NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20- Kenya’s quest to be crowned queens of the East African region were thwarted as they fell 2-1 to Tanzania in the final of the CECAFA Women’s Championship in Jinja, Uganda on Tuesday.
Mwanahalima Omari netted a brace to end Kenya’s unbeaten run in week-long competition.
Christine Nafula had given Kenya hopes with an early second half goal, but the Kilimanjaro Queens’ superb defensive display denied Kenya the title they so earnestly yearned for ahead of their debut at the African Women’s Cup of Nations scheduled for November in Cameroon.
Head coach David Ouma had paraded his strongest force for the contest with Vivian Akinyi having returned to goal after missing the final group match against Zanzibar as well as the semi-final against Ethiopia on Sunday.
In midfield, Ouma chose to rest Cherish Avilia for the more combative and physical Corazone Aquino with the 19-year old partnering with Carolyne Anyango.
The trio of Esse Akida, captain Mary Kinuthia and Neddy Atieno was tasked with getting the goals.
However, the three found it hard to get into space and create chances as the Tanzanians seemed to have mustered a plan to cut them out of the game, knowing it was the first way to ensuring they remain in contention.
The closest Starlets came to opening the scores was a Kinuthia shot that went wide after finding some space inside the box to shoot.
The Kilimanjaro Queens opened the scores in the 26th minute after Omari beat Akinyi with a superb shot from range.
The winger then made it 2-0 at the stroke of half-time with another long ranger, though the Kenyan girls complained it hadn’t crossed the line but the referee awarded it after consultation with her assistant.
Starlets though were determined to overturn the deficit and all started well for them in the second half when Nafula scrambled the ball home after a goalmouth melee.
On the hour mark, Ouma made his first change resting the goal scorer for the experienced Doreen Nabwire before Elizabeth Ambogo came in 10 minutes later for Aquino.
Despite the pressure, Tanzania held on till the final whistle to bag the title.