Kisumu erupts after Junior Stars silence Tanzania

 Cecafa Under-18 Boys Championships

Junior Stars players celebrate after their win against Tanzania during their semi-final match of the Cecafa Under-18 Boys Championships at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu on December 5, 2023.

Photo credit: Domnic Ombok | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The win saw fans break into song and dance in the fiercely contested semi-final that was attended by over 20,000 fans including representatives from the Ministry of Sports.
  • With no goals after 120 minutes, it meant that penalties would decide the contest.  During the shootout, Kenya scored through Collins Ochieng, Amos Wanjala, Humphery Oroko and Syphas Owuor, while Stanley Omondi’s kick was saved by Tanzania keeper Anthony Mpemba.

Thousands of fans took to the streets of Kisumu Tuesday after Junior Stars beat Tanzania 4-3 on post-match penalties at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium to qualify for this year’s Cecafa Under-18 Championships final, where they will take on Uganda.

Jubilant fans poured into the field immediately Syphas Owuor scored the winning penalty that enabled Kenya to storm into the final set for Friday at the same venue.

Owuor joined the fray in the second half for US-based Louise Ingavi.
The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, with the stadium filled to capacity and stands transformed into kaleidoscopes of colours as passionate fans displayed unwavering loyalty for the home youngsters.

The deadlock persisted throughout the regulation and extra time, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats.

The win saw fans break into song and dance in the fiercely contested semi-final, which was attended by over 20,000 fans.

No goals after 120 minutes meant that penalties would decide the contest. Collins Ochieng, Amos Wanjala, Humphery Oroko and Syphas Owuor were succeful for Kenya from the spot, while Stanley Omondi’s penalty was saved by Tanzania keeper Anthony Mpemba.

Tanzania scored their penalties through Benjamin Ramadhan, Hijjah Lidah and Phales Mkude. Kenyan keeper Ibrahim Wanzala exhibited exceptional goalkeeping by saving penalties from Said Said and Sherif Wilson.

Despite Tanzania’s scoring opportunities, they failed to see the back as they dominated the first half with their strikers troubling on form Wanzala between the posts.

Tanzanians were left scratching heads after elimination.

Habib Kondo Kikwayu's charges will fight for the bronze with Rwanda, who lost to Uganda by a solitary goal in the other semi-final at the same venue.

“We are happy to have won a very tough match today, but we are not overjoyed because we still have a crucial final ahead of us. Our target is to beat Uganda and lift the trophy on Friday,” said Kenyan coach Salim Babu, who admitted that Tanzania gave them stiff challenge.

Babu acknowledged the challenges they faced but emphasised the team’s resilience and unity as pivotal factors in their success.

“As I mentioned earlier, Tanzania proved to be worthy opponents, but I extend my gratitude to my boys for making us proud,” he added.

Uganda, under the tutelage of Morley Byekwaso, edged Rwanda 1-0 in an earlier semi played at the same venue, with the all-important goal scored by Abubakar Mayanja.

The match remained deadlocked at 0-0 throughout the first half, but the pivotal moment unfolded in the 56th minute when Abubaker Mayanja scored.

Abasi Kyeyune initially took a shot that was punched into Mayanja's path by Byiringiro Eric. Mayanja slotted home from the rebound as the Amavumbi defenders protested, claiming the scorer was in an offiside position.