Uganda retains CECAFA U-20 title

Uganda retains CECAFA U-20 title

By: Babiker Al-Tayeb

The Uganda Hippos have retained the CECAFA U-20 men’s title.

Coach Jackson Mayanja’s team came from a goal down to stop South Sudan 2-1 in the final of the regional tournament played on recently at the Al Hilal Stadium in Khartoum, Sudan.

Going into the final the two teams had already booked slots for the U-20 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 which will take place in Egypt.

The South Sudan team cheered on by over 1000 fans started on a high with several attacks before they took the lead after 15 minutes. Felix Agumemboki Abishai tapped in from close range giving Uganda’s goalkeeper Abdu Magada no chance.

But the Hippos stepped up their game after conceding and piled pressure on the South Sudan defending line. Issa Bugembe leveled matters after 23 minutes with a low drive.

Uganda continued to push forward, but the South Sudan team was up to the task defending in numbers and trying to push forward on the break.

After recess midfielder Titus Ssematimba put Uganda ahead after 61 minutes with a rebound after the South Sudan defenders failed to clear their lines. At the stroke of full South Sudan’s goalscorer Abishai had a clear chance at goal, but shot straight to the Uganda Hippos goalkeeper.

“I am happy to lead the team to U-20 AFCON and also to retain the title. It has been really hard work in the few weeks I have been with this team,” said a happy Uganda Hippos coach Mayanja after the match.

Charles John Gwit Uok, the South Sudan coach said his players had given their best against a good Ugandan team. “We played well and got punished for some few mistakes,” added the coach.

In an earlier match hosts Sudan beat Ethiopia 2-1 to finish third. During the Awards, South Sudan’s goalkeeper Godwin Sabio was voted Player of the tournament, while Burundi’s Arthir Nibakora was top scorer with three goals.

Uganda’s Abdu Magada was voted best goalkeeper, while his team also bagged the Fair Play Award.

The U-20 AFCON qualifiers for the CECAFA region attracted seven teams; Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi, Djibouti and Tanzania.

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