Total U20 AFCON 2023
Quarterfinals, Thursday, March 2
Uganda vs Nigeria, 8pm EAT
Things have changed in front of him but him. The Uganda Hippos goalkeeper, Abdu Magada, is one of few players that have played in all three matches so far at the ongoing Total U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 finals in Egypt.
The StarTimes Uganda Premier League young goalkeeper with Gaddafi FC is expected to continue in goal when the nation’s under 20 team, the Hippos, take on tournament perennial winners Nigeria on Thursday.
“We do not want to promise too much, but we expect the best from ourselves,” said Magada, ahead of the big clash against record seven-time winners of this tournament, Nigeria.
Hippos coach Jackson Mayanja has kept faith in Magada despite him conceding three goals in as many matches.
The above notwithstanding, the Gaddafi goalkeeper has been crucial in keeping out some of the most dangerous attacks on Uganda’s goal.
Magada has also had to deal with changes in personnel in front of him.
For example, only defenders Rogers Ochaki of Vipers SC and Apollo Kagogwe of Wakiso Giants have played with Magada in all three matches against Central African Republic (2-1 in favour of Uganda), Congo (2-2) and South Sudan (0-0).
Spain-based Ibrahim Juma and KCCA’s Haruna Lukwago have played in two matches, with Ronald Madoi of Wakiso Giants and SC Villa’s Umar Lutalo coming in the final group game against South Sudan.
Unless otherwise, coach Mayanja is expected to keep faith in Magada ahead of SC Villa’s Delton Oyo and Kamya Shamulan of Soltilo Bright Stars.
Nigeria won two of their group matches, beating Mozambique and hosts Egypt 2-0 and 1-0 respectively. They lost their opening match 1-0 to Senegal, who topped their group.
Uganda are looking to progress to the semifinals in order to book a slot at the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup due in Indonesia in May and June.
The Hippos did qualify for the World Cup in 2021 but the tournament did not take place because of Covid.