THE national Under-20 (Ngorongoro Heroes) is stepping up final preparations in Mauritania ahead of their tomorrow’s first match of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-20.
The team arrived in Mauritania safely for the event that was officially opened up on Sunday in Mauritania as hosts were expected to play Cameroon in the opening.
Tanzania, according to Ngorongoro Heroes’ head of delegation to Mauritania, Khalid Abdallah, who is a an executive committee member of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), the young boys are doing well in Mauritania, making their final preparations before playing Ghana tomorrow at Stade Municipal ground.
The local boys are under tutelage of head coach, Jamhuri Kihwelo, alias Julio who has said that Tanzania will compete in the Championship to be held from February 14 to March 4 in Mauritania who are serious competitors and not just mere participants.
Julio said that his side will make all possible to excel well in the finals, focusing on winning the title as well as qualifying for the Under-20 World Cup.
“It will be a tough affair, but our mission is to make sure that we pose a stiff opposition as serious title contenders,” he was quoted as saying before the team’s departure.
He further said that he was happy to manage his boys qualify for the crucial African showpiece event in a football history.
Tanzania is in Group C that comprises of Ghana, Gambia and Morocco. The teams in group B are Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Namibia and the Central African Republic whereas Uganda, the Hippos have been pitted against hosts, Mauritania in group A alongside Cameroon and Mozambique.
Uganda and Tanzania had qualified for the 2021 AFCON U20 Championship in Mauritania after overcoming Kenya and South Sudan respectively at the Under-20 Cecafa regional semifinals held in Arusha last December.
The Arusha regional event was part of qualification for the AFCON finals in Mauritania.
Their proceeding to the finals of Cecafa event in Arusha was just a mere formality despite booking their tickets for the Mauritanian event.
The finals saw Hippos defeating the hosts, Ngorongoro heroes 4-1.
Goals by Najib Yiga, Steven Sserwada, Ivan Bogere, and Aziz Kayondo inspired the Hippos to their first CECAFA U20 title as Ngorongoro Heroes finished runners-up.
The tournament will be played in the two cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou.
Nouakchott will host two groups at the Stade Olympique and Stade Cheikha Ould Boïdiya while matches in Nouadhibou will be played at Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou.
This is the first time the U20 Africa Cup of Nations has been expanded to 12 teams instead of the eight in previous tournaments.