KAMPALA: Uganda Under 17 National team, the Uganda Cubs on Sunday departed for Ethiopia to take part in the African Cup of Nations Zonal Qualifiers.
The tournament is slated for 30th September to 15th October 2022 in Ethiopia. It will act as this year’s qualifiers for the 2023 Total Energies Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations with the winner and runners-up qualifying for the continental showpiece.
In the draws conducted earlier this month, Uganda was placed in Group B alongside Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, and Sudan. The other group has hosts Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, and Eritrea.
Uganda Cubs are bidding to defend the title which they won back in 2019 in Tanzania and will kick start the tournament against Djibouti on October 1st 2022at the Abebe Bikila Stadium.
It will be the most suitable time for Coach Hamza Lutalo’s team to qualify for the third straight time, slated for 30th September to 15th October 2022 in Ethiopia.
Since the last edition of the u-17 AFCON got canceled, the 2023 edition will be the first edition of the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations to have expanded to 12 teams instead of eight. Each of the six zones received two spots in the final tournament.
The team under the stewardship of coach Hamza Lutalo has trained for almost two weeks in a bid to shape up before locking horns with the region’s heavyweights as they battle for the Cecafa glory.
After spending some time in Njeru, Lutalo selected 25 players who are traveling with the team and he believes he has equipped his side with enough skills to defend the title and qualify for AFCON.
He does, however, state that as the defending winners of the zonal competition, he is aware of the threat that awaits them, as each team will be attempting to outcompete them.