By Abdallah Mubiru in Dar es Salaam
HOSTS Tanzania cleared their 16 years of CECAFA title drought when they clinched the Challenge Cup by beating the Ivory Coast 1-0 from a first-half penalty kick.
Earlier in the day, Uganda won the 3rd place battle with Ethiopia in a match that was both thrilling (7 goals scored) and also error-prone as some of the goals were the direct results of goalkeeping and defensive lapses.
This is the second encounter for the two teams who first met in the Group C opener on November 30, where Uganda came from behind to beat the Ethiopian team 2-1.
Cranes showed their legendary resilience when they again came from behind twice to beat the Ethiopians 4-3 in a classification play off.
Striker Omod Okwury Omod gave Ethiopia an early lead but Cranes equalized soon with Henry Kisekkaâ€™s goal after a goal mouth melee.
Omod gave Ethiopia a second lead converting from a well executed cross from play maker Godo Shemeles Bekelle in the second half, a strike that was cancelled by Emma Okwi.
Tonny Mawejjeâ€™s volley from Okwiâ€™s cross did not only contest for the best goal of the tournament but put Cranes in a short lived lead that was cancelled by Tesfaye Alebachew.
As the game was headed for extra time, Sula Matovu who had just come on for Sadam Juma, beat Ethiopiaâ€™s offside trap to score Cranes winner.
There was still time for great chances at both ends with Okwi hitting the bar in stoppage time.
Okwi on four goals, came second to tournamentâ€™s top scorer Felix Sunza from Zambia who finished with five.
â€œWhen we were trailing we could see the strength of this team. Iâ€™m so happy to see them turn it around, champions rise again, we rose to the occasion again,â€ said Cranes coach Bobby Williamson.
He added: â€œWe have every reason to be fully satisfied, no reason for disappointment. We will travel home feeling greatâ€.
The Uganda Cranes will fly back home today with US $10,000 (sh20m) cash prize for finishing 3rd, Ivory Coast $20,000 (sh40m) and champions Tanzania walked off with $30,000 (sh60m) prize money and a trophy.