The Uganda Cranes picked up a much needed 3-1 victory over Somalia during their preliminary round of the African Nations Championships qualifiers (CHAN) at the Al Haji Hussein Guled Stadium in Djibouti on Saturday.
Goals from KCCA duo, striker Patrick Kaddu and defender Mustafa Kizza plus a late Taddeo Lwanga goal gave Uganda the victory while Farhan Mohamed Ahmed got the consolation for Somalia.
It was a rather hard opening 30 minutes for the Cranes as they had to adopt to the high temperatures in Djibouti, evident with their lack of cutting edge in the final third with the only real opening falling to Allan Okello, with the midfielder missing from close range.
Kaddu found the break through for the Cranes from 12 yards out at the stroke of half time after Allan Kayiwa’s cross was handled inside the area.
After the break, the Cranes continued to dominate proceedings but were let down by complacence in front of goal. Left back Kizza would double their lead through his well taken long range free kick in the 64th minute.
With only seven minutes on the clock, midfielder Taddeo Lwanga found himself in unfamiliar territory, but still managed to bury Kizza’s low cross into the back of the net to seemingly put the game to bed.
But Farhan would put some respect back to the score line in the dying minutes of the game, after he capitalized on a defensive lapse by defender John Revita.
Mubiru’s approach finally deliver’s goals.
Cranes Abdallah Mubiru’s side arrived in Djibouti with the reputation of a low scoring team despite their impressive and dominant style and approach that he has preached since he took charge.
Mubiru has been in charge of this side for six games now encompassing the COSAFA championships in South Africa and the build-up friendly matches. But they had scored just two goals previously, a solo goal in South Africa plus one goal in the build up matches to this encounter.
Going into the game, there were fears how the Cranes would approach this game. But to pull off such a score line is manifestation of how far Mubiru’s ideas have been etched into this team.
Mubiru’s team has always turned on the style every time they play, but in the game of football, the sad reality is that the result matters.
Of course, Somalia doesn’t offer the kind of opposition that would test the Cranes resolve ultimately but the result and how they achieved it today was a commendable effort.
What they said.
Mubiru commended his boys for the job done, but cautioned them against complacence ahead of their second leg encounter.
“It wasn’t an easy encounter but I thank my boys for the positive response, The win gives us an upper hand ahead of the second leg game, we are not under pressure but it’s not yet done,” Mubiru said.
Man of the match: Mustafa Kizza.
The Cranes return into the country ahead of their second leg encounter on August 3 at the Star Times Stadium in Lugogo.
The winner on aggregate will advance to the next round where they will face the winner between Burundi and South Sudan. The Cranes seek to make it to the final tournament for the fifth consecutive time since 2011.