mathias Maoke. 

His Kenyan counterpart Daniel Lenjo bemoaned the state of the pitch, promising a quick rebound in the subsequent matches. True to his word, the Kenyan side put Mozambique to the sword to right the wrongs of the opening match and proceed to the last eight.

Meanwhile, last year’s losing semi-finalists Uganda thrashed lacklustre Namibia 11-2 while Botswana silenced Angola 1-0 as Tanzania thumped South Africa 3-1.

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