Saturday, August 14
*Losers Match: KMKM (Zanzibar) 1-0 Azam (Tanzania)
*Final: Express (Uganda) 1-0 Nyasa Big Bullets (Malawi)
Express FC managed to overcome Malawian side Nyasa Big Bullets to win their first CECAFA Kagame Cup title in the history of the competition.
Martin Kizza scored the only goal of the game to settle the contest on Saturday at the Benjamin Mkapa stadium.
Eric Kambale will take big credit for orchestrating the goal – He sent Kizza through who drilled a low first-time left-footed shot under the onrushing goalkeeper from a tight angle in the 21st minute.
The Red Eagles sat deep thereafter to protect their advantage and were at the back foot for the entire second half as the Guests searched for an equaliser.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, Nyasa’s Babatunde Adepoju saw his effort ruled out for a push on defender Issa Lumu.
Express FC who drew with Nyasa in the Group A match earlier in the tournament, takes their first regional title after two-final losses against Al-Merrikh (1994) and Simba (1995).
Express banks US$30000 (Sh106m) as prize money for winning the President Kagame-sponsored tournament.
The amount does not include the USD25000 (Sh88m) promised to the Red Eagles by FUFA president Moses Magogo for winning the tourney.
Nyasa Big Bullets takes the US$20000 while KMKM from Zanzibar pockets the US$10000 for finishing third.
Major Boost For Express Ahead Of CAF Champions League Adventure
Express FC, champions of Uganda Premier League, will be taking part in the CAF Champions League.
They learned their fate on Friday evening – The side faces Sudan’s Al-Merrikh.
Winning the CECAFA Kagame Cup comes as a big addition for the side in terms of motivation and confidence.
It has been a successful campaign for Express who started with a 1-0 win against Atlabara, drew Nyasa 1-1, beat Young Africans 3-1 before eliminating KMKM 2-1 at the semis.
The final was a different ball game. And they maintained a high degree of discipline at the back until the final whistle.
Murushid Juuko was earlier booked for a foul on Babatunde but the defender remained in character in a game they were at the recieving end of relentless attacks.
Kizza’s goal came just a minute after sending a shot over the bar.
Kambale then stole possession, played one-two with Muzamiru Mutyaba before freeing Kizza down the left side of the goal.
Kizza, who had a quiet tournament, sensed that goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda was already off his line and he did not do any mistake. His first time finish was a classy act for a player who was recently summoned on the National team ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers.
He almost added the other in the second half, Kambale the creator once again, but his header lacked enough power.
Kambale had a Volley which went far and wide, Charles Musiige also went close.
Coach Wasswa Bbosa brought on Daniel Shabena for John Byamukama to combat attacks and also hold the porous midfield tight.
But the Red Eagles continued to struggle, in a game that saw goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa booked late for time wasting.
Express, playing without a sick Godfrey Lwesibawa, failed to threaten for the best part of the game but did enough to absorb pressure on a big and historical evening for the club.
Nyasa Big Bullets Fight In Vain
Nyasa Big Bullets have been slow starters in the tournament, but a side that never gave up.
That showed when they equalised in the second half against Express in the groups and that semifinal victory against Azam that went into the shootouts.
After conceding on Saturday, they had some good chances to equalise; Bright Munthali saw his effort went off the target from Babatunde cross.
Express defender Arthur Kiggundu made a timely intervention to deny Mcfarlane Mgwira while goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa was outstanding to stop a drive from Idana Chimwemwe.
Sankhani Mkandwire’s header was also saved by Mutakubwa.
It was a spirited performance for the Malawian side who had some vocal fans present in the stadium.
The side will be hoping for better fortunes in their next engagements including the CAF Champions League where they meet South Africa’s Amazulu at the preliminary round.
Express XI: Joel Mutakubwa, Enock Walusimbi, Arthur Kiggundu, Issa Lumu, Murushid Juuko, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Mahad Yaya Kakooza, John Byamukama, Martin Kizza, George Ssenkaaba, Eric Kambale
Substitutes – Denis Otim, Chrispus Kusiima, Denis Mubuya, Abel Eturude, Charles Musiige, Daniel Shabene, Ivan Mayanja, Faisal Ssekyanzi, Joseph Akandwanaho
Big Bullets XI: Rabson Chiyenda, Gomezhani Chirwa, Sankhani Mkandawire, Nickson Nyasulu, Yamikani Fodya, Chimango Kayira, Chimwemwe Idana, Precious Phiri, McFarlane Mgwira, Babatunde Adepoju, Bright Munthali
Substitutes: Blessings Mpokera, Miracle Gabeya, Ernst Kahobwe, Erick Kaonga, Anthony Mfune, Paul Kansungwi, Hassan Kajoke, Miracle Gabeya, Benson Manyozo