The Uganda U20 Hippos will fancy their chances of qualifying to their maiden U20 Africa Cup of Nations, but head coach Morley Byekwaso anticipates his charges will have to dig deeper to prevail from the CECAFA zonal qualifiers.
The Hippos are pooled in group B of the Total CAF U-20 Zonal Qualification tournament (CECAFA U20 Championship) alongside Burundi and Northern neighbours South Sudan.
Byekwaso is wary of the threat beneath the other teams in the group especially South Sudan who are pretty much unfancied in the qualifiers but have taken tremendous strides especially with the under-age times.
The South Sudan senior team is fresh from inflicting a 1-0 victory over the Uganda Cranes, while in 2018, their U23 side eliminated Uganda’s U23 side from the 2019 U23 AFCON.
“It is going to be tough in the group and the first game is crucial for the future of the tournament,” Byekwaso told media as the team departed for Tanzania on Friday.
“We are playing South Sudan who are a very tough side that has developed a lot in the past few years, so we shall need to be at par,”
“They are using much of the players that have grown from Uganda and know our style of play just like you saw when they played the senior team,” he added.
The Hippos will kick-start their campaign against South Sudan on November 23, before they take on Burundi in the other group game on November 25.
The Total CAF U-20 AFCON Zonal Qualification tournament (CECAFA U20 Championship) is set to take place from November 22 to December 6 in Arusha, Tanzania.
Nine teams will take part in the U20 CECAFA Championship which will also act as the 2021 U20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for the CECAFA region.
The winner of the zonal tournament will represent the CECAFA region at next year’s AFCON tournament in Mauritania between February and March.
CECAFA Zonal Qualifiers:
Group A: Tanzania (hosts), Somalia and Djibouti
Group B: Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan
Group C: Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan
Uganda U20 travelling squad:
Goalkeepers: Jack Komakech and Denis Ssenyondwa Kaala
Defenders: Richard Bbosa, Abdu Aziizi Kayondo, Musa Ramathan, Gavin Kizito Mugweri, Kenneth Ssemakula, Joseph Kafumbe
Midfielders: Isma Mugulusi, Steven Sserwadda, Joseph Kizza Bukenya, Ivan Asaba, Yiga Najib, Ashiraf Mulindi, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Alpha Thierry Ssali
Forwards: Ivan Bogere, Richard Basangwa, Faisal Wabyoona, Raymond Onyai
Head Coach: Morley Byekwaso