Uganda will play Eritrea in Saturday’s final of the Cecafa (Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations) Under-20 football tournament, thanks to their 2-1 win over Kenya at the Asmara National Stadium on Thursday.
Kenya plays Rwanda, 0-1 losers to Eritrea Wednesday in Saturday’s play-off match.
Kenya had the most opportunities but it was the Ugandans, winners in Burundi three years ago, who utilized their chances better.
They took the lead in the 14th minute when Juma Sadam’s free-kick found its way into the corner of the net with hardly any Kenyan moving.
Kenya had several chances
Jacob Kelli gave Kenya the equalizer in added time of the first half when he beat defender Ivan Bukenya to the ball and lobbed over Buule Godwin in goal.
The winner came in the 50th minute when leading scorer (5) Dan Sserunkuma capitalized on Charles Ballah’s hesitation in clearing to lob over advancing Kenya goalie Mohamed Musa.
From then Kenya had several chances that could have changed the destination of the match but their key players, Innocent Mutiso, Paul Were and Moses Arita remained below par throughout the match.
The situation was worsened by a weak bench that could not come ton the salvation of the side that is using the tournament as part of their preparations for the Africa Under-20 finals qualifiers against Lesotho next month.
Kenya coach Vince Ombiji blamed his defeat on lack of composure by his players. “We let in two easy goals due to poor communications, failed to take our chances and in the process we lost,” he told the post match press conference.
“Against Rwanda it will be a different ball game, although I must say the Rwandese are no pushovers,” he added.
democracy of football
Ahead of the Lesotho, match, Ombiji says he will need to beef up his side when he returns home next week.
He tipped Uganda to successfully defend the title.
Uganda coach Frank Anyau agreed with his saying the pressure will be on the Eritreans. “We feared Kenya most. They have the stamina but against Eritrea we shall play an easy game,” he said.
“We promised to play five matches and win all of them. We have played and won four so Ertitrea should help us realize our dream,” Anyau said.
He minced no words in letting the Eritreans know their fate.
“Let their fans eat early because they may lack appetite after the match. Those who want to sleep should sleep early as after the match they will lack sleep,” he said at the press conference.
“Let Eritreans come out in large numbers but they should know that the democracy of football is that the best team and not the best supported win,” he added.
Uganda: Godwin Buule, Kisalita Ayub, Denis Iguma, Kirizeston Ntambi, Alex Kakuba, Dan Sserunkuma, Matovu Sula (Isaac Muleme, 82nd), Ivan Bukenya, Ibrahim Juma Sadam, Mutyaba Michael (Ibrahim Kiiza, 84th), Kizito Lwanga.
Kenya: Mohamed Musa, Charles Ballah, Raphael Muigai, Anthony Akumu, Paul Were (Abdimalik Mohamed, 85th), Jacob Keli, Victor Majid (Elli Sekah, 80th), Innocent Mutiso, Milton Milimo, Moses Arita (Edwin Mwaura, 56th), Silas Shitote.
Referee: Hussein Fadhier (Sud), 1st Ass: Ambroise Hakizimana (Rwa), 2nd Tesfagiorgis Michael (Eri), 4th official: Mensur Maerufu (Eri), Match commissioner: Marie-Louise Nyilikwaya (Rwa).