KAMPALA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Eritrea drew 0-0 with Somalia in their final Group A clash to finish second behind Uganda and qualify for the semifinals of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda.
This represents the first time Eritrea have qualified for the final four of the regional tournament. Eritrea beat Burundi 1-0 in their first group match before losing 2-0 to Uganda. However, coach Efrem Haile Alemseghed’s team bounced back to beat Djibouti 3-0 in their next game.
“I am happy that we are finally in the semifinals where we will play defending champions Kenya. If we beat Kenya then we are capable of winning the final,” he said.
The coach made it clear that after losing to Namibia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, they had decided to inject new blood into the team by incorporating many U-20 players.
“I am glad that that majority of the players making it to the semifinal, including captain Robel Michael Tekle, are part of the U-20 team,” added the coach.
The semifinals will be played on December 17 when Uganda face Tanzania, while defending champions Kenya take on Eritrea.
Nicholas Musonye, the Secretary General of the Council of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA), said he is happy with the level of competition.
“The teams have proved that they have been working hard over the years and have improved. We are seeing Eritrea play good football and making it to the semis, and other teams like Djibouti and Somalia have also showed tremendous improvement,” added Musonye.
Uganda have won the regional tournament a record 14 times, while Kenya have won it 7 times. Enditem