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Uganda Wins U-18 CECAFA Championship

Uganda wins trophy. PHOTO URN

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda National under 18 team are the Champions of Council for Central and East Africa- CECAFA tournament 2023.

The team came from behind to beat Kenya 2-1 in the final of the tournament played at Jomo Kenyatta Membo Leo stadium in Kisumu.

Two goals from Hakim Mutebi and Batiibwe Okello gave Uganda the advantage over Kenya, who had thousands of supporters who flocked to Jomo Kenyatta Stadium to support their team.

Kenya entered the game following a fantastic performance in the group stages and semifinals, where they had preserved a perfect record throughout the tournament, finishing first in group A with nine points before defeating Tanzania in the semifinal.

On the other hand, Uganda’s journey had a shaky start with a 1-0 loss to Tanzania but saw a remarkable turnaround in the last two group games, defeating both Zanzibar and South Sudan to secure six points and top their group.  before defeating Rwanda 1-0 in the semifinal.

The two teams went toe-to-toe for the entire first half but none of the them managed to score a goal. However, Kenya took an early second-half lead against the visitors through a 65th-minute goal courtesy of Syphas Otieno Owuor.

Owour received the ball direct off Ibrahim Wanzala, the Kenyan custodian, and manoeuvred it with the side of his head before putting it past the Ugandan goalkeeper.

But, shortly after, in the 77th minute, a foul kick found SC Villa midfielder Batiibwe Okello in the area. Okello easily defeated Ibrahim to tie the score.

Despite efforts by both teams to break the stalemate in the last minutes of the game, the score remained identical going into extra time. But, Uganda took the lead barely 50 seconds into the opening half of extra time thanks to Hakim Mutebi who eventually won the Most valuable player award.

Speaking after the game, Uganda’s Head Coach Morley Byekwaso stated that while the Kenyan squad proved to be a strong opponent, his team also fought hard due to the preparations they had for the game.

“The Kenyan team proved to be a formidable opponent. We faced challenges in securing a goal in the first half. We devoted significant effort to preparation leading up to today’s match, and I extend my gratitude to my players for the positive outcome.” He said.



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