Tanzania national golf team missed the East Africa Challenge Trophy by a whisker after lucky Kenya cruised to their record ninth title at the Arusha Gymkhana Club yesterday.
The Kenyan team posted a cumulative total of 21 points to win the regional crown by one and half point in a tightly contested singles matches of the final day.
Tanzania, which was trailing the eventual winners by just a half point by the end of the secod day fourball better ball, were supposed to win all the matches during the singles final.
The team’s efforts were crippled by a horrible finish by their skipper Frank Roman who collapsed at the par four 14th at the hands of an Ugandan player.
Roman’s point created a huge gap to chase the well drilled Kenyans who won seven out of the eight matches yesterday.
Roman also lost the opening day’s single to David Opatti from Kenya in one of the biggest upset that psychologically halted his subsequent performance during the tournament.
However, Tanzanian John Leonce had played brilliantly to shock Kenya team early in the morning when he cruised to an impressive 5-4 over Joseph Karanja.
The rest of the Tanzanian players except Abbas Adam pulled victories earning their team six points that totaled 19.5 to lose the title narrowly.
A huge crowd of supporters were behind Abbas Adam who was fighting against Kenyan David Opatti.
Opatti was Kenya’s match winner when he easily beat Adam by 4-3 holes in a match the Kenyans were closely following with tenacious zeal.
Tanzania earned points during the final round yesterday through John Leonce, Isaac Anania, Elisante Lembris, Aidan Nziku , John Saidi and Nuru Mollel.
Despite the loss, the Tanzania team played well with determination but lady luck never smiled to them.
The runners-up position did not impress the golf Union officials but still have expressed appreciation by the way players have performed.
Third placed in the final standings were Uganda who collected ten points as Rwanda had five for fourth position on top of Burundi by just a half point.
The event has been staged for the fourth time in Tanzania winning the 2002 edition at the same course, the only victory since inauguration in 1999 at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club.
The event will be hosted by Burundi in 2012.
Uganda have won three times as Rwanda and Burundi are still looking forward to their maiden victories.