NAIROBI, July 28 – Kenya Premier League champions Tusker FC came from a goal down to beat Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) 2-1 to reclaim the East and Central Club Championships trophy in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
The brewers were trailing to a Martin Muwanga first half goal but a towering header by Joseph Shikokoti and a last gasp goal by substitute Oscar Kadenge gave Tusker its first victory in the regional tournament since 2001.
For the second year in a row, the Ugandans had to be content with the runners up spot having lost to APR of Rwanda in Kigali last year.
Simba of Tanzania was declared third place winners after their traditional rivals Yanga failed to turn up for the play off. Cecafa General Secretary, Nicholas Musonye from Kenya declared it sabotage of the highest order.
“Yanga went out to make this competition look bad and they have managed to do it,” Musonye told the press immediately after Kenya referee Caleb Amwayi awarded the match to Simba.
Martin Muwanga put the Ugandans in the lead in the 23rd minute after Joseph Shikokoti miscalculated a high ball.
Tusker came back from the breather stronger with Shikokoti heading home the equalizer in the 71st minute from an Osborne Monday corner.
Back in the driving seat, Tusker were handed a body blow when Monday limped off with an ankle injury and having completed all their substitutions, the victors had to play the remaining minutes with ten men.
Despite being a man down, Tusker played with more vigor remaining on top and looked most likely to snatch the crown.
The winning goal; came on 88 minutes when John Keo found Kadange with a delightful pass and the substitute volleyed the ball past Dhaira Abbey in the URA goal.
For winning the Cup, Tusker also received S$30,000 while URA went away with US$20,000.
Speaking a the post match press conference, Tusker coach Jacob Mulee said he was happy to have won a match he described as very difficult.
“I made three quick changes for the second half. It was a major risk but I am happy it paid off, even if we ended up playing the last 15th minute a man less,” he said adding, “My boys promised me the Cup and I am happy they have delivered it.”
URA coach Moses Basena said they were disappointed for losing the final but that the good thing was that it was a learning process.
“We got punished for relaxing in the final minutes,” he said.
He said his team would take solace in the fact that they lost to a strong Tusker side.
Tusker: Boniface Otieno, Ibrahim Shikanda, John Njoroge, Joseph Shikokoti, Humphrey Okoti, Monday Osborne, Simon Mburu (Oscar Kadenge), Justus Anene, Edward Kauka, Hassan Aden (Hassan Aden) and Crispin Odula (Kelvin Omondi).
Coach: Jacob Ghost Mulee (Kenya).
URA: Dhaira Abbey, Bagoole Johnson (Eric Obua), Kyobe David, Owino Joseph, Docca Mussa, Kaweesa Manco, Wagaluka Dan, Mawejje Tonny, Kigozi Ismail (Robert Okello), Muwanga Martin and Mubiru Samuel.
Coach: Basena Moses (Uganda).