Uganda coach Morley Byekwaso wishes FIFA can find a way for the Under-20 World Cup to be played as he believes that his side deserves a chance to showcase its skills on the global stage. 

The Hippos finished as the runners-up at the 2021 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), after losing 2-0 to Ghana in a hard-fought encounter.

This was the first time that Uganda featured in the U-20 AFCON and the team did extremely well to make it all the way to the final in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

The finalists of the U-20 AFCON qualify for the U-20 FIFA World Cup and attention turns to that, however, FIFA has cancelled this year’s tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Cup was to be played in Indonesia but that has been scrapped, a decision that was taken by FIFA in December 2020 itself.

Byekwaso argues that FIFA needs to figure out a way to get the tournament running, as a generation of players will unfairly miss out on a great career opportunity.

Uganda U-20 AFCON

“FIFA needs to stick to the principles and find a way to play the tournament,” said Byekwaso.

“We have been fighting so hard to reach the World Cup but if we miss out on this chance the boys are going to grow, get older and go into the other age brackets.”

He added, “This means that our players will miss out on such a golden chance to play against the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Norway, and England.

“Interacting with such teams can never leave you the same because there is a lot you learn from them. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana have benefited from these tournaments because they often qualify for them.

“But in one year I have managed to win the regional tournament (CECAFA) and for the first time, guided the boys to the finals of their debut tournament. I am so happy and thank God for the journey.”

We believe the Uganda coach is correct in every sense and has a right to be disappointed. FIFA needs to make a provision as young players’ careers are at stake.

Here’s to hoping that FIFA finds a solution to this.