Wamalwa keeps Harambee Stars perfect at CECAFA

Jacob Icia in Kampala

Harambee Stars needed Oscar Wamalwa’s lone goal in the second half to beat Zanzibar Heroes 1-0, and seal clean record of nine points in Group B of the ongoing CECAFA Senior Challenge, at the KCCA Lugogo Stadium Kampala, Uganda.

The loss meant exit of Zanzibar, with a crestfallen head coach Suleiman ‘Morocco’ Hemedi blaming lack of regular playing time for the 2017 finalists for the uninspiring run.

“Since 2017 we have never played again together as group. Zanzibar has a peculiar problem among the CECAFA teams, as we are not in any other competition other than CECAFA Senior Challenge.

“To wait for all that time while your competitors are playing in CAF, FIFA and Olympics competitions means you have a little chance against them. I however applaud my team for fighting with determination and giving every opponent we have played a run for their money,” offered Morocco.

Zanzibar had lost by the same margin to neighbours Tanzania in the previous match, having drawn Sudan in their opener translating to a point for the tournament.

Zedikiah ‘Zico’ Otieno, Stars assistant coach who was on the touchline on behalf of suspended Francis Kimanzi, said he was pleased with the record so far noting his game plan was well executed.

“We were aware they (Zanzibar) would want to attack from the start as they had nothing to lose. We were calm and worked from our own half waiting for our chances. I’m happy we were able to get what we wanted even with the rotation we executed, as we have very a very important semifinal on Tuesday,” said Otieno.

Six changes were made from the team that played Sudan on Wednesday.

The first of the double header on Saturday was quite rigid for both teams, as Zanzibar came knowing only a win would help them into the semi finals while Stars were stubbornly seeking to top the group.

Musa Masika had his two quick corners in succession early into the game well handled, with Kenya appearing to sit back and hit on the counter.

In the 3th, Makame Khamis Musa almost gave Zanzibar the lead after racing past the Kenya’s goalkeeper Samuel Odhiambo, but Andrew Juma who was making his CECAFA debut was quick enough to halt the treat.

Odhiambo had to parry the ball over the bar at the 25th minute mark, after Abdallah Faisal Salum had floated a sumptuous cross into the box.

Eight minutes to halftime, Wamalwa was fouled by captain Dau Issa Haidar at the line of the 18 yard-box, and Masika took the resulting free kick but was blocked by Mwinyi Haji.

Stars goal came after a series of passes, from Hassan Abdallah who found Masika in the box from the right channel, his shot being blocked and the ball ricocheted to Wamalwa who burried to the extreme left corner.

Daniel Sakari injured, nd gave way for Kenneth Muguna while Whyvonne Isuza and Kevin Kimani were introduced for Anthony Wambani, and Abdallah respectively. Abdallah was injured hence the change.

Isuza threaded a clever pass to Masika on the right wing, who perfectly crossed Kiamani but his effort to tap in was blocked. The ball bounced to the path of Wamalwa but he could not guide it past keeper Suleiman Ahmed Ali.

With nine points, Kenya remains on perfect course in title defence journey with only Uganda Cranes matching such a 100 percent record.

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