Derrick Kakooza starred with a hattrick as debutants Uganda continued with their dream run at the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), beating Tunisia 4-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Monday to book a date against Ghana in Saturday’s final.
Kakooza, duly named man of the match, moved clear of Ghana’s Percious Boah in the race for the Golden Boot, his hattrick against the Tunisians taking his tally in the tournament to five. He scored one in the first half and two in the second, adding on to Richard Basangwa’s early opener.
The CECAFA region champions led 2-1 at the break, Basangwa’s left foot causing all the damage for the Tunisians with a goal and an assist.
The forward broke the deadlock in the fourth minute with a brilliant strike on the half volley. He picked up a cross from the left, took a deft touch to rope it over Mohamed Aziz Guesmi’s reach before rifling a low shot into the box.
The Ugandan Hippos were not showing any signs of stage fright despite this being their first ever time at the tournament and were taking the Tunisians by the horns from the opening minute.
They however had to make unexpected changes when Najib Yiga who had started as the left footed swinger of a three-man midfield went down injured and Ivan Bogere was summoned to replace him. This necessitated a change in shape for the Ugandans.
Despite the change in strategy, they were still on top of their game and pressed Tunisia into committing mistakes. The Ugandans worked hard and ran all over the pitch, closing down the spaces for the North Africans.