NATIONAL Under-17 football team, Serengeti Boys Head Coach, Oscar Mirambo said the 5-0 defeat against Turkey has helped the technical bench to identify weak points that need to be addressed.
The boys suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of hosts Turkey at the UEFA ASSIST U-17 International tournament at Emirhan Sports Complex in Antalya on Friday.
Nuri Emre Aksit netted the opening goal for Turkey in the 43rd minute before Muhammed Akpinar scored the second a minute before the interval. It was 3-0 just seven minutes after the second half when Ali Akman pumped into the back of the nets.
Mirambo made several changes which, however, did not help his team as the hosts maintained their dominance, particularly in the midfield.
They netted two more goals through Salih Kavrazil in the 84th minute and Karakaya, who wrapped up the score a minute before the final whistle.
Turkey overshadowed Serengeti Boys, from the onset as Mirambo's charges failed to put up a good display compared to their previous encounters in the invitational tournament.
Shortly after the match, Mirambo said the tournament has helped provide befitting test for his charges before the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals scheduled for Dar es Salaam next month.
"We have learnt a lot of things from the tournament, which will help the technical bench to strengthen the squad ahead of the AFCON U-17 finals. Our players have also gained more experience," said Mirambo.
Friday's match was Serengeti Boys third game of the tournament. They launched their campaign at the tournament on a back foot, after a 1-0 loss to Guinea in their debut match on Monday. Guinea's Conte Aboubacar scored the only goal of the match in the 26th minute, which survived until the end of normal period of play.
However, Serengeti Boys staged a major comeback to beat Australia 3-2 in their second match on Wednesday. Prolific striker, Kelvin John scored a brace, while Edson Mshirakandi netted one as Serengeti Boys registered their first victory in the tournament.
Australia goals were netted by Michael Ruhs and Noah Boatic. The event features teams from three continents - Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda from the Confederation of African Football (CAF); Australia, which belongs to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC); and Belarus, Montenegro and Turkey, representing UEFA.
UEFA ASSIST thus provides support for member associations and confederations in four specific areas - education and knowledge- sharing, development of youth football, supporting infrastructure projects and assisting UEFA's member associations.
UEFA ASSIST tournament has no champion as they are arranged to promote youth football and help to identify key talents from the young players. In view of this, all teams will play three matches before returning back to their respective countries.
"This initiative is part of the UEFA ASSIST programme, which aims to share knowledge and best practice and to offer assistance to UEFA's sister confederations and their member associations," said UEFA's head of national associations' international relations Eva Pasquier.
Serengeti Boys are using the tournament as part and parcel of their preparations for the approaching Under-17 Africa Cup of the Nations (AFCON) slated to take off in the country from April 14th to 28th this year.