Harambee Stars are this year’s CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup champions after edging Zanzibar 3-2 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in extra time on Sunday December 17, 2017 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Goalkeeper Patrick Matasi was the hero of the day, saving three penalties to save the hosts’ sinking ship on an underwhelming evening.
Kenya were first to score, Ovella Ochieng curling in a wonderful free kick six minutes into the match past keeper Mohammed Abrahman to send the full-packed stadium roaring.
The goal seemed to have awakened Zanzibar players who started dominating proceedings, but were dealt a huge blow in the 17th minute when veteran midfielder Abdulaziz Makame had to limp out with an injury, with his place taken by Feisal Salum.
In the 42nd minute, The Heroes got their first solid chance as Kassim Suleiman Selembe raced down the right flank and floated in a good cross only for Seif Abdlah Karihe’s feeble header to be stopped easily by keeper Patrick Matasi.
Zanzibar came back into the second half more vigorous as they frantically searched for an equalizer. With the match seemingly headed to Harambee Stars in normal time, an unmarked Abdul azizi Makame took the scores level with an 87th minute goal after connecting to Mwinyi Haji’s cross from the left flank.
Seven minutes into extra time, Masoud Juma, who had replaced Kepha Aswani, dragged Kenya back into the steering wheel after burying the ball into the top right corner following keeper Mohammed Abrahman horrendous goal kick. The hosts had however not finished celebrating when Abdul azizi Makame brought Zanzibar back level with his second of the day three minutes later capitalizing on Musa Mohammed’s defensive errors to smash the ball past Matasi.
Kenya would however has the last laugh, edging their opponents 5-3 to secure their seventh CECAFA title. Matasi saved Adeyum Ahmed, Issa Dau and Mohammed Issa Banka’s spot kicks as Feisal Abdalla and Mudathir Yahya found the back of the net for the Heroes.
On their part, Kenya scored five penalties through Atudo Joackins, Onguso Wesley and Samuel Onyango while Duncan Otieno’s effort was saved by Abrahman .
Matasi top awards
For his impressive displays in the tournament, Patrick Matasi bagged the Golden Glove and the player of the tournament award. KCCA FC forward Derrick Nsibambi meanwhile went home with the Golden Boot gong after topping the scoring charts with four goals.