Uganda odds on to lift U-20 Cecafa trophy

Saturday September 21 2019

Hassan Senyonjo will be a key player fo

Hassan Senyonjo will be a key player for the Hippos. PHOTO BY JOHN BATANUDDE 

By George Katongole

WHO WAS IN THE 2010 SQUAD?
Godwin Buule, Ayub Kisalita, Denis Iguma, Andrew Waiswa, Kirizestom Ntambi, Alex Kakuba, Dan Sserunkuma, Sula Matovu, Patrick Edema, Ivan Bukenya, Sadam Juma, Michael Mutyaba, Brian Majegwa, Kizito Luwaga.

There is always uncertainty surrounding the Cecafa tournaments. In the 48-year history of the U-20 version, the tournament has been played just 11 times. The players who won the last edition in Eritrea in 2010, including Ivan Bukenya, Patrick Edema, Saddam Juma, Dan Sserunkuma and Umar Ngobi, among others, are almost veterans now.

But it is little surprise to see regional powerhouses Uganda start as pre-tournament favourites.
This year’s edition which will be hosted in Gulu and Buikwe will run from September 21 until October 5.

The three-time winners are the most successful side alongside Ethiopia on three titles and remain the most fearsome side in regional football and only the brave would bet against the side, code-named Hippos, against winning their fourth trophy.
Strong squad
Bashir Mutyaba, the Fufa youth development officer and team coordinator believes the squad has played enough games to be competitive at such a stage.

The team looks well balanced with red hot winger Hassan Ssenyonjo of Wakiso Giants and KCCA’s Sadat Anaku leading the squad.
Ivan Bogere will most definitely sweat for a starting role as Anaku, Najib Yiga, Sadam Masereka and Frank Sebuufu looked sharper in training.

In a pool that has the likes of Eritrea and Djibouti, these attackers should be unstoppable.
The midfield too has outstanding players especially Ashraf Zizinga, Abdu karim Watambala, Joseph Kafumbe, Steven Sserwadda, Joseph Kafumbe, Isma Mugulusi and Davis Sekajja.

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Defense does not worry head coach Morley Byekwaso too. He has Gavin Kizito, Robert Kitabalwa, Justine Opiro, Kevin Ssekimbegga and Musa Ramathan ready for the task.

“Of course a good squad matters but at this stage it is important not to understimate any team. All players must play to their potential,” Byekwaso cautioned.

Kenya lurking
The Uganda Hippos may not have the same air of invincibility after the group games. Two-time winners and eternal rivals Kenya have a decent squad with a couple of players having Premier League experience.
Musa Masika, who was part of Harambee Stars team which took part in the African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifications game against Tanzania, is in the squad.

Cecafa U-20 Challenge Cup
September 21 - October 5
Venues: Pece (Gulu) & FUFA Technical Center (Njeru)

Groups
A: Uganda (Hosts), Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti
B: Kenya, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanzania
C: Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia

Playing today at Pece
Sudan vs Djibouti, 2pm
Uganda vs Eritrea, 4pm
Tomorrow - Njeru
Kenya vs Zanzibar, 2pm
Ethiopia vs Tanzania, 4pm

gkatongole@ug.nationmedia.com

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