Djibouti joined Uganda and Ethiopia in the Cecafa U17 Championship despite a 1-1 draw against Tanzania on Friday in Rubavu, Rwanda.
Free-scoring Oscar Mawa and Ivan Irinimbabazi scored the goals that ensured Uganda were 3-0 victors in their showdown against Ethiopia in the second game played.
Uganda earned an opener in the 17th minute when Mawa scored to give his side a deserved goal given the determination they showed from the first whistle.
The Cubs doubled the lead in the 35th minute through Ivan Irinimbabazi to stun Ethiopia who had settled and were ambitiously fighting to secure an equaliser.
In the 52nd minute, the Ethiopia coach made a change as he introduced Mikiyas Ganta for Ismael Reshid in an effort to contain Uganda. Another change was effected at the hour mark when Bereket Mohamed came on to replace Tsega Arbrea.
The changes did not discourage the determined Cubs who added the third goal in the 63rd minute through Mawa. The goal is the youngsters’ sixth of the junior tournament from two games.
Uganda made a change in the 64th minute when Tuma Tenywa went out and his place was filled by Issa Bugembe. Six minutes later, Samir Mudiba came on for the scorer of the second goal Irinimbabazi.
The loss, however, did not stop the Ethiopian youngsters from joining their tormentors Uganda, Djibouti and Tanzania in the semi-finals.
In the first game staged in Rubavu also, Djibouti were the surprising semi-finalists given they had been ranked outside the favourite teams who were tipped to progress in the junior tournament.
A 1-1 draw against Tanzania which is their second such result in Group B was enough to seal their place. In their opening match, they had held Rwanda, a side that Serengeti Boys defeated 3-1, to a goalless draw.
An own goal by Abdek Mouhoumed in the 33rd minute looked to have undone the Sharks’ great defensive work that had frustrated Tanzania for more than half an hour. In the 80th minute, Moktar Djama Ali scored to help Djibouti equalise and subsequently seal a place in the semis.
Djibouti did well to defend against attacks, especially from Omar Myungi who scored a brace in the game against Rwanda, and eventually ensured the tie ended in a draw.
“I am very happy that after hard preparations we have made it to the semi-final. Now let us plan for the knock-out stage,” Djibouti’s coach Mohamed Ali Affasseh said after the match.
The Cecafa U17 semi-finals will be played on Sunday while the play-off for third place and the final will take place on December 22.
The finalists will be guaranteed a place in the African Cup of Nations U17 tournament set to be held in Morocco in March 2021.