A great performance with two assist and a goal from KCCA FC star boy Allan Okello spurred the Uganda Hippos past South Sudan in the first leg of the AFCON 2018 U-20 qualifier game played at the Star Times stadium in Lugogo on Saturday.
The team from juba who entered the Saturday game as minnows put up a decent show in the Hippos backyard dominating most of the first half forcing both teams to go into recess tied.
The home side broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when Mustapha Kiiza converted from a spot kick after Steven Mukwala had been brought down in the 18 yard box.
Meanwhile, six minutes later, the visitors were back to their foot following a goal by defender Musitafa Mujuzi in his own posts.
The team from Juba gained momentum and put up a good show at Lugogo only for the hosts to be saved by the referee’s whistle for recess.
The Hippos returned raring to go in the second half and it was not long before youngster Allan Okello released Mukwala to double Uganda’s lead on 66 minutes.
Second half substitute Sadam Masereka was also on the mark, three minutes later, thanks to Okello again who set him up to score to make it three for the hosts.
Hamis Tibita’s name was also put on the score board when he netted only a minute after coming in Mukwala’s place on the 85th minute mark.
Allan Okello completed the party by registering his name on the score sheet, leaving two players dazzled before releasing a blockbuster that first bounced to the crossbar before entering the net to make it five for Hippos.
Speaking after the game, Hippos coach Matia Lule said his boys at first thought it would be an easy game but things turned out bad for them in the first half.
“By seeing their (South Sudan)small size, my boys thought it was a walkover but got surprised. When the first half ended, they woke up after being motivated in the dressing room,”Lule said of his team.
When asked to comment about Allan Okello’s performance, Lule said he could not be carried away by an individual performance but rather performance of the entire team.
The Hippos coach however warned that they still face a hard task when they play the return leg in Juba almost a month from now on April 22.
“The game is not yet over because they are a good team. Many people think the game is gone but they can overturn it if we go with that mentality,”Lule warned.