Saturday, 14 August exactly at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, national teams of Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar as well as a guest team from Yemen marched around the stadium of Asmara waving flags of their respective countries which signaled the official opening of the 5th Central and Eastern Confederation of African Football Association (CECAFA) under the age of twenty championship match.
On the east side of the Asmara Stadium, students vibrantly waving banners added color to the opening ceremony of the 2010 CECAFA match. The students were engaged in making and remaking varied images that vividly displayed this year’s CECAFA theme “Friendship and Development Cup”, welcoming images, as well as CECAFA’s logo and an image of Africa. Many songs that were accompanied with highly impressive calisthenics also highlighted significant messages about the universality of sport being a token of friendship among countries. Songs and artistic shows lent the opening of the tournament an aura of lasting merriment. Observing the enthralling shows one can easily realize the extensive preparations made to colorfully host the CECAFA 2010.
Present on the occasion, Mr. Tesfay Ghebryesus, Chairperson of Eritrean Foot Ball Federation, gave briefings to the participants of the first match of CECAFA 2010. He said that since 1992 Eritrea started to take concrete actions for the development of sports in general and foot ball in particular. Pointing out that Eritrea became a member in CAF and FIFA in 1998, and in CECAFA in 1994 Mr. Tesfay said that the national foot ball federation has above 6,000 players and also more than 200 coaches that effected a substantial growth in the development of the nation’s foot ball.
Taking the venue next, Mr. Leodoger Tenga, President of CECAFA pointed out the preparations Eritrea has made in hosting the 5th CECAFA cup as exceptionally good. He went on to elaborate the significance of the CECAFA match saying that this tournament would bring about not only social and economic development but it would also foster friendship.
The guest of honor, Mr. Semere Russom, Minister of Education, on his part highlighted sports’ as unique and ideal means for fostering harmony in diversity. He also elaborated its universal nature in bringing people together, thereby paving a way to an all-round freedom.
Mr. Leodoger Tenga then awarded Mr. Tefay Ghebreyesus for his significant contribution to the development of Eritrean foot ball and the CECAFA for over 40 years. Likewise, Commissioner of the Eritrean sports commission, Maj, General Romodan Awlyay and Minister of Education, Mr. Semere Russom, received awards from CECAFA’s president.
At 4:30 p.m., the fervently anticipated CECEFA match of 2010 begun with the preliminary match of Eritrea versus Tanzania in which a multitude of spectators filled the stadium with huge cheers.
In around 10 minutes of the first half of the match Eritrean national team of less than 20 years of age made a splendid scoring attempt through Kibrom Andemaraim. It was then after a number of attempts that Abraham Tedros scored the penalty kick in about 45 minutes of the game that made him the first scorer in the first match of CECAFA 2010.
Though the intensity of the pressure of playing at the first match was very vivid, the two national teams played fairly. It was indeed a match that enabled the fans to have a glimpse at the performance of both teams.
In the interval time before the start of the second half of the game Eritrea’s children’s’ team that stood third in the Norway cup presented to the spectators and finally delivered its trophy to Mr. Semere Russom. This event undoubtedly heralds the upcoming better prospects of the nation’s foot ball.
In the second half of the match the Tanzanian team showed good movements and particularly by Yosuf Abus Soka, jersey number 10. Notwithstanding the attempts the Tanzanian team made, Samuel Alazar, goal keeper for the Red Sea Camels (the Eritrean team), blocked all strong kicks with his outstanding performance in keeping the goal area unbreakable.
A few minutes before the final whistle, Eritrea missed a goal that was about to finalize the 90 minutes match with a result of 2-0. Nevertheless, in this initial match of CECAFA 2010 Eritrea won 1-0 against Tanzania with a goal scored through a penalty kick in about 45 minutes of the first half of the game.
Coaches of both teams of Eritrea and Tanzania made a brief press conference after the end of the match. The Brazilian coach to Tanzanian team said that Eritrea’s national football team under 20 years of age was strong team. As regards the fate of his team he said that they still have three remaining games with Somalia, Sudan and Kenya to qualify for the semi finals.
Coach to the Eritrean team, Mr. Negash Teklit on his part said that the Tanzanian team was one of toughest teams in east Africa. “Though we played well in the first half we also missed many chances, therefore, we preferred to play counter attack because we know that Tanzania is going to attack,” he said. As regards to the upcoming game he said: “We have won in the first match and now we are confident we will do the same in others.”