The Uganda Hippos team retained the CECAFA U-20 title after stopping South Sudan 2-1 in the final played on Friday at the Al Hilal Stadium in Khartoum, Sudan.
Felix Agumemboki Abishai gave South Sudan after 15 minutes but Uganda leveled matters through Issa Bugembe.
In the second half midfielder Titus Ssematimba netted Uganda’s second goal.
It was all celebrations for the Ugandan team that retained the trophy. The Uganda team together with South Sudan also qualified for the U-20 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023.
Jackson Mayanja, Uganda Hippos head coach told Sports News Africa that they deserved to win the trophy. “I am happy that we have retained the trophy and also qualified for the U-20 AFCON next that will take place in Egypt,” added the former Uganda Cranes International.
Mayanja explained that although he missed four of his key players who tested positive for COVID-19 in the semi final, they still managed to beat the hosts 2-0.
“I prepared this team for a few days, but they worked hard to play the kind of passing game that I wanted them to play. It is sweet to win a trophy when you are actually playing good football,” added Mayanja.
Uganda Hippos started the competition with a 2-0 win against Tanzania, and lost the second Group B match 1-0 to Ethiopia. At the semi final stage the Hippos stopped Sudan 2-0 and went on to defeat South Sudan 2-1 at the stage.
During a ceremony to welcome the team back in Uganda on Monday, the President of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA), Eng. Moses Hassim Magogo promised to financially reward all the players and team staff members.
“It is a momentous occasion for us to be celebrating another milestone. I take this opportunity to thank the players and the coaching staff for a tremendous achievement of returning to AFCON,” said Eng. Magogo.
The U-20 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 for the CECAFA Zone attracted Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Tanzania, Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda.