Kenya’s Junior Stars qualified to the semifinals of the 2023 Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) Under-18 championships with a game to spare after narrowly edging out Rwanda 1-0 in a tight match played at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu on Tuesday.
Reigning Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) National football Most Valuable Player (MVP) Aldrine Kibet continued to show his quality after netting in the first half to guide Kenya to the last four.
Now based in Spain attached to Nastic Sports Academy, Kibet’s goal in the 37th minute lifted the thousands of fans at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium to their feet in celebration, a lead they held on to until the final whistle.
Kenya went into the match on the back of an emphatic 5-0 win over Sudan, and they needed a win of any sort to make it to the semis.
Salim Babu’s charges now the first side to make the semis as they lead Group A with six points and six goals.
Speaking after the match, Rwandan tactician Kayiranga Baptiste said their dreams are not yet over and they are looking forward to edging out Sudan on Friday to make it to the semis.
“The defeat is a tough pain to swallow because we played well and contained the Kenyan attack very well. They have quality players within their ranks and in the end individual brilliance won it.
“However, we pick lessons from the defeat and now focus on the final match. We are still in this and a win will take us to the knock out stages. We are going to give it everything,” said Baptiste.