Thursday 6 December 2012

Zanzibar suffer semi-final penalty heartbreak

Zanzibar’s courageous CECAFA Cup campaign came to a painful end as they were beaten 4-2 on penalties by Kenya after a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Both sides showed attacking intent early on despite few real chances being created. Indeed it was Zanzibar’s first real opportunity that resulted in the opening goal when Azam F.C. forward Khamis Mcha showed neat footwork to tuck his shot beyond goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng with 21 minutes played, his 3rd goal of the campaign. Kenya proceeded to push further up the pitch and it paid off on the half hour when Zanzibar skipper Nadir Haroub inadvertently diverted striker Mike Baraza’s low shot past Ali Mwadini and into his own net as he attempted to block the effort. The Kenyans cranked up the pressure from thereon in and Mwadini was fortunate to see his poor clearance deflect off his own player Jaku Juma and onto the post, before he redeemed himself with a superb double-save in the 43rd minute to deny Baraza and then Humphrey Mieno.

Zanzibar players leave the field
Zanzibar were the first to go close after the break when Abdi Kassim fired wide, and the Kenyans eventually cracked with 15 minutes to go when midfielder Anthony Kimani felled Juma in the box. Aggrey Morris confidently dispatched the penalty and the non-FIFA side looked on course for a remarkable win. However the dream was short lived, and in the 78th minute Baraza leapt highest to head home a David Ochieng cross. Neither side managed to seize the initiative so the game went to extra-time. The 1st period was cagey, with Edwin Lavatsa lifting Kenya’s best effort wide. After the extra-time break Juma had a goal controversially disallowed for Zanzibar who were dominating. Adeyom Saleh was then given his marching orders with 3 minutes to go but there was no Kenyan siege; indeed Nassor Said came close for the islanders with a long-range effort. And so the game went to penalties. Any hopes of a second straight shootout success were looking slim when Mcha and Abdalla Othman failed to hit the target with Zanzibar’s 1st spot kicks. Kenya scored all there penalties, and despite successful conversions from Gozi Makame and Kassim it was up to Kenyan defender Abdallah Juma to fire the FIFA side into the final.

It was agony for the islanders who exited a tournament at the semi-final stage for the 2nd time in 2012. They will meet the mainland rivals Tanzania on Saturday in the 3rd-place game, a traditionally intense fixture which will be dampened by both teams disappointment. Kick-off is at 16:00 (13:00 U.K) and updates will be available via our Twitter service @NonFIFAfootball.

Match information –

Score: Zanzibar 2 – 2 Kenya* (2-4 pens)

Goals: Zanzibar – Khamis Mcha 21’, Aggrey Morris (p) 75’. 
          Kenya – Nadir Haroub (o.g) 31’, Mike Baraza 78’.

Zanzibar XI: Mwadini; Haroub, Ali [Humoud 49’], Said, Morris; Saleh, Makame, Othman, Kassim, Mcha; Joma.

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