Kili Stars qualify as Zambia hit Djibouti
Marcio Maximo’s trained Kilimanjaro Stars laboured to beat Burundi by a lone goal at Mumias Complex to stride into the quarterfinal berth of the Senior Challenge Cup championship.
The Mainland side’s last eight ticket is still subjective as they are waiting today’s final group C match between Zanzibar and Uganda at the same venue.
Should Zanzibar win by any margin, then Mainland team would qualify through one of the best third placed teams among the three groups, two based in Nairobi.
Kilimanjaro Stars next opponent might be runners up in group B or winners of either group A (Zambia) or B.
Burundi kicked off the game at a cracking pace as they stormed Kilimanjaro Stars goal as early as the second minute when Didier Kyumbagu shot wide with goalkeeper Muharam Mohamed at his mercy.
Stars striker Danny Mrwanda responded with a power-packed shot that was expertly saved by goalkeeper Vladmir Niyonkuru.
Burundi played intricate soccer throughout the first half to keep the Mainland side at bay with persistent raids upfront.
Mrisho Ngasa opened the score for Kilimanjaro Stars three minutes after restart when Juma Nyoso combined well with Musa Hassan to release tension of coach Maximo.
The tempo of the game kept swinging in either side with Burundi players trying hard to pull an equaliser with Ndayisenga throwing overboard an opportunity after 75 minutes.
Few minutes later, skipper Salum Swedi had his glancing header flying over the cross bar with goalkeeper Niyonkuru well beaten.
In another group A match, Zambia ended preliminaries with six-goal rout of Djibouti to maintain perfection.
Zambia scored three goals in each half to ensure their semifinal qualification against the first best placed third positioned team from group B or C.
Hosts Kenya play their final match against Ethiopia to conclude group A fixtures while Zanzibar face holders Uganda at Mumias Complex.
Other final group stage matches will be Kenya versus Ethiopia at Nyayo Stadium (17:00 hours), Rwanda and Zimbabwe also at Nyayo Stadium at (15:00 hours as Eritrea and Somalia clash at City Stadium at the same time.