Harambee Stars bask in glory after outshining Cranes in Cecafa opener


Revenge is a dish best served while cold and no one knows this best than Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson and his charges.

By: beating the fancied Uganda Cranes 2-0 on Sunday at the National Stadium in Addis Ababa, Williamson got the perfect revenge on a Ugandan side which he led to four Cecafa titles during his success laden stint between 2008-2012 before being fired.

For Harambee Stars, who shifted base to Awassa for their match against Burundi tomorrow, the win was a sweet revenge as the Cranes have inflicted on them painful defeats at the tournament in the recent past.


The two sides have locked horns 88 times including Sunday’s match with Kenya winning 23, drawing 25 and losing 40.

And the fierce rivalry stretches back to the good old era of the Gossage Cup played between 1926 -1966 when the enmity was at its peak.

The famed Gossage Cup is a precursor to the present day Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup which draws its members from the Eastern African countries.

The most memorable clash in recent times was on October 08, 2011 at the Namboole Stadium in Uganda where Stars, who practically had no chance of making it to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations spoiled Uganda Cranes chances of advancing by frustrating them to a barren draw.

Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno, who was the coach then gleefully remarked: “I’m not ‘Father Christmas’ to give them points because we came here to fight.”

A year later, under coach James Nandwa, it was Stars who suffered heartache losing 2-1 to the Cranes at the same venue in the Cecafa final.

It explains why Sunday’s victory was especially sweet for Williamson and the boys.

However, the 54-year-old Scot would not entertain talk of revenge despite being tossed out by the Ugandan’s three years ago.

“Revenge? No! Not for me. Yes, Uganda has set the bar in the region but I always try to win the game. When I was their coach, I had great players but these players (Kenya) are also hungry,” he said.

His opposite number, the 46-year-old Serbian, Milutin Sredojevic, was visibly stung by the defeat and stormed out of the media centre before his compatriot could arrive.

Yesterday, South Sudan got their campaign off to a good start after beating Djibouti 2-0 in a Group “C” match at the Bahir Dar Stadium.