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Somalia advances to U17 CECAFA finals after pushing past Uganda in ET penalties


Thursday October 13, 2022

Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia's U-17 football pushed past reigning regional champions Uganda on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA), securing its first finals appearance in the tournament.

Somalia dispatched Uganda 8-7 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at the Abebe Bikila Stadium in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Somalia found itself in trouble late in the first half when goalkeeper Abdikadir Mohamed could not keep out a free kick from a risky position, leading to Ugandan defender Jamal Ssemwogere easily heading in the rebound.

Less than two minutes later, Somalia's star player Abdihafid Abdi intercepted a pass at midfield before wrapping the ball around the final defender. With just the keeper to beat, Abdi kept a cool head and confidently rolled the ball into the back right of the net. 

Both teams failed to capitalize on the multiple scoring opportunities they created in the second, leading to a penalty shootout to decide who would advance to the finals.

All eight of Somalia's players converted their penalties, including goalkeeper Abdikadir Mohamed who sealed the victory by following up Arafat Nkoola's missed penalty with a superb strike that sent Uganda home.

"I thank God for directing us to AFCON 2023." But we are still determined to win the championship," said a delighted Somalia coach, Nur Mohamed Amin, after the game.

Somalia's Minister of Youth and Sports, Mohamed Barre Mohamud, congratulated the young team on their historic victory at the East and Central African Games.

Somalia will take on South Sudan on Saturday, who secured their place in the finals with a penalty win over Tanzania on Wednesday.

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