Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

30 July 2012

Rwanda: Azam Coach Hails Brave Effort

Stuart Hall felt a mixture of pride and regret after his Azam team came within a whisker of lifting the lucrative Cecafa Kagame Cup in their debut year.

Azam dominated possession against the reigning champions Yanga but could not find the back of the net in front of a capacity crowd at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Ugandan international Hamis Kiiza broke the deadlock a minute before half time after a defensive blunder by Azam's Said Morad whose back pass was intercepted by the Yanga striker who then lobbed the ball over the advancing Deo Munishi in Azam's goal.

Azam continued pressing for an equaliser in the second half but it was Yanga who scored a second through Said Bahanuzi in stoppage time to secure a fifth regional title.

Despite the defeat, Hall was happy with his team's effort throughout the whole tournament.

"We are disappointed because we almost did it," Hall said.

"We had the chances. We didn't do it but we were very close. The players put in a faultless performance, with fantastic spirit, and you can only congratulate the whole team. It is a day when the players can be proud to play for this club. They put absolutely every effort in."

"One thing I'm certain about now is that everybody knows what a good team we are - not just in Tanzania but in Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya."

"So we are very proud of that," he added.

Azam team will represent Tanzania in next year's Confederation Cup and Hall believes his team has shown maturity to do well.

"We are a young squad and playing Vita and Tusker of Kenya was a good experience for the Confederation of African Football competition - we will be ready," he added.

Azam pocketed US$ 20,000 for their effort while Yanga walked away with US$ 30,000. Vita Club of DRC beat APR in the 3rd place playoff to claim US$ 10,000.

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