By: ISAAC SWILA
Harambee Stars capitulated against Zanzibar Heroes 3-1 in their final Group “B” game at the Hawassa International Stadium to leave their chances of advancing to the knock-out stages hanging by a thread.
Having conceded three goals on Friday, fate is no longer in Stars hands and they will await the outcome of the final Group B game pitting Burundi against Uganda on Saturday to know their fate.
Stars will hope that the Burundi versus Uganda match produces a decisive winner to sneak through as the second placed finishers. They could still squeak through as one of the two best placed third finishers.
On the pitch on Friday, coach Bobby Williamson’s gamble with a new starting line-up miserably failed.
The Scot made sweeping changes bringing in eight new faces to the team that drew 1-1 with Burundi, but the new guys played with lethargy and the results showed.
Suleiman Kassim bagged a brace for the Heroes striking in the 45th and 75th minutes of the game while Khamis Mcha Khamis was also on target in the 57th minute to inflict Kenya with a painful defeat.
Substitute Jacob Keli pulled Kenya’s late consolation. “We are extremely disappointed. We never looked comfortable today,” Williamson said. More embarrassing for the Stars is the fact that the Zanzibar Heroes had been the whipping boys of the group losing 1-0 to Burundi and 4-0 to Uganda Cranes.
Stars build-up to yesterday’s game was overshadowed by demands for allowances and subtle threats not to honour the match.
Anthony “Teddy” Akumu was deployed as the sole defensive midfielder in the new-look 4-1-3-2 formation that saw Jesse Were and Allan Wanga partner upfront while Kevin Kimani and Kevin Amwayi operated on the wings allowing Ali Abondo to play centrally behind the strikers.
However, Kenya’s tactics failed to work and Williamson summoned Michael Olunga and Eric Johanna respectively fo Were and Amwayi in the second half but there was no way out. It was left to late sub Keli to net the consolation goal.
Earlier on at the same venue, Rwanda confirmed their quarter final place after thrashing Somalia 3-0, while South Sudan beat Malawi 2-0 in Bahir Dar to qualify for the quarters on seven points.
Rwandan skipper, Jacques Tuyisenge scored his third goal of the tournament three minutes after the break to add onto an early goal by Yussufu Habimana and another by Hegman Ngomirakiza to fire the Amavubi Stars to the last eight.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION