El Merreikh pips APR to win Cecafa Kagame Cup
SUDANESE LEAGUEgiants El Merreikh ended a 20-year jinx as they lifted the 2014 CecafaKagame Cup tournament on Sunday at Amahoro national stadium in Kigali.
A solitary goal from Kenyan international Allan Wanga was all that El Merreikh needed to be crowned champions in an engaging final which attracted Cecafa patron and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Wanga scored the all-important goal in the 25th minute, sinking the military side with a fine header off Ayman Said Mohamed’s cross.
El Merreikh dominated the first half with Malian international Mohammed Traore being a real threat to APR’s defense which was kept on their toes every time the latter got hold of the ball.
Traore wasted a clear chance to double the lead when his shot went off target after dribbling past Emery Bayisenge and YannickMukunzi.
A few minutes to the end of the first half, APR FC suffered a major blow as Emery Bayisenge’s hamstring injury aggravated and was replaced by HerveRugwiro.
In the second half, IsaieIsonga replaced Andre Buteera in bid to boost APR’s attacking power, a feat which paid dividends as Michel Ndahinduka struck a sharp shot only to be saved by eventual man of the match goal keeper Jamal Salim Magoola who put on a fine performance.
Magoola was again at hand when he punched away a long shot from Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza within ten yards as the military side pressed for an equalizer.
El Merreikh head coach YousiefBurhaneldin then beefed up his midfield by introducing RamadanAgaba for skipper El Basher Ahmed and Gabir Abdu Mohammed for Allan Wanga.
El Merreikh then wasted another chance to find the net when Traore beat the whole APR’s defense but none of his teammates was there to put to use his neat cutback pass.
APR goalie Olivier Kwizera who had a busy evening made a one-on-one save from Traore who unleashed a strong shot from the near post.
APR who have never been denied the title held on home soil could not do much but settle for runner-up position for a second-year running after Vital’O denied the title last year in Sudan.
They have previously won all the three editions held in Kigali in 2004, 2007 and 2010.
The win enabled El Merreikh to celebrate their third CecafaKagame Cup title in the history of the regional tournament. They previously won the 1986 and 1994 editions.
Rwandan side Police FC bagged $10,000 after beating KCCA of Uganda 4-2 on penalties earlier in the afternoon.
The two sides settled for a 1-1 draw in the 90 minutes with Jimmy Mbaraga scoring for Police FC in the first half and Brian Umony equalized for KCCA in the second half.
El Merreikh bagged the top prize of US$30,000 while APR, by virtue of being second, bagged US$20,000 then Police, who finished third took home US$10,000, all courtesy of the annual support from President Paul Kagame.
El Merriekh FC (Sudan) 1-0 APR FC (Rwanda)
Police FC (Rwanda) 1-1 KCC FC (Uganda)
Police win 4-2 on penalties