BY NATNAEL YEBIO
Match day 8 of the CECAFA U15 ongoing tournament in Eritrea saw group B leaders Rwanda take on Tanzania. This was going to be a close one between the two. Rwanda beat South Sudan and Ethiopia 3-0 respectively, in their first two matches.
While Tanzania lost their opening match to Uganda and went on to convincingly beat South Sudan 6-0 in their second match. Both teams vying to get into the semi’s started the first half very strong.
Rwanda opening the scoring inside four minutes when their captain, Hoziyana Kenedy gave them the lead. However, Tanzania were to equalize four minutes later when they won a penalty kick, Katuli Rabbin coolly dispatching from the spot.
Just the kind of start the spectators wanted from both teams in a somber looking cloudy afternoon in the stadium. With both teams pushing to gain the upper hand in the game, it was Rwanda who got the lead from their previous game’s hatrick hero Irahamye Eric.
In a heated second half which featured loud screams from both head coaches as they tried to convey instructions to their players, the wasps chose to defend their lead. As a result, Tanzania enjoyed much of the possession in the second half without any fruitful outcome as the match ended in favor of Rwanda, securing their spot in the semi-finals of the tournament.
In game two of the day, Uganda played against South Sudan. Uganda are the only team in the tournament who are yet to drop any points beating Ethiopia 3-0 and Tanzania 2-0. On the other hand, South Sudan picked up just one point from nine. This was a mismatch of massive proportions and it proved to be so in the first half as the cranes cruised into a 4-0 lead in the first-half.
South Sudan came into this match with five players missing due to injury. As the second half started, the South Sudanese conceded a fifth. Shortly after, to the astonishment of the spectators, their opponents and match officials, most of the South Sudan national team players started going down injured, almost all needing treatment, medical team overworking themselves.
Match was now halted for ten minutes as South Sudan tried to make up the numbers to continue the match, alas it wasn’t to be as they couldn’t continue with just 6 players on the field.
Referee Biruk Yemanebirhan blowing the whistle to abandon the match with just 10 minutes into the start of the second half. In such case, there are two possible scenarios: either the remaining minutes of the abandoned match has to be played within 24 hours, or, in the event that the remaining minutes of the mentioned abandoned match isn’t played within 24 hours, the match will be ordered to count as a completed fixture.
The other side of the match saw Elsa Yohannes become the first female in CECAFA history to officiate a tournament as second assistant referee as two out of the four referees that led the game were women. The other being fourth official Yodit Fitwi.