Hosts Uganda, Kenya qualify for CECAFA Challenge Cup final
Hosts Uganda and neighbor Kenya are to meet in the final of the 34th edition of the CECAFA (Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations) Senior Challenge Cup on Tuesday.
The nine time CECAFA Challenge Cup winners Uganda whitewashed Burundi 5-0 in one of the semifinals played on Sunday at Namboole stadium, while Kenya's Harambee Stars silenced Tanzania 2-1 in the other tie on the same day, Xinhua reported.
The Cranes coached by Scottish born tactician Bobby Williamson, took a 2-0 half time lead through Bryan Omwony and skipper Andy Mwesigwa. The home side cheered on by home crowd returned so struggling to run rings around the Burundian team that had lost enterprising Claude Nihimana to injury.
Omwony, Uganda's football player of the year 2008, netted his second goal in the 83rd minute after Stephen Bengo and Egyptian-based professional Geoffrey Massa had got on the score sheet.
"I am happy that I have helped the team reach the CECAFA semifinals in my first attempt. I am now looking at winning the title," said Ugandan coach Williamson.
Burundi's Gilbert Kanyenkore attributed the big loss to injuries to most of his utility players. "We were completely depleted. But credit must be given to Uganda because they played well," he added.
In an earlier game, Tanzania struggled from 2-goals down at half time to pull one back in the 78th minute through Kuwait-based professional Danny Mrwanda, but still failed to stop a determined Harambee Stars side.
The Kenyans, also in contention for a place in the 2010 World Cup/Africa Nations Cup, scored through Francis Ouma and Mike Baraza. The rough Tanzanians had Salum Sued sent-off for a second book-able offence.
"The quick goals we conceded were our biggest problem. Our defending was not good in the first half, but we recovered in the second half to give a good account of ourselves," said Tanzania's coach Marcio Maximo.
His counterpart on the opposite side was all smiling and praised his team for a job well done on the fateful day. "We played well and all our focus is now on the final. Playing a home team in the final is never easy, but we shall give our best," Kenya's coach Francis Kimanzi told Xinhua after the match.
The final and the play-off for third and fourth places are expected to take place on Tuesday with the winner pocketing 30,000 U.S. dollars, the runners-up 20,000 dollars and the third placed team 10,000 dollars.