Tanzania have grabbed the final 2021 African Cup of Nations U20 slot for the East Africa zone after beating South Sudan 1-0 in the second Cecafa U20 Championship semi-final on Monday.
The tournament was organised in order to produce the region’s representatives for the Afcon tournament that will be held in Mauritania next year.
Tanzania defeated South Sudan at Black Rhino Academy in Arusha and the victory will not only give them the Afcon U20 slot but also placed them in a good position to defend the title at home.
After a goalless first half, Kassim Haruna rose to the occasion in the 58th minute to break the deadlock in favour of the Ngorongoro Heroes.
The hosts became the highest-scoring side after netting 15 goals and conceded just two. They started the title defence with a convincing 6-1 win over Djibouti.
The win over Djibouti was followed by an even better outing for them as they smashed Somalia 8-1 in the next group encounter.
In the second game, skipper Kelvin Pius John, who is also turning out for Leicester City's Academy in England, netted a hat-trick.
Tanzania will now face Uganda, who outclassed hitherto unbeaten Kenya by a 3-1 margin, in the final that will be held on December 2.
Uganda Hippos' captain Gavin Kizito Mugweri explained how they managed to sail through to the final despite an opening stalemate against Kenya.
“We are happy that our target of qualifying to the final tournament has been achieved. I thank the coaches for preparing us and the players for the efforts,” Mugweri said after the match as per Kawowo Sports.
“It is working together as a unit that has brought us this far. Everyone has been committed to this fight and I’m happy that we have pulled it off.”
Although the Morley Byekwaso side sealed a place in the upcoming Afcon edition, the skipper warned there is still a need to work even harder.
“Qualification is sealed but we still have to fight for the trophy in the final,” the captain added.
“It would be important for us to return home as champions and we shall go back to prepare for that.”
It is the first time Uganda have qualified for the U20 Afcon competition.