Simba players celebrate victory over El Mereikh (Photo:

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Goalkeeper Juma Kasseja was the hero as Simba edged out El Mereikh 6-5 on post match penalties to qualify for the final of this year’s Cecafa Kagame Cup.

The skipper saved Jonas Sakwana’s penalty to put the home boys through to the final and send thousands of fans at the National Stadium into rapturous joy. The match had ended 1-01 after regulation and extra time.

El Mereikh had forged ahead in the 12th minute through Adiko Arime who smashed in a volley off Sakwana’s pass.

Urged on by a vociferous crowd, Simba pushed forward in search of an equaliser and the pressure paid off in the 24th minute when Ulimboka Mwakingwe headed in the rebound after El Mereikh keeper Essam El Hadary had failed to hold onto a Shija Mkina shot.

In the penalty shoots out, El Mereikh scored their goals through Faisal Agab Sido, Ahmed Elbasha, Badr Eldin Eldod and keeper El Hadary while Kelechi Osunwa’s penalty hit the woodwork and Jonas Sakwana’s penalty was saved.

On the other hand Simba’s spotkicks were scored by Jerry Santo, Salum Kanoni Kupela, Nasoro Chollo, Patrick Mfisango and Ulimboka Mwakingwe while Salum Machaku’s penalty also hit the goal post.

Simba’s coach Moses Basena was delighted at reaching the final, “Every time I have been in Cecafa as a player or as a coach, I have reached the finals but I am happy we qualified.”

El Mereikhs’s coach Hossam Elbadry accepted defeat saying, “In penalties you cannot predict the winner since it can go to either way but that is football and we have to accept the outcome.”