Some of the Uganda U-20 team players at the luncheon hosted by FUFA in Entebbe (Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe) Credit: John Batanudde

After scooping silver medals at the recently concluded AFCON U-20 finals in Mauritania, many people eagerly awaited what kind of token awaited this historic Uganda Hippos’ team.

Moments after arrival from Mauritania on Tuesday morning, a hefty $160,000  (about Ug. Shs 585,644,160.00) was announced by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).

The contingent from Mauritania was hosted at the lavish Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe Municipality, adjacent to the par-71 picturesque Entebbe Golf Course and the State House.

FUFA President, also the newly elected Member of Parliament for Budiope East Moses Magogo hosted the group to a welcome luncheon that was punctuated by a couple of motivational speeches.

Magogo announced the $160,000 total kitty that will be shared amongst the members of the playing and technical staff of the team that made the trip to Mauritania.

Uganda Hippos played 6 matches at the championship where they were making their debut, winning four matches and losing twice, including the bitter 2-0 loss in the final to Ghana, the champions.

Magogo who was flanked by his Vice President Justus Mugisha and a couple of other FUFA officials has since talked about the strategies of breaking the barricades of Western and Northern Africa countries’ domination.

Moses Magogo was handed a souvenir jersey by the U-20 captain Gavin Kizito Mugweri Credit: John Batanudde

As FUFA, we set ourselves a vision to be the number one footballing nation in Africa on and off the field of play. We are not yet but we remain very ambitious. This is a work in progress. We are very happy and not disappointed at all. There is an element of humanity and reality that we must accept. We achieved this by qualifying for the first-ever AFCON finals tournament. Even the best sprinter in the world started by crawling. For us as FUFA, it remains work in progress as a country. As players, you are in the development stages. This should draw more appetite. FUFA has a very proper strategy to achieve the results. I want to appreciate the FUFA Youth development officer Bashir Mutyaba who has overseen that youth competitions are very organized. I also thank the clubs that have given the youth players a chance to play. Football is a process and not an event. The senior team has to play at the FIFA World Cup. To the players, keep your heads high.

Moses Magogo, FUFA President
Rogers Mulindwa (left) donated his silver medal to FUFA boss Moses Magogo Credit: John Batanudde

Rogers Mulindwa who also traveled as the head of delegation appreciated the efforts of the Federation, all the players, the technical team, and all the support staff for the collective responsibility.

I thank all the parties at play that joined the hands together to achieve this success. We were a team committed to achieve. The initial target was to get out of the group stages and we made it. We believed in ourselves and made it. In 6 matches played, we won three man of the match accolades, scored 8 goals, and conceded 5 with 4 wins. We got the only hattrick of the tournament, the top scorer, silver medals, two players and coach in the CAF team of the tournament, and the CAF Fair play award. I also thank the FUFA management led by president Eng. Moses Magogo and Sunset Hotel in Mauritania where the team was accommodated

Rogers Mulindwa

Head coach Morley Byekwaso singled out the players’ hard work, commitment, and discipline as the pillars to the team’s progress.

Byekwaso asked the federation for more opportunities to work with this current crop of players.

I wish to thank these players for the commitment, discipline, and hard work. We learnt a lot of positive things from this tournament. I request FUFA to grant me the opportunity to work with these players in the future. To the players, do not go out and mess with life. Respect the elders and learn from the young ones.

Morley Byekwaso, Uganda U-20 Head Coach

Besides finishing second, Uganda also won the fair play award, had three players who won man of the match accolades, registered the tournament top scorer in Derrick Kakooza (five goals) and Kakooza also netted the tourney’s only hat-trick.

Uganda Contingent at the 2021 AFCON U-20 Championship

Players:

Goalkeepers: Jack Komakech (Ascent Soccer Academy), Delton Oyo (Busoga United), Denis Kaala Ssenyondwa (SC Villa)

Defenders: Gavin Kizito Mugweri (SC Villa), Kenneth Ssemakula (Busoga United), Musa Ramathan (KCCA), Joseph Kafumbe (KCCA), James Penz Begisa (UPDF), Simon Baligeya (Kibuli SS), Abdul Azizi Kayondo (Vipers SC)

Midfielders: Isma Mugulusi (Busoga United), Yiga Najib (Vipers), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers), Steven Sserwadda (KCCA),  Ivan Eyamu (Mbarara City FC), Andrew Kawooya (KCCA), Ivan Asaba (Vipers SC), Ssekajja Davis (Bright Stars FC), Faisal Wabyoona (Big Talent Soccer Academy).

Forwards: Derrick Kakooza (Police), Thierry Alpha Ssali (Proline), Ivan Bogere (Proline), Samuel Ssenyonjo (KCCA), Richard Basangwa (Vipers), Joseph Kizza Bukenya (KCCA)

Credit: John Batanudde

Officials:

  • Leader of Delegation: Rogers Mulindwa
  • Team manager: Jackson Nyiima
  • Head coach: Morley Byekwaso
  • Assistant coach: Simeon Massa
  • Goalkeeping coach: Stephen Billy Kiggundu
  • Team Doctor: Yahaya Katumba
  • National Teams’ Member: Fred Katende Malibu
  • Media personnel: Alex Kasirye
  • Kits manager: Frank Bumpenje
  • FUFA Staff: Swalley Kenyi
  • FUFA Big League Delegate: Hassan Kirunda Kakaire

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

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