Kenya, Ethiopia in barren CECAFA draw

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Kenya have held Ethiopia to a barren 0-0 draw in the opening match of the East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Challenge Cup at the Nairobi Nyayo National stadium.

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The home side started the Wednesday match on a high note with Allan Wanga coming close to giving them the lead in the third minute after being put through by his striking partner Edwin Lavatsa.

But Wanga’s feeble shot at the Ethiopia goal narrowly missed the target.

The Ethiopians, who fielded an entirely new outfit to the one that lost to Nigeria in the World Cup play-offs, twice raided the Kenyan goalmouth in the opening half hour but were denied by the experienced hands of the Kenyan goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng.

Ochieng first halted Gebremichael Yakob’s header in the 30th minute and, nine minutes later, he went full stretch to punch out a dangerous shot from Ethiopian skipper Fasika Asfew.

Kenyan assistant coach James Nandwa said he was disappointed with the result but promised to make amends in the next match against South Sudan on Saturday.

“We plan to make some changes in the midfield for the match against South Sudan. We need to stay with the ball more to be competitive,” said Nandwa, who deputised for head coach Adel Amrouche, who was not feeling well.

The day’s other Group A game ended in a 2-1 win for Zanzibar against South Sudan.

Suleiman Kassim put the Zanzibaris in the lead after five minutes and Saleh Ahmed added the second in the 65th minute only for substitute Fabiano Loko to pull one back for the losers two minutes later.

The Zanzibari coach Salum Nassor blamed Nairobi’s high altitude weather for slowing down his players, who had been expected to trample their inexperienced opponents – playing in only their second CECAFA championships.

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