Kenya – 19.5 points
Tanzania – 17.0 points
Uganda – 14 points
Rwanda – 10.5 points
Ethiopia – 6 points
Burundi – 5 points
DAR ES SALAAM - Kenya have emerged champions of this year’s East African Golf Challenge after returning 19.5 points following three days of action at the Par-71 Gymkhana golf course in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but Rwanda have to win another year to attempt to end their jinx.
Hosts Tanzania, who led after day one, finished in second place with 17 points, three ahead of Uganda, winners of the last three consecutive editions, while Rwanda, seeking a first regional title, finished fourth with 10.5 points, an improvement by one spot from last year in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia and Burundi finished fifth and sixth with 6 and 5 points respectively.
Leading by two points ahead of second-placed Tanzania going into the Singles match-ups in final round on Saturday, Kenya continued from where they left off the previous day, scoring 6.5 points which came courtesy of six wins and a draw.
Kenya’s wins came through Agil Is Haq, who beat Burundi’s Ndereka 7/6, Samuel Njoroge defeated Sefu Mcharo of Tanzania 7/5, John Karichu beat Ethiopian Yonatan 3/2, Muthai Kagwe was 2up against Kamulandwa of Uganda.
Their other wins came from Denis Saikwa defeated Rwanda’s Allain Niyonkuru 8/7, while Alfred Nandwa beat Ronald Otile 4/3 in a match that ended in tears for Uganda’s top player—Kenya’s Mike Kisia shared the point with Tanzania’s Amani Saidi.
After ending a four-year mini drought, Kenya’s coach John Van Liefland said, “I’m really excited to win here, the guys played some great golf.”
“Tanzania surprised us in the opening round but we managed to make up the ground on the second, getting 7.5 points yesterday (Friday) was really very important for us. We’re now looking forward to defend it at home next year,” added the Dutch man.
Rwanda managed 3 points out of a maximum 8 in the final round courtesy of Emmanuel Rutayisire, who beat Ethiopian Elias Aboye 3/2, Celestin Nsanzuwere beat Burundi’s Toyi 5/4 and Aloys Nsabimana defeated another Burundian Jean Simbagoye 2/1.
Emmanuel Nkurunziza was beaten by Ethiopia’s Binyam Selassie 6/4, team captain Leonard Nkurunziza lost to Tanzanian R. Mtweve 2up, Uganda’s R. Baguma was 1up against Francois Habimana, while James Ndikumana lost to Abbas Adam 6/5.
“We’re disappointed not to achieve our set target but there has been some improvement in the team from last year—it has been very touch tournament due to the competitiveness of all teams,” Rwanda’s coach Jules Dusabe Mutesa told Sunday Sport.
Uganda missed the opportunity to become the first team to win four regional titles in a row but their Team Manager Oscar Semawere didn’t seem bothered.
He said, “We won it three times in a row, so we can’t be very disappointed not to make it four, let others also win after all, it is just a sport.”
The four-day tournament, which started on Wednesday, was sponsored by Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and Peacock Hotel. Next year’s edition will be staged on Kenya.