Despite falling short of the fairy tale story for the Uganda Hippos at the 2021 U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Mauritania, the Hippos surely ripped big with a couple of members winning individual awards.
In what was their maiden appearance at the U20 AFCON, the Hippos went all the way to the final where they were defeated 2-0 by now four-time champions Ghana.
In addition to their silver medals and the fair play award, there were individual recognitions for head coach Morley Byekwaso who was named the best coach of the tournament.
Byekwaso guided his side to three wins against Mozambique and host Mauritania in the group stages and Tunisia in the semi-finals.
The Hippos also overcame Burkina Faso in the post match penalty kicks following a draw in normal time against Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals.
There only defeats were against Cameroon in the group stages before falling to Ghana in the final.
Striker Derrick Kakooza won the Golden boot for scoring the most goals, leading the race with five goals in five games including a hat-trick in the semi-finals against Tunisia.
Kakooza together with defender Aziz Kayondo were both named in the Best XI.
Kayondo was phenomenal for Uganda starting all the six games putting in a good shift of performance at left back while defending and going forward.
Abdul Fatawu and Danlad Ibrahim both from Ghana were named most valuable player and best goalkeeper at the tournament.
The 11 best players at the tournament were chosen from eight of the 12 teams that took part at this year’s tournament.
AFCON U20 BEST XI: Danlad Ibrahim (GK) (Ghana), Flory Yangao (Central African Republic), Blondon Meyapya (Cameroon), Jawra Lamin (Gambia), Aziz Kayondo (Uganda), El Mehdi El Moubarik (Morocco), Lamarana Jallow (Gambia), Chibeb Labidi (Tunisia), Abdul Fatawu (Ghana), Kakooza Derrick (Uganda), Joffrey Bazie (Burkina Faso)