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Uganda Hippos Defeats Nigeria 2-1 in African Games 2023 Opener

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Uganda’s under – 20 national football,the Hippos beat the former champion Nigeria, the Flying Eagles 2- 1 during the 13th African Games opening match at the Accra Sports Stadium on Thursday night.

USama Arafat and Ivan Irinimbabazi emerged as the heroes for Morley Byekwaso’s side, each finding the back of the net in a performance that sent out early warning bells to rest of the teams in competition.

The opening goal came in the 34th minute when Usama Arafat capitalized on an exquisite long ball from Allan Oyirwoth, displaying composure and finesse with a left-footed finish that left the Nigerian goalkeeper with no chance.

However, Nigeria quickly responded just two minutes later, with Sadiq Isiyaka heading in from a corner to level the score.

Despite the setback, Uganda maintained their composure and continued to press forward to regain their advantage.

The decisive moment arrived in the 81st minute when Ivan Irinimbabazi unleashed a powerful and precise strike from outside the box, following a quick one-two with Usama Arafat.

The win marks a triumphant return to the African Games for Uganda, who last participated in the tournament in 2011.

And it’s also sweet revenge for the Hippos against Nigeria who knocked them out of the AFCON U20 tournament last year in Cairo, Egypt at the Quarterfinals.

Coach Morley Byekwaso, buoyed by his team’s impressive performance, will feel confident in the team’s ability to go far in the competition, drawing on his experience leading the Hippos to the AFCON U20 finals in Mauritania in 2021.

Uganda Hippos now leads Group B on three points, same as Senegal who won 1-0 against South Sudan on the same day.

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The Uganda Hippos will return to action on Monday, 11th March 2024 against Senegal at the same venue.

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