Uganda Hippos Coach Morley Byekwaso says that his team showed incredible ‘intelligence and resilience’ in the 2-1 victory over host nation Mauritania in their final group A game at the Stade Olympique in Nouachott on Saturday evening.
The victory means that the Hippos who are making their first appearance at the U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) reach the quarter finals of the tournament.
The Uganda Hippos staged a comeback to negotiate past Mauritania thanks to Steven Sserwadda and second half substitute Derrick Kakooza’s late penalty that helped Uganda Hippos to their second victory in the group stages.
Speaking after the game, Byekwaso said: “We are grateful to God for the result he has given us as Uganda.”
“We played against a very serious and tough team Mauritania. They play very fast and entertaining game but we managed to handle them.”
“The game was like a final and we knew it would be very tough for us but we thank God that we won the game 2-1 and I salute them (Mauritania) because they played very well.”
“We had mixed feelings going into the game because we were playing against the hosts and we were aware it was not going to be an easy game.”
“There were a couple of issues with the officiating and we cautioned the boys to tread carefully especially in the second half.”
“And crucially they did take our cautions on board and managed to tough it out there showing great intelligence and resilience, holding their nerves which lifted us to the result,” he added.
Sserwadda had a bright performance on the day and was involved in the thick of the attacking action from the Hippos who fell behind eight minutes to the half time break through Mauritania skipper Silly Sanghare’s penalty.
Sserwadda pulled Uganda level at the hour mark with a low strike beyond goalkeeper Mohamed El Mokhtar into the bottom corner from Sam Ssenyonjo’s assist.
Uganda completed their come back four minutes from time as substitute Kakooza buried a penalty into the bottom corner after Muhammad Sarr handled the ball inside the area.
The Hippos will look to build on their commendable performance at the AFCON finals when they face either Burkina Faso or Tunisia in the quarter finals on February 26,