‘We will try to win it for Kenyans’ – Akhulia promises ahead of CECAFA U18 finale
Kenya U18 assistant head coach Anthony Akhulia has reiterated their desire to win the junior CECAFA Championship title for Kenyans.
Kenya U18 will face Uganda in the final on Friday, December 8, 2023, at 2:00 pm after Tanzania, who were beaten by the finalist, play Rwanda in the third-place play-offs.
Akhulia, who is also the head coach for the Football Kenya Federation Premier League side Bidco United, acknowledged the support they have been shown by the public since the tournament started and promised to fight and deliver the trophy.
”We are happy that Kenyans have supported us since this tournament started last week, and we ask them to come again and support us during the final, which will be a tough match.
”We believe the final will be very difficult, but we shall try and win it for the Kenyans," Akhulia said.
Kenya have been quite outstanding in the competition since they opened the campaign with a 5-0 victory over Sudan, followed by a 1-0 victory against Rwanda, and culminated the group stage duties with a 4-1 victory over Somalia.
Uganda were also impressive in the group stage, as they registered 2-1 and 2-0 victories over Zanzibar and South Sudan but succumbed to a 1-0 loss to Tanzania.
Kenya, Uganda CECAFA journey
Kenya faced a tougher test during the semi-final, which was eventually decided on the spot.
After a goalless draw in regulation and added time, Tanzania and Kenya proceeded to the penalty shootout, which the latter won by a 4-3 margin at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu on Tuesday.
Then, goalkeeper Ibrahim Wanzala, who is attached to Premier League side Kakamega Homeboyz, was the standout performer. The youngster stopped two penalties taken by Said Said and Sharif Wilson.
Uganda, on the other hand, progressed to the ultimate stage after a 1-0 win over neighbours Rwanda, courtesy of a goal scored by Abubaker Mayanja early in the second half.