Hambira scores to hand Warriors victory

Hambira celebrates with ketjijere.jpg

Charles Hambira rose the highest to score his first international goal at the death and give the Brave Warriors a 1-0 victory over Ivory Coast in the opening Group B game at the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) at the Grand Stade Marrakesh on Sunday evening.

Hambira, who stood out in defence with some timed tackles to thwart the Ivorians attacks throughout the game, rose at the near post to head home the winner on 90 minute from a well delivered ball from Riaan Hanamub after Itamunua Keimuine was fouled down on the right side of goal.

Earlier on, the Brave Warriors absorbed all the pressure and defended well and they nearly scored against the run of play on 15 minutes as Petrus Shitembi found space on the edge of the box and unleased a shot that was carried away by Ivory Coast goalkeeper Zadi Ble.

Ferdinand Karongee too came close before halftime as he connected with another Hanamub free kick from the left and directed the ball out on the stroke of halftime.

In the second half, Itamunua Keimuine replaced Hendrick Somaeb, who also had a half chance in the first half and on 70 minutes Edmund Kambanda combined well to set Junias Theophilus free, set up Shitembi who controlled well and his shot at goal somehow got stuck to Keimuine’ s boot on the natural grass at the Grand Stade Marrakesh.

Panduleni Nekundi came on for Theophilus later on and had two great chances around 85 minutes of play, first beating the offside trap and failing to release the ball under pressure as he regrouped and then going for goal while Hanamub proved a better option on the left.

The Warriors will now plan for their game against Uganda on 18 January at the Grand Stade Marrakesh and conclude group stage action with a clash against neighbors Zambia on 22 January in Casablanca. The top two teams in the group will advance to the quarterfinals of the 2018 CHAN finals.