Uganda Hippos advance to the final of the U20 Africa Cup of Nations after thrashing Tunisia 4-1 at Stade Cheikha Ould Boïdiya in Mauritania.
A hattrick from Derrick Kakooza coupled with a strike from Richard Basangwa sent Hippos to the final match of the tournament where they will face Ghana.
Basangwa gave Hippos the lead inside five minutes with a great finish on the turn. The Vipers SC forward was at the end of Gavin Kizito’s cross, and shot a low drive to beat Elias Damergy.
The burly forward was very much involved in the second goal, using his pace and power to beat his marker before setting up Kakooza at the far post to tap into an empty net in the 36th minute.
Tunisia pulled a goal back immediately through defender Adam Ben Lamine who was lucky to have the ball bounce off him as Uganda scrambled to clear their lines.
Kakooza restored Hippos’ two goal cushion five minutes into the second half as he headed home Bobosi Byaruhanga’s deep cross.
The Tunisians threw everything at Hippos early in the second half with numerous raids but five minutes in, it was Uganda celebrating again. Bobosi Byaruhanga, in acres of space, picked out Kakooza with a long ball that he headed over Damergy who was caught in no man’s land for Uganda’s third goal.
Hippos slowed down the game with composed passing the rest of the half and defended in numbers giving the North Africans no clear-cut opportunities, with Semakula clearing off the line Tunisia’s only real opportunity of the second half.
Kakooza’s hat-trick and very impressive performance was crowned in the 73rd minute as he raced through on goal before placing the ball below Tunisia goalkeeper Elias Damergy.
In Saturday’s final, Uganda will face Ghana who edged Gambia 1-0 in the other semifinal.
How they lined up
Uganda XI: Jack Komakech (Gk), Abdu Azizi Kayondo, Musa Ramathan, Kizito Gavin, Kenneth Semakula, Steven Sserwadda, Isma Mugulusi, Najib Yiga, Richard Basangwa, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Derrick Kakooza
Tunisia XI: Elias Imed Danergy (GK), Adam Karim Benlamie, Mootez Zaddem, Zied Berrima, Mohamed Aziz Guesmi, Abdallah Amri, Marc Martin Lamti, Chiheb Labidi, Mohamed Amine Ben Zghada, Hassan Ayari, Nabil Makni