People Daily

Amputee team rallies to hold their hosts in regional championships

Charles Thuku in Dar es Salaam @PeopleSport11

Kenya came from behind to force hosts Tanzania to a 1-1 draw as the Confederation of East and Central Africa Amputees Football Federation Championship entered its fifth day at the National Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam yesterday.

However, Kenya will feel they were victims of injustice by referee Saidi Pambalelo who denied them a penalty after Tanzania’s goalkeeper Emmanuel Paul handled the ball inside the box in an action-packed second half.

Following the result, Kenya, who have four points, must beat Uganda in their last preliminary fixture today to have a realistic chance of securing a place in the semi finals slated for Friday.

During yesterday’s match, the hosts (Tembo Warriors) took the early initiative to launch attacks and it came as no surprise when they took an early lead in the sixth minute when Steve Manungu cashed in on loose defending by Kenya to head the ball home past goalkeeper Samuel Kimani.

Tanzania had earlier showed hunger for goals with Alfani Kiyanga, who is the leading marksman with five goals, being denied by Kenyan defender Harrison Chege. In the seventh minute, Kenya match maker Joash Bariti found an opening in Tanzania but shot agonisingly wide with Emmanuel well out of position.

Eugene Maganga was next to miss a sitter for Kenya three minutes to half-time as the visitors grew in confidence, matching Tanzania in all aspects of play.

Despite dropping points, Tanzania still leads the five-nation tournament with 10 points.

In the meantime, Uganda suffered a devastating blow after their only goalkeeper Samuel Mubagge was ruled out for the rest of the tournament after sustaining an ankle injury during their match against Tanzania.

Eligible to play

Uganda have no substitute goalkeeper which means one of their infield players will have to be tied one hand to be eligible to play in the position.

Yesterday, Uganda were scheduled to play Rwanda who have three points thus far, thanks to their 1-0 win over Kenya on Monday.

The tournament has attracted five countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zanzibar while Democratic Republic of Congo pulled out due to lack of finances.

In the meantime, anxiety had gripped the kick-off of the tournament following the presence of Kenya who are considered red-hot title favourites.

There were reports of other teams spying on Kenya at their residence in Salvation Army Hostels in Mgulani, Dar-es-Salaam but when they learned that the team’s foreign-based players were absent, they heaved a sigh of relief.

Kenya’s loss to Rwanda seemed to have convinced them that it was an ordinary side that could suffer the same fate to other competing teams.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who had flagged off the Kenyan team to Dar last Friday, has promised to reward them with Sh1 million should they win the championship.

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