NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 12 – Kenya’s representatives St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale will take on Uganda in the quarter finals of the inaugural edition of the Copa Coca-Cola African Cup of Nations at Nakuru Boys High School on Thursday.
Kenya progressed to the quarters after seeing off Zimbabwe 3-0 in their final group match on Wednesday while the Ugandans played to a 1-1 draw with Mozambique.
Against Zimbabwe, Kenyan champions St. Anthony’s were in their usual class.
Goals from Issa Rashid, Answar Shamuni and Isaiah Abwal ensured Kenya easily triumphed in this game, and also maintained their 100% record.
Kenya went ahead inside the first 30 seconds of the match through the outstanding Rashid whose goal could easily contest for goal of the tournament.
Jacob Onyango beat his marker on the right flank before crossing the ball into the area, Rashid controlled the ball before firing home via a low shot.
Kenya continued to dominate proceedings with Lucas Maina, Wisdom Nayah and Rashid running the show in midfield. Botswana’s rear guard led by Captain Sekwai Letlamoreng did well to deny Kenya on several occasions.
Letlamoreng had Botswana’s best chance with the scores still at 1-0. He rose highest to meet a free-kick but then failed to direct the header on target.
The second goal did finally come in the 28th minute when a defense splitting pass from Maina was met with an excellent finish from Answar Shamuni.
A rare chance for Botswana in the 49th minute saw Pintes Ricardo shoot wide from a prime position. But it was Kenya’s day, as substitute Isaiah Abwal then added a third in the 68th minute.
“Our strategy was a defensive one and to some extent I can say that it worked. Kenya is a very strong team, we watched them score eleven goals against Ethiopia and to lose 3-0 is not very bad,” said Botswana coach Godfrey Rantoka.
“I expect us to have tougher matches in the knockout stages so we didn’t use match energy today considering we had already qualified for the quarter-finals,” added Kenya coach Peter Mayoyo.
Meanwhile, a dominant Nigeria booked a COPA Coca-Cola African Cup quarter final spot following a 3-0 win over Zimbabwe in a group B match.
Goals from Prosper Chukwuemeka, Gift Williams and Omodara Olamilekan helped the West African team post a comfortable win in a match.
The victors dominated throughout, starting the match on a high and raiding the Southern Africans half in pursuit of an early goal.
The teams that have so far qualified for the quarter-final matches include Kenya, Uganda, Botswana and Mozambique.