The head coach of Uganda Hippos has said he wanted to be placed alongside the likes of Senegal and Nigeria in the group stage of the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023.
Responding to the draw which was made a few days ago by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Jackson Mayanja said on Tuesday that he wanted to face the so-called giants in the group stage.
“It is always good to face the big teams in the group stage because it motivates players to work harder,” added the former Ugandan International who guided Uganda Hippos to victory in the Zonal qualifiers held in the Sudan capital Khartoum in November.
Uganda Hippos, the AFCON U-20 runners up in 2021 when the tournament was held in Mauritania have this time been placed alongside Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville and South Sudan in Group B.
Mayanja says although they have been placed in a tricky group, he would have preferred to face the so-called giants in the group. “Some times players come to play in the group underrating some teams and when they hear the so-called giants they are very serious,” added the Uganda Hippos coach.
He made it clear that after winning the Zonal qualifiers his team will be all out to target the best four places to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. “My target as a coach is to qualify for the World Cup,” added Mayanja.
Twelve teams placed in three groups will take part in the competition slated for February 19th to March 11th, 2023 in Egypt.
Group A will have the hosts Egypt, Mozambique, Senegal and seven times champions Nigeria, while Gambia, Tunisia, Benin and Zambia are placed in Group C.
The top two teams of each group advance to the quarter finals along with the two best 3rd placed teams.
The top four teams will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Indonesia later in 2023.
Group A: Egypt, Mozambique, Senegal, Nigeria
Group B: Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Congo Brazzaville
Group C: Gambia, Tunisia, Benin, Zambia