DAR ES SALAAM – Being a debutant at a finals tournament is not an easy experience for anyone in the sporting world more so in football.
Mid last year, the Uganda U17 National football team, the Cubs sealed their spot at the 2019 U17 AFCON finals and would be featuring at the tournament for the first time in the county’s history.
Eight months down the road, they lost their opening game 1-0 to Angola and like it is supposed to be, no alarm bells were sound, after all they were just another debutant trying to explore grounds they have never been at.
However, they picked themselves up and upstaged hosts, Tanzania 3-0 in their second group game played on Wednesday, April 17th. Uganda’s goals were scored by Andrew Kawooya, Ivan Asaba and Najib Yiga.
The three points and goals were their first at the finals but more significantly, put the Cubs in contention for a spot at the U17 FIFA World Cup in Brazil later this year as the top two teams in each of the two groups, qualify automatically for the global showpiece.
Currently occupying third on the standings, the Cubs will seal qualification with a victory over Nigeria in the last game on Saturday.
The team’s head coach Fabin Kwesi could not hide his excitement after the victory over Tanzania.
“We are happy for the victory and hope it carries us on to the next game so that we are able to seal the ticket that takes us to Brazil. Said Kwesi in the post-match press conference.
“If we play like we played against Tanzania in the next game and add some hard work to it, we will be able to win the last game and qualify for Brazil.
The Ghanaian-born tactician was at the forefront of the victory, making one telling inclusions to the team that beat Tanzania on Wednesday.
After lacking in creativity on Sunday, he started Thomas Kakaire who had only come off the bench in the first game and what a master stroke that proved to be as the Bright Stars midfielder dominated the midfield.
“Kakaire is a ball winner and good passer of the ball, said Kwesi when asked about the 17 year old.
“We realized we needed someone like that in the team and i am so happy with his contribution.
Uganda takes on Nigeria on Sunday at the Chamazi Stadium, in their last Group game.