Uganda crowned CECAFA champions
- Bright Anukani, Mustafa Kizza and Joel Madondo scored one each as hosts Uganda Cranes clobbered Eritrea 3-0, to win the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at the KCCA Lugogo Stadium, Kampala - Uganda.
- In what was a see-saw affair, Eritrea were unlucky to find the net with their complications escalating when they sought to recover from two goals deficit.
Bright Anukani, Mustafa Kizza and Joel Madondo scored one each as hosts Uganda Cranes clobbered Eritrea 3-0, to win the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at the KCCA Lugogo Stadium, Kampala – Uganda on Thursday.
In what was a see-saw affair, Eritrea were unlucky to find the net with their complications escalating when they sought to recover from two goals deficit.
The new champions are now in their 15th star since the championship was initiated, an achievement head coach Jonathan McKinstry says he is proud to be part of.
“We played well. We knew it was going to be a very tough opposition from Eritrea and surely they were. We however took our chances and defended well when we needed to, and that is what you need in a final like today,” the Irishman said.
His counterpart Efrem Haile was humble to concede he lost to a better side, but celebrated the silver medal heartily.
“I congratulate Uganda, they are deserved champions. We had our chances, several of them that had we utilised well would have changed everything. I’m however proud of my young to team to have come all the way” said Haile.
Eritrea started viciously with fast-short passes and knocked at the Cranes goal twice in the opening five minutes, but were soon disoriented from their tantalising style by physical and aggressive Ugandans, backed by an army of fans who packed theme KCCA Stadium to the rafters.
KCCA’s attacker and reigning Uganda Premier League Most Valuable Player Allan Okello thought he had opened the scores in the 11th, but he was adjudged to have netted from offside.
Cranes camped at the Eritrea’s half but were not clinical enough to convert their chances, but Eritrea still exhibited admirable boldness with glimpses of fine touches even in their own last quarter.
Technically, it was a way of trying to calm the storm that had stolen them from their preferred style but it would not deter the spirited hosts.
In the 31st, Bright Anukani was found at the right place and was able to penetrate his cross through the crowded box to give Uganda the lead.
Robel Kidane and Suleiman Ibrahim traded passes cleverly to outdo Uganda centre-back John Revita, but the latter could not beat goalkeeper a quick Charles Lukwago.
Ibrahim was on it again, and this time won a corner as his effort was deflected out by Lukwago, which he would easily handle.
Goalkeeper Solomun Haile denied Fahad Bayo from a close range, in what was the last attempt of the Cranes in the first stanza.
The zeal of the Sea Boys upon the restart forced Uganda to their backyard, only trying to hit on the counter. Ibrahim was unlucky to fail in his goalmouth attempt, shortly after Filmon Tumzighi had narrowly missed with Lukwago taken care of.
Kidane then shot over the crossbar, having been found in the box by Robel Teklemichael, and having rounded Lwaliwa.
It was Kizza who extended Uganda’s lead to 2-0 in the 68th, with a simple tap in after two blocked attempts, with the Eritreans failing defensively in their desperate search for an equaliser.
It was not over yet. Madondo struck powerfully in the death, a goal his coach McKinstry in his own words rightfully described as beautiful, to seal a huge victory for the youthful Cranes side, repeating their 2012 heroics when they won the championship at home.
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