Uganda’s starlets retained the CECAFA U-17 challenge after beating Tanzania in the final on Tuesday, December 22 at Rubavu Stadium.
Ivan Ilinimbabazi, Travis Mutyaba, and Ibrahim Juma were on the scoresheet for the champions while Vincent Mulema denied his team a clean sheet through an own goal.
Both Uganda and Tanzania booked an automatic ticket to play next year’s CAN U-17 finals slated in Morocco.
Despite hosting the competition, Rwanda finished bottom of Group A behind Tanzania and minnows Djibouti.
Times Sport looks at five things that we learned from the just-concluded competition:
Uganda are the kings of CECAFA
Uganda’s fast rise in football development is already bearing fruits as the country positions itself in a league of its own and they continue to dominate East African football, having collected several CECAFA trophies in different categories in recent years.
They are now reigning champions in CECAFA U-15 Boys, CECAFA U-17 Girls, CECAFA U-17 Boys, CECAFA U-20 Boys and CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, while KCCA FC are also reigning champions of CECAFA Kagame Cup.
Mawa is too talented to handle
After finishing as the tournament’s top scorer, Golden boy Oscar Mawa has proved to be a standout player who could make defenders suffer during next year’s AFCON U-17 in Morocco.
The in-form striker won the golden boot after scoring six goals through the campaign, including a hat-trick during Uganda’s opening game against Kenya.
He and teammate Travis Mutyaba, were prolific and their partnership could produce positive results in Morocco. Mutyaba won player of the tournament.
Rwanda’s football dilemma
Although Rwanda has done well to build good sports infrastructure, the results from national teams in Basketball and football have not been as good.
The hosts were eliminated from the competition in the group stages, after failing to register a win in two games, losing 3-1 to Tanzania and drawing 0-0 against Djibouti.
The results, however, shouldn’t be a surprise for a side whose players spent only a week together, preparing for the CECAFA after over a year.
Rwanda’s football downfall worries every football enthusiast and the solution won’t come easy if the country does not invest in the development of young talent.
All eyes on Sports Ministry
The National Olympic Committee Valens president Munyabagisha recently appealed to the government to prioritize and invest in sporting disciplines in which the country has a competitive advantage to excel at continental and global competitions.
Football is the most popular in Rwanda, but it is a pity that it is one of the underperforming sports disciplines despite commanding the biggest budget.
The Ministry of Sports now have a challenge to engage stakeholders on how to revamp the country’s football fortunes
Djibouti’s miracle boys
The ‘most underrated’ national side in the region’ has not lost a single game in the group stages following draws against Rwanda and Tanzania.
In the semis, Djibouti frustrated Uganda before the latter broke the deadlock after 90 minutes through Oscar Mawa to go through to the final with a 1-0 narrow win.
No team will take Djibouti for granted anymore!