Uganda international Travis Mutyaba is hoping his TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) experience can inspire his nation to success at the U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
In a recent conversation with CAFOnline, the SC Villa teenager revealed he has put the CHAN 2022 disappointment behind him.
Mutyaba, 17, has bigger plans going into the 23th edition of the U20 AFCON which starts on 19 February.
“My goals for the AFCON tournament in Egypt is to take my motherland to the World Cup and to be the best player in the tournament,” Mutyaba revealed.
Uganda are pitted in U20 AFCON Group B, alongside the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo.
Mutyaba was a part of the Uganda Cranes team at the ongoing CHAN tournament and featured in all three matches as they crashed out prematurely.
The event in Algeria served as part of his preparations for the upcoming AFCON.
“I believe Ssematimba and Mutyaba will be fully ready to help coach Jackson Mayanja (Hippos Coach) by going there and giving their best,” the senior national team coach Milutin Sredojevic, said when quizzed about why he took the teenagers to Algeria.
Mutyaba played 58 minutes across the three games and says he has learned lessons from the event, though it didn’t end as planned.
Travis Mutyaba of Uganda controls possession during the 2022 CAF African Nations Championship match between Senegal and Uganda at 19 Mai 1956 Stadium in Annaba, Algeria on 18 January 2023
Uganda’s campaign ended in the group stage. Mutyaba and CECAFA U20 most valuable player Ssematimba Titus, quickly returned home to join the U20 squad and share their experience.
“The main lesson I share with the U-20s about the CHAN is when things go as planned let’s not feel comfortable. Teams that do that end up losing what they were dreaming of.
“I say this because it happened to us against Cote D’Ivoire. We had two options we needed either a draw or win.Unfortunately, things turned out bad on our side. We lost the game and were knocked out of the tournament,” an emotional Mutyaba explained before adding the CHAN meant a lot to him.
“I don’t really know what to say about the CHAN tournament. But it was a pleasure and joy to be among the participants. A real motivation. It meant a lot to me and added more to my career.”
Though Mutyaba featured for the senior national team against Tanzania aged 16 years and five months, he rates playing in the CHAN in Algeria higher.
“I call it my biggest achievement in my football,” the native of Nansana declared.
Cheikhou Omar Ndiaye of Senegal and Travis Mutyaba of Uganda challenge for possession during the 2022 CAF African Nations Championship match between Senegal and Uganda at 19 Mai 1956 Stadium in Annaba
Uganda picked up a record four points from their opening two games in the CHAN. Unfortunately, they lost to Côté D’Ivoire which amounted to elimination in the group stage for the sixth time in six appearances in the CHAN.
The former Uganda U17 international has flipped the CHAN page. His eyes are set on his objective going into the U20 AFCON in Egypt.
This 17th edition of the U20 AFCON will run from 19 February to 11 March 2023 in Cairo, Ismailia, Alexandria.
Uganda will open their campaign against Central African Republic on February 20, before facing Congo three days later and cap the group stage against South Sudan on January 26.
Africa’s four semi-finalists of the U20 AFCON will qualify for the World Cup scheduled for May 20 to June 11 this year in Indonesia.
*Credit: CAF Media.