Monday 23rd November 2015
CECAFA Cup Group C
Bahir Dar Stadium, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
South Sudan 2-0 Djibouti
Djibouti’s CECAFA Cup campaign got off to a disappointing start on the shores of Lake Tana in central Ethiopia today. In what was their first ever fixture against South Sudan, Africa’s newest nation, Djibouti were facing a team ranked considerably higher than them in 134th on FIFA’s list.
Both teams had recently gone out of the World Cup qualification at the earliest opportunity, though South Sidan had fared a little better than Djibouti in losing by a smaller margin at least. They did, however, have an impressive win over Equatorial Guinea in African Cup of Nations qualifying in September, which pointed to a team of rather greater aptitude than Djibouti can currently muster. That was in fact South Sudan’s maiden international football victory, but it is one they have now followed up with a 2-0 win over current worst in the world Djibouti.
The match began evenly enough in the opening exchanges, with openings at either end. But as things settled down it became increasingly one way traffic, all heading towards the precariously guarded Djibouti goal. The opening goal, when it came, had been a while coming. On 28 minutes, striker Bruno Martinez – not the type of name I would have associated with South Sudan – finished from close range. More chances came their way as the first half continued, and Djibouti did well to restrict the deficit to just one at the interval.
Any thoughts of a second half revival for the basement dwellers was quickly put aside as South Sudan continued to press home their advantage after the break. They created several chances but again failed to capitalise. That was until the 72nd minute when Dominic Abuyo sealed the win with a tidy finish from inside the area.
It as the very least South Sudan deserved, and they comfortably saw out the 2-0 win to claim top spot in group C. The other group match saw Malawi beat Sudan 2-1 with Sudan missing a late penalty, meaning that Djibouti have taken occupancy of the bottom spot – a position that they appear destined to hold on to.
What is clear is that Djibouti lacks the talent and nous to control a match, even against a relatively inexperienced side like South Sudan. What awaits in their next matches, Malawi on Wednesday and Sudan on Friday – could be awkward. Prospects of a quick escape from the foot of the rankings are looking bleak. An improved showing in the next match is a must if there is to be any hope of a ranking rise.
Other Group C results:
Sudan 1-2 Malawi