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Lethal Ulinzi leave Matano roaring in delight

Ulinzi Stars head coach, Robert Matano (left) and his assistant, Benjamin Nyangweso confer during the East Africa Military Games in Kampala. PHOTO/KDF
Ulinzi Stars head coach, Robert Matano (left) and his assistant, Benjamin Nyangweso confer during the East Africa Military Games in Kampala. PHOTO/KDF

KAMPALA, August 18- Ulinzi Stars head coach, Robert ‘Lion’ Matano roared with delight on Tuesday after his soldiers brought their East Africa Military Games title defence back on track by shooting down Burundi’s Muzinga FC in their second outing in the tournament.

Matano was left purple with rage after his well drilled side forgot their shooting boots in the changing room in their opening barren stalemate against Rwanda’s APR on Monday but his mane was brightened by Kevin Amwayi, John Mark Makwatta and Evans Amwoka who hit bulls eye against Muzinga.

“Today we played very well, better than our performance yesterday (Monday). The opening match is always tough and for us, we were caught out by fatigue a bit.

“We never trained well before that match and that is why we gave a poor performance. It helped us though as today, we played good football,” Matano told Capital Sport after the match.

Matano made three changes to the team that played Rwanda, one enforced through injury.

Keeper James Saruni landed awkwardly on his knee in the Rwanda match and was not fit for Burundi and veteran Francis Ochieng took over between the posts with Geoffrey Kokoyo picking the captain’s arm band.

Omar Mbongi was slotted in midfield from his defensive position with Ben Sande benched as Mohammed Hassan got the nod in defence.

Boniface Onyango who came in for Sande against Rwanda could not start as he was out injured.

Amwoka replaced Oscar Wamalwa in attack and soon made Ulinzi play like the champions; they are as the ‘Lion’ demanded.

He partnered Amwayi and Makwatta in a three-pronged attack and they gave the Burundi backline a torrid time, particularly Amwayi with his skill and pace.

Within the opening five minutes, Makwatta and Amwayi had already tested Muzinga’s barrel with shots which never troubled their custodian Jean Rugunamye

Ochieng was called into action on the other end, stretching to pick out Jamal Bazunza’s shot after beating Ulinzi left back Rodgers Omondi.

Amwayi came close in the 12th minute from Makwatta’s corner with his effort going agonizingly wide, but he got his shooting range spot on four minutes later after picking out a telling pass from the same teammate unmarked inside the box to stroke in a finish.

At the stroke of half time, Makwatta got that goal he deserved in the scorching Kampala mid-morning sun after thumping in a precise shot after good work from Amwayi on the left to make it 2-0 for the Kenyan soldiers.

Burundi who came from behind to hold Uganda to a two-all draw in their opening match despite being ten men wanted to replicate the same performance after the breather.

They were unfortunate not to draw one back four minutes into the second half when Nuru Hakizimana’s header from Paul Nikezwe’s free kick cannoned off the bar.

Amwoka had two open chances with 20 minutes left on the clock, first tapping over the bar an inviting cross from Makwatta while his second attempt was wide after an Amwayi cut back.

He made amends in the 78th, stretching fully to tap in after Churchill Muloma’s flick from an Amwayi low pass inside the box. Muloma however, was sent off at the stroke of full time for a second bookable offence.

Ulinzi will have two days of rest before their next match against Tanzania on Thursday morning.

Attention shifts to cross country running on Wednesday where Kenya, is expected to sweep the medals.