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CECAFA U-15: Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda secure semi-final spots

Match day 8 of the CECAFA U15 tournament in Eritrea saw group B leaders Rwanda take on Tanzania.


This was going to be a close one between the two. Rwanda beat both South Sudan and Ethiopia 3-0 in their first two matches while Tanzania lost their opening match to Uganda and went on to convincingly beat South Sudan 6-0 in their second match. Both teams, vying to get into the semi’s, started the first half very strong. Rwanda opened the scoring within four minutes when their captain, Hoziyana Kenedy, gave them the lead. However, Tanzania were to equalize four minutes later when they won a penalty kick, Katuli Rabbin coolly dispatching from the spot. Just the kind of start the spectators wanted from both teams in a somber- looking cloudy afternoon in the stadium. With both teams pushing to gain the upper hand in the game it was Rwanda who got the lead from their previous game’s hatrick hero, Irahamye Eric.

In a heated second half which featured loud screams from both head coaches, as they tried to convey instructions to their players, the wasps chose to defend their lead. As a result, Tanzania enjoyed much of the possession in the second half without any fruitful outcome as the match ended in favor of Rwanda, securing their spot in the semi-finals of the tournament.

In game two of the day, Uganda played against South Sudan. Uganda is the only team in the tournament who are yet to drop any points beating Ethiopia 3-0 and Tanzania 2-0. On the other hand, South Sudan picked up just one point from nine. This was a mismatch of massive proportions and it proved to be so in the first half as the cranes cruised into a 4-0 lead in the first-half. South Sudan came into this match with five players missing due to injury. As the second half started the South Sudanese conceded a fifth. Shortly after, to the astonishment of the spectators, their opponents and match officials, most of the South Sudan national team players started going down, injured, almost all needing treatment, with the medical team overworking themselves. The match was now halted for ten minutes as South Sudan tried to make up the numbers to continue the match. Alas it wasn’t to be as they couldn’t continue with just six players on the field. Referee Biruk Yemanebirhan blew the whistle to stop the match with just 10 minutes into the start of the second half. In such instances, the match has to be played within 24 hours making up for the remaining minutes of the abandoned minutes or the match is counted as a completed fixture if the remaining minutes of the abandoned match aren’t played within 24 hours,.

The other side of the match saw Elsa Yohannes became the first female in CECAFA history to officiate a tournament as second assistant referee and two out of the four referees that led the game were women. The fourth official is Yodit Fitwi. This is a step forward in the right direction for women in sport.

Match Day 9
Burundi vs. Sudan
Eritrea vs. Somalia

Match day 9 began with the final group matches in group A. Burundi played against Sudan in the early 2 o’clock kickoff. This match had little significance for Sudan who were already knocked out after their latest defeat in the hands of Somalia. For Burundi, this was a chance to advance into the semis as group winners. As predicted, Burundi out played their opponents in the first half, scoring three within 40 minutes of the start, first via Inteyiteka Florien in the 8th minute, then Mugisha Adamo in the 20th and Iteriteka jean in the 42nd minute of play. Burundi was now level on points with Kenya. The Harambee stars sat on top of the group with a narrow 3 goals difference from rivals Burundi.

In the second half Burundi came out in the hope of scoring three more goals. But Burundi only managed to add one more goal in the second half, game finishing 4-0. Burundi end their group matches as runner’s up, while Kenya secure top spot.

The Second match of the day saw Eritrea and Somalia play a one all draw. In the aftermath of their last minute loss to Kenya, it was hard to see how the Red Sea Camels were going to pick themselves up for this game. The Eritreans played beautiful football against tournament favorites Kenya. Despite their dominant display, however, they lost that match 2-1 when they conceded an injury time goal to the opposition. Coming into this game there were hopes that Coach Zewde was going to rotate his side, and give his second string of players some minutes. However, Mekonen chose to start his original 11. It was understandable if the Red Sea Camels lacked the intensity they had in their last two matches against Sudan and Kenya. After all they had nothing to play for in this match. They were susceptible to constant attacks from the Somali’s on numerous occasions. It was during this period of domination that the Ocean Stars won a penalty kick, when Ermias Yosef of Eritrea brought down his opponent. Mohamed Omar, who initially won the penalty kick, stepped up to take it. Goalkeeper Essey Tesfazghi went the other way but Mohamed saw his kick hit the post. In a subdued Stadium Asmara, the first half ended with a goalless stalemate.

Somalia came into the second half with their foot to the pedal as they took the lead within five minutes of the restart. Eritrea rallied back after they conceded and got the equalizer from their diminutive winger, Temesghen, dispatching his long distance free kick into the back of the net.

In a rainy and closely contested second half both team tried to get the winner to no avail. Based on how the afternoon played out, it was a fair result for both teams.

Match-day 10
Ethiopia vs. Tanzania
Uganda vs. Rwanda

Final round of CECAFA’sU15 boys challenge cup group-stage fixtures in match-day 10 kicked off at 2 o’clock between Ethiopia and Tanzania. Coach Solomon Meka brought on his second string of players for this one, with the likes of goal keeper Kirube lGebreyesus, Hamza Habtamu and Korme Tamirat getting their first start of the tournament. Coach Solomon’s players sat deep and absorbed during Tanzania’s relentless attacks the first half, holding on to a goalless draw. In the second half Tanzania were determined to finish their tournament on a high and scored three goals. Ethiopia got their consolation goal near the end of normal time from TsegayeEyueal.

In the second match of the day Uganda beat Rwanda 3-0, retaining their perfect start to the tournament. While both teams were physically an equal match, Uganda were better on the ball. Coach Magerwa Jackson of Uganda started this match without his influential number 10 Mutyaba Travis, with Kalisa Shugai slotting into the midfield. Uganda took the lead in the 20th minute from Keyune Abasi when he rose higher than his marker to head a cross from Agwal Devis. First half concluded with Uganda in the lead.

Mutyaba Travis came on in the second half, and Uganda cruised to a 3-o win over Rwanda getting their second half goals from Keyune Abasi, his second of the afternoon and Ouke Patrick adding the third before the final whistle. Uganda is the only team in the tournament that has advanced into the semifinals without dropping any points from any of their group matches. Burundi will have their hands full when they come up against the cranes on Wednesday. Rwanda will play their semifinal decider against Kenya.

After a two-day break CECAFA U-15 tournament will resume today. In a mouthwatering semifinal matches, Kenya will take on Rwanda while Burundi will play against Uganda.

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