Kenya lost by a solitary goal to rivals Tanzania in a Cecafa Under-20 Championship match played at the Fufa Technical Centre in Njeru on Saturday.
John Otieno deflected Kelvin John’s freekick from the edge of the box into his own net just before the break to hand Tanzania the title.
Rising Stars coach Stanley Okumbi rued missed chances. “Football is a game of mistakes and sometimes you commit one and that makes the difference. That is what happened and we had our fair share of chances that we failed to take. Kudos to Tanzania, they did well and were obviously one of the best teams in the tournament. We now shift our focus to the Under 20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.”
Tanzania tactician Zuberi Katwila lauded his youngsters for the win. "We played Kenya in the group stage and we studied them thereafter. They play very physical football and that informed our decision to possess the ball more and deny them opportunities to attack. We also avoided careless mistakes at the back and I am very happy our strategy worked."
Kenya employed a cautious approach, perhaps giving too much respect to Tanzanians. They opted to sit back and attack on the counter occasionally – a strategy they applied successfully against Burundi in the semi-final but it backfired in the final against a well-drilled Tanzania side that attacked relentlessly throughout the match.
Tanzania wonderkid Kelvin John Pius won the Golden Boot after emerging top scorer with seven goals and was also named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Rising Stars custodian Brian Bwire won the Golden Glove award while Uganda won the fair play award.