Jackson Mayanja, the head coach of the Uganda U20 Men’s national football team says the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarter-final game against Nigeria.
Mayanja guided the Hippos to top Group B in just their second appearance at the tournament. That performance earned credit to the squad but there is a desire to go a step further.
“I have always said it and I will say it again here. What I want to achieve with this team is to qualify for the World Cup,” Mayanja declared.
The winner of the match will not only progress to the semi-finals of the competition, but they will also secure their spot at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia later in July.
“It’s a new month and we hope we can enter the new month and go to the semi-final.
Uganda will head into this quarter-final match-up high on confidence after finishing top of Group B thanks to two draws against Congo and Sudan, a win over the Central African Republic, and the luck of drawn lots.
With that much to fight for, a thrilling clash is expected between the Flying Eagles and the Hippos at the Suez Canal Stadium in Ismailia on Thursday.
It is thrilling to note that Uganda only made their debut appearance at the U-20 AFCON in the last edition, but they shocked all, including themselves, as they surmounted all obstacles to reach the final. And even then, it took a resilient Ghana side to condemn them to a runners-up finish.
Their current U-20 squad looks even more talented than that 2021 team, and they have lost only one competitive game since 2022.
And adding Nigeria to their list of conquered opponents will add no small credence to their burgeoning reputation.
But the Flying Eagles are not your regular mediocre foes. Nigeria are the most successful team in the history of the U-20 AFCON, with seven titles.
In their 17 appearances at the continental championship, only on two occasions did the Flying Eagles fail to make it to the semi-final of the competition.
Nigeria missed the 2021 edition but were champions as recently as 2015 when Musa Muhammed’s tournament-high four goals and Taiwo Awoniyi’s three goals lifted them to a podium finish.
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