Striker Ivan Bogere in the Uganda Hippos' match (Credit: FUFA Media)

Striker Ivan Bogere has so far scored four goals in three matches at the on-going 2020 CECAFA U-20 Challenge Cup tournament in Tanzania.

Bogere scored a brace against Burundi during the 6-1 victory and bagged another two goals in the semi-finals during the 3-1 win over Kenya.

The victory over Kenya guaranteed the Hippos a berth to the prestigious U-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals that will be staged in Mauritania come 2021.

To Bogere, the qualification alone is a dream come true to his life ambitions.

“I have always thought of achieving qualification to the AFCON U-20 finals. This is a dream realized and personally, I wanted this very tournament to be a complete turn-around of my football career” the Proline Football Club striker stated.

Ivan Bogere races to the ball in the match against Kenya (Credit: FUFA Media)

This was the first time ever that the Hippos make it to the continental championship in history of football since the founding of Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) in 1926.

Uganda opened up the championship on rather a low key moment, being held to a non-scoring stalemate by lowly South Sudan, a result coming barely a week when the senior team (Uganda Cranes) had been beaten 1-0 at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi by the same opposition.

In this very match, Bogere was introduced in the 62nd minute for Mbarara City’s forward Raymond Onyai.

Bogere is thankful of the technical team, fellow players, FUFA, media and the fans at large for the collective effort and support to the team.

“I want to thank our technical team, FUFA management, management and dear fans. All the people have encouraged and supported us at all times” he added.

Ivan Bogere and Musa Ramathan celebrate Uganda Hippos’ goal (Credit: FUFA Media)

After the draw with South Sudan, the team humiliated Burundi 6-1 in the subsequent group B match scoring through a double brace by striker Bogere and Isma Mugulusi before a goal apiece from Najib Yiga and second half substitute Joseph Kizza Bukenya sealed the misery for Burundi.

The result meant Uganda toppled group B since South Sudan managed to out-wit Burundi 4-0 in the closing group stage game and therefore Uganda would takes on traditional football rivals, Kenya in the semi-finals.

The semi-final was played on Monday, 30th November 2020 at the Black Rhino Academy sports facility in Karatu.

Uganda easily won the contest 3-1 over Kenya with Bogere notching a brace and defender Kenneth Semakula coming up with an odd goal to seal the slot.

Semakula tapped home the opener off Yiga’s curling corner kick in the 21st minute.

Four minutes later, Bogere raced onto Mugulusi’s defence splitter to calmly finish past the advancing goalkeeper.

Ivan Bogere celebrates with Aziz Kayondo (Credit: FUFA Media)

Bogere scored the third goal 10 minutes into the second half with a well struck kick from the penalty mark following a foul in the forbidden area onto Mugulusi.

“We are excited having worked collectively to make it to the AFCON finals. I thank my fellow players, FUFA, full technical and support team, fans and the media for the efforts” team skipper Gavin Kizito Mugweri, who turns out for Sports Club Villa remarked.

Kenya pulled back a goal by Enock Wanyama with 10 minutes to play but it was too little, too late as it only turned out to be a consolation.

Ivan Bogere passes the ball (Credit: FUFA Media)

Hosts and defending Champions Tanzania joined Uganda for the AFCON slot after gritting their teeth to out-smart South Sudan 1-0 with Kassim Harunah the hero.

West Africans Mauritania will host the final tournament in 2021.

The final is this Wednesday, 2nd December 2020 at 3:30 pm (Karatu).

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

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