U20 Afcon: ‘Nobody expected Uganda to perform’ – Byekwaso

The Hippos have sealed their place in the last four of the competition alongside Ghana, and the coach was pleased with his side’s performances

Uganda U20 coach Morley Byekwaso is delighted with his charges for surprising many in the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Mauritania.

Uganda sealed their place in the semi-finals of the annual competition after a 5-3 win over Burkina Faso in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw in regulation time at Sheikha Bedia Stadium in Nouakchott on Thursday night.

The tactician has further insisted his charges had a dream of playing against bigger teams in the competition.

“We came here as underdogs and no one expected us to perform like this being debutants in the tournament,” Byekwaso said after the win.

“But we dreamt a lot playing with the superpower-countries like Morocco, Algeria, Cameroon, and others and we knew how we could handle the situations that we face.  

“We knew we are not such a good side so we came to play as a team working with a similar objective of trying to become the best nation in Africa as emphasized by the Fufa president [Moses Magogo].”

In the game against the Young Stallions, The Hippos scored their penalties through Derrick Kakooza, Joseph Kizza Bukenya, Najib Yiga and Ivan Bogere.

Eric Chardey, Bamba and Ousmane Diane replied for the West Africans while Nasser Djiga failed to beat Jack Komakech in the Uganda goal.  

“We won in penalties because in football everything is possible,” Byekwaso stated.

“Every team that reaches the quarter-finals is good and you have to expect a plan B. The game has been difficult to win as Burkina Faso played very well in the two halves, full of [energy] and high intensity.”

Hippos started their campaign in Group A with a 2-0 win over Mozambique before falling by a solitary goal to Cameroon. They won their last game against Mauritania 2-1 to qualify for quarters.

They will now play either Morocco or Tunisia in the last four.

Ghana are the other team who qualified for the semis after eliminating Cameroon 4-2 on penalties after 1-1 draw in regular and extra time.

In the shootout, Goni Ali beat the goalkeeper but his effort was stopped by the crossbar, while Milla’s penalty was stopped by goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim. Saidou Alioum and Saidou Ibrahim scored the two penalties for Cameroon.

Daniel Afriyie, Frank Kwabena, Ivan Anokye, and Percious Boah converted for Ghana.

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