Football: Uganda’s Hippos win Cecafa U20 Championship

AFTER beating Kenya 3-1 on Monday, Uganda’s U20 national team faced off Tanzania in the finals to emerge as the winner for this year’s Cecafa U20 Championship. The Hippos beat Tanzania 4-1 in Arusha at the Black Rhino Academy after facing Kenya. These goals were recorded by Steven Sserwada, Richard Basangwa, Kenneth Semakule, and Ivan Bogere, while Abdul Suleiman recorded the only goal for the immediate former champion.

While Uganda seemed dormant throughout the game, they made the headlines at Golisports after Richard Basangwa recorded the opener in the 12th minute. However, the Ngorongoro heroes tried fighting back with an equalizer from Suleiman at the half-hour mark, before Sserwada recorded the second goal for the Hippos in the 44th minute.

The Hippos were highly motivated to take the title from the half-hour break, and they recorded the third goal after the 60th-minute mark through Ivan Bogere. In the 72nd minute, Semakule recorded the match’s final goal to seal the win for Uganda and this year’s title. However, both Tanzania and Uganda reached the finals without losing a game, creating room for an epic final in Arusha.

On the other hand, Kenya lost to South Sudan in the third-place playoffs at the same venue, losing the game 2-1. That was the second defeat for the Rising Stars during the tournament after losing 3-1 to Uganda.

South Sudan recorded their opener in the second minute through Phillip Biajo, although Stanley Okumbi’s men fought hard to equalize in the 10th minute courtesy of Nicholas Ochieng’s goal. Unfortunately, Nelson Elia recorded the winning goal five minutes before half time. Kenya’s results weren’t impressive to many fans, who were hopeful that they’d secure third place.

The tournament launched earlier last month behind closed doors, starting from 20th November to 2nd December in Arusha, Tanzania. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Uganda and Tanzania have booked the two spots available for the 2021 U20 tournament, which Mauritania will host next year.

Unfortunately, Rwanda and Eritrea didn’t take place in this year’s tournament after pulling out at the last minute. Nonetheless, the tournament was still epic, with Tanzania beating Somalia and Djibouti to lead group A with a maximum of 6 points. Uganda emerged victorious in group B, and Kenya championed group C after recording two wins against Sudan and Ethiopia to top the group.

By the semi-finals, Burundi, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, and Ethiopia were already on their way home after losing in the group stage. That set the stage for an incredible final, although the tournament had to go through some last-minute changes following Eritrea and Rwanda’s withdrawal. Originally, the 11 teams were slotted in three groups, with two of them featuring four teams and one with three teams.

Following the conclusion of the 2020 U20 Cecafa competition edition, the qualifying teams will represent their zone in the 2021 AFCON U20, which will include 12 teams instead of the usual eight. Other teams expected to participate includes Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Mozambique.


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