Uganda U17 national team head coach Hamza Lutalo says his charges are ready for the CECAFA U17 championship final game where they will battle with Tanzania on Tuesday, December 22.
According to Lutalo, the team is gearing up for Tanzania with their main intention being retaining the title they won in 2018.
“I thank God that we won yesterday’s game against Djibouti,” Lutalo said before adding.
“It was a tough game for us but we did what was possible to win it; the boys did what they were supposed to do so that we make it to the finals with Tanzania.”
“Tanzania will not be easy for us in the finals but we are preparing for them because our target is to win against them so that we defend the title,” he added.
To reach the finals, Uganda Cubs pipped Djibouti with a hard-fought 1-0 win in the semi-final contest at the Stade Umuganda in Rubavu Rwanda on Sunday courtesy of Oscar Mawa’s late strike.
Meanwhile, Tanzania overcame Ethiopia in the second semi-final 4-2 in post-match penalties following a one-all stalemate in normal time to set a date with Uganda.
Sunday’s victories meant that Uganda and Tanzania qualified for the 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations U-17 tournament that will be staged in Morocco.
Uganda Cubs’ road to the final:
The Cubs were meant to start their journey against South Sudan, but on the eve of the tournament’s opening fixture, South Sudan were expelled from the tournament after six of their players failed their MRI tests.
South Sudan’s expulsion changed the composition of group A, with only Kenya and Ethiopia left.
Kenya were then held to a 2-2 draw by Ethiopia in the opening group game which meant that victory for Cubs in their first game would then seal qualification for the semi-finals.
Lutalo’s boys, inspired by Oscar Mawa cruised to the semi-finals with a dominant 5-0 victory over Kenya, Mawa bagging a hattrick with Travis Mutyaba and Ronald Madoi joining the party as well.
The Cubs were again relentless in their second group game, putting three past Ethiopia. Mawa again the protagonist with a double to take his tally in the tournament to five.
Midfielder Ivan irinimbabazi score the third goal as Uganda confirmed their semi-final clash against Djibouti.
Whilst Djibouti were resilient, Mawa produced the moment that provided the difference in the 89th minute, taking his tally to six and also scoring in a third consecutive game.