Uganda Hippos Coach, Mayanja Names Final Squad Ahead of U-20 AFCON

Jackson Mayanja, the head coach of the Uganda National U-20 team, the Hippos has announced the final squad for the upcoming U-20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.  

The final squad features goalkeepers Abdu Magada, Shamulan Kamya, and Delton Oyo, as well as defenders Haruna Lukwago, Justine Opiru, Samson Kasozi, Ronald Madoi, Apollo Kakogwe, Rogers Torach, Umar Lutalo, and Ibrahim Juma. 

Midfielders include Saidi Mayanja, Frank Katongole, Isma Mugulusi, Titus Ssematimba, Travis Mutyaba, Mutebi Hakim, Ivan Irinimbabazi, and forwards Rogers Mugisha, Kakande Patrick Jonah, Issa Bugembe, Shafiq Magogo, John Paul Dembe, Alpha Ssali, and Emmanuel Mukisa. Isma Mugulusi was once again named team captain.

The 25-man team will fly to Egypt on Saturday evening for a series of training sessions before the tournament which will take place between February 19 and March 11.

Uganda is placed in Group B alongside Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Congo Brazzaville. Despite being considered an easier group by football observers, Mayanja told URN in an earlier interview that it is a tricky group compared to Group B which consists of Egypt, Senegal, and Nigeria. 

The Uganda Hippos qualified for the African Cup of Nations after winning the CECAFA U-20 Zonal qualifier by defeating South Sudan 2-1 in the final match held in Khartoum, Sudan in November 2022.

Mayanja says that he has put a lot of effort into fostering an attacking mentality among the players and encouraging them to express themselves with the ball which he believes will enable them to go toe-to-toe with the top teams in the forthcoming tournament. 

Uganda returns to the AFCON U-20 tournament with a pedigree having won silver in the last edition held in Mauritania and Uganda Hippos qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup after reaching the final of the AFCON U-20 in Mauritania. However, FIFA cancelled the World Cup tournament that was slated for May 20 to June 12th, 20021 due to COVID-19. 

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