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CECAFA: Cup of superstition and records

From Ethiopia and Zanzibar never losing in the final to Uganda not winning the trophy each time a player scores a hat-trick, the CECAFA Cup is awash with amazing trivia: CHARLES SEBUGWAWO looks back;

Uganda has not lost an opening CECAFA Cup fixture in 20 years. In this period, The Cranes have won all but two of the openers. Kenya defeated them 2-1 in the opening round in 1989. Incidentally, The Cranes went on to win the Cup after 12 years.
Djibouti got only their second ever point in 20 years of CECAFA Cup football after a 1-1 draw with Sudan on January 4, 2009. Their only previous point came in a goalless draw with fellow minnows Somalia in the 2000 edition, once again hosted by Uganda.
Alex Isabirye is the last Ugandan player to score hat-trick in the CECAFA Cup. Isabirye netted three in the 10-1 rout of Djibouti during the 2001 edition. This is also the biggest winning margin in the championship. However, Uganda lost their footing and lost their next Group matches 0-1 and 0-2 to Tanzania and Burundi respectively before bowing out to Rwanda in the quarters.
In the last three CECAFA tournaments alone, Uganda has been part of the penalty shootout five times, winning on two occasions.
Ethiopia and Zanzibar have never lost a CECAFA Cup final. Each has won it four and once respectively.
Phillip Obwin holds the Ugandan record for most CECAFA Cup appearances. He first participated in 1994, 95, 96, 2000, 01, 02 and 03. In all, he is said to have amassed more than 30 CECAFA caps. Obwin also topped the CECAFA scoring charts in 1996 with three goals.
Simeon Masaba is the most experienced Cranes player in the current team having played since the CECAFA Cup 2002 edition. Tony Mawejje and Andy Mwesigwa joined the party in 2003.
Polly Ouma holds the rare record as the most successful individual in the CECAFA Cup. He won the title six times thrice as a player in 1973, 76 and 77 and as a coach in 1989, 90, and 92. Meanwhile Jimmy Kirunda and Paul Hasule are the most successful Cranes skippers in the championship. Each won the title twice with Kirunda in 1976 and 77 while Hasule won it in 1989 and 90.

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