Nazir Hamid’s brace and a strike from Tahir Mohammed was enough to hand former CECAFA Senior Challenge cup winners Sudan victory during their Group ‘C’ match against Eritrea at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Sudan were largely the better side with several of their chances going to waste after building but scored the 3rd goal out of courtesy when the Eritiean goal keeper was caught off his line by Tahir from a long strike back.
The inexperienced Eritrea have also been impressive on several occassions but lacked the finishing touch in what is the group’s first match at the Machakos Stadium. Eritrea has two shots on target with a 46% play position to Sudan’s three and 54% share. Sudan will be hoping to start on a high in the event that they are to win for a fourth time.
Eritrea who had been poor in the first half came into the second half more re-energized as they sought to overturn the three goal deficit.
They however failed to create alot of danger upfront. The side that played possession football were poor upfront as they failed to cause alot of danger.They however scored a goal in the 73rd minute through Megweya Omer but it was ruled offside. With the win, Sudan top group C with three points.
New look Eritrea
Last year, when the Senior Challenge Cup was held in Kampala, some players from Eritrea sneaked out of camp and sought asylum in Uganda.
It is a situation that has always stalked Eritrean teams as they participate in different regional competitions.
Faced with tough economic conditions back home, Eritrean players and officials take advantage every time they travel out of their country to try and remain behind in search of better living standards.
However, this time it looks different as the team prepares to take part in this year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, which starts in Nairobi tomorrow.
Team coach Omar Ahmed insists they are not in Nairobi to add to the number of asylum seekers, but are looking to reach at least the quarterfinals stage in a group that includes Sudan, champions Uganda, and Rwanda.
“Those problems of players sneaking out are now behind us. There is a sense of unity among the players and the top leadership with regard to what we want in this competition,” he said in an interview just hours after his team landed in Nairobi.
Eritrea is one of the few teams that have brought in foreign team-based players for the two-week competition, perhaps an indication of how serious they are about going further than the first round, from which they were eliminated last season.
Among the players who turn out for foreign teams on the squad are Setak Beyynic and Haven Birhane who play for Division Three sides in England, Hayie Gayton and Suraf Abraha, who play in Sudan as well as Yonathan Selemom who is in Saudi Arabia.
Ahmed said they have a young squad that is determined to have a good performance this year and look to a brighter future by building on their great form.