Odds On Favourites

With an away victory under their belt, Uganda’s under-17 team (The Cubs) have everything in their favour to beat Seychelles and aance into the second round of the 2015 African Youth championship qualifiers.

However, Matia Lule, the national soccer under-17 team coach, was quick to warn against complacency when his boys face-off with Seychelles tomorrow (June 28) at the KCCA Stadium in Lugogo. Alluding to the mantra ‘soccer is soccer’, which means anything is possible in the sport, Lule warned his players against taking things for granted.

“We can’t afford to relax. The Seychellois are capable of getting a result here if we undermine them,” Lule said in his pep talk to the boys after Wednesday’s training session.

Nonetheless, if the results from a series of their tune up games are anything to go by, Lule’s boys have been in fine form and should destroy the Islanders in spectacular fashion. The youngsters beat Mayuge’s Tawheed Senior Secondary School 2-1 and thrashed Kawempe Tigers 6-0 in their warm up games played earlier this week.

Charles Ssebutinde and Pius Obuya, the two-goal heroes from the first leg in Victoria two weeks ago, were again on the scoresheet for The Cubs as they netted one apiece in the mauling of the Tigers. Muhammed Shaban hit the back of the net four times and should be a key weapon for Lule.

In addition to US-based skipper Andrew Isiagi Okiring, and the late inclusions of Ezra Bida and Ashraf Mugume, coach Lule has plenty of manpower to eliminate Seychelles. Bida and Mugume were among the key players omitted from the squad for the first leg tie after their Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan results, a mandatory CAF requirement to ascertain player ages, were not availed in time.

That said, The Cubs are expected to enjoy massive home support at the KCCA stadium, which hosts its maiden international game but provides a close connection between the fans and the players because of the close proximity between the touchline and the perimeter fence.

Local football governing body, Fufa, picked on the home of league champions, KCC FC, as a substitute venue for the match after Nakivubo stadium management declined to host it. Sudanese officials led by El Fatih Wadeed Khaleel (centre ref), his assistants Mohammed Abdallah Ibrahim and Mustafa Ibrahim Medany will be in charge of the match.

Entry charges have been fixed at Shs 5,000 and Shs 10,000 for general stands and VIP seats respectively. Kick-off is 4pm. If Uganda’s undernot17s eliminate Seychelles, as is widely expected, they will face Rwanda in the second round of qualifiers due next month.

Source : The Observer

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