The national U-20 team, Hippos, gave themselves the best possible chance of progressing past the group stages by opening their Africa U-20 Cup of Nations account with a 2-0 win over Mozambique on Monday.
The result means they go into today’s second game against Cameroon top of the group on goal difference with their opponents having edged hosts Mauritania 1-0.
A win will guarantee progression to the quarterfinal for either side with the top two teams in each of the three groups qualifying alongside the two best third-placed teams.
Hippos coach Morley Byekwaso is therefore keen for his team to maintain focus against opponents who are considered by many to be the group favourites.
“We have not yet qualified and have two more games to play. We know we won’t find it easy so we have to continue fighting and remain focused to see that we fulfil our aim of progressing past the group stages,” Byekwaso said after beating Mozambique.
He will also hope his team build on their second half display against Mozambique that yielded two goals after a nervous first half.
“We were a bit nervous and we ended up taking poor decisions at times. We came back into the second half and told the players to play with intensity and that was what was key for us and helped us to come back into the game and win.
Isma Mugulusi who won the man of the match accolade in the first game will again be key to the team’s attacking approach and is expected to start in the central attacking role alongside the more conservative Bobosi Byaruhanga.
Wide-man Najib Yiga was stretchered off late in the game and could be replaced by more central midfielder like Ivan Eyamu who replaced him late on.
Derrick Kakooza should also get the nod upfront after his goal and assist alongside Ivan Bogere whose pace should be a concern for the Cameroonian defence.
Byekwaso could also go for Sam Senyonjo to provide a more test for the physical Cameroonians who also qualified as regional winners from the Central zone for what is their 10th appearance.
Forward Sunday Jang Jr scored twice in the regional final against Central African Republic and also got the only goal in Sunday’s opening 1-0 win over Mauritania.
2021 Africa U-20 Cup Of Nations
GROUP A - FIXTURES TODAY
Cameroon vs Uganda 7pm
Mauritania vs Mozambique 10pm
Uganda Hippos 2-0 Mozambique
Cameroon 1-0 Mauritania
Jack Komakech (G.K), Gavin Kizito Mugweri, Azizi Kayondo, Musa Ramathan, Kenneth Semakula, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Najib Yiga, Isma Mugulusi, Derrick Kakooza, Ivan Bogere, Richard Basangwa
SUBSTTITUTES: Denis Ssenyondwa Kaala, Samuel Ssenyonjo, Delton Oyo, Joseph Kafumbe, James Penz Begisa , Simon Baligeya, Ivan Eyamu, Andrew Kawooya, Ivan Asaba, Steven Sserwadda, Davis Ssekajja, Faisal Wabyoona, Joseph Kizza Bukenya, Alpha Thierry Ssali