Jinja, (UG): Zanzibar are the 2023 regional CECAFA U-15 Boys Championship after defeating hosts Uganda in a tense final held Thursday at FUFA Technical Centre in Njeru.
Under the captaincy of Mohamed Mohamed, Zanzibar beat the Uganda Rhinos 4-3 in penalty shootouts after the match had tied 1-1 at full time. Tanzania settled for third place defeating South Sudan 1-0 in the playoffs.
Zanzibar took the lead inside just 19 minutes, thanks to a brilliant strike from Lukman Omar only for Ibra Ssebagala to respond with an equaliser at 30 minutes tying the score at 1-1 until the final whistle.
In the penalty shoot-outs, it was Zanzibar’s goalkeeper Mahir Amour who rose to the occasion to stop two penalty kicks from Ronald Kigoye and Ratib Gulanyago, doing a repeat of his heroics in the semi-final stage when Zanzibar ejected South Sudan in penalties to reach the final.
His two penalty saves ensured Zanzibar are the winners of this year’s tournament after his team scored four out of five penalties through Saleh Mbarouk, Adam Shaaban, Hassan Iddi and Lukman Omar.
”The boys have worked hard to become champions, ” said a happy Zanzibar coach Mohamed Mrishona Mohamed after the match.
During the Awards ceremony after the match, Owen Mukisa (Uganda Rhinos) was voted Best Player of the Tournament, while Zanzibar’s Amour was the best goalkeeper.
Lazarus Peter George from South Sudan who netted eight goals scooped the top scorers’s gong, and Ethiopia won the Fair Play trophy.
The Awards ceremony was attended by the President of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Wallace Karia and the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) President Moses Hassim Magogo.
The eight teams that took part in the regional Championship include; Zanzibar, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Somalia.
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