There was a small celebration at the end of the Hippos’ 1-0 first leg win over their Cameroonian counterparts in the second round of the 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.
The brief ceremony performed by his colleagues at the well-attended game at the StarTimes Stadium was to honour Steven Mukwala’s birthday, the striker who also scored what turned to be the decisive goal.
But with the team’s overall performance and result not giving the national under-20 side a clear advantage ahead of the return leg this weekend, it was perhaps prudent that the celebrations were not over elaborate.
Mukwala scored the game’s only goal after left back Robert Kitabalwa’s long throw in was missed by the Cameroonian defense for the Vipers striker to stab home on the stroke of half time.He was however guilty of missing two other chances; first forcing a save from goalkeeper Christopher Atangana in first half added time before missing a one on one opportunity in the game’s closing stages.
Pace to burn
“We are happy to have won but had hoped to score more. We also didn’t want to concede and therefore we can build on that,” Hippos coach Mathias Lule said after the game.
He will draw confidence from the Mukwala’s pace which troubled the opposition defenders for a positive second leg result. “We wanted to use our speed to create chances and we shall do so again in the second leg,” he said in relation to their more physical opponents.
The Cameroonians though will also be positive of their qualification chances having curved out decent chances of their own through Sakava Sangaola and Ignatius Kpene. The latter forced a point blank save from Hippos goalkeeper Saidi Keni deep into added time. The winner of the Uganda-Cameroon tie qualifies for the third and final qualification round in July where any of Mali and Tanzania or DR Congo awaits.
2019 Acon U-20 qualifiers
First leg result
Uganda Hippos 1-0 Cameroon
(second leg on Friday)