Zanzibar emerged victorious in the 2023 CECAFA U15 Boys Championship by defeating hosts Uganda 4-3 in a penalty shootout at the FUFA Technical Center in Njeru on Thursday. The tightly contested match concluded 1-1 after the regular 90 minutes.
Zanzibar seized the lead in the 19th minute when Lukman Omar found the back of the net, but Uganda responded with an equalizer from Ibra Ssebagala just 11 minutes later. Despite both teams’ efforts, the second half remained goalless.
The spotlight shifted to Zanzibar’s goalkeeper, Mahir Amour, during the penalty shootout, where he emerged as the hero by saving two crucial penalties, securing his team’s victory.
Coach Mohamed Mrishona Mohamed expressed his pride in the hard work put in by the boys, attributing their championship win to teamwork. Captain Mohamed Mohamed echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the collective effort that led to their success.
In the battle for third place, Tanzania claimed the bronze medal as Seleman Kaniki scored the sole goal, securing a 1-0 victory over South Sudan earlier on Thursday.
Auka Gecheo, the executive director of CECAFA, highlighted the significance of the championship as a platform for teams to prepare for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U17 qualifiers scheduled for next year.