Uganda eyeing World Cup after U-17 AFCON success
Uganda Cubs head coach Peter Onen believes that his team have what it takes to make history and qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup after securing their spot at the 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations.
The East Africans will represent the Central-East Zone at the eight-team continental showpiece next year after downing Ethiopia 3-1 in their final qualifying clash on Sunday.
"We have written history by qualifying for the U-17 AFCON," Onen told KweséESPN. "I have always told my players that our team will qualify and make it to the World Cup.
"We still need to be improve how we move with the ball because we are very good mentally, physically and tactically," he added. "This team have what it takes to shock the rest of Africa."
The top four teams from the U-17 AFCON will qualify for the U-17 World Cup, which will take place in Peru in October 2019.
"We are strong to qualify for the U-17 World Cup," Onen vowed. "We are going to make sure we prepare well enough so that we are much better by May next year when the U-17 AFCON takes place in Tanzania."
In the final, striker Abdul Wahad Iddi netted a brace, while Samson Kasozi added a third for Uganda.
Ethiopia converted a late penalty through Wondimagegn Bunaro, but hadn't left themselves enough time for an unlikely comeback.
"I am very happy that we have managed to win the trophy and qualify for AFCON," Iddi added. "Finishing with four goals in the tournament has motivated me to even work harder as a player.
"I thank the Ugandan FA for giving me the opportunity to be part of this team."
Moses Magogo, the President of the Uganda FA, is determined that his side will prepare adequately as they look to reach the World Cup.
"We are going to make sure this U-17 team get all the support and also engage in some build-up matches so that they become a force to be reckoned with.
"We shall not only prepare them for the 2019 U-17 AFCON and qualification for World Cup, but [ensure that] they are also the future stars of the national senior team."
CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye believes that Uganda and hosts Tanzania will represent the region well at the youth-level tournament.
"As CECAFA we are very happy with the high level of competition that has been showed by the teams in the qualifiers," he began.
"The strongest two teams in the region will compete well with the other teams from the different zones."
The 2019 AFCON U-17 will take place in Tanzania in May, 2003 champions Cameroon have already qualified to represent the Central Zone, while Angola will represent the South Zone.