During normal times, the national Under-20 team’s shootout victory over Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals of the U20 Africa Cup of Nations nine days ago would have been enough to qualify for the World Cup.
The top four teams of the tournament would have normally qualified for the 2021 Fifa U-20 World Cup in Indonesia as the Caf representatives and making the semi-finals was sufficient.
However, Fifa decided to cancel the tournament on December 24 last year due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The competition has been staged every two years since the first tournament in 1977 in Tunisia.
In fact, prior to the tournament kick-off in Mauritania, the Hippos captain Gavin Mugweri Kizito gave an interview alluding to a World Cup appearance being the team’s biggest motivation.
“I am sure we are going to conquer and qualify for the World cup because we are all in good shape and the players are prepared,” Kizito, then thrilled to be part of the U-20s tournament debut, said.
Hopefully, the SC Villa player will settle for ‘just’ a winner’s medal today as they face three-time Afcon champions Ghana in the final.
A luminous Uganda walloped Tunisia 4-1 in the semis on Monday to banish any talks on nerves for the debutants.
Had there been a World Cup, coach Morley Byekwaso’s side would then have belonged then have belonged to a unique band of only 91 Fifa members out of 211 to play at the biggest youth tournament.
From Africa, only Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, Benin, Guinea, Ethiopia and Togo have been there.
Prior to the quarterfinals, Fufa president Moses Magogo called promised the team a significant share of the purse.
The winner will receive $200,000 (Shs740m).