Allan Okello of Uganda evades challenge from Wandile Dlamini of Swaziland during the 2017 COSAFA U20 football match between Uganda and Swaziland at Arthur Davies Stadium, Kitwe on 8 December 2017 Credit: ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

AFCON U-20 Qualifiers:

  • First Leg: (Saturday, 31st March 2018): Uganda Hippos Vs South Sudan – At Lugogo, Kampala
  • 2nd Leg (20th – 22nd April 2018): South Sudan Vs Uganda Hippos – Juba
[/media-credit] Allan Okello of Uganda evades challenge from Wandile Dlamini of Swaziland during the 2017 COSAFA U20 football match between Uganda and Swaziland at Arthur Davies Stadium, Kitwe on 8 December 2017 Credit: ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Saturday, 31st March 2018 is barely hours away when the Uganda national U-20 team (The Hippos) takes on their counterparts from South Sudan during the first leg of the AFCON U-20 qualifiers.

The match will be played at the astro Lugogo stadium, a ground not familiar to many Ugandan footballers.

Either sides have adequately prepared with training drills over the past fortnight.

Hippos team news

Uganda Hippos team, coached by Mathias Lule was initially a big squad of 33 players before it was trimmed as the  team entered residential camp at the African Bible University in Lubowa, off Kampala – Entebbe road on Monday afternoon.

The group had a friendly match against Uganda Premier League side, Proline on Tuesday that ended 2 all.

There are no fresh injury concerns and the morale in the camp is high as the players are ready to die a little for their country as manifested by the new team captain, Julius Poloto.

Poloto who took over from Muhammad Shaban (graduated to the Uganda U-23 team) reveals they are ready for the best show ever;

“We have got good training from our coaches and I believe we shall deliver,” Poloto vowed.

Star players and team assembling

Experienced goalkeeper Keni Saidi is expected between the goal posts ahead of Tonny Kyamera.

Salim Kyobe or Fred Okot could start at right back. KCCA’s Mustapaha Kizza is unrivaled at left back.

A healthy selection dilemma awaits the coaches for the best central defence pairing from Geofrey Wasswa, Bashir Asiku and the vice captain Musitafa Mujjuzi.

The same scenario could be envisaged in the middle of the pack between the stylish Frank ‘Zaga’ Tumwesigye, Joel Jangeyambe, Allan Okello, Julius Poloto and the industrious Ezra ‘Dead Rubber’ Bidda.

Up front, Hamis Tibita, Steven Mukwala and a second option of a half nine in the immensely talented Saddam Masereka could arise.

South Sudan

Uganda’s neighbours in the North have been also engaged in training down in Juba.

With no serious build up match held, the team got travel hitches, but none the less traveled.

The first batch arrived at Entebbe International Airport on Thursday afternoon with 12 people, 10 players and two officials before they checked in at Mount Zion hotel in Kampala.

The second batch was due in the country on the match eve ahead of the final team training at Lugogo stadium, starting 4 p.m.

Johnson Jok who plies his trade with Kenya Premier League outfit, Tusker Football club is only professional player on the team.

“We shall give our best against the Ugandan team,” Jok revealed to Kawowo Sports.

Uganda will host the first leg on Saturday, 31st March 2018 as the return leg will take place a week later in Juba.

The first leg will he handled by FIFA referees from Sudan.

The successful winner over the two legs will face Cameroon at the next stage of the qualifiers.

Uganda Hippos’ pool of players in camp:
Goalkeepers: Tonny Kyamera (Buddo S.S and Express), Saidi Keni (Proline)
Defenders: Salim Kyobe (Spartan 05), Mustafa Kizza (KCCA), Musitafa Mujuzi (Proline), Geofrey Wasswa (Vipers), Bashir Asiku (Vipers), Fred Okot (URA), Hebert Ochayo (Kibuli S.S), Paul Willa (Police)
 Midfielders: Abubaker Kasule (Express), Allan Okello (KCCA), Frank ”Zaga” Tumwesigye (Vipers), Julius Poloto (KCCA), Ezra Bida (Onduparaka), Solomon Ovoyo (West Nile Province), Ivan Eyamu (Kataka), Faisal Sekyanzi (St Mary’s Nabweru), Joshua Okiror Ocen (Proline)
Strikers: Sadam Masereka (Buddo S.S)  Steven Desi Mukwala (Vipers), Hamisi Tibita (BUL), Ibrahim Thembo (Kansai Plascon), Denis Otim (Mbarara City), Joel Jangeyambe (West Nile Province), Joshua Wandera (Eastern), Sadat Anaku (KCCA Junior Team)

South Sudan players:

Goalkeepers:John Ramadan (Rabita Juba), Emmanuel Tobi (Talanga), Simon Oton (Young Star)

Out-field players:

Simon Pitia (Talanga), Samuel Lukudu (Malakia Juba), Raphael Kenyi (Citizen FC JubaOmot Sebit (Merriekh Juba), Noah John (Gudele Juba), Joseph Kuc (Amarat United), Isaac Tutu (Amarat United), John Ayub (Malakia Juba), Yousif Abdallah (Watania), Jal Guesh (Etihad FC Juba), Chol Makur (Gudele Juba), Wilson Tito (Munuki FC Juba), Samuel Taban (Young Star), Emmanuel Taban (Etihad FC Juba), Barnaba Elga (Amarat United), Dani Lual (Atlabara FC Juba), Johnson Jok (Tusker Football club), Dominic Anjilo and Tony Anjilo (Both Etihad, Juba),Isaac Elia (Malakia Juba), Dario Nelson (Atlabara), Ibn Rakhisa Abdallah (Watania), James Keeyi (Gudele Juba), Samuel Daniel (Merriekh Juba), Ayuru Khamis (Amarat United) and Henry Isaac (City FC Juba).

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

Leave a comment

Please let us know what you think