Uganda are the new champions of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) senior Challenge Cup after a comfortable 3-0 win over Eritrea in the final on Thursday afternoon.
The game which saw Bright Anukani, Mustafa Kizza and Joel Madondo score for hosts Uganda, took place at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo, Kampala.
Uganda appeared eager for the goal from the onset when Mustafa Kizza delivered a beautiful cross to his teammate Viane Sekajugo in the second minute but he was unable to put the ball into the back of the net.
Minutes into the first stanza, young lad Anukani opened the deadlock in the 34th minute when his spectacular shot from a close range ended into the back of the net to give Uganda a first half lead. The cross was from KCCA FC forward, Allan Okello.
Towards the end of halftime, Eritrea’s Ali Suleman Ibrahim attempted to square the game when he jumped higher to shoot from close range but his efforts were fruitless, the ball went outside net to give Uganda a goal kick.
In the 61st minute, Cranes tactician, Johnathan Mckinstry introduced Karim Watambala in place of Viane Sekajugo.
In the 68th minute, Mustafa Kizza doubled Uganda’s lead after picking out the ball from Fahad Bayo with a one-two pass. He would latch on to it deep inside the box beating the goalkeeper.
Mckinstry substituted Joachim Ojera with Ben Ochen in the 80th minute. A minute later, Uganda had an opportunity of making it three, but Anukali missed to put the ball into the back of the net after remaining with the goalkeeper to beat.
The Coach immediately introduced Joel Madondo in place of Fahad Bayo in the 83rd minute. Madondo put the ball in the back of the net in the 88th minute after meeting a perfect cross from deep inside the box and controlled it with a perfect first touch before striking to give Uganda a third one.
Today’s win makes Uganda the 15th East Africa’s regional tournament champions.
To qualify for the final, Uganda defeated Tanzania 1-0 where Eritrea eliminated defending champions Kenya with an embarrassing 4-1 defeat.
The final has been a repeat of the group stage match between the two sides which Uganda won 2-0.
Meanwhile, Kenya has emerged number three after defeating Tanzania by 2-1 in the game to for the third placed played earlier.
Uganda Cranes XI: Charles Lukwago (GK, KCCA FC), Paul Willa (Vipers SC), Mustafa Kizza (KCCA FC), John Revita (KCCA FC), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers SC), Shafiq Kagimu (URA FC), Bright Anukani (Proline FC), Allan Okello (KCCA FC), Joachim Ojera (URA FC), Fahad Bayo (Vipers SC), Viane Sekajugo (Wakiso Giants).