U20 Afcon: ‘It is hard to find words’ to praise Uganda – McKinstry reacts after Hippos progress to the final |

The U20 Cecafa champions defeated Tunisia in Mauritania to seal their place in the last two

Uganda head coach Johnathan McKinstry is short of words to use on the Hippos after their qualification to the Africa U20 Cup of Nations final.

A hat-trick from Derrick Kakooza and a strike from Richard Basangwa gave the East Africans a massive win over Tunisia, in the semi-finals, who scored through Ben Lamin Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Monday night. The youthful tactician believes the display was top class.

“It is hard to find words exultant enough to praise these young men and all of the support staff,” McKinstry tweeted.

“[A] huge congratulations to coach Morley [Byekwaso] and all of the Uganda Hippos. Top class performance and a great night for Ugandan football. Onwards to the final.”

The U20 Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) champions will now play Ghana in the finals.

The West Africans are through to the last two in Mauritania following a 1-0 victory over Gambia. Precious Boah’s first-half effort decided the semi-final fixture at Stade Olympique in the city of Nouakchott.

It was timely revenge for Abdul Karim Zito’s charges who gave away the lead to fall 2-1 to the Gambians in their first meeting at the tournament in the group stage.

Unlike previous editions of the tournament in recent times, there is no World Cup qualification reward for the semi-finalists following the cancellation of the global gathering slated for Indonesia this year due to health and safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ghana, who beat Tanzania 4-0 in their tournament opener and drew 0-0 with Morocco before bowing to Gambia in the group stage, will face the Hippos on Saturday in the final, in their quest for a fourth continental title. 

Champions in 1993, 1999, and 2009, the Black Satellites reached the quarter-final stage of this year’s competition as one of the best third-placed sides after finishing behind Morocco and Gambia in Group C.

Uganda, who are making their debut, defeated Mozambique 2-0 in their Group A opener before falling 1-0 to Cameroon. They won their final game 2-1 over the hosts before eliminating Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals.

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