Rwanda’s hopes of making amends ended on a poor note as they suffered a 1-3 defeat to Zanzibar on Tuesday in the second Group A match played at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos.
Rwanda fielded a complete new line-up composed of second choice players as coach Antoine Hey gave them an opportunity to prove their worth as part of preparations for next year’s Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) due in Morocco.
All first choice players who played against Kenya in the opening game which ended in a 2-0 win for the hosts on Sunday were rested.
Coach Hemed Suleiman Ali’s squad dominated play putting Amavubi on pressure from the first whistle. The Zanzibaris were in lead in the 35th minute as Yahaya Mudathir put them ahead with a brilliant goal. The first half ended in a 1-0 win for Zanzibar.
After recess, Rwanda leveled the matters in the 47th minute courtesy of a goal from APR Fc forward Hakizimana Muhadjiri.
However, Zanzibar fought back to claim the win in the 54th minute through Mohamed Issa who beat the Amavubi defense lapse off a cross from Feisal Salum to score past helpless Kimenyi Yves.
In the 86th minute, Zanzibar sealed their victory from a counter to score the third goal courtesy of Kassim Khamis to earn Zanzibar their first win in this year’s edition of the Cecafa Challenge Cup.
In another group A match, hosts Kenya played a goalless draw against Libya later at Kenyatta stadium.
Kenya tops the five-team group with four points, followed by Zanzibar with three points, Libya and Tanzania have a point each while Rwanda lies bottom of the group with no point in two matches played so far.
In group B, Ethiopia opened their 2017 CECAFA Senior Challenge account with a 3-0 win as they beat South Sudan at Bukhungu Stadium in Kenya.
The victory sees the Walia Ibex to the top of Group B with three points from one match and they will now face off against Burundi on Thursday.
Coach Ashenafi Bekele’s men were in an uncompromising mood from the word go as they showed their intentions.
Abed Yalew opened the scored for the four-time champions as early as the 24th minute after dominating the proceedings.
Yalew would complete his brace with five minutes into the opposite half and that gave them a comfortable lead.
Abubakher Sani also wrote his name on the score sheet seven minutes later as they stamped their dominance over the Bright Stars of South Sudan.