The final qualifying spot from Group A at the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be on the line on Saturday when the hosts Mauritania take on Uganda’s Hippos at the Stade de Olympic in Nouakchott.
Both Uganda and Mauritania are on three points and a similar goal difference from the first two matches and whoever wins will finish second in the group and earn automatic qualification to the quarter finals.
The host country were 2-0 winners over Mozambique in their second match of the group phase after a narrow 1-0 loss to Cameroon and they will look to build on the momentum against an equally strong Uganda side.
Home side coach Mauril Njoya believes they will have to dig deep to beat the Ugandans, but is also optimistic that the drive of playing at home will be the extra push they will need to go through into the quarter finals.
Njoya’s side will be dependent once again on a fluid attacking line that has so far terrorized opponents, but one aspect his side will be keen to improve on is their conversion rate.
The Mauritanians have been solid in attack with a front three led by the indefatigable Oumar Mbareck who was named man of the match against Cameroon and also scored a sensational freekick against Mozambique.
Mbareck has been Mauritania’s star in the first two matches of the tournament and when the nation needs him the most on Saturday, he will be the man most likely to take them into the knockout phases.
Despite conceding against Cameroon off a mistake at the back, Mauritania have had a fairly solid backline with Demba Yatera, playing with a heavily strapped left knee, being solid at the back for the The Mourabitounes.
Uganda, just like Mauritania are playing their first ever Under-20 continental tournament and will be keen to ensure they leave a mark by progressing into the knockout phases. The Hippos narrowly lost against Cameroon but will pick positives from their performance and hope to get one over the hosts.
Coach Morley Byekwaso will put forward his strongest squad for the tie and with no injury worries, the tactician will go all out for victory. Derrick Kakooza will once again be looked on for goals while Steven Sserwada who has been impressive off the bench might be considered for a start.