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CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup

Cecafa Cup: I can promise there is more to come - Eritrea's Haile

10:23 GMT 20/12/2019
Uganda vs Eritrea.
The 2019 finalists surprised many after overcoming the defending champions Kenya in the semis to book a date against eventual winners Uganda

Eritrea head coach Efrem Haile has said their second-place finish at the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup is a testament to how football has grown in the country.

Eritrea surprised many when they dethroned then defending champions Kenya after a 4-1 win during the semi-final but later fell to Uganda in the final.

Haile recounted how they have strived to help football grow in the Horn of Africa for the last couple of years.

The last time Eritrea played in a semi-final match the event is way back in 1994 and the last tournament they participated was in 2012.

“I think for us this is something huge for Eritrean football. We have not been in this competition for so many years and now we are back and we have taken such a result against very good teams,” Haile told CafOnline.

“It has been a good experience so far and everyone in the team and back at home is pleased with us.”

“We started a process to try and rebuild the team and we had an insistence to have young players. We had a good foundation and we scouted from around Eritrea for the best young talent. They have been training constantly.”

Haile added the Cecafa milestone is just but the beginning of a brighter future for them.

“We went for the U20 championship and we did well. I took most of the players from the U20 team and brought them here, that is why we have success. We brought in a few experienced players to help in but the foundation is with under-20 players,” he explained.

“Eritrea football is growing and this is just a step in the right direction. I can promise you there is more to come. We are working harder with the coaches of the local clubs every day to try and build the national team.” 

Eritrea's skipper Robel Teklemichel revealed how the players' confidence have been boosted by what they have achieved in Uganda.

“We are happy as a team, everyone in Eritrea is happy with what we have done so far. It is positive to see the team progress and as players, we have worked hard to be here. Hopefully, we can continue in this way,” Teklemichel said.