Uganda Cranes is through to the round of 16 despite losing 2-0 to hosts Egypt at Cairo International Stadium on Sunday night in the ongoing Total Africa Cup of Nations.
The final result didn’t reflect the true picture of what Uganda Cranes displayed on the pitch especially before Mohamed Salah netted from a direct free kick and captain Ahmed Elmohamady Abdelfattah Aly added a second for his team.
Abdu Lumala, Emma Okwi and Allan Kyambadde all came close to handing Uganda Cranes the lead in the first half.
With DR Congo in action against Zimbabwe, it was all about collecting each team fighting for points to keep them in the competition except for Egypt who had already qualified following two wins from their opening two fixtures.
DRC hammered Zimbabwe 4-0 a result that couldn’t take them above Uganda Cranes who had already amassed 4 points from the opening two matches.
Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre was forced to make a change in the goalkeeping department as Denis Onyango paved way for Robert Odongkara while Taddeo Lwanga came on for Khalid Aucho and Kizito Luwagga for Allan Kyambadde.
Onyango was stretchered off as he felt dizzy due to the bout of flu that attacked him two days before the game on Sunday. Hassan Wasswa Mawanda took over the Captain’s during the absence of Onyango.
Uganda finished 2nd in Group A while Egypt top with 9 points. DRC is 3rd with 3 points and Zimbabwe one point.
Uganda Cranes will wait to know who their opponents are in the next round. It is the first time that Uganda has qualified for the knock out phase of the competition since 1978 but are in line to face a team that finishes second in Group C which has Algeria, Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania.
Uganda Cranes coach Sebastien Desabre said, “The target by the federation was to qualify from the group stages,”
Adding that, “Now that this has been achieved, we want to stay longer and enjoy the rest of the tournament. I am happy with my players. Ugandan football has changed a lot in the last few years. There has been progress with Ugandan football. Dennis Onyango is doing well. He never got injured. He has been down with flu for the last two days but he is very okay. We don’t know who to play but we are in the path that has teams like Senegal and Kenya. I prefer we face Senegal to give us chance to play another strong team.”
FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo on his part said, “It was good display by the entire team. We have moved to the nest stage and Ugandan footall will change for the better. The qualification is a result of efforts from different stakeholders- Government, sponsors, the Uganda Cranes technical staff, players, all organs of FUFA, media and the wonderful fans. Let us enjoy the moment.”
Uganda Cranes Starting XI: Denis Onyango, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Timothy Denis Awany, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Mike Azira, Khalid Aucho, Abdu Lumala, Faruku Miya,Emmanuel Arnold Okwi. Allan Kyambadde.
Subs: Robert Odongkara (G.K), Salim Omar Magoola (G.K), Joseph Benson Ochaya, Murushid Juuko, Bevis Kristofer Kizito Mugabi, Tado Lwanga, William Luwaga Kizito, Patrick Henry Kaddu, Paul Derrick Nsibambi, Allan Kateregga, Ronald Mukiibi Ddungu, Isaac Muleme
Egypt Starting XI: Mohamed Elshenawy Elsayed (G.K), Ahmed Elmohamady Abdelfattah Aly Eissa, Alyman Ashraf Elsyad, Baher Mohamed Moursi, Ahmed Elsayed Elsayed Ali Elsayed Hegazy, Mohamed Elneny, Nabil Amad Aly, Abdallah Mahmoud Said Mohamed Bekhit, Mohemed Salah Mahrous Ghaly, Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan, Ahmed Hassan Mohamed Abdelmonem Mohamed Mahgoub
Subs: Ahmed Nasser Mahmoud Maowad Elshenawi (G.K), Omar Gaber, Aly Mohamed, Hamed Tarek, Marwan Mohsen Fahmy Tharwat, Said Walid Ebeid, Ahmed Ayman Mohamed Mansour, Ahmed Gharib, Mahmoud Hamdy Mohamed Attia, Mahmoud Alaaeldin Mahmoud Ibrahim