SECTIONS

By GILBERT WANDERA in CAIRO

The Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya are through to the semi-finals of the Nile Basin tournament.

Congo squeezed a 2-1 win over Sudan at Arab Contractors Stadium yesterday evening to top group ‘A’ on six points, sending Kenya with them to the last four.

The win by Congo, who also beat Kenya 1-0, means that Harambee Stars finish second in the group with three points after they overcame Sudan in the opening match.

Buteur Selakaku put Congo ahead in the 30th minute with a fine goal but the Sudanese were undeterred.

They came at their opponents with guns blazing and should have scored on numerous occasions.

Determined to make it to the last four, Sudan tore apart the Congolese defence at will, but it was not until the 60th minute that they leveled the scores.

Kenya’s Levy Muaka (foreground) is tackled by Sudan’s Karika Mudasi in their opening match of the Nile Basin Tournament in Cairo, Egypt, last week. [PHOTOS: GILBERT WANDERA/STANDARD]

Mohammed Alahem scored with a brilliant free-kick just at the edge of the Congolese defence.

PAID FOR INDISCIPLINE

But Sudan may have paid for indiscipline in the dying minutes of the match.

Mvete Luyeye was unnecessarily pulled down in their box and Loffo Bongeli stepped up to score the penalty in injury time.

Sudanese players besieged the match referee in anger, but it did nothing to change his mind.

The Democratic Republic of Congo will play Uganda in the first semi-final with Kenya taking on hosts Egypt in Friday’s semi-final matches.

It is a big moment for Kenya, considering that Egypt remain un-beaten in the competition and are fielding their senior team which won the Africa Cup of Nations finals last year.

Kenyan coach, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno had said before yesterday’s match that he would be excited with a semi-final place in the competition, considering that he has a relatively young side coming into this competition.

MONEY BRACKET

More importantly, Kenya remain in the money bracket and stand a chance of winning the Sh14 million top prize in place for the winner.

It is a major achievement for the young Kenyan side, which came into this competition without experienced key players.

Kenya started the competition well, beating Sudan 1-0 on the first day of competition.

Kenya kept fit for Friday’s semi-final match by playing a friendly match against a local insurance side yesterday.

The match ended 0-0 and all the players had a chance to feature in the match, which was preparations for the up-coming fixture against Egypt.

Elsewhere, the Kenya national under-20 team arrived in Egypt on Saturday morning for a four-nation tournament. The tournament will feature hosts Egypt, South Korea and China.