ZANZIBAR continued with their rollercoaster ride on Friday, beating defending champions Uganda 2-1 at Moi Stadium, Kisumu to reach the Cecafa Challenge Cup Final for only their second time in history.
Zanzibar who first savoured this feat in 1995 and went on to pick up their sole Challenge Cup win, re-lived good memories as it was hosts Uganda who the Zanzibaris met in the ’95 Final in Kampala and shockingly beat 2-0. This time round, Zanzibar travel to Kenya Stadium, Machakos in eastern Kenya on Sunday to face hosts Harambee Stars who eliminated Burundi 1-0 after extra-time in Thursday’s opening semi-final also in Kisumu.
The Zanzibar Heroes really lived up to their nickname, the team from the tiny island (population 1.3m) in the United Republic of Tanzania receiving wide accolades from compatriots for their excellent skilled football and bravery. One of the members of Cecafa, Ethiopia, eliminated in the Group ‘B’ stage has a population of 100 million.
Uganda 1-2 Zanzibar
Mohammed Issa Juma’s 58th minute penalty was the decider after the teams went into the break 1-1. The excellent throughout the tournament midfielder Abdul-Azizi Hassan Makame had given the Zanzibaris the lead, pouncing on to a loose ball to hammer in from three yards out after a ding-dong ball from a corner that the Ugandans had failed to deal with. However Derrick Nsibambi leveled in the 29th minute for Uganda with his fourth goal of the tournament.
Uganda were reduced to 10-men after substitute Joseph Nsubuga who incidentally had come in the 27th minute for Shafiq Bakaki was shown a straight red card after wrestling down Ibrahim Hamad inside the box. The Juma smacked in the penalty.
It was a balanced and hugely competitive opening half with both sides creating good scoring opportunities. Zanzibar asked the first questions with Saleh Adeyun’ free-kick inside the first five minutes coming off the outside of the post.
In the 11th minute Nsibambi had a brilliant effort attempting a scissor kick from the edge of the six yard box when Nico Wadada’s cross from the right fell into his path unmarked.
Uganda had chances to equalize as they piled the pressure after going down, coach Basena bringing in Allan Kateregga for Muzamiru Mutyaba.
In the 70th minute, Uganda should have drawn level. From an Allan Kyambadde cross on the left, Nelson Ssekantuka chose to chest down the ball instead of going straight for a header, allowing Zanzibar to clear their lines.
However, the clearance did not go far, falling on Milton Karisa whose shot however blasted over. In the 83rd minute, Ssekantuka this time went for a header off a Karisa cross but it went over.
Zanzibar ‘keeper Mohammed Abdulrahman pulled a great save two minutes from time when he leaped strongly to his left to parry away a shot from Nsibambi who had broken away on the left.
UGANDA – 19 Ismail Watenga: 14 Nico Wadada Wakiro, 5 Shafiq Bakaki/ (23 Joseph Nsubuga, 27’), 6 Bernard Muwanga (captain), 13 Aggrey Madoi, 17 Allan Kyambadde/ (9 Nelson Senkatuka, 70’), 10 Muzamiru Mutyaba/ (3 Allan Kateregga, 59’), 15 Tadeo Lwanga, 11 Derrick Nsibambi, 20 Hood Kaweesa, 16 Milton Karisa
Players not used – 18 Tom Ikara (gk), Benjamin Ochan (gk); 8 Ibrahim Sadam Juma, 22 Daniel Isiagi, 7 Tom Masiko, 12 Paul Mucureezi
Scorer: 11 Derrick Nsibambi (29’)
Coach: Moses Basena – (Uganda)
ZANZIBAR – 18 Mohamed Abdurahman: 15 Mohamed Said Ibrahim/(2 Ibrahim Abdalla Hamad, 88’), 20 Ahmed Seif Adeyun, 3 Feisal Salim Abdalla/ (6 Mohamed Othman Mmanga, 65’), 13 Abdalla Salum Kheri, 8 Issa Haidari Dau, 21 Abdul-Azizi Hassan Makame, 10 Mohamed Issa Juma, 4 Mudathir Yahya Abass, 17 Ibrahim Hamad Ahmada/ (5 Abdalla Haji Shaib, 90 +4’), 7 Suleiman Kassim Suleiman (captain)
Players not used: 1 Ahmed Ali Suleiman (gk), 30 Nassor Salum Mrisho (gk); 12 Seif Abdalla Rashid, 9 Hamad Mashamata Mkame, 28 Khamis Mussa Makame, 22 Abdul-Samad Kassim Ali
Scorers: 21 Abdul-Azizi Hassan Makame (23’); 10 Mohamed Issa Juma (58’, pen)
Coach: Hemed “Morocco” Suleiman Ali – (Zanzibar)
Referee: Abdulkarim Twagiramukiza – (Rwanda)
Assistant ref: T Gizaw – (Ethiopia)
Asst ref: T Ndagijimana – (Rwanda)
4th official: Peter Waweru – (Kenya)
-Additional reporting by Correspondents