AFCON U23: Uganda Learn Path To Morocco

Striker Derrick Kakooza was a joy during Uganda’s impressive run to the final at the AFCON U20

Uganda have learnt her qualification path to the 2023 U23 Africa Cup of Nations finals due November 2-26 2023 in Morocco.

The draw for the qualifiers held on Thursday have pitted Uganda U23 side, the Kobs, against Guinea in the second round while Nigeria is a likely opponent at the third round.

Due to her ranking, Uganda, just like Guinea, is among the 18 teams that were exempted from the First round of the qualifiers.

Uganda will visit Guinea for the first leg due October 21-23 before hosting the return leg of the second round on October 28-30.

If Uganda advance to third round, they will battle winner of Nigeria Vs South Sudan/Tanzania.

South Sudan meet Tanzania at the first round, with the winner meeting Nigeria at the second round.

The third round ties will be played in March next year, with the winners of the seven ties booking tickets to Morocco.

The U23 AFCON tournament will feature eight teams including Morocco who are confirmed as hosts.

It will also act as a qualifier for the 2024 Olympic Games that will be held in Paris, France.

The top three teams (finalists and bronze winner) will qualify for the Olympics.

How Far Can Uganda Kobs Go?

It’s now hard to call who will make the Uganda Kobs squad but it’s expected that the coaches will want to use the template of the Hippos roster that reached the 2021 U20 AFCON final in Mauritania.

The National football teams have been on the rise in recent memory, including the Crested Cranes (Women), Sand Cranes (Beach Soccer), Hippos (U20) and the Cranes team, have all played on the continent.

But this KOBs side is yet to reach that level after three failed attempts – 2011 Morocco, 2015 Senegal and 2019 Egypt.

For the first tournament played in 2011, Uganda were eliminated by Congo 4-2 on penalties after ending 1-1 on aggregate. Karim Ndugwa scored the lone goal in Kampala before Boukama Kaya beat Uganda in Congo.

In 2015, after eliminating Rwanda, Uganda were outclassed by Egypt who won the tie 6-1 on aggregate (4-0 in Cairo, 2-1 in Kampala).

In 2019, the Kobs were beaten by South Sudan 2-1 on aggregate just at the first round. Mustafa Kizza scored a late penalty to win 1-0 at Lugogo but goals from Peter Michael Taku and Makueth Wol sent Uganda packing.

Fourth time lucky?

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