CECAFA senior Challenge Cup returns in Uganda after seven years.
As the cecafa tourney kicks off this Saturday, December 7, we take a long trip down the memory lane when we explore the year 2012 when Uganda last hosted the region’s flagship event.
It seems like yesterday. Rema was a breakthrough artiste and Bakoowu (Mathias Walukagga), Tugambire Ku Jennifer (Bobi Wine) and Valu Valu (Chameleon) were the big songs that hit the airwaves.
To put it into familiar perspectives, struggling Express FC had won the league title the previous season was Moses Magogo was just a member under President Lawrence Mulindwa at FUFA then.
Then, Uganda had won 12 CECAFA titles but once in the previous championships.
The Cranes were among favourites to win, after all, their previous title in 2008 came when they were the hosts.
Hosts Uganda were pitted in Pool A alongside rivals Kenya, Ethiopia and debutants South Sudan.
Coached by Scottish Bobby Williamson, Uganda beat Kenya on 24 November 2012 in their opener with Geoffrey Kizito’s header in the 79th minute proving to the difference.
The side, thanks to an early goal by Brian Umony, edged Ethiopia 1-0 to seal their knockout place with one group game to spare.
Umony bagged a brace before Robert Ssentongo and Hamis Diego Kiiza added a goal each as the Cranes beat South Sudan 4-0.
In the knockout, Kizito and Ssentongo scored the all important goals to send Uganda to the semis.
At the semis, Emmanuel Okwi and a double from Ssentongo gave Uganda a comforable 3-0 win against Tanzania to storm the final without conceding a goal.
In the final, Uganda faced Kenya in a repeat of 2008 final and their opening game at the 2012 tourney.
Captain Anthony Kimani scored in his own net to put Uganda in the lead. Kimani made amends with an equaliser later on.
Kizito headed in Godfrey Walusimbi’s freekick to give Uganda a late laboured win and a 13th title.
The Cranes were awarded with a trophy and 30,000 US Dollars.
Umony was the tourney’s MVP, Ssentongo took the golden boot while Hamza Muwonge was named the best keeper.
Muwonge was not the first choice initially but capitalised from what turned out to be a blessing in disguise when Abel Dhaira was rushed to hospital after collision in the opener against Kenya.
Uganda Cranes team that played the 2012 Final:
Starting XI – Hamza Muwonge, Dennis Iguma, Henry Kalungi, Isaac Isinde, Godfrey Walusimbi, Moses Oloya (Manco Kaweesa, 90+), Geoffrey Kizito, Hassan Wasswa, Joseph Ochaya (Hamiis Kiiza, 55′), Robert Ssentongo, Emmanuel Okwi (Saidi Kyeyune, 65′).
Unused Substitutes – Ali Kimera, Nicholas Wadada, Brian Majwega, Brian Umony.