ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia are the Champions of the inaugural edition of the Council for East and Central African Football Association (CECAFA) Women’s U-20 Championship, defeating hosts Uganda 3-2 on Tuesday.
The tournament played on a League format among the six teams and climaxed on Tuesday with Ethiopia coming out top with 15 points, while hosts Uganda finished second with 12 points.
Six minutes into the game, Ethiopia’s first choice goalkeeper Lorato Eyerusalem was sent off for bringing down Uganda’s captain Fuazia Najjemba who was headed for goal.
But Ethiopia’s head coach Firew Hailegebral made a tactical switch pulling out one player and bringing on second choice goalkeeper Demelash Banchayehu.
Hadijah Nandago gave Uganda the lead after 26 minutes with a well taken shot before skipper Fauzia Najjemba increased the lead after 40 minutes.
After recess, the Ethiopian side returned a different and determined side.
Ridet Assras pulled one back for the Ethiopian team after 50 minutes. Substitute Ariet Odong who came on and took control of Ethiopia’s attack leveled matters after 78 minutes with a well placed shot leaving Uganda’s goalkeeper Daphine Nyayenga beaten.
Despite being one player-less, the Ethiopian team continued to dominate play and put the Ugandan defenders under a lot of pressure.
With eight minutes to the final whistle Turist Lema slotted in the winning goal Ethiopia.
The win saw Ethiopia crowned as champion of the tournament with 15 points, while Uganda finished second with 12 points.
“This has been a very tough game and I thank my team for remaining strong headed even after we got an early red card,” said Ethiopia’s coach Firew told Cafonline after the match.
Tanzania, who defeated Djibouti 8-0 in an earlier match, finished third while Burundi end the tournament fourth after beating defeated Eritrea 2-1.
Ethiopia’s Birkea Amare was voted the Best Player of the tournament. Uganda’s skipper Fauzia Najjemba who finished the tournament with 11 goals scooped the Top scorer’s Award while her teammate, Daphine Nyayenga, was chosen as the Best goalkeeper.
Auka Gecheo, the CECAFA Executive Director said the tournament has been successful and helped teams that are still in contention in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers prepare well.