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African Games: Uganda Hippos Eye Positive Start Against Nigeria


Thursday, March 7
•Uganda Vs Nigeria – Accra Sports Stadium, 11pm (EAT)

The Uganda National men’s U20 football team, the Uganda Hippos, is poised for a challenging start as they prepare to face off against football giants Nigeria in the opening game of the 2023 African Games in Ghana.

Making a return to the African Games after an absence since 2011, Uganda seeks to make a strong statement in the tournament after their previous disappointment in Maputo, Mozambique where they failed to go past the groups.

Nigeria, on the other hand, boasts a rich history in the competition, having clinched the title in 1973 and reaching the final in the previous edition in 2019 where they lost to Burkina Faso 2-0.

Also: Morley Byekwaso names Uganda Hippos final squad for African games

This encounter serves as a rematch of the intense clash during the 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations, where Nigeria emerged victorious with a hard-fought 1-0 win in Egypt.

Despite being labeled as underdogs against Nigeria’s Flying Eagles, Uganda’s coach, Morley Byekwaso, expressed confidence ahead of the showdown.

“We do respect Nigerians as superpowers of African football,” acknowledged Byekwaso. “But we don’t fear them. A lot has changed since they beat us the last time, and we are ready to show them we have improved since then.”

Outside hosts Ghana, the participating teams earned their spots in the event by just reaching to the quarter-finals of the 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.

Uganda, aiming to mimick their best placement of 4th in 1999, faces a challenging group that also includes Senegal and South Sudan.

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Ahead of the tournament, Byekwaso made some adjustments to the squad, dropping Saidi Mayanja, George Isiagi, and Abbas Kyeyune.

The current roster features promising talents such as Patrick Jonah Kakande from SC Villa, Ibrahim Juma from CD Leganes, and Allan Oyirwoth, who recently made a move to Greece.

Other notable players include Usama Arafat from KCCA, experienced forward Bruno Bunyaga, and Alpha Ssali from Express FC.

Nigeria’s coach, Ladan Boss, will bank on key players including Captain Daniel Bameyi, Daniel Daga, Nathaniel Nwosu, Charles Agada, and Olalekan Ibrahim as they seek to make their mark in the tournament.


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