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Kenya tamed at Copa Africa Championships

Last updated 8 months ago | By Julius Jumah

Kenya’s Kiswana Bilal (left) and Dylan Gumbe of Zimbabwe during U16 Copa Coca-Cola Football African Championships at Mpesa academy, Kiambu County on Monday, December 2, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Defending champions Kenya kicked off the 2019 Continental Copa Coca Cola championships on a daunting low after they were put to the sword by Zimbabwe, losing 3-1 in the in the tournament’s  flag-off match in Thika on Monday.

Luke Musiriki was on target for Zimbabwe to break the deadlock just after the half-hour mark, who thumping in a thunderous volley; Kenyan custodian Ismale Tole all but helpless between the sticks.

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The hosts who are represented at the second edition of the continental showpiece by coastal school Serani Boys, hit back through skipper Marcus Odhiambo to restore parity in the penultimate stages of the opening half, the game heading for the interval on a one-all stalemate.

Musikiri then took the game beyond the Kenyans with two quick fire strikes just before the hour mark, capping his hat trick via a counter attack after the hosts had launched an onslaught on the Zimbabweans territory in pursuit of a leveler.

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The Kenyan lads will be seeking an upturn in fortunes when they face the third member of Pool A- Mozambique- to revitalize their now dented campaign.

In the second match of the day, neighbours Uganda shredded fellow group C members Namibia 11-2 in outlining their intention in the event that has attracted 12 African countries.

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Other teams in the tourney are Pool B’s South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania, Group C’s Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, Angola and Botswana all of group D.

The inaugural edition of the championship which ends on Thursday was held last year in Nakuru as Kenyan sides St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale and Moi Girls Nangili claimed top spot in their respective categories.