KSIUMU, Kenya- Harambee Stars will renew their rivalry with Zanzibar in Sunday’s final of the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup after the latter toppled champions Uganda out of the competition.
Zanzibar, who held Kenya to a barren draw in the Group A match, stunned the record winners Uganda 2-1 in the second semifinal played on Friday at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
Abulaziz Makame opened the scoring for the Island nation in the 24th minute before Cranes top scorer Derrick Nsibambi restored parity six minutes later.
The fierce encounter was decided by a penalty in the 58th from Issa Mohammed after Joseph Nsubuga was sent off for a tackle inside the box.
The Heroes, who have emerged as the surprise package in this year’s edition, had a positive start with Ibrahim Hamad forcing Ismail Watenga to parry his low shot for a corner that bore the opener.
Yahya Mudathir picked out Makame unmarked in the box and he opened the scoring with a simple tap in to give the underdogs the lead.
Their joy was however, short lived as the in-form Nsibambi pounced on Allan Kyambadde’s cross from the right to equaliser.
Zanzibar continued asking questions of the Cranes defence with Suleiman Kassim giving Shaffiq Bakaki who was later withdrawn for Joseph Nsubuga a torrid time on the wing.
The towering defender had barely settled into the game when he received his marching orders after appending Hamad in the box much to the disappointment of his coach Moses Basena.
Mohammed stepped forth to take the resultant penalty sending Watenga the wrong way.
Basena introduced Allan Katerrega and Nelson Senkatuka for Muzamir Mutyaba and Kyambadde to inject urgency to the Cranes but the Heroes held on.
Nsibambi thought he had beaten Abdurahman Mohamed late on when he met a Milton Kalisa delivery with a glancing header but his finish went agonisingly wide and with it, the last chance for Cranes to force the game to extra time.
Zanzibar will hope to make their first appearance in the final since 1995 count on Sunday when they take on hosts Kenya. The winner will take home USD30,000 with the beaten finalists receiving USD20,000.