The Uganda Cranes took a gigantic step towards reaching the second round of the CHAN 2020, on Saturday.
Abdallah Mubiru’s side who were playing the first leg of their first-round qualifier away from home, defeated Somalia 3-1 and now stand a huge chance of progression.
Goals from KCCA duo of Patrick Kaddu and Mustapha Kizza put Abdallah Mubiru’s side on the way before Tadeo Lwanga capped a fine team display with a third late on.
The home side scored a consolation later through Farhan Mohamed Ahmed but it was all they smiled about on a difficult afternoon.
However, despite the victory, head coach Abdallah Mubiru knows the job is only done after the second leg.
“It (the win) is an advantage to us much as not everything is done now because we still have to get the job done in Kampala. Noted Mubiru after the game.
“However we will head into the second game knowing that we are not under much pressure like it would have been had we not gotten a positive result on Saturday.”
The Cranes are highly expected to reach the next phase of qualification where they will take on either Burundi or South Sudan.
However, Somalia will not be push-overs especially after the first leg display.
“We thank the whole mighty Allah for the victory today. Continued the Police FC tactician.
“Like i said before the game, it had to be a hard game because their are no more small teams on the pitch.
“They were well organised, tough to break but thank God and the players’ efforts that they put in, we now hold a lead as we head into the return leg.
“I expect them to try and play, attack us in Kampala and it will not be easy for us either.”
The two team are slated to do battle once again, next Saturday at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo.
The Cranes will be favorites to progress with Somalia required to score at least 3 goals on the day to stand any chances of progression.
Uganda has in recent times been consistent during qualification for CHAN.
After losing to Tanzania in the second round of qualification and in the process, failing to reach the first edition of the finals in 2009, the Cranes have not failed to seal a spot in any of the last four finals (2011, 2014, 2016 and 2018).
To reach the last edition in Morocco, Uganda defeated South Sudan 5-1 on aggregate in the first round of qualifiers before hanging on to overcome Rwanda 3-2 in the second round.
For Somalia, they have never reached the CHAN finals’ tournament as they either withdraw or fail to negotiate their way through the qualification process.
In 2009, they did nit take part in qualification before they were hammered 6-0 by Tanzania in the first round of the 2011 qualifiers.
Once again, they did not enter qualification for both the 2014 and 2016 editions.
For the last edition in 2018, Somalia fell to South Sudan at the preliminary round of qualification, losing 4-1 on aggregate.
Uganda Cranes starting XI
Charles Lukwago (GK), Paul Willa, Kizza Mustapha, John Revita, Timothy Awany (c), Tadeo Lwanga, Allan Kayiwa, Muzamir Mutyaba, Patrick Kaddu, Allan Okello, Allan Kyambadde
James Alitho (GK), Tom Matsiko, Muatafa Mujuzi, Patrick Mbowa, Sadam Juma, Shafick Kagimu, Dan Sserunkuma