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AFCON U-17 Qualifying: South Sudan and Somalia stun East African heavyweights to qualify

East Africa’s CECAFA region will have two unexpected representatives at the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations after Somalia and South Sudan booked their tickets to the final of the CECAFA U-17 Championship with semifinal wins Wednesday in Ethiopia. Somalia started off the day of semifinal surprises by defeating Uganda 8-7 in a penalty kick shootout after the teams played to a 1-1 draw before South Sudan secured their spot in similar fashion with a 4-3 victory on penalties after drawing Tanzania 1-1. Somalia and South Sudan will duel it out in the final on Saturday before making their debut appearances in the AFCON U-17 finals next year in Algeria.

Uganda appeared poised to advance after opening the scoring towards the end of the first half but Abdihafid Abdi responded soon after just before halftime. With penalties being needed to determine a winner after the teams remained deadlocked, both teams converted their first seven kicks before Uganda sent their eighth attempt over the bar. Somalia goalkeeper Abdikadir Mohamed made up for an error on Uganda’s goal by calmly converting the winning penalty to send the young Ocean Stars into jubilation.

South Sudan opened up the scoring in their clash against Tanzania with a 37th minute strike from Jonathan Ajuong but the young Taifa Stars fought back to level in the 71st minute through Yasin Manage. The South Sudanese team missed their first penalty kick in the shootout but surged back to win 4-3 when consecutive attempts for Tanzania saw Adolf Hamisi put his effort off the post before Manage’s spot kick was saved by the South Sudanese goalkeeper.

Highlights from both semifinal matchups are below.

Scores

Somalia 1-1 Uganda (Somalia wins 8-7 on penalties)

South Sudan 1-1 Tanzania (South Sudan wins 4-3 on penalties)

Highlights

Somalia 1-1 Uganda

South Sudan 1-1 Tanzania

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