By Spy Uganda
The Uganda Hippos and South Sudan have qualified for the U-20 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023.
Coach Jackson Mayanja’s Hippos edged hosts Sudan 2-0 in one of the semi finals of the qualifiers for the CECAFA Zone played today at the Kober Stadium.
The South Sudan team also battled from behind to beat Ethiopia 4-2 in penalties after a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes in the second semi final played at the Al Hilal Stadium on Tuesday.
After a goalless first half, defender Rogers Torach Ochaki tapped in a freekick to give Uganda the lead after 54 minutes.
The hosts tried to fight back, but failed to beat the well organized Ugandan defenders. Uganda Hippos captain Isma Mugulusi who plies his trade for Makedonnikos in Greece made it 2-0 for Uganda after 71 minutes when he placed the ball past Sudan’s advancing goalkeeper Ibrahim Mohammed.
After 76 minutes Sudan’s Elborae Elhag was sent off for rough play. “I am so happy that we have qualified for AFCON. We had some players miss the match because they tested positive for COVID-19, but I thank God that we are through to AFCON and for a final on Friday,” said Uganda’s coach Mayanja after the match.
In the second semi final match Ethiopia took an early lead from the spot after 8 minutes when Yosef Mekonen converted. But South Sudan also got a penalty after 17 minutes and Joseph Jele made no mistake from the spot.
After recess the two teams came all out trying to find more goals, but failed as the referee added 30 extra minutes after the allotted 90. Zelalem Kussa Chut restored Ethiopia’s lead after 1017 minutes, but Felix Abishal made it 2-2 after 112 minutes. During the penalties South Sudan won 4-2.
It was history written by South Sudan who also had their U-17 team qualify for the AFCON last month during the qualifiers in Ethiopia.
Charles John Gwit Uok, the South Sudan head coach thanked his players for the work well done. “I thank my players for fighting and qualifying for AFCON,” said the coach.
The final between the Uganda Hippos and South Sudan will be played on Friday.