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    AFCON U20: How Uganda Hippos Came From Behind To Beat Mauritania To Qualify…



    Uganda Hippos players celebrating their winning goal against Mauritania.

    The Uganda U20 National soccer team, the Hippos have qualified to the Total AFCON U20 quarterfinals after outsmarting hosts Mauritania at Stade Olympique.

    Uganda finished 2nd of a 4-team Group A. Cameroon finished on top with a one hundred percent record from the group having collected all 9 points from 3 games.

    Mauritania finished 3rd in the group with 1 win and two losses against Uganda and Cameroon, while Mozambique came very last after failing to earn even a single point from the 3 games.

    In today’s decisive game on who would qualify in the second spot in Group A, Silly Sanghare scored from a penalty in the 39th minute to put Mauritania ahead after Aziz Kayondo brought down Oumar Mbareck in the area.

    Despite trailing at halftime, Morley Byekwaso’s boys put up a spirited fight to score twice in the second half.

    Towards the hour mark, Steven Sserwadda leveled matters for Uganda. At 1-1, Uganda was not only tied with Mauritania in the game but on points as well.

    With only 2 minutes left on the clock, substitute Derrick Kakooza converted from the spot to put Uganda in the lead after defender Mohammed Sarr handled the ball in the box. Kakooza came on for Najib Yiga, another substitute.

    The win sends Uganda to the quarterfinals as the second placed team in group A with 6 points, three behind leaders Cameroon.

    By Baron Kironde



    INTERVIEW: Ismael Watenga Reveals How He Ended Up In Chippa, Opens Up About His Brotherhood With Onyango And Why He’s Always On The Move…



    Ismael Watenga in South Africa

    Ugandan goal keeper, Ismael Watenga has been linked with 4 different teams in less than three years after leaving Vipers SC towards the end of 2018.

    Watenga made a landmark signing this season with South African side, Chippa United. The Chilli Boys confirmed the arrival of the Cecafa Cup-winning goalkeeper after he had trained with rivals and PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

    Watenga intimated to theGrapevine about how he ended up at Chippa, and what really happened. He also opened up about his mysterious short spells in Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Watenga also revealed why he left Vipers where he enjoyed a successful seven-year stint, Watenga also won a domestic trophy and on the international front, he won the 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Ethiopia.

    Here is the full interview of Watenga with theGrapevine;

    THE GRAPEVINE: You have been labeled a club traveller by football pundits of late for your adventurous moves from soccer clubs, how does that appeal to you?

    WATENGA: That’s their own opinion. Ask those pundits if it’s bad to develop as a player. Everytime I move, I be aiming at better.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So, you still haven’t found better after less than 3 years in 3 different clubs since departing from Vipers in 2018?

    WATENGA: I have now gathered experience from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and now S. Africa. I don’t think that’s bad. And now that I’ve come here (S Africa), I’ve found it the most competitive.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What are the challenges you’ve faced playing in S.A PL so far?

    WATENGA: Not so many professional challenges, maybe personal troubles. It’s honestly not easy playing away from home, I’m always home sick. You find different cultures, and different people with various behavioural patterns yet you have to fit in.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Your stay in Ethiopia was very short, why did you leave so early? What exactly happened?

    WATENGA: For Ethiopia, the club got another coach who wanted to use only home based players. I worked so hard and felt I should’ve helped the team sometimes I was not fielded. But it seemed like he was determined about his motive to rely on only home based players. I had to leave.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And what went wrong in the Sofapaka deal?

    WATENGA: I met their expectations but they couldn’t reward me equally.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But you left very soon as you had joined with all the other Ugandans Malunda Mousa and Allan Katwe. Was it the same challenge for all of you in Kenya?

    WATENGA: I will speak for myself. For me, I had signed 1 year contract with a clause of leaving anytime I get the offer. So after a time the president thought I was good enough to help the team and told me to extend the contract and my agent tasked him to improve my earnings, which did not happen.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But some reports indicate that you left Sofapaka after a heated argument arising from you and the management from an alleged match fixing scandal.

    WATENGA: What I know is that my agent formally failed to agree with the club. The club proposed their offer which my agent was not happy with.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So for you it’s all about the money?

    WATENGA: This is my job, and I have the right to earn well from it, but I had to leave because the team wanted players who would sign longer contracts to stay for more years, that’s why I left.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You were so big here and you chose to leave. You were shining here. In S. Africa at the moment, you’re not even guaranteed to start games, isn’t that going to degrade your good form?

    WATENGA: But staying in the same league (UPL) for years was not improving me either. I was not growing as a goalkeeper.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But do you also think about it that so many big clubs here would surely welcome you back with both arms wide open.

    WATENGA: I’d rather stay here and fight for my place as a foreign player at Chippa or Mamelodi than comfortably stand between the goal posts back home at Vipers or any other club?

    THE GRAPEVINE: You’re a very big prospect in Uganda’s goal keeping future, and you made regular appearances on the CHAN team before you left for professional football outside Uganda, and it has clearly been harder for you to break into the senior team ranks since, do you at any time feel you should’ve stayed home to make it easier for you to cement your position on the national team?

    WATENGA: I have no regrets. Maybe I’m not making the national team call-up list, but I’m not the same player I was back home in Uganda. The vast experience from different leagues has nurtured me more.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Is that honest from you? Every football player’s dream is to represent their nation.

    WATENGA: That’s what I’m saying, I’ll work hard from here (S.Africa) and return to the national team, the hard way. A strong man doesn’t choose the easy path because he knows well that it will lead him nowhere. A real man fights his way out the hard way. And the most successful people are those who have manned up to face the challenges and overcome them. You can’t sleep at home and wake up great tommorow. The only thing now is to keep on working hard the right time will come.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And to be more specific, you left for S. Africa on Mamelodi’s invitation, what happened to see you now at Chippa instead?

    WATENGA: I have a short term contract with Chippa United. But I aim for the top, if Mamelodi is the best here, that’s my target, I’ll work so hard to go there.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So what’s your next destination after S. Africa?

    WATENGA: I am not a tourist. I am a football player who came here with a purpose.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But we have seen you leave Ethiopia and Sofapaka on very short notice before, you could be secretly planning another quick move away from S. Africa.

    WATENGA: I leave South Africa now, to where? This is the best league in Africa! I want to settle in here.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You could maybe head to N. Africa where there’s such good competition as well, or even Sudan which has become a good market for Ugandan players.

    WATENGA: I have a running contract here and so I can’t again start thinking about where to go when I’m still here. I believe there are millions of players in Africa who wish to come and ply their trade here.

    THE GRAPEVINE: How do you cope up with life so far away from home?

    WATENGA: I miss my family so much. I wish to be with them, and I know they miss me too. But good thing is they know I’m far away from them to create a better life ahead for all of them.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Doesn’t that create emptiness within your kids and trust issues in your relationship with your wife?

    WATENGA: It’s not the first time. I was in Ethiopia and Kenya before. They all know I am here for work so they understand. We always talk on video calls so it’s like we are always together.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What do you count as your greatest achievement as a footballer so far?

    WATENGA: Now let me remind you just in case you’re forgetting, I came from a small village in Nakaloke, Eastern Uganda, and now I’m signed here as a professional footballer with a big S. African club. For me, that’s too much already. I believe I wouldn’t be here if not for football.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What is your best moment in football so far?

    WATENGA: I’ve created many good memories in football, and I’ve had so many precious moments in football I can’t choose one specific time.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And your worst moment as a player?

    WATENGA: I can’t forget when I got ruled out of the CHAN tournament with a nasty injury in Rwanda. I was psychologically tortured. I know it’s part of my job but it’s a horrible experience to get injured.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You look so contented with staying here (S. Africa)

    WATENGA: When I came here (S. Africa), I linked up with Dennis Onyango and Moses Waiswa, they really helped me alot to adapt.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So you’re having a great time here?

    WATENGA: Yes, as a fact, when I was still training with Mamelodi Sundowns, Onyango could personally pick me up to go for training in his car. I felt like I was home so far away from home.

    THE GRAPEVINE: It’s evident Onyango likes you so much. He freely expresses it on many occasions.

    WATENGA: I think it’s a blessing to be loved and I thank God for that. He’s such a humble guy.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Is he preparing you to be his successor?

    WATENGA: Hahaha He’s just good to everyone. He advises me on how to do things on and off the pitch. I don’t think he in his capacity as a player can choose which player should play. That’s not his job.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You have been exceptionally articulate. Your communication skills are impressive.

    WATENGA: Hahaha I was at one of the best schools in Uganda (Kitende) So what do you expect?

    THE GRAPEVINE: How is your relationship with your former principal Mulindwa ever since you left Kitende?

    WATENGA: He will forever be my father.

    THE GRAPEVINE: When did you last talk to him?

    WATENGA: I have taken long with out meeting him. And you know Mulindwa is a very busy man. He can only meet you on special appointment. We’re given only a maximum of three weeks off season with so many things to do so here and there. But next time I come back to Uganda I’ll have to meet him.

    By Baron Kironde


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    AFCON U17: Hamza Lutalo Promises To Make Uganda Proud As The Cubs Depart For Morrocco…



    Uganda Cubs head coach Hamuza Lutalo addressing journalists at the FUFA Njeru Technical Centre.

    The Uganda U17 National Team (The Uganda Cubs) has today departed the country for Morocco ahead of the Total Africa U17 Cup of Nations.

    This after the Cubs head Coach, Hamza Lutalo named the final 25 man squad for the Total U-17 AFCON that will be played between 13th-31st March in Morocco. He vowed to make Uganda proud with good results.

    “We are not just going into this tournament to participate but to compete highly to see that we win,” Lutalo told journalists.

    The Cubs were pooled in group A in the draws of the tourney held on Wednesday. They will face off with Morocco, Ivory Coast and Zambia

    The contingent flies out today at 3pm aboard Ethiopian Airways.

    FUFA Executive Committee Member Agnes Mugena is the Leader of Delegation for the period the team will camp in Morocco before they get into the CAF designated facilities.

    Rogers Byamukama-another Executive Member will take over the roles of Leader of Delegation when the tournament proper kicks off.

    Full Contingent

    Leader of Delegation: Agnes Mugena

    Head Coach: Hamuza Lutalo

    Assistant Coach: Ssenyondo Brian

    Goalkeeper Coach: Kiberu Mubarak

    Team Manager: Mutyaba Bashir

    Team Doctor: Lule Micheal

    Media Officer: Bwanika Lawrence

    Kits Manager: Damba Noah Veron

    Magada Abdu (Busoga United FC JT), Mwebe Henry (Express FC JT), Oyirwoth Humphrey (Express FC JT), Kamya Shamulan (Bright Stars FC JT)

    Mulema Vincent (Kyetume FC JT), Mungufeni Yabezi (Matete Comprehensive Seed), Ibrahim Juma (KCCA FC SA), Luyima Enock (Volf  SA), Nsambu Lloyd Tendo (Metz FC U17, France), Gava Peter (Express FC JT), Madoi Ronald (Wakiso Giants FC JT), Mukisa Simon (KCCA FC SA)

    Irinimbabazi Ivan (Bright Stars FC JT),Jemba Abudshakur Ramsey (Isra SA), Alafi Ceasor (Matete Comprehensive Seed), Mutyaba Travis (Vipers SC JT), Ssekajugo Elvis (Bright Stars FC JT), Mutebi Hakim (St Henrys College-Kitovu), Mwanje Elvis Eddy (KCCA FC SA)

    Magogo Shafiq (KCCA FC SA), Mubiru Hassan (Express FC JT), Mawa Oscar (KCCA FC SA), Jumbe Fahad (Vipers SC JT), Bugembe Issa (Bright Stars FC JT), Mukiibi Marvin (Wakiso Giants FC).

    By Baron Kironde


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    AFCON U20: Uganda Hippos Knock Out Burkina Faso To Storm Semi Finals!



    Uganda U20 players lift their hero Jack Komakech high in celebration. The goal keeper saved a penalty on the night to help his team qualify.


    The Uganda U20 National soccer team, the Hippos have stormed the AFCON U20 semi finals in Mauritania.

    Uganda edged Burkina Faso 5-3 on penalties to qualify after 120 minutes of endless attempts but no goals.

    The normal 90 minutes ended goalless and so did 30 more minutes after normal time produce no goals at all.

    Uganda converted all the five spot kicks as goalkeeper Jack Komakech made the difference by keeping out Djiga Yacouba’s effort.

    Derrick Kakooza who has scored twice at the tournament opened for Uganda sending goalkeeper Traore Moussa the wrong way.

    Joseph Kizza Bukenya, Najib Yiga, Ivan Bogere and Kenneth Ssemakula all converted for Uganda.

    The Uganda Hippos now await the winner between Morocco and Tunisia for a semifinal clash that could get them an appearance in the final, joining Ghana who earlier reached the semis by beating Cameroon.

    Morley Byekwaso’s boys are now left with only 90 plus 90 minutes to make USD200,000 if they play in the finals and emerge victorious.

    The communication was confirmed in a zoom meeting between FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo and the U20 contingent in Mauritania earlier this week.

    “You will win up to USD200,000 (UGX740M) if you lift  the Total AFCON U20 Trophy in Mauritania,” Magogo revealed.

    By Baron Kironde


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