Tanzania were crowned champions of the regional 2019 Cecafa (Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations) Under-20 Challenge Cup after beating Kenya 1-0 in the final played in Njeru, Uganda, at the weekend.
Coach Zeberi Katwila’s team that finished unbeaten in the tournament benefited from a 45th minute own-goal by John Otieno Onyango.
A floating cross in the box with pressure from Tanzania’s high-scoring forwards Kelvin Pius John and Andrew Albart Simchimba forced Onyango to divert the ball past advancing goalkeeper Brian Bwire Okoth.
The two teams were equally matched in the first half before they returned after the interval, with Tanzania creating more chances but failing to convert.
After 74 minutes Tanzania’s goalkeeper Razak Ramadhan Shekimweri stopped Patrick Otieno’s well-taken free-kick. Tanzania also had a chance by Kelvin Pius John that was parried out for a corner.
The two teams had played to a 2-2 draw in the group stages, before Kenya went on to beat Burundi and Eritrea at the quarter and semifinal rounds.
Tanzania dismissed Uganda at the quarterfinal stage before beating Sudan in the semis.
Tanzania’s coach Katwila said his boys followed instructions well and that is why they are champions. “I am proud of my team and the technical staff,” added the coach.
Kenya’s coach Stanley Okumbi said they failed to take their chances.
“Of course we wanted to win the trophy but did not. But I am happy that the tournament has given my young team good international exposure,” added Okumbi.
Eritrea managed to beat Sudan 1-0 on Saturday to finish third and win bronze. Biniam Mengsteab netted the lone goal after 67 minutes.
Tanzania’s Kelvin Pius John, who won the top-scorers award with seven goals, was also voted Player of the Tournament.
Kenya’s Bwire was the Goalkeeper of the Tournament, while Uganda Hippos won the Fair Play Award.
The tournament that started on September 21 had 11 Cecafa teams with only Rwanda missing out.
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo