Tanzania push out Kenya to face Zimbabwe in Copa
FOOTBALL: It will be a southern Africa versus East Africa affair in this year’s Copa Africa Cup final after Tanzania and Zimbabwe earned berths for a shot at the title.
It was tears and joy in both semi-finals matches after penalty shootout. Regular time for Kenya and Tanzania ended up goalless in what was a physical encounter but the Tanzanians won 5-4.
In the other corresponding fixture Zimbabwe came from behind to tie with neighbours Zambia 2-2 but later on beat them 4-3 on post-match penalties.
Elisha Joel and Ali Kamalu were the difference for Kenya as their constant running troubled the opponents but the final touch was lacking as Geoffrey Baiba and Leonard Okuku was well contained by skipper Gerald Kapanja.
On the other end Tanzania pressed well when off possession and forcing their challengers to commit mistakes.
In the 61st minute a good ball off Edward Benard was well converted by Haroun Ndile past goalkeeper Ismail Tole but the referee ruled it offside which sparked outrage by the Tanzania bench.
The tense penalty sessions the second penalty takers of Kenya and Tanzania missed their spotkicks. Mbaruk Mohamed missed his penalty conversion by inches wide and Harun Njinde hit straight at the keeper.
After that Tanzania converted thrice while Kenya hit the same number though the retaken penalty by Mwinyi Nassoro after missing the initial one which was heavily protested sparking a temporary standoff.
It was evidently joy afterwards for coach Abel Mtweve: “We neutralised Kenya in all areas but here we are.It was a tough match though goals were not forthcoming.We will improve on our weak spots especially finishing but overall I am happy with the boys,” he told People Sports.
Kenya will now have to fight for a third place spot against an astute side before the final sets in around midday.
Zambia who previously beat Tanzania,South Africa and Angola have the physicality in their game approach that could prove a huge test for the home side.
Meanwhile in the other fixture, Zimbabwe had to be relentless in searching for answers. - Barry Silah in Thika