By Gladys Kole
The Bright Stars U-20 national football team has successfully qualified for the final match of the CECAFA U-20 tournament on Tuesday in Sudan.
The South Sudan team came from behind to beat Ethiopia 4-2 in penalties after a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes in the second semi-final played at Al Hilal stadium.
That also means that South Sudan U-20 team booked their spot already in the next year Africa Cup of Nations competition that will be taking place in Egypt.
Charles John Gwit Uok, the South Sudan U-20 head coach thanked his players for the work well done. “I thank my players for fighting and qualifying for AFCON,” said the coach.
The Uganda Hippos have as well qualified for the U-20 Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023.
After a goalless first half display, defender Rogers Torach Ochaki tapped in a free kick to give Uganda the lead after 54 minutes.
The hosts tried to fight back, but failed to beat the well-organized Ugandan defenders. Uganda Hippos captain Isma Mugulusi who plies his trade for Makedonnikos in Greece made it 2-0 for Uganda after 71st minute when he placed the ball past Sudan’s advancing goalkeeper Ibrahim Mohammed.
In the second semifinal match Ethiopia took an early lead from the spot after 8 minutes when Yosef Mekonen converted. But South Sudan also got a penalty after 17 minutes and Joseph Jele made no mistake from the spot.
After recess, the two teams came all out trying to find more goals, but failed as the referee added 30 extra minutes after the normal 90. Zelalem Kussa Chut restored Ethiopia’s lead after 107 minutes, but Felix Abishal made it 2-2 after 112 minutes. But South Sudan team won 4-2 on penalties as they almost capitalized on all their five spot kicks over the poor Ethiopia.
It was history written by South Sudan who also had their U-17 team qualify for the AFCON last month during the qualifiers in Ethiopia. Meanwhile the Bright Stars will be facing Uganda’s Hippos in the finals of the qualifiers competition which is scheduled to take place this coming Friday.