Tanzania’s head coach Kim Poulsen has said he is happy his team has worked hard to lift the CECAFA U-23 Challenge Cup that climaxed in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia today.
Poulsen’s team that finished the tournament unbeaten needed some luck to defeat Burundi 6-5 in penalty shootouts after a goalless draw after 90 minutes.
The two teams had failed to take the few scoring chances they created, but when it came to the penalty shootouts they looked sharper. It was Burundi’s Adolphe Hakizimana who missed the sixth penalty shootout for his team to hand the trophy to Poulsen’s team.
“I am so happy that despite not preparing well for this tournament, the players have worked so hard to be able to lift the Cup. Facing Burundi was not easy and I commend the players for work well done,” said Poulsen who was only re-appointed coach of Tanzania in February this year after he handed the national team a few years ago.
Poulsen was also glad that the tournament had given his young players a chance to get the much needed exposure in a competitive stage.
“Some of these players were playing for the first time for Burundi and in the final it was not our day in the penalty shootouts,” said Burundi's coach Jimmy Ndayizege.
On Thursday South Sudan defeated Kenya’s Emerging Stars 1-0 to finish third.
Souleiman Hassan Waberi, the CAF 3rd Vice President graced the final together with the CECAFA President Wallace Karia and Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF) President Esayas Jira among others.
Auka Gacheo, the CECAFA Executive Director thanked all the teams for taking part in the first competition on the CECAFA 2021 calendar. “We have witnessed good football in this tournament,” said Gacheo.
The regional tournament attracted Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Burundi, Eritrea, Djibouti, South Sudan and Kenya.
Andrew Jackson ORYADA Snr