Published On: Fri, Dec 13th, 2013

Harambee Stars Biggest Gift

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Kenya’s Harambee Stars the National soccer team won the CECAFA Senior challenge cup in style after beating Sudan 2-0 in an epic final at the Nyayo Stadium. It was almost on a clean sheet conceding only 1 goal  and scoring 10 in the whole tournament.

The last time the Kenyans won the regional tournament was 11 years ago in 2002.

The tournament that was slotted in as part of the Kenya@50 celebrations could not have gone any better when Captain Allan Wanga scored in both halves to seal victory for the Kenyans.  Zambia took 3rd place after beating Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars.

The win, the first since 2002 when Kenya beat hosts Tanzania 3-2, follows up on the last the team won at home in 1983, incidentally at the same venue, one that was delivered by Dr Joe Masiga’s lone strike against Zimbabwe.

Last time round, in 2012, Kenya, then under Coach James Nandwa, came to within a whisker of winning the trophy but fell 2-1 to hosts Uganda in the final played at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Namboole on 8 December.

After an even first half, that saw Sudan put Kenya’s midfield in check but had no answer to Allan Wanga who positioned himself well in the 34th minute to receive a floated pass from defender David Owino.

Beating his marker, Wanga sent the ball to the back of the net via the underside of the cross bar.

He was at it again in the 68th minute. Beating the outstanding centre back Eltahir Elhag, Wanga, making his 34th cap for the national team, slid a delivery from the right by James Situma – his new team mate at AFC Leopards, to the far post for the second goal, his eighth goal in CECAFA and 12th overall for Kenya.

While Sudan was the dominant side in midfield, Kenya’s back line of Aboud Omar, James Situma, Jockins Atudo and Aboud Omar, with the support of Anthony Akumu and Peter Opiyo was impregnable.

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In winning the crown for only the sixth time after previous triumphs in 1975, 1981/82/83 and 2002, Kenya scooped the winner’s medal and the accompanying purse of US$ 30,000 that, for presentation sake, was handed out in a dummy cheque.

Foreign Coach

In leading Kenya to win the 37th edition of the annual regional showpiece, Adel Amrouche becomes only the second foreigner to deliver the trophy after Englishman Ray Wood in 1975 when Kenya beat Malawi 3-2 in Zambia.

Local Coach Marshall Mulwa delivered the three trophies in the 80’s with Jacob Ghost Mulee the last one in 2002.

The game attended by a fair crowd that defied the sporadic showers, was graced by the attendance of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and other State dignitaries from the East and Central Africa Region.  Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi popularly known as ‘Sonko’ pledged to give the team Kshs 2million.

The tournament that has seen impromptu match schedules because of weather conditions was marred by reports of unpaid bills at the hotels where the teams were staying.  The embarrassing incidents caused a delay in the kick-off of the final match between Harambee and Sudan, when the Sudanese team were reportedly locked up in their Hotel until local Federation Officials went to bail them out.

 

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Harambee Stars Biggest Gift
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