Jacob Icia in Kampala
Zanzibar head coach Suleiman ‘Morocco’ Hemed has said their CECFA Senior Challenge Group B clash against Kenya on Saturday will be like a final, being in a must win situation if they are to book a semi final ticket.
The two sides locked horns in the 2017 edition final, with Kenya winning on post-match penalties to lift the gong at the Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
With Zanzibar’s 1-0 loss to rivals Tanzania on Tuesday, Morocco knows the road to the semis is even harder with the champions Harambee Stars hurdle lying ahead.
Poignantly, the other three teams in Group B mathematically have a chance of sealing a last four berth and join Kenya who have already qualified.
“We played better than the first game but we had just one mistake and we were punished. That is how football is sometimes, you fail to convert your chances and your opponent gets better of you. We had several opportunities to score but we could not finish, at least to get a draw. Against Kenya, we will give it our all to try and qualify.”
Zanzibar drew Sudan 1-1 in their opener, and will need a win over Kenya to make it four points hoping Sudan and Tanzania draws to avoid as a win for Kilimanjaro Stars will automatically lock them out.
But according to Harambee Stars assistant coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno, there will be no resting on their laurels when they take on Zanzibar, despite their early qualification.
“We wat to ensure we finish top in our group so that we meet the second team that qualifies from Group A. We will seek to maintain excellence against Zanzibar, who are strong side knowing we played them in the final of the last edition,” told Zico.
Still, Sudan are also firmly in the scramble for the remaining single ticket from the group, further complicating Zanzibar’s plans, drawing from head coach Moussa Dawoud’s submission.
“It was unfortunate we lost to Kenya because we had good chances yo score. We now have to look at the last game against Tanzania and hope we win so that we get to the semis,” said Dawoud.
Tanzania’s Juma Mgunda is also lurking for the slot, making his intentions open as he prepares for Sudan.
“Having lost the first game, we needed to make a strong response and the players did exactly against Zanzibar. Now we just need to complete the job on Saturday and qualify for the semis, which I believewe will,” averred Mgunda.
The teams rested on Thursday, action set to resume on Friday at the KCCA Lugogo Stadium, Kampala.