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Kenya to face Tanzania in CECAFA U18 semis in Kisumu

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Kenya's Junior Stars celebrate one of their goals against Somalia
Kenya's Junior Stars celebrate one of their goals against Somalia
  • Kenya thrashed Somalia 4-1 in their final group match
  • Tanzania edged out Zanzibar on the fair play rule
  • The semis are scheduled for Tuesday

Kenya’s Junior Stars will take on Tanzania in the semi-finals of the CECAFA Under-18 Championships in Kisumu on Tuesday after the completion of the group stage matches. Kenya finished top of Group A after thrashing Somalia 4-1 while Tanzania finished second in Group B on the fair play rule.

In a rare incident, both Tanzania and Zanzibar finished on same points and same goal difference after they played to a 1-1 draw in their final Group B match, and the next tie breaker was the account of fair play, in terms of cards received.

Tanzania edged out Zanzibar as they had only received four bookings while their Zanzibari brothers had five bookings.

The two sides were inseperable in a very competitive final group fixture in Kakamega. Tanzania took the lead five minutes into the second half through Bakari Selemani, but Shenani Ibrahim Khamis leveled matters for Zanzibar after 72 minutes.

Meanwhile, Uganda finished top of the Group after edging out South Sudan 2-0. Second half goals by Richard Okello and Denis Kisiriko were enough to see Uganda collect maximum points and top the Group.

They will now take on Rwanda in the semis, with the latter having beaten Sudan 3-0 to finish second in Group A.

Kenya thrash Somalia to top Group A

Kenya's Louise Ingavi contesting for the ball against Somalia's Bile Wehliye in the watchful eye of assistant coach Anthony Akhulia

Kenya’s Louise Ingavi contesting for the ball against Somalia’s Bile Wehliye in the watchful eye of assistant coach Anthony Akhulia

Meanwhile, Kenya topped the group, coming from a goal down to beat Somalia 4-1.

Somalia had gone ahead after just 19 minutes through Abdihafid Abdi, but a Humphrey Aroko brace and one each from Stanley Wilson and Aldrine Kibet gave Kenya the massive victory to finish on nine points.

The Junior Stars had already booked a semi-final ticket after edging out Rwanda 1-0 in their second group match, and were only keen to finish top. Head coach Salim Babu had made eight changes to his squad to give other players a starting opportunity.

The tactician was pleased with the performance and output of his young guns and he says they are not stopping till the final.

“We wanted to give the others a chance to start also. Every player in our group is up to the task and we just wanted to give some who had played more some time to rest. We had prepared well for this game and the morale we saw on the pitch has been there even in training,” Babu said after the match.

Somalia, who were in a must win situation to salvage their hope of a semis slot were up to a good start and broke the deadlock after just 19 minutes when Abdihafid Abdi struck a brilliant shot from outside the area that looped over the keeper.

Junior Stars draw level 

Kenya's Junior Stars celebrate one of their goals against Somalia

Kenya’s Junior Stars celebrate one of their goals against Somalia

However, the Junior Stars drew level in the 27th minute via a beautiful curling effort from Aroko off a short corner. A minute later, Kenya was 2-1 up when his Kariobangi Sharks teammate Stanley Wilson struck a brilliant freekick from distance, bouncing on the bar before hitting the keeper and into the net.

Stars took a 2-1 lead at the break, much deserved after dominating huge spells of the last half of the opening 45 minutes.

In the second half, coach Babu made changes, with crowd favourite Kibet coming in. It took him just a few minutes before creating the third, dribbling past three players before laying the ball for Aroko to smash home from distance.

The Spain-based forward then added his fourth goal of the tournament in another set of brilliant play, dribbling his way to the edge of the box before shooting low past the keeper.

Kenya will now face off with the second placed team from Group B, with their final matches set to be played Saturday.

Rwanda meanwhile booked the second semi slot from Group A after edging out Sudan 3-0.

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