BY NATNAEL YEBIO
We are into the business end of the CECAFA U-15 as the semi-finals kick-off. This tournament has been explosive, in the group stages, as we saw host nation Eritrea succumb to a shock defeat to surprise packages of the tournament Burundi, before the hosts went on to play some exhibition football against Sudan and Kenya, while resoundingly beating the former, it wasn’t enough to beat Kenya in a packed and noisy atmosphere at Stadium Asmara.
Kenya looked like seasoned professionals in their first two matches against Sudan and Somalia but drew against Burundi and stuttered against Eritrea in their final group match but that was enough to see them secure top spot in their Group A.
In Group B, Uganda albeit some of its influential player’s age coming into question from the media and spectators, won all of their group stage matches without conceding any goals, which speaks volumes of their superiority in this tournament.
Rwanda was the other team who advanced to the semi’s from group B. The wasps could give Kenya a run for their money in the semis.
The first kick off of the day was between Kenya and Rwanda. In a lackluster first half both team’s showed no intensity, looking reserved when going forward. If anything, Rwanda looked the better of the two.
Kenya on the other hand couldn’t get the ball to their influential midfielder Kevin Wangaya. However, in the second half, it was Kevin who got the early goal and gave his side the much needed lead.
Nonetheless, Rwanda equalized when a low driven free-kick from Sibomana Sultan beat the impressive Lwangu Alvin. Normal time ended with both teams playing a one all draw. According to CECAFA regulations, it meant there was no extra 30 minutes to play. Instead, both teams went straight into penalty kicks.
It was Kenya’s Kevin Wangaya who scored the Harambee stars decisive penalty to send his team to the finals after Rwanda’s Mbony Yamahoro and Niyo David missed their penalties.
In the later match of the day, the mighty Uganda took on surprise packages Burundi. By the time Ethiopian referee Lemma Niguissie ended the first half, Uganda were four goals to the good and on cruise control.
The game was already done and dusted and everyone knew Burundi weren’t going to mount a comeback in the second. In fact, Uganda went on to add two more goals. Burundi’s fairy-tale ran in this competition came to an end with a 6-0 defeat.
In the first half, it was Ogwal Travis who gave the young cranes the lead inside eight minutes. A minute later, Uganda added a second goal this time from Kyeyune Abasi who headed home from Kaddu Caros’s cross.
Uganda had to wait 29 minutes for their third goal. This time it was Mutyaba Travis who got on the end of a scrappy bit of defending from Burundi’ back line and Travis sent the ball past the overwhelmed Burundi goalkeeper Ntirandekura Eloge.
Deep into additional time of the first half, Uganda’s Captain Mulema Vincent added a fourth from a well hit free kick, ensuring their spot in the finals. In the second half, Mutyaba Travis added his second goal of the day after Ssekibengo Ssembatya scored Uganda’s fifth goal.
At the end, Uganda were too good for Les Hirondelles, who surpassed everyone’s expectation in this tournament. They still have one game left to play in this tournament. On Friday, they shall take on Rwanda for the third-place play-off.
The inaugural CECAFA U15 tournament will see Kenya play against Uganda in the final on Friday afternoon.
Kenya started well in this tournament but looked shaky in the last three games. On the other hand, Uganda haven’t dropped a gear throughout the tournament and it will be interesting to see how Kenya will try to stop these young cranes.
⚽ Kenya vs Uganda
???? CECAFA U15 Championships
???? Asmara, Eritrea
???? Friday| August 30, 2019
⏰ 15:30pm EAT
???? Free pic.twitter.com/P2V9wYIgzk
— Natti (@nattiyebio) August 28, 2019