The U20 Africa Cup of Nations has reached the quarterfinals stage, with Uganda set to take on Nigeria’s Flying Eagles in Ismailia on Thursday.
The Hippos have been one of the exciting teams at the tournament, having scored four goals in three games.
They have proven their ability to be a surprise package before – they reached the final of the 2021 edition – and with the emergence of several young talents, they may be a force to be reckoned with.
Soccernet.ng’s Imhons Erons take a closer look at three of Uganda’s most talented starlets who the Flying Eagles must keep under watch so as not to end Nigeria’s World Cup dreams.
Travis Mutyaba, The Ugandan Messi
Travis Mutyaba is a name that has been on the lips of Ugandan football fans for some time now. Dubbed ‘the Ugandan Messi’, Mutyaba has a dazzling skillset that catches the eye.
He made his senior debut for the Cranes aged 17 and stood out as Uganda won the CECAFA under-15 and under-17 tournaments in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Mutyaba’s speed, technique, and lethal left foot make him a dangerous player in the final third. His decision-making and awareness are also admirable, and he has the potential to cause havoc for the Flying Eagles’ defense.
Isma Mugulusi, the Greece-based captain
Isma Mugulusi is the captain of the Ugandan U20 team and plays club football in Greece. He has an eye for a killer pass and the turn of pace to beat his marker.
Mugulusi scored his side’s first goal in Egypt in the 2-1 win over the Central African Republic and claimed an assist in the 2-2 draw against Congo.
The 19-year-old is an intelligent player who can dictate the game’s tempo and create opportunities for his teammates. And the Flying Eagles need to find a way to neutralise the danger this young midfielder can create on his day.
Rogers Mugisha, the fleet-footed wideman
It was no surprise to see Roger Mugisha named to the CAF Team of the Group Stage following his excellent showing in Uganda’s first three games.
With his deceptive skills and knack for delivering a killer pass, Rogers Mugisha proved to be a formidable opponent for defenders in Group B.
He was the Man of the Match in Uganda’s 2-1 triumph over the Central African Republic, and he will look to inspire his side to victory against Nigeria.
Uganda has a talented U20 team, and they have several players who could be instrumental in their quest for success.
In Travis Mutyaba, Isma Mugulusi, and Rogers Mugisha, Uganda have three high-performing players to watch out for.
If the Flying Eagles give them the freedom to perform at their best, they could hurt Nigeria’s World Cup dreams.