Hamza Lutalo, the head coach of Uganda Rhinos, expressed his disappointment over their loss to Zanzibar in the 2023 CECAFA U15 Boys Championship final.
The game, which was held at the FUFA Technical Centre in Njeru on Thursday, ended in a 1-1 draw in normal time, and Zanzibar won 4-3 in a penalty shootout.
Despite the loss, Lutalo stated that they learned valuable lessons that will be beneficial in future tournaments.
During the post-match conference, Lutalo acknowledged that losing the championship, especially at home, was disheartening.
However, he also emphasized that the experience gained from the tournament would help in the future.
“The tournament was not bad but it’s sad that we failed to defend the title on the final day of the tournament,” he said.
“But am sure the boys have picked several lessons just like the coaches have done. The experience gathered here will help us in the next tournament,” he added.
According to Lutalo, the primary goal of the CECAFA U15 Boys Championship was to prepare a team for the U17 AFCON qualifiers next year.
He further explained that the experience of playing in the just-concluded tournament would help the team to identify their strengths and weaknesses, which would be beneficial in building a better team for the next tournament.
In the four games leading to the finals, Uganda scored 24 goals and conceded only one, while Zanzibar scored 10 goals.
Uganda won the maiden CECAFA U15 Championship by beating Kenya 4-0 in the tournament held in Eritrea.