Cosafa U-20 Challenge Cup
Zambia 0-2 Uganda ( Muhammad Shaban 51’, 54’)
KAMPALA. Under-age football competitions are designed to aid player development.
As such, Muhammad seems to have picked some valuable lessons after the national Under-17 team Cubs, were eliminated by Zambia at the 2015 Africa under-17 championship final qualification hurdle.
The striker Muhammad Shaban felt he could have altered the result were he applying a more direct approach.
Three years later, on the opening day of the Cosafa Under-20 championship against the same opponents, he was able to apply those instincts as the National Under-20 team Hippos got off to a flyer in Zambia.
The striker scored both goals as the Hippos stunned their more fancied hosts with a 2-0 win to go top of the four team Group A in Kitwe on Wednesday evening.
In a frantic first half, both sides created chances with Zambia captain Prince Mumba seeing his shot come off the woodwork.
Lameck Banda was also denied by a fine stop from Uganda keeper Keni Saidi as the Hippos withstood early pressure.
Shaban who along with partner Steven Mukwala troubled the opponents’ backline with their running all day then had a header hit the bar following a fancy flick and cross from Frank “Zaga” Tumwesigye.
He was not to be denied six minutes into the second half though. Mukwala latched onto a floated ball on the right with his pace taking him past a defender before his low cross was met by the onrushing Shaban at the near post.
With the sizable home crowd still stunned by the goal, he pounced again three minutes later.
Using his pace before holding off a defender, he pounced onto goalkeeper Keni’s long ball before lifting the ball past goalkeeper Daniel Sikanyika, the lone Zambian survivor from their previous meeting three years ago.
There were further chances for him to complete a hat-trick forcing a save from Sikanyika while he also had an effort ruled out for offside.
There could however be no complaints from the Hippos technical area with the result putting Uganda top of Group A on goal difference after Malawi edged Swaziland in a five-goal thriller 3-2.
The Hippos who are one of two guest teams return to action on Sunday against Swaziland.
The top team from each of the three groups and the best second place finisher will qualify for the semifinals at the 12-team tournament.
Saidi Keni (G.K), Fred Okot, Mustapha Kizza (Victor Matovu 78’), Geofrey Wasswa, Mustapha Mujjuzi, Abubakar Kasule, Julius Poloto, Frank Tumwesigye (Shafik Kagimu 48’), Muhammed Shaban, Steven Mukwala, Pius Obuya (Allan Okello 30’)