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Date: 24 March 2019

  Eastern African - Soccer

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Tanzania, Zanzibar qualify for Cecafa semi finals

[Posted 04 Dec 2012]
[By Charles Malingha]
Tanzania, Zanzibar qualify for Cecafa semi finals

Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars are now in the Cecafa semifinals after seeing off Rwanda’s Amavubi in a difficult two-goal clash at Lugogo, Kampala.

A goal on either half of the Monday game by Amri Kiemba and John Bocco, respectively were responsible for Rwanda’s end in this year’s tournament.

Despite the Tanzanians generally looking more mature in play, the Rwandans proved more dangerous in attacks, especially in the dying minutes of the game.

Bocco’s goal elevated him to the top scorer position in this tournament with five goals alongside his fellow countryman Yanga FC’s Mrisho Ngassa who had come into the quarterfinal as the leading scorer.

The first game of the tournament’s knockout stage started off on a high, with both sides tapping the ball around, but hardly ever managing a significant breakthrough.

An early free-kick for Rwanda, and a first corner for Tanzania both ended fruitless. If there was any rush for a goal either side, it was really never evident in the opening minutes.

Not much of the ball was seen nearer the edge of either goal as most of the balls remained glued within the crowded midfield. Plenty of good passes – often one-twos up and about – but with such a closed-in game, it wasn’t much.

The Rwandans bossed the ball better through the first quarter of the first half, but whenever the Tanzanians got a hold of it, they managed to drive forward.

Ngassa, arguably one of the tournament’s best and most lethal players, was overmarked and had little space to maneuver his way around. It is no wonder he got into an early melee with A.P.R.’s Jean-Claude Iranzi for what seemed in protest for the Tanzanian’s invaded space.

The Amavubi seemed to have better luck up the right wing as were their opponents up the left wing, before the game gradually opened up, allowing the midfield more room and the wings a lot busier then.

Half way into the first-half,  a ball lobbed high into the Rwandan box floated dangerously for main target Ngassa, but the top scorer stretched more than he could get his foot onto the ball.

The ball possession that had been a part of the Amavubi desserted them as the break approached. And there was all reason to believe that the Stars were edging closer to an openener courtesy of resilient attacks towards A.P.R. keeper Jean-Claude Ndoli.

Just a little over half an hour, Simba FC’s Mwinyi Kazimoto dribbled his way ingeniously into the box, and cut a weighed pass into the path of Kiemba who tapped it comfortably into the back of the net.

The opener spurred the speed of the game even further, with the Tanzanians coming close to a second shortly after.

But the Rwandans, faced with an uphill task of coming back into the game, utilized every pinch of opportunity that they seized. Ismael Nshutiyamagara made a hasty attempt goalwards at a time when he should have taken his time to convert in a potential equalizer. And another last minute freekick for the trailing side was swang off target.

Haruna Niyonzima, who plays for Young Africans in Tanzania, carelessly earned a booking when he smacked Ngassa in the side of the head after a brief encounter.

Rwanda’s top goal scorer (with two), who is based in DR Congo, Daddy Birori battled luck throughout the game but never got to convert his attempts into the back of the net. He put up a genuinely spirited fight but it just was never his day.

The second half saw a change in the dimension of the play, with the Rwandans quicker on the ball than before. But the Tanzanians seemed to have settled into the play, especially with the hot weather taking good toll on the players. Geographically, Dar es Salaam is hotter than Kigali, so it could have been reason why the more southern side seemed to cope with the sweltering temperatures better.

Then came the strike 54 minutes into the entire game. A hard shot that bounced off Ndoli ricocheted back to a lurking John Bocco who tapped home but not without a slight injury in a clash with the goalstopper. Another massive reaction was needed by the Rwandans and their troubles worsened when the referee ignored a hasty call for a penalty.

It was clear the Amavubi were not ready to give up, evidenced by a scramble for a potential comeback in the last minutes of the match. But their opponents clang on to their advantage and never let go through to the end.

In the other quarterfinal clash, Zanzibar made a surprise advance to the last four of the tournament after shaking off Burundi 6-5 though spot-kicks.

After normal time of goalless play, the heated game settled for the penalties decider in which both captains missed converting their penalties.

Burundian skipper Selemani Ndikumana drowned his head in his hands in disbelief after firing his side’s first spot-kick way over the bar. His Zanzibarian counterpart, after a series of successful shots from his players, saw his attempt saved.

But then Zanzibar went on to win when their opponent’s last penalty in the sudden-death kicks was saved, thanks to Ali Mwadini’s safe hands.

Monday’s quarterfinals games produced, call it ’bizarre’ developments, if you like. Two close neighbours (Rwanda and Burundi) were eliminated, and two other close neighbours (Tanzania and Zanzibar) are through. And more interestingly, two other close neighbours (Uganda and Kenya) play today (Tuesday).

The only difference with the last pair from the other two is that they will not be facing off each other. Well, atleast for now.

Burundi came into the game as clear favorites over their coastal opponents. But then the expectations of the encounter were overturned when the Zanzibarians put up a committed challenge.

Skipper Ndikumana was the architect of an early setup for a potential opener, but his attempt up the left wing richocheted off a defender and out of play.

And an early freekick 50 yards away for Zanzibar and a resulting corner kick made it clear that it would not be an easy game as early thought.

Burundi soon found out they would have to dig in harder for a victory as their rivals battled neck-and-neck for possession, although a couple of clumsy feet on either side constantly let the ball slip away.

On the hour mark, keeper Mwadini made a reflex save from a header. He had a busy evening at Lugogo where the weather was more kind after dark clouds had spelled nothing short of a heavy downpour after the first game.

About ten minutes after that important save, the Burundian keeper almost let an overhauled ball slip out of his safety but did well to contain the effort.

The game was balanced, a surprise for the Burundi fans, and it shouldn’t be surprising that it had to be decided on penalties.


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