KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 19 – Even in the wake of murmurs of unpaid allowances, Harambee Stars beat Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Stars 2-1 at the Lugogo Complex on Thursday afternoon to clinch third place at the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.
Goals from Kenneth Muguna and Abdallah Hassan gave Stars the victory and a much needed morale boost after last Tuesday’s embarrassing 4-1 loss to Eritrea in the semi-finals.
Gadiel Michael scored the consolation for the Tanzanians off the penalty spot in the 81st minute to make for some nervous end to the game, but Stars managed to hold on to the pressure.
There has been a silent murmur in the Harambee Stars camp in Kireka over unpaid allowances with the government reportedly yet to wire the money to the Federation’s accounts.
But that did not deter them as they went on to claim the consolation and head back home with heads held high.
Head coach Francis Kimanzi went for his strongest squad, making just two changes to bring in Moses Mudavadi for the injured Kevin Kimani while Antony Wambani started in midfield in place of Roy Okal.
Stars were more composed, passed better, though the speed of the game was slowed down greatly by the scorching early afternoon Kampala sun.
Stars ultimately broke into the lead in the 16th minute when Wamalwa laid up his second assist of the tournament, teeing up Muguna who fired a shot from the edge of the box, taking a slight deflection to beat his Gor Mahia teammate David Mapigano who was started in goal.
Almost immediately, Stars had a chance when Wamalwa once again played provider, setting up Lawrence Juma whose shot was deflected for a corner.
Tanzania were struggling to string chances but they had one in the 21st minute but Ditram Nchimbi’s shot from distance was blocked for a corner by Johnstone Omurwa.
Stars kept their feet on the gas pedals and they should have been two up in the 28th minute when Wamalwa put Juma through with a brilliant through pass but the midfielder took too many touches on the ball allowing the defense to clear.
But Stars got their second in the 36th minute thanks to some brilliant counter attacking football.
Wamalwa started the move when he won the ball deep in Kenya’s half, set up Juma who in turn sliced the ball down to Hassan who stormed into the box before beating Mapigano with a cool finish.
There wasnt much action in the second half though Muguna saw his freekick from the edge of the area deflected for a corner.
Gadiel halved the deficit for the Kili Stars with nine minutes left after Johnstone Omurwa handled Hassan Dilunga’s cross inside the box.
Kimanzi made his second change to manage the time, Musa Masika coming on for Abdallah.