Dar es Salaam. Tanzania have overwhelmed Zimbabwe with 6-2 goals to clinch the Copa Coca-Cola under-16 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.
The match, held yesterday at the M-PESA Foundation Academy grounds in Thika Town, Kenya, was dominated by Tanzania from the start.
Zimbabwe, who qualified for the final after beating Zambia 4-2, played well in the encounter, despite the defeat by Tanzania, who have won the cup for the first time.
Tanzania’s leading star, Paul Nyerere, was the man of the match after scoring a hatrick in the fisrt half of the encounter. Nyerere, who won the golden boot award in the competition, also scored a hatrick in the encounter against Uganda, whom they beat 6-2.
Besides Nyerere, there were Ndile Haruni, Rai Mohambi and Boniface Raphael, who scored one goal each in the match. The team head coach, Abel Mtweve, commended his players for the victory, which is the pride of Tanzania in football.
Mtweve said the competition was very tough and his players fought hard to win the top honors.
“Our mission has been accomplished and I comment my players for a job well done. It was not an easy event at all, my players fought hard to make history in the competition,” said Mtweve.
He said the fixture of the competition was very tight as it forced them to play two matches during the opening of the tournament.
“We have won three matches out of four we played. We lost 2-0 to Zambia due to the fact that my players were very tired. We won 3-1 against South Africa before we had a rest for few minutes to play Zambia to whom we lost,” said Mtweve. The team goalkeeper, Chuma Ramadhan, was excited with the clinching of the title. Ramadhan, who saved a penalty during a semifinal match against Kenya, said the victory has made them move to the next level of football.
“I am very happy to win the trophy. We faced a strong opposition, but our fighting spirit made us win the top honours for Tanzanians,” said Ramadhan.
Meanwhile, Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Pindi Chana has congratulated the players on the victory.
Chana, who graced the finals, said the players have shown patriotism in the competition that featured 10 countries. Apart from the host Kenya, other countries are Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ethiopia, Namibia, Angola, Botswana and Mozambique.
Coca-Cola System representative Pamela Lugenge said the competition was staged successfully and commended all the countries that participated in the event.
Lugenge said each country deserved to win the trophy due to their good display of football, but added Tanzania overshadowed all to win the silverware.
“I would like to congratulate the boys on their hard work from the start of the competition to the end and today (yesterday) we close the event. It was an exciting competition as youngstars managed to showcase their talents,” said Lugenge.
She said Coca-Cola System will continue to sponsor the competition so that to scout and develop young talented athletes. The players are from Inter-Secondary School Games (Umisseta).