Going into the 2002 CECAFA cup, it had been 19 years since Kenya had won this tournament. Coach Jacob Ghost Mulee called in re-inforcements from Kenya’s Europe based core. Among them was skipper Robert Mambo who at the time played in the Norwegian league and had featured in the UEFA cup as well as the talented striker Paul Oyuga who at the time played in the Swedish league. But all eyes were on new sensation Dennis Oliech who at 17 had already taken the Kenyan football scene by storm while playing for Mathare United.
The tournament was held in Mwanza Tanzania and going in , Kenya were confident because they were fresh off a succesful start to the 2004 Africa Nations qualifiers in which they had beaten Mauritania away from home.
In the end, Dennis Oliech was the star of the tournament. He came off the bench in all games and scored 5 goals to emerge as the top scorer. His breathtaking speed was too much for tiring defenders to handle. The Tanzanian media dubbed he and John Baraza as the “Turbo Chargers”.
2002 CECAFA cup Matches
30-11-2002 Tanzania 1-0 Kenya
[Henry Morris 9]
3-12-2002 Kenya 1-1 Burundi
[Denis Oliech 45; Irambona Abdallah 75pen]
6-12-2002 Kenya 4-1 Eritrea
[John Baraza 59, 90, Denis Oliech 69, 82; Barnane Aregai 77]
9-12-2002 Sudan 0-1 Kenya
[Denis Oliech 75]
12-12-2002 Uganda 1-3 Kenya
[Philip Obwin 33; Anthony Mathenge 17, Paul Oyuga 52,
Robert Mambo 66]
[Uganda: Abdi Salim, Philip Obwin, Nestory Kizito, Sam Mubiru,
E. (‘Sam’) Balyejusa, Waswa Bossa, Simeon Masaba, Hood Kaweesa (A. Kaaya), Yusuf Kinene, Philip Ssozi, Abubakar Tabula;
Kenya: Victor Onyango, Daniel Agina, Adam Shaban, Phillip Opiyo, George Waweru, Anthony Mathenge, Walter Odede, Robert Mambo, Paul Oyuga (John Baraza), Edward Karanja, Francis Chinjil (Denis Oliech);
red card: Yusuf Kinene (U) 24]
2002 Cecafa Cup final: Kenya 3-2 Tanzania
Harambee Stars twice came from a goal down to beat Tanzania 3-2 in the final of the East African regional tournament, the Cecafa Cup.
In a thrilling match Tanzania went ahead on 28 minutes, Emmanuel Gabriaf firing home.
But Kenya who were shocked by Tanzania in the opening group stage in a 1-0 defeat, were back on level terms just two minutes later, Paul Oyuga grabbing the equaliser.
Although Kenya continued to press, Tanzania defended well and went in at the break still on level terms.
And it was the Taifa Stars themselves who again went ahead on 59 minutes. Mecky Mexime slotted home from the penalty spot after a Kenyan defenderfouled him in the area.
But again Tanzania were unable to keep the lead for long.Kenya began to surge forward and on 70 minutes had equalised again, this time through John Baraza.
This time there was to be no fightback from the Taifa Stars, and just two minutes later Kenya got their winner. The competition’s top scorer, 17-year-old wonderkid Dennis Oliech, got his fifth of the tournament and wrapped up the victory for Kenya.
Line-Up: [Kenya: Victor Onyango, Adam Shaban, Daniel Agina, George Waweru, Phillip Opiyo, Robert Mambo, Anthony Mathenge, Edward Karanja, Titus Mulama (Godfrey Osama), Francis Chinjili (Denis Oliech), Paul Oyuga (John Baraza)]
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