‘It is a dream come true’ – Bogere after Uganda qualify for Afcon U20 finals

Ivan Bogere of Uganda U20.
The Hippos lead striker reveals his happiness after sealing a slot to play in the Afcon finals set to be staged in Mauritania

Uganda striker Ivan Bogere has revealed his happiness at seeing the country book their place in the U20 Afcon finals.

The Uganda Hippos floored Kenya U20 3-1 on Monday to reach the final of the Cecafa tournament being held in Tanzania.

Goals from Bogere, who scored a brace, and Kenneth Semakula were enough to eliminate the Stanley Okumbi-led charges who scored their consolation late into the game through Enock Wanyama.

Bogere, who features for Proline FC in Uganda, has now said it was always a dream for him to play in the biggest stage in his life and was happy to have sealed a place in the Afcon final.

“I have always thought of achieving qualification to the Afcon U20 finals,” Bogere said as quoted by Kawowo Sports. “This is a dream realised and personally, I wanted this very tournament to be a complete turn-around of my football career.

“I want to thank our technical team, Fufa management, management, and dear fans. All people have encouraged and supported us at all times."

This will be the first time Uganda are taking part in the Afcon competition for the U20's and started the competition in Tanzania on a rather a low-key moment, being held to a non-scoring stalemate by lowly South Sudan.

Uganda then came up against Burundi, whom they hammered 6-1 with the goals coming from Bogere’s brace and Isma Mugulusi before a goal apiece from Najib Yiga and second-half substitute Joseph Kizza Bukenya.

By topping Group B, Uganda were paired to come up against rivals, Kenya whom they dominated in the semi-finals clash.

The Hippos came into the match expecting a tough outing owing to the Rising Stars' good run in the competition. The team had managed to defeat Ethiopia 3-0 in Group C before claiming a 2-1 win over Sudan.

It took Uganda 22 minutes to open the scoring against their neighbours. A good move ended up with the ball on Kenneth Semakula who managed to beat the goalkeeper from close range.

Three minutes later, it was 2-0; Kenya were aiming at an instant reply and were caught in a counter-attack. Bogere managed to keep his cool and double the advantage.

Uganda, deservedly, went into the break with a 2-0 advantage as Kenyans got a chance to strategize and come back stronger.

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Even after the break, it was the Hippos who looked likely to get another goal.

It became worse for the Okumbi-coached team when the Rising Stars conceded a penalty in the 63rd minute, and Bogere stepped up to complete his brace and make the scores 3-0.

With 10 minutes to go, Kenya pulled a goal back courtesy of Enock Wanyama, but it was too little too late.