The national Under-20 team - the Hippos - will attempt to win a maiden Cecafa Under-20 title when they take on hosts Tanzania in the final at the Black Rhino Academy, Karatu this afternoon.
The two finalists have already sealed qualification to next year’s Afcon Under-20 final in Mauritania although the feeling in the Ugandan camp suggests there is still unfinished business.
“We played our semifinal and thank God we were victorious. Like I promised at the start of the tournament, we came here not to participate but to compete and qualify for Afcon. God has helped us achieve qualification and we now promise to work hard and win the final,” stated captain Gavin Kizito Mugweri after the 3-1 semifinal win over Kenya on Monday.
Mugweri’s sentiments were re-echoed by his coach Morley Byekwaso who was criticised in some circles for the team’s quarterfinal elimination at last year’s event in Uganda.
“I thank the almighty for blessing us in this way. I thank the boys for the input. I pray to God that he blesses us for the final because whoever reaches the final, winning is what makes him happy. Everyone will be focusing on the trophy we have all been fighting for,” Byekwaso said after the victory over Kenya.
He seems to have settled on Ivan Bogere who struck twice in that game to the lead line after starting on the bench in the opener against South Sudan that ended goalless.
His brace against Kenya took his tournament tally to four goals in two starts having also scored against Burundi.
Like Bogere, Isma Mugulusi has also proved influential since starting the 6-1 thrashing of Burundi in which he also scored twice. He also set up Bogere’s first goal against Kenya and was later fouled for the penalty the former converted.
They will come up against an equally high scoring Tanzanian side who have managed a tournament high 15 goals but progressed to the final after a 1-0 win over South Sudan.
Forward Kassim Haruna got the all important goal to take his tally to a tournament high, five goals for the Ngorongoro Heroes. The defending champions also boast star forward Kelvin Pius John, who turns out for Leicester City’s Academy and terrorized defences at last year’s tournament.