Kenya draw with Ethiopia as Zanzibar stun South Sudan in Cecafa

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-11-28 9:08:22

Host Kenya and Ethiopia started off their quest for the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup with a barren draw in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Ethiopia, however, looked to be the better side as they engaged the Kenya defence line time and again.

They looked to steal the show in the dying minutes when Gebremichael Yakob header hit the side post with only goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng to beat.

Kenya coach James Nandwa, standing in for his boss Adel Amrouche, said his side was cautious not to concede and they gave Ethiopia too much respect, which limited their chances upfront.

"We were a bit timid. We did not play to our full strength. I believe as the tournament progress we will be able to change and score goals. The tournament is still young and we are at par with Ethiopia. We need to win our next two games against South Sudan and Zanzibar," he said.

Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw said his team failed to utilise their chances and warned it might work against them later.

"We need to kill off the game. When we had our chances, we did not take them and that is bad. We will correct that with the two other group matches," he said.

Earlier, the Island country of Zanzibar, launched their Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup campaign on a winning note as they swept aside South Sudan 2-1 in Nairobi.

Suleiman Kassim Suleiman and Adeyum Saleh scored for Zanzibar while Fabian Lako netted the consolation goal for Africa's newest nation to see the score stand at 2-1 at the final whistle.

South Sudan looked to be the better as the match progressed but Zanzibar held their nerve to counter the onslaught.

With five minutes of play, Zanzibar's Suleiman playing on quick counter-attack, got the South Sudan defence flat footed to net the opener.

South Sudan piled on more pressure as they sought an equaliser, but luck was not on their side. The two teams went to recess with Zanzibar leading 1-0.

In the second half, the trend continued with Zanzibar's coach Salum Baus Noor making a crucial substitution, taking out Amour Mohd for Adeyum Saleh. The move was point on as just a few minutes later Saheh doubled Zanzibar's score.

But with all expecting a 2-0 win for the Island nation, Southern Sudan coach Balanga Ismael threw in fresh legs of Fabian Lako for Francis Khamis. He was correct as the substitute netted the only goal for the South Sudanese side to make the score 2-1.

A late surge by South Sudan was time barred as the referee called for the ball to see Zanzibar claim all the three points.

South Sudan coach Ismail Balanga remained optimistic, his side will weather the storm and return better in their next match to qualify for the quarterfinals.

"We are just starting off. We are a young team and this defeat is not as big as was the case in our debut in Tanzania (2011) and Uganda (2012)," said Balanga.

"We were used to losing 9-0 or 10-0. This is fair because we do not have the facilities and time to train. People back at home will be happy to hear that we reduced the margin to 2-1 against a team like Zanzibar," said the coach.

However, Balanga has cautioned Kenya, it will be harder to crack his team, when they meet next. Zanzibar coach Salum Baus Noor was happy with the aggressiveness of his team.

"We are better in fitness and they did well. We want o qualify for the next stage," he said. His captain Khamis Mcha Khamis said they did well in dead ball and long balls to tame the South Sudan side.

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