DAR-ES-SALAAM, Tanzania, November 28- Donald Ngoma and Kedir Amin scored either side of half time to give Zimbabwe a flying start in the Cecafa Tusker Challenge, when they beat Djibouti 2-0 in Group A on Sunday.
Zimbabwe arrived in Dar barely two hours before the match, having stayed overnight in Nairobi after failing to get a Saturday evening connection flight.
Organisers were already contemplating moving the fixture to Monday afternoon, but because The Warriors have another match on Tuesday against Rwanda, they chose to take on Djibouti on Sunday so as to afford a day’s rest before confronting what they reckoned would be a tougher opponent, Rwanda.
Ngoma scored early, latching on to a long ball from Kedir before racing down to dribble past the Djibouti custodian before tapping home.
Supremely comfortable with the ball, the guest side who replaced Namibia in the 11th hour were untroubled as they looked set to net an avalanche of goals.
But after surviving early an onslaught, Djibouti gained confidence and in fact struck the Zimbabwe cross bar with a distance shot.
Zimbabwe were unable to make their possession advantage count but with 12 minutes left, they made the game safe when Amin fired a long range free-kick into the bottom left corner.
Meanwhile, Harambee Stars who had to wait until the domestic Kenyan Premier League ended on Saturday to assemble their players arrived in the Tanzanian capital on Sunday morning in anticipation of the opening Group ‘C’ match with Malawi at 4.00pm on Monday.
Tanzania 0 Rwanda 1
Defending champions and hosts Tanzania mainland were upset 1-0 by Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars in the second Group A match of the day at the National Stadium.
Veteran forward, Olivier Karekezi tucked in a long lob into the box in the 23rd minute to snuff out Kilimanjaro Stars in front of a partisan home crowd.
The home side put up a lethargic performance, which if repeated may draw the ire of a usually demanding local following.
Danish Taifa Stars- the national team that also incorporates Zanzibar- head coach, Jan Poulsen was not in charge of the mainland side with former international favourite, Charles Boniface Mkwassa heading the Tanzanian technical bench.
“I expect us to retain the cup. We can recover and go farther. Rwanda scored first and then put up a tight defence, giving us little space to operate,” Mkwassa said.
“I am happy with the results but not the performance. I played a good team but we could have played better. We need to get better,” Rwanda’s Serbian coach Sredojevic “Micho” Milutin charged.
The winner came when Karekezi received an up field punt from Jean Baptiste to beat Tanzania custodian Juma Kaseja Juma with a precise left foot strike.
Earlier, Karekezi had been denied by the upright after he unloaded a fierce shot in the 16th minute.
Karekezi, the former Helsingborgs IF (Sweden) player continued to show his class, popping up everywhere in Tanzania’s first quarter of the pitch.
TANZANIA MAINLAND – 1. Juma Kaseja Juma: 20. Shomari Kapombe, 13. Ibrahim Mwaipopo (3. Juma Jabu, 46’), 15. Said Morad, 4. Juma Nyoso, 19. Shaban Nditi, 8. Mrisho Ngasa, 5. Nurdin Bakari (11. Musa “Mgosi” Hassan, 65’), 10. Mbwana Samata, 2. Haruna Moshi (9. Thomas Uliwengu, 46’), 16. Ramadhan Chombo
Reserves not used – 18. Shabani Kado, Gk; 9. Thomas Ulimwengu, 7. Said Maulid, 6. Mwinyi Kazimoto, 12.Eraston Nyoni
Coach – Charles Boniface Mkwassa
RWANDA – 18. Jen Claude Ndori: 11, Olivier Karekezi, captain (10. Bokota Kamana, 88’), 16. Eric Gasama, 13. Ismail Ushustimagara, 3. Albert Ngabo, 4. Frederick Ndaka (12. Jean Claude Iranzi, 46’), 5. Medie Kagere, 7. Jean Baptiste Mugiraweza, 8. Haruna Niyozima, 17. Charles Tibingana (2. Peter Kagabo), 6. Andrew Butera
Reserves not used – 1. Jean Luc Ndayishimaye, 15. Emery Bayisnge, 14. Jerome Sina, 9. Tumaini Ntamuhanga.
Scorer – 11. Olivier Karekezi [23’]
Coach – Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic