Kenya U18 players Kibet, Wanzala scoop awards in CECAFA Championship
Kenya U18 forward Aldrine Kibet secured the Golden Boot in the recently concluded CECAFA U18 Championship, which wrapped up on Friday.
Kibet, a winner of the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association title, scored three goals in the tournament, contributing to Kenya's second-place finish in the competition held across Kisumu and Kakamega.
Kenya U18 keeper win golden glove
Teammate Ibrahim Wanzala was awarded the Golden Glove for his outstanding goalkeeping performance, registering three clean sheets in the competition.
Wanzala conceded only three goals in the five matches he played for Kenya.
Uganda's Hakim Mutebi earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title in the competition. Mutebi, from St Mary's Kisubi College, scored the decisive winning goal in the final against Kenya.
Tanzania U18 received the Fair Play award for exhibiting sportsmanship throughout the championship, conceding fewer cards than other teams.
In the final, Uganda emerged victorious, staging a comeback to defeat Kenya U18 2-1 at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Mamboleo.
Uganda faced an early setback when Captain Luis Anguti had to exit the game due to injury, leading to Alex Yiga coming on as a substitute.
Towards the end of the first half, Kenya's coach Salim Babu made impactful tactical changes, bringing in Aldrine Kibet for Joseph Omuse and Lucas Maina for Humphrey Aroko. These changes proved influential, with Maina's long-range strike narrowly missing the target.
Despite Uganda finding the back of the net through Richard Okello just before halftime, the assistant referee's offside call provided a moment of relief for Kenya.
The second half saw Kenya introducing Tyron Junior Kariuki, and shortly after, they came close to taking the lead as the Uganda goalkeeper made a swift reaction to prevent a potential defensive error.
Kenya U18 score in CECAFA
In the 63rd minute, a collision between Baron Ochieng and Ibrahim Wanzala led to a temporary stoppage for medical attention. When play resumed, Wanzala launched a long-range kick into Uganda's box, taking advantage of a defensive lapse, and Syphas Owuor capitalized on the opportunity, scoring a goal that sent the stadium into cheers.
Uganda managed to equalize in the 78th minute when a free-kick delivery bypassed three Kenyan players, finding an unmarked Abasi Kyeyune just in front of the Kenyan keeper. Kyeyune calmly slotted the ball into the net, leveling the score.
The match proceeded to extra time, and within 50 seconds, Uganda took the lead. Alex Yiga's shot drew the Kenyan defense and goalkeeper, creating an opening for Hakim Mutebi, whose subsequent strike secured the lead for Uganda.
Despite Kenya's efforts, Uganda held on to their narrow advantage, clinching the CECAFA U18 Championship title in a dramatic and closely contested final.