Uganda Cranes kicked off its preparation for the Total 2018 CHAN Finals with a 1-1 draw against West African side Guinea in a match played at the FUS Stade Molay E Hassan Stadium.
The weather wasn’t the friendliest on the evening for a 6pm kick off time (9pm in Uganda) on day that was punctuated by heavy rains right from 5am in the morning.
However there were no rains during the game but the biting cold was a menace though the players put on a spirited show to earn a draw.
Head coach Sebastien Desabre used the chance to assess his players further before he names his final 23 man squad for the CHAN Finals.
He has one more practice game against Congo on Tuesday still in Rabat before travelling to Marakesh.
With Ismail Watenga set to miss out the opening fixture against Zambia, KCCA FC shot stopper Benjamin Ochan’s experience will come in handy for the team. He started and played the entire game.
Nicholas Wadada, Isaac Muleme, Timothy Awanyi and skipper Bernard Muwang were in charge of the back four.
Taddeo Lwanga, Moses Waiswa, Milton Karisa, Saddam Juma, Allan Kyambadde and Derrick Nsibambi are the other players who completed the starting line-up.
There were early exchanges of short crisp passing of the ball involving Saddam, Kyambadde and Lwanga which resulted in a free kick after Nsibambi was fouled.
The resultant free kick never yielded any result as Saddam kicked it in a forest of defenders.
Karisa forced goalkeeper Abdoulaye Kante to parry his shot over the bar but there two moments where Guinea could have taken the lead only to be saved by both the post and cross bar in a space of one minute all in the second half.
Second half substitutes Shaban Muhammad, Senkatuka and Paul Mucureezi never gave Guinean backline any chance to rest.
Their sheer speed and skill resulted into a goal for Nelson to tap in Mucureezi’s assist.
Guinea’s goal was scored by Camara Saidouba Bissiri.
In brackets players who came on.
Subs made: Waiswa (Rahmat Senfuka), Karisa (Muhammad Shaban), Saddam (Muzamiru Mutyaba), Taddeo (Kasule), Nsibambi (Nelson)
Only Masiko Tom and Mustpha Kizza watched from the stands.
Head Coach Sebastien Desabre said: “We had two good chances in the first half where we enjoyed possession. Our second half wasn’t the best in the opening 20 minutes but we changed the strategy and system to 4-4-2.”
He added: “From then on the game was so open to both sides. I liked the attitude, mentality and character of the team. This game has given me chance assess players further which allows me to make a choice on the squad and line up.”
Captain- Bernard Muwanga said: “It has been good game despite missing out on a win. We have learnt a lot but my department needs to be alert in the next game to avoid conceding. Today’s game has helped us learn a lot as we have targets for CHAN Finals.”
Goal scorer-Nelson Senkatuka said: “It is good to score. We were a better side in the first half. The boys enjoyed the strategy passed to them by the coach. I think we could have won the game if it has stayed 0-0. It wasn’t an easy match as we conceded a sloppy goal.”