Junior Stars to face Tanzania in CECAFA semis after unique tiebreaker decision


FOOTBALL Junior Stars to face Tanzania in CECAFA semis after unique tiebreaker decision

Festus Chuma 10:30 - 03.12.2023

In the CECAFA U-18 Championship, a unique regulatory decision determined Kenya's semi-final opponent, leading to a match against Tanzania.

Unexpectedly the intricate dynamics of the CECAFA U-18 Boys Championship 2023's Group B led to a unique scenario where Tanzania clinched a semi-final spot not just through their performance on the field but by adhering to the principles of fair play.

As the tournament progresses in Western Kenya, the Fair Play rule emerged as a decisive factor, marking a rare instance in football where disciplinary records significantly impact a team's advancement.

In a closely contested Group B, both Tanzania and Zanzibar finished with identical points and goal statistics.

However, Tanzania edged out Zanzibar based on their superior disciplinary record, having received fewer cautions throughout the group stage.

This decision, rooted in regulation 3.6 of the tournament rules, underscores the importance of maintaining composure and discipline in competitive football.

The regulation stipulates that teams are ranked on multiple criteria, including points, head-to-head records, goal difference, goals scored, and, notably, fair play.

The latter involves evaluating teams based on the number of yellow and red cards received. In this scenario, Tanzania's commendable on-field discipline, with just four cautions compared to Zanzibar's five, became the crucial tiebreaker.

This development has sparked discussions among fans and analysts about the growing significance of fair play in football tournaments.

It highlights how every aspect of a team's performance, including their conduct, can be pivotal in determining their fate in closely matched groups.

Tanzania's path to the semi-final was not straightforward. Their journey in Group B saw them drawing 1-1 with Zanzibar in a critical match held in Kakamega.

Bakari Selemani's goal early in the second half was neutralized by Shenani Ibrahim Khamis' equalizer for Zanzibar after 72 minutes. This draw left both teams in a precarious position, eventually leading to the fair play ruling.

Meanwhile, Uganda topped Group B with a convincing 2-0 victory over South Sudan in Kisumu.

Goals from Richard Okello and Denis Kisiriko in the second half ensured their spot at the top of the group standings.

Uganda's head coach, Morley Byekwaso Ochama, expressed satisfaction with the team's performance and is now gearing up for a challenging semi-final against Rwanda.

” We now need to prepare well ahead of our semi final match against Rwanda, ” added Byekwaso.

The semi-finals are set to be a thrilling encounter with Uganda facing Rwanda and Kenya locking horns with Tanzania.

Both matches are scheduled to take place at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu.

Tanzania, now carrying the flag of fair play into the semi-finals, will have to balance their disciplined approach with the aggressive tactics needed to overcome the host nation, Kenya.

The tournament will conclude with a play-off to determine the third-place team and the grand final, both slated for December 8th, 2023.

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