Imps prodigy bags hattrick to dispel AFCON disappointment

Credit Graham Burrell

City’s exciting youth striker Nathan Odokonyero put the disappointment of missing out on the Under 20 African Cup of Nations by slapping down Scunthorpe United yesterday.

Odokonyero had recently hooked up with Uganda Under 20s as they prepare for the AFCOn tournament, one of two English-based players to be called up to the provisional squad. Sadly, coach Morley Byekwaso was forced to head to Tanzania for a warm-up tournament without the 6ft striker after a delay in paperwork meant he was unable to travel with the side. Despite that, he did train with them for a couple of days before returning o the UK.

Credit Graham Burrell

He shrugged off that disappointment to bag an impressive hat trick yesterday as the Imps U18s side beat Scunthorpe 3-2. He opened the scoring in the fifth minute when a long diagonal ball saw him nip in behind to slot home. He added a second five minutes before half time, on this occasion getting on the end of a cross with goalscoring instinct to find the back of the net.

He made it 3-0 on 71 minutes, firing home a penalty to earn himself a hat trick. Despite two late goals from Scunthorpe, who are above the Imps in the table, we held out. The three points lift the youngster yo fourth in the EFL Youth Alliance North East, but having played six games more than Grimsby Town, and still within reach of both Huddersfield and Rotherham who have games in hand.

Table courtesy LFE


As for Nathan, he is reported as reflecting on his disappointment with Uganda as an opportunity and one he hopes to see repeated over the next year or so. “I am humbled first of all for the summon to the Uganda U-20 national team,” he told Blogging Uganda. “Being selected among the thousands of talented youngsters is a big honour itself. I will remain as hardworking as ever for the right time will arrive.

The striker began his career as a 7-year-old with Chelsea, where he appeared in matches against the likes of Manchester United, Juventus, PSG and Barcelona. At the age of 13, he moved to Brighton, where he bagged 37 goals from the wing in his final season as a youth, before coming up to appear for City Under 18s. He plays as a striker or an attacking midfielder, and he bagged against Rotherham in the earlier stages of the FA Youth Cup, as well as impressing in his other outings.

Uganda kicked off their tournament with a victory against Mozambique yesterday, winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Derrick Kakooza and Steven Sserwadda.