Cecafa Senior challenge Cup
Uganda vs Tanzania, Lugogo
Third place play-off
Kenya vs Tanzania, 1pm
Uganda Cranes head coach Jonathan McKinstry is oozing confidence ahead of the 2019 edition final as Uganda takes on first time finalists Eritrea this Thursday at the StarTimes stadium, Lugogo. Uganda seek a record 15th title whilst impressive Eritrea are a win away from their first ever Cecafa championship.
The hosts toiled to a 1-0 win over Tanzania on Tuesday at Lugogo. Vipers SC forward Fahad Bayo scored the only late in the game –heading home a well laid Mustafa Kizza cross from the left.
Eritrea, who lost to Uganda 2-0 at the group stage, humiliated the 2017 winners Kenya with a 4-1 victory in the earlier semi-final played at the same venue. McKinstry told the press on Wednesday during the Cranes recovery session at Lugogo that everyone in camp is in high spirits after qualifying to the final.
“Almost of these boys, it is the first time to play a cup final for Uganda. Only one player (Muzamir Mutyaba) was there in 2015 final and the group is looking forward to the final with good spirits,” noted the Northern Irishman, who admitted that they had a long day in office against Tanzania in the semi-finals. It is McKinstry’s second Cecafa final in four years after losing the 2015 edition to Uganda while in charge of Rwanda.
“Regardless of who wins the final, Eritrea performance throughout the tournament has been remarkable and incredible and that is a credit. I do not know whether there is a prize for the team of the tournament. We beat them 2-0 in the group stag but this will be a different game and we are aware that our opponents will give everything they have,” added McKinstry, whose side has won all the five games, played so far. Uganda is the only team to beat Eritrea, who boasts of two victories and a draw in group stage before a shocking 4-1 against Kenya at the semi-finals.
Uganda led group A with 12 points after four games with Eritrea coming second on 7 points. In group B, Tanzania led the group 9 points in 3 games while Kenya progressed as runners up with 4 points.
The tournament was not held last year but Uganda last won the title in 2015 when they beat Rwanda 1-0 in the final in Ethiopia thanks to Ceaser Okhuti 15th minute goal. The Cranes then was under Serbian coach Sredojevic Micho Sebastien and Miya Faruku as the captain while Rwanda was under current Cranes coach McKinstry.
After four years since Uganda’s last Cecafa victory, Nicolas Muramagi was replaced by Dr. Bernard Ogwel as the National council of sports (NCS) Secretary General whilst Hon. Charles Bakkabulindi was last weekend replaced by Hamson Denis Obua as the State MinIster for sports. Uganda skipper Halid Lwaliwa is also optimistic ahead of the final.
He said that the home fans will be 12th player and as a team, they take that advantage. “Eritrea is a good team with great football philosophy. They stay in shape love possessing the ball and take the game to their opponents,” he noted.