Uganda U20 Men’s Football National Team, the Hippos are the Champions of the CECAFA Zonal Qualifiers for the Total Energies 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations. The Hippos successfully defended the regional title after overcoming South Sudan in the finals at Al Hilal Stadium on Friday in Khartoum.
Two goals from Isa Bugembe and Titus Ssematimba enabled the Hippos to rally from behind to defeat the South Sudanese, who had taken the lead in the 15th minute of the game but failed to hold onto it. Uganda started off the game the brightest and their first attempt on target fell to Ibrahim Juma who had his free kick parried away for a corner by the South Sudanese goalkeeper.
Despite the attempts from Uganda, it was South Sudan that instead took the lead through Felix Abishai, who met a well-set minus by Wang Koal and made a simple tap-in to give South Sudan an early lead. After suffering an early goal, the Hippos looked hungry for an equalizer and had many chances to square matters shortly after conceding that goal, but none were converted, including Roger Mugisha’s shot, which was blocked by South Sudan’s keeper.
After several unsuccessful attempts to score, Uganda finally equalized in the 22nd minute thanks to a shot from Bugembe outside the box that oozed into the back of the net. The game went into the break tied at One-all.
At the start of the second half, Uganda appeared to be the better team, pressing the opponent, and skipper Isma Mugulusi was denied twice by Sabio. Their efforts were rewarded when Titus shot in from close range.
As a result, Uganda, who entered the competition as defending champions after defeating Tanzania in the previous round, wasted no time in defending their title. The team will now proceed to U-20 AFCON in 2023. Hippos player Titus Sematimba and goalie Abdu Magada were Valuable Player- MVP, and the tournament’s top goalkeeper respectively.