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Uganda wins 12th Cecafa title

Uganda are Cecafa champions 2011

UGANDA lifted this year’s Cecafa Tusker Challenge Cup after a post-match penalty shoot-out at the National Stadium of Dar es salaam City in Tanzania on Saturday.

This becomes Uganda’s 12th title since 1973 and Coach Bobby Williamson’s third title since 2008. The Cranes came twice from behind to tie the match 2-2 after 90 minutes and after no scores in the extra-time, they took the title for the third time in four years by again coming from two penalties down to literally grab it in the pulsating finish.

Uganda FA president Lawrence Mulindwa attended the thrilling finals. Meddie Kagere, a Uganda that acquired a Rwandese passport struck twice for Rwanda in normal time but each time Uganda came back, defender Isaac Isinde punishing the end of a blunder by Rwanda goalie Jean-Claude Ndori and then skipper Olivier Karekezi heading in an own goal from a Uganda corner. Rwanda, who were looking for their second title in the history of this challenge cup looked to have been more on pressure on the pitch than the widely experienced Ugandan side. Somali referee Wish Yabarow was the man in charge of the final game.

Captain Mwesigwa receives the trophy from Zanzibar president Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein

In the shoot-out, Uganda trailed after Moses Oloya and Habib Kavuma had both their kicks saved by Ndori but subsequently Rwanda’s Emery Bayisenge and Eric Gasana were unsuccessful with theirs handing the advantage to Uganda. Goalkeeper Abby Dhaira saved two penalties to earn Uganda a 3-2 win. This was Dhaira’s second Cecafa Challenge Cup after the 2008 tournament in Kampala where he conceded only one goal throughout the three week’s tight competition.

From the beginning Rwanda played well neutralising Uganda’s power and speed approach. The Amavubi Stars were brilliant in their passing game and were disciplined in defence but also wasted a lot of time after their 1-0 lead. On the 51st minute, Jean-Claude Iranzi found Kagere with a perfect pass on the left flank and the delightful finisher approached Cranes ‘keeper Abby Dhaira from the edge of the box then beating him with a low shot to the far post.

But on the day, Rwanda’s undoing was jittery goalkeeping by Ndori. The Ugandans seemed to realize it and kept bombarding him. Sula Matovu rattled the cross bar after Ndori had punched Kavuma’s free kick in his way on 73 minutes but four minutes later, another free kick from Kavuma found Oloya on the far post and his cut-back was ferociously volleyed in by Isinde Isaac inside to draw level.

Rwanda went ahead again two minutes later with Kagere evading Kavuma and Isinde before beating Dhaira on his right for his second of the day. Uganda were level again to complete the crazy three minutes but this time Karekezi heading in his own net from a corner under pressure from Kiiza on 80 minute.

In the classification match played earlier at 1:00pm, Sudan edged defending champions Tanzania Mainland 1-0 to win the bronze medal. Mohammed Shaikh Eldin scored the winner with a stunning striker six minutes from time to settle an entertaining encounter. Tanzania went closest on 76 minutes with Mwinyi Kazimoto rattling the upright with the keeper beaten.

Then came the defining moment as Eldin, who had come as a substitute for the injured Amir Suleiman, collected a pass from the midfield and arrowed a powerful shot into the far corner from 25 yards. Zanzibari President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein was the Chief Guest. (Posted by Rogers Mulindwa-Head of communications, FUFA)

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