Kenya’s Junior Stars qualified for the semi-finals of the ongoing CECAFA U18 Boys Championships following their 1-0 victory against Rwanda in a Group A fixture at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu yesterday.
Having won the opening fixture 5-0 against Sudan, the Junior Stars under coach Salim Babu needed another victory to book their place in the last eight with a game to spare and they achieved the fete after Aldrine Kibet scored the all-important goal in the 38th minute to sink the hard-fighting young Amavubi side.
Babu retained the same squad that thrashed Sudan and it was the Junior Stars, who started the game on a high note and should have taken an early lead in the 12th minute when Kibet found himself with acres of space inside Rwanda’s rear guard but his weak effort could not trouble their goalkeeper Yvan Ruhamyanyiko.
Cheered on by a huge crowd that turned up to watch the game, Junior Stars continued to attack Rwanda and in the 17th minute, Joseph Omuse combined well with Stanley Wilson before releasing Kibet, who in turn laid a neat pass to Elly Owande but Rwanda defender Sibomana Sultan reacted quickly to clear the danger before Owande could pull the trigger.
However, Kenya finally scored what turned out to be the winning goal with seven minutes left to the half-time break, Stanley Wilson’s marauding runs from the left wing gave him enough time to spot Kibet, who slotted home using his left foot past Ruhamyanyiko.
The win ensured Kenya remained top of Group A with a maximum of six points; they have scored six goals and are yet to concede. Kenya will next return to action with a fixture against Somalia while Rwanda will come up against Sudan, both matches on Friday at the same venue.