Kagame Cup: Heartbreak for Gor Mahia, Ecstasy for Azam

In the end, it was the team that didn’t concede a single goal in the whole tournament that would be crowned the 2015 Cecafa Kagame Cup champions.

In the end, Gor Mahia’s 24-match unbeaten run would come to a heartbreaking end, meaning that a 30-year wait for their first ever title would go for at least another year.

Make no mistake, Gor Mahia were outplayed by Azam in the final. A 2-0 win was the least Azam deserved. It was hurting to see how easily the Tanzanian side controlled the proceedings, right from the off.

Throughout the tournament, Azam had carved themselves out as a side who come off the blocks in a searing manner. They hit you early, then sit back, hit you again, and again.

Against Gor Mahia, they only had to repeat the process twice. Their first goal was handed to them on a platter. Eric Ochieng lost the ball on the left side then decided to trudge back lazily, Abouba Sibomana joining him in not reading the danger.

The opener

Kipre Tchetche must have been overwhelmed with the amount of space he was allowed to run into. The Ivorian made good use of it, running down the flank before delivering a cross into the path of an unmarked John Bocco who slammed home to give his side the lead in the 17th minute.

Three minutes later, Khalid Aucho must have been thankful to his gods after he escaped a straight red card with an intentional elbow on Tchetche.

Gor Mahia dominated possession after conceding the goal but had to wait until the stroke of half time to have a meaningful effort on goal, Innocent Wafula’s shot drawing a fine save from Azam keeper Aishi Manula, and Godfrey Walusimbi failing to get to the end of the repelled ball.

Second half

Gor Mahia emerged from the break knowing the task at hand, but it was Azam who came close to stretching their lead 5 minutes after the restart, Tchetche hitting the post after robbing Wafula the ball on the left side.

Two minutes later, Michael Olunga who had been kept absolutely silent by Pascal Wawa and co, teed up Kagere whose shot was blocked. Aucho would finally go into the referee’s book in the 63rd minute after a foul outside the area on Shomari Kapombe.

It would prove to be a costly mistake and a double tragedy for Gor Mahia as Tchetche sunk the ball into the back of the net from the resulting freekick, Boniface Oluoch detrimentally assuming the ball would go out.

The subs

Three minutes after the goal Gor Mahia boss Frank Nuttall turned to his bench and fished out Ali Abondo, withdrawing the ineffective Erich Ochieng. Azam replied with a substitution of their own, Frank Raymond coming on for Ame Aly to help shut out any attacks.

Sibomana was the next to get a booking after a foul on Bocco as the Kenyan champions endured 10 minutes where everything seemed to be going wrong. Long-throw specialist Enock Agwanda replaced young Wafula in the 74th minute, and a minute later, Olunga got his first real chance of the game but failed to get good contact on the ball after a flick from Kagere.

Kagere would be hauled off as well with 6 minutes to the final whistle but not even his replacement, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo could turn the tide in Gor Mahia’s favor.

Azam would be crowned the 2015 Cecafa Kagame Cup winners, becoming the first team in the competition’s history to lift the title without conceding a goal.

For Gor Mahia, a 30-year wait would be extended to 31, as they return home and regroup for another shot in 2016.

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