Uganda were crowned winners of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup for a record extending 14th time after beating Rwanda 1-0 in the final on Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Caesar Okhuti scored the only goal of the match, heading home in the first half as the Cranes soared to yet another title, confirming their status as the most successful side in the history of the zonal championships.
Cranes were the dominant side in the opening minutes piling pressure on the Amavubi, and the early pressured gave them the much winner on 15 minutes, when unmarked Okhuti headed home from close range.
At the otherend, Jean Baptiste Mugiranzea came close to levelling matters but his effort was easily collected by Uganda goalie Ismail Watenga.
Amavubi throw everything in search of the equalizer, forcing the Cranes to defend, however their search yielded no results.
Ugandan Muzamir Mutyaba was named Man of the match, and head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic expressed delight with his team’s achievement.
“We came to Ethiopia with a very young and inexperienced squad. Only three players are older. We planned to give the players experience since it was their first CECAFA Cup outing. For us, the tourney helped us to grow a lot. We lost our first match but we regrouped and went up to the final. The important thing we won the trophy. Now our focus is shifted to CHAN since we must prepare in the best possible way”, said Sredojevic.
Earlier, hosts Ethiopia overcame Sudan 5-4 on penalties to clinch third place after a 1-1 draw in regulation time. Elias Mamo gave the Walias the lead through a superb long range effort on 57 minutes before Walaaeldin Musa Yagoub restored parity eight minutes from time with a superb volley.
Ethiopia goalie Yidnekachew Kidane was his team’s hero saving the decisive kick of Sudanese Atahir El-Tahir Babikir from the spot.
Champions Uganda were $30,000 richer, Rwanda $20,000 whilst Ethiopia bagged $10,000 for finishing first, second and third respectively.
Ethiopian Mamo was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, and Uganda Watenga, best shot stopper. Atahir El-Tahir of Sudan was top scorer with five goals and Johnny McKinstry of Rwanda as best coach.