Tanzania were crowned champions of the regional 2019 CECAFA U-20 Challenge Cup after Kenya 1-0 in the final on Saturday.
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 marched in the first half before they returned in the second half 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 dispatch Burundi and Eritrea at the quarter and semifinal round respectively. Tanzania dismissed Uganda at the quarter final 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.
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.
Wallace Karia, President of the Tanzania Football federation (TFF) who watched the final said he was happy they are building a team that will be the future stars of tomorrow. “Winning such trophies motivates these young players to work even harder,” Karia told CAFonline.com
The tournament that started on September 21st had 11 Cecafa members send teams with only Rwanda missing out.