By Jacob Icia, Citizen Digital
Rehima Zeregaw scored a hat-trick to guide Lucy of Ethiopia to a third place finish in the Cecafa Women Tournament in a 4-1 thrashing of hapless hosts Uganda in the play-off staged at the FUFA Njeru Technical Centre, in Jinja, Uganda on Tuesday.
Losa Abera struck the fourth after Hasifa Nassuna opened the scoring for the Crested Cranes for the sixth of the tournament before the home girls imploded to the second successive 4-1 reverse after being hammered by Tanzania in the semis.
Before the Ethiopians settled in the game, Uganda, cheered on by huge home crowd grabbed the lead in the fourth minute through Nasuna who caught Lucy’s defence napping.
The Ethiopians however, responded by taking charge of the game with their trademark fast passes with Erhima threatening with a long range shot that flew wide three minutes later.
Ethiopia suffered a blow when influential midfielder Tracy Akiror was stretched off injured but the resilience of coach Meseret Manni’s side was rewarded when they levelled a minute later when Erhima finished emphatically from a cross from Sisaya Shetaye.
The forward could have doubled the lead two minutes later, but her shot hit the post with Uganda’s custodian beaten as the 10 Ethiopian girls started running rings around Uganda.
Akiror who was receiving lengthy treatment off the pitch was finally replaced with Shakirah Nalwooga with Lucy on the ascendancy.
Captain Birtukan Gebrekirtos noticed Uganda’s goalkeeper off her line and shot from range only to be denied by the woodwork in the 33rd minute.
Moments to the breather, Erhima put her side 2-1 up before she sealed her treble three minutes after the restart her teammate Nassuna picked herself up to deliver a free-kick after being brought down on the edge of the box but sent her effort straight to the keeper.
Fazila Ikwaput had a chance to equalize for the hosts in the 55th but her shot was blocked by Ethiopian defenders before Erhima completed her treble in the 70th to put distance between Lucy and the Crested Cranes.
Abera, who hit a double against Kenya’s Harambee Starlets in the semis, got her name in the score sheet in the 77th taking her personal tally in the tournament to five to seal the rout.
Uganda avoided further shame when Ethiopia missed several chances to put the icing on the cake in the closing stages against the dispirited hosts.