October 24, 2021

U20 Afcon 2021: Byekwaso worried about Uganda’s fitness level

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U20 Uganda head coach Morley Byekwaso has conceded his team is concentrating more on player fitness ahead of the Afcon U20 competition scheduled for February.

The Hippos qualified for the biennial competition after progressing to the U20 Cecafa Championship final; eventually winning it after a 4-1 victory over Tanzania. The tactician is now concerned with the level of fitness of his players, less than three weeks before the competition starts. 

“We have so far prepared for three days and we have concentrated more on the fitness levels because the players have been down for a while due to the pandemic and inactive leagues,” Byekwaso said as quoted by the Sports Nation.

“We needed to insert something inside the players’ fitness-wise that is why we have concentrated on it for three days.  

“We shall reduce the number because the players are many, we need to have 30 players here until the deadline.”

The Hippos will play KCCA in a friendly game on Wednesday before a final squad of 25 is named for the competition.

Uganda have been pooled in Group A; the Hippos will have to battle for the quarter-finals with hosts Mauritania, Central Africa heavyweights Cameroon and Mozambique.

Tanzania, have been placed in a tough Group C that features Ghana, Gambia, and Morocco while Group B has Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Namibia, and the Central African Republic.

The two winners from each group will be guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals of the biennial competition alongside the two best third-placed finishers from any of the two groups.

Mali are the defending champions after beating Senegal 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regular time. However, none of the two nations will be in Mauritania for the competition which will take place from February 14 to March 4.

Nigeria are the most successful team having won the title a record seven times. The competition was founded in 1979 to help introduce African youth to the competitive world. Four top teams from the competition will represent the continent in the 2021 Fifa World Cup to be held in Indonesia in the yet to be identified dates.