Tanzania: U-23 Boys Dedicate Win to Samia

TAIFA Stars Head Coach Kim Poulsen said great commitment from his players enabled them to lift the CECAFA Under-23 Challenge Cup which climaxed at Bahir Dar International Stadium in Ethiopia on Friday.

The country's envoys produced a 6-5 post-match penalty shootout victory over resilient Burundi to bring home the prestigious trophy after a successful mission.

They went unbeaten in all their four played matches en-route to the final after outclassing DR Congo 1-0, stamped a 1-1 draw with Uganda before smashing South Sudan 1-0 on their way to the finals.

At a post-match briefing, Poulsen lauded his charges saying despite being packed in a tough group, they showed great commitment and deserved to win.

"I think we were in a difficult group facing DR Congo, Uganda, South Sudan and Burundi, but the boys put their spirits up and I think they really deserve to be champions.

"The final game was the most difficult because both teams were nervous in the beginning and Burundi had a well-organised team, quite skillful. It was an even game all the way.

"In penalties, you need a little bit of luck and we managed to score six shots which was wonderful," said Poulsen while defending his move of making some changes on the day saying other players had to rest after playing back to back games.

He continued: "Our philosophy from day one was that we are a big family and we need everyone to achieve something. Every player understood his role that is why they performed well upon coming in."

On his part, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) president Wallace Karia dedicated the title to President Samia Suluhu Hassan saying it is a gift won by her boys.

"This is a big achievement because it is the first time for the Under-23 side to win the trophy and the team hardly had ample preparation time before coming here that is why we are all happy for this success," he said.

Moreover, Karia disclosed that he is the one who enticed his colleagues to stop playing the senior challenge and instead bring on board the Under-23 contest aiming at getting good players to be fielded in their respective national teams.

"I am happy that my friends conceded to that since it was difficult to organise a senior challenge during this period whereby its timing could have been unfriendly," he said.

About the Kagame Cup which kicks off today in Dar es Salaam, Karia urged more fans to descend at the hosting venues to experience good football while aiming that the title should stay put in the country.

"We have three representatives which are Young Africans, Azam and KMKM hence I believe that one of them will win the silverware to keep it home," he said.

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