Organisational mess clouds Stars victory
Posted Saturday, December 14 2013 at 02:00
SOCCER. The ultimate low came on the last day, Kenya’s opponents, Sudan, being held by their hotel over unpaid bills as they moved out to Travel to Nyayo for the Cecafa Cup final game.
Nairobi- For Kenya, they could not have got a better 50th birthday gift than the GOtv Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup trophy on Thursday after 11 elusive years.
And Leopards forward and Harambee Stars captain for the tournament Allan Wanga just ensured that, and ensured it in style – banging in a classy brace as Kenya beat Sudan 2-0 to win their first regional title since 2002, and their maiden on home soil in 30 years.
The Stars, guided by coach Adel Amrouche, put up a spirited display, passing the ball comfortably with Francis Kahata the main architect.
The manner in which they did it was one of the few highs in a tournament riddled with controversies.
Local organizers will also be applauded for spreading the tournament across five venues – at Nyayo and City Stadium in Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos and Mombasa, which move turned a masterstroke in the countryside – the many fans a testament.
The quality of the football was flat in group stages but lit up in semis, with spectacular goals by Sudan and tournament top scorer (5 goals) Ibrahim Salah and Mbwana Samata of Tanzania among the amazing.
That Machakos Stadium, en route to Eastern Kenya, was built by the County, thanks to Dr Alfred Mutua – the Governor’s resolve, mainly for Cecafa added to options.
The excitement was heightened as a chopper hired by sponsors GOtv arrived at Nyayo with the glittering Cecafa trophy.
The chopper first made rounds over the pitch before landing to deafening noise from fans.
Unfortunately, this tourney had some really embarrassing situations. For starters, Cecafa and hosts Football Kenya Limited don’t see eye to eye, but had to act they do before the public. But their suspicion over each others’ dealings coupled with lack of definitive government support saw - apart from teams lacking training facilitates and matches being changed left right and centre on short notice - Burundi, Uganda and Eritrea being detained by their hotels over unpaid bills by organisers.
However, the ultimate low came on the final day, Kenya’s opponents, Sudan, being held by their hotel over unpaid bills as they moved out to travel to Nyayo.
As a result, the match that was supposed to kick off at 5pm was pushed to 6pm, and finally played 30 minutes later. No wonder they looked out of mind as Kenya passed them.
Our team of the tournament
Arthur Arakaza (Burundi), Eltahir Elhag (Sudan), David Owino, Jockins Atudo (Kenya), Godfrey Walusimbi (Uganda), Teddy Akumu, Francis Kahata (Kenya) Homad Bashir (Sudan), Allan Wanga (Kenya), Mbwana Samata (Tanzania), Ibrahim Salah (Sudan)
Final results: Kenya 2-0 Sudan
Third place: Zambia 1 -1 Tanzania (Zambia win 6-5 on penalties)
Winners - $30,000, Runners-up - $20,000, Third - $10,000