SPORT

Sserunkuma instincts hand Cranes early leadership in Afcon qualifiers

Geoffrey Sserunkuma

Geoffrey Sserunkuma

2019 Afcon qualifier Group L results

Cape Verde 0-1 Uganda
Lesotho 1-1 Tanzania

Failure to win away from home has for long been considered one of the reasons why Cranes only returned to Africa’s biggest showpiece this year following a 39 year absence.

But after picking a rare win against Botswana at the previous qualifiers the Uganda national football team opened the 2019 qualifying campaign with another 1-0 win this time against Cape Verde on Sunday.

Geoffrey Sserunkuma like he did 12 years ago when the two teams had last met was again the difference as his goal seven minutes from time separated the the two teams.

The striker who had only replaced Emmanuel Okwi on 77 minutes tapped home at the far post Godfrey Walusinbi’s low cross from the left following a swift move.

The lead up to the game had been dominated by Cranes failure to arrive in time for the game that was consequently moved by 24 hours from Saturday after Uganda sought Caf intervention.

Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic fielded virtually the same team from Tuesday’s warm up game against Senegal with only goalkeeper Denis Onyango replacing Benjamin Ochan.

Villa defender Bernard Muwanga was again preferred to Timothy Awany in central defence alongside Murushid Jjuuko and Walusimbi.

The four started in what appeared as a 4-3-3 formation with Derrick Nsibambi and Faruku Miya alongside Okwi upfront.

As expected it was the hosts who fielded several European based players who dominated possession with Onyango often required to intervene including making one fingertip save in the second half.

But the visitors held on snatch all three points and move atop of the four-team Group L following Tanzania’s 1-1 draw with Lesotho.

The Cranes now turn their attention to next month’s Chan qualifier against South Sudan while the Afcon qualifiers resume in March next year.

The win was a welcome relief not only for the boys but also to the FUFA leadership and Cranes Coach Micho, who had dumped most of the previous regular first teamers, deciding to look into the future.

And the federation under the leadership of Mose Magoggo had comer under the spotlight for the Cranes’ travel mishaps which led the game being postponed from Saturday to Sunday. The federation will have answered her critics with this impressive result.

Pundit Aldrine Nsubuga gave all the credit to Coach Micho:

“This was a Micho win,” Mr Nsubuga wrote.

“Brave decision to re-invent the Cranes by omitting most of the old guns. We are now in the future..#2019 project. That is how you know a coach is doing his work. Thinking outside the box. Give it to Micho. He’s finally his own man,” Mr Nsubuga wrote on his Facebook wall.

 

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