The Black Satellites of Ghana will be eyeing a fourth title when they come up against Uganda in the final of the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Saturday 6 March.
Ghana is favourites heading into the game against the Ugandan Hippos side making their first appearance in the competition and also looking to make history.
The Black Satellites clinched a 1-0 win over the Gambia in the semifinal kind courtesy of a Precious Boah free kick in the 33rd minute to book a place in the final. Boah was adjudged Man of the Match after the game.
Uganda showed a masterclass against North African side Tunisia as they eased past them to the final with a 4-1 win.
Derrick Kakooza the star man for the show in the semifinal, scoring a hattrick and also winning the Man of the match award.
Speaking at the pre-match conference Ghana coach Abdul Karim Zito said they are not going to underrate the Uganda team in this final game.
“The fact that we have won this title before is in the past. Now we need to look at the present. We are keen to take this Cup and the biggest reason is that Ghanaian people trusted us and sent us here and it would only proper if we give them a gift especially on the day Ghana is celebrating its birthday.
“In Africa now, there are no big names or small names. Each country is improving and we know Uganda will be a tough opponent. They beat Tunisia 4-1 and it was not luck. They played well and we will not underrate them”.
Uganda coach Morley Byekwaso anticipates a tough game against the Black Satellites in the final.
Speaking at the pre-match conference he said: “It will be tough game because we will be playing a strong, tactical team with a lot of experience in this tournament, but we are ready to play. We have nothing to lose and we only need to play good, whoever plays well will take the day”.
“We need to have lots of tactical discipline because we know how strong and physical they are and how good they are on the ball. If we read the opponent right and prepare well for them, I know we will succeed”.
The Black Satellites have won the title in 1993, 1999 and 2009 and Uganda will be seeking a first trophy at this level.
Goal King race
Uganda’s Derrick Kakooza currently leads the chart with five goals and comes up against Ghana’s Precious Boah who has scored three goals in the competition.
Road to the final
The Ghanaians made it out of the group stages as one of the best two third placed teams after losing their last group match to Gambia to finish third in the group. They had beaten Tanzania and drawn against Morocco, and those two results were just but enough to push them into the quarters.
In the last eight, they matches up against Cameroon, one of the pre-tournament favourites. They came from a goal down in extra time to force out a 1-1 draw and win the tie on penalties to progress to the semis.
In the last four, they were matched up against Gambia, the same team that beat them 2-1 in the group stages. This time, they proved to have done their homework right and laid down a 1-0 revenge against the Young Scorpions to sail to the final.
The Ugandan Hippos finished second in Group A after victories over hosts Mauritania and Mozambique, their only loss of the tournament so far being against Cameroon.
In the quarter-finals, they faced a tough Burkina Faso side and weathered the West African storm to win on penalties and sail to the semis.
They were unstoppable in the last eight, beating Tunisia emphatically 4-1 to announce themselves in the final with a thud.