Karekezi treble rescues Rwanda
Skipper Olivier Karekezi stepped off the bench to score a hat-trick as Rwanda came from 2-1 down to beat Djibouti 5-2 in their final Group A match in Dar es Salaam on Friday.
The experienced striker scored three times in eight minutes to kill off any chances of an upset by Djibouti who had started brightly in their last match of this year’s Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup.
Ahmed Hassan had given the ranks outsiders a 2-1 halftime lead stunning Amavubi Stars who had been strong favourites going into the match.
But Rwanda have been impressive all week and they clawed back to 2-2 on 57 minutes when Jean Claude Mugiraneza scored with a powerful header.
Rwanda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic had given his striking duo of Meddie Kagera and Karekezi a rest but he threw them on with half an hour to go and was rewarded with a late flourish.
Kagera struck the woodwork with a powerful header that had beaten the keeper all ends up on 67 minutes. The striker struck the woodwork a second time on 76 minutes as the winners upped the tempo.
Then it turned to the Karekezi show as the veteran striker slotted his first of the match 12 minutes from time shooting from the edge of the area.
He made it two in two minutes after a quick Rwandese attack that saw Haruna Niyonzima cut the ball back onto his path and he finished smartly.
Karekezi completed his hatrick four minutes from time picking up the ball on the edge of the area and smashing it past the keeper to complete the rout.