By James Bakama
Senior Challenge Cup
Kenya 2 Tanzania 1
Uganda 5 Burundi 0
HARAMBEE Stars held on to two first half goals to qualify for their tenth Senior Challenge Cup final at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, yesterday.
Francis Ouma and Mike Baraza struck in the 19 and 21 minutes respectively, also setting stage for a second Kenya versus Uganda final in the 35-year-old competition. Uganda routed Burundi 5-0 in the second semi-final at the same venue.
Ouma, who at four goals, just like Cranesâ€™ Brian Umony, is a contender for the top scorerâ€™s boot, like Baraza pounced after defensive blunders to boost Kenyaâ€™s chances at earning the $30,000 GTV winners award of tomorrowâ€™s final at the same venue against Uganda.
Kilimanjaro Stars piled second-half pressure to pull one back through Danny Mrwanda late in the game.
After dominating the first half, Kenya went on to show tactical discipline by closing the spaces to keep their charging opponents in check.
Marcio Maximoâ€™s side was vividly paying for the absence of its suspended defenders Shadrack Msajigwa and Kevin Yondan. Msajigwaâ€™s right flank overlaps and crosses were painfully being missed.
Kigi Makasi and Musa Hassan â€˜Mgosiâ€™ were introduced by coach Maximo for Tanzania as the going got tough.
The changes improved their approach to the match as they pinned the Kenyans, pulling one back in the 79th minute when Danny Mrwanda was at the end of a Mrisho Ngassa cross.
Matters were not however helped for the temperamental Tanzanians mid-way the second-half when yet another big gun Salum Sued, was sent off for rough play.
Maximo was happy with his teams performance â€œin view of the absence of the two key defenders. He acknowledged Kenyaâ€™s superiority. â€œThey made good use of their chances,â€ he said afterwards, however insisting that Somali referee Haile Hassan should have been fairer.
Police had to intervene after the final whistle as the players almost went into a fist fight.
His counterpart Francis Kimanzi said it was too early to talk about his next battle against hosts Uganda.
â€œI have got injuries. I have to first see who will be able to play,â€ explained the Mathare United tactician before adding that with a full team, the final would be a walk-over. Five time winners Kenya last featured in the final in 2002 when they beat hosts Tanzania 3-2.
Ugandaâ€™s 5-0 thrashing of Burundi in the second match provided one of the biggest CECAFA semi-final margins.
This will be a re-match of the 1982 final at Nakivubo, when Kenya came from behind to draw 1-1 before goalkeeper Mahmoud Abbas saved two Cranes penalties during the penalty shootout to hand Kenya a memorable victory.
In yesterdayâ€™s match, Uganda romped to a three-goal lead in the first half against Central African Burundi, before wrapping up the game with two more goals after the break and setting up a final between the two Gossage Cup era rivals.
Ochieng, Owino, Ochieng, Shikokoti, Monday, Ouma, Ochieng, Ndeto, Baraza (A. Ali), Njuguna, F. Ojuang
Dihile, Sued, H. Moshi (Mgosi), Iddi (Maftah), Joseph, Mrwanda, Ngasa, Bonny, Bakari, Nditi