A journey that started with high hopes ended miserably with Uganda Cranes losing 5-2 on Tuesday night to defending champions Morocco at the Total CHAN 2020 Finals in Cameroon.
The biggest chunk of the Ugandan team was making its debut appearance at the tournament set aside for the local based players on the African Continent. This was one of the contributors to the results but did not stop the players, technical team and FUFA to set targets for the tournament.
The fans back home believed that the moment was ripe for Uganda to get out of the group stages for the first time. The previous four attempts had seen Uganda labour to get results.
The story was about to change on Tuesday night in Douala as Ibrahim Orit handed Uganda Cranes the lead early on in the first half only for his efforts to be cancelled at the stroke of half time with Morocco winning and converting a penalty.
The story after the break was not pleasant at all as Uganda Cranes conceded four more goals to dash any lingering hopes of qualification from the group stage.
Saidi Kyeyune who scored a spectacular goal against Togo was at it again with a well worked out free-kick in the second half to reduce the deficit for the score to read 4-2 but Morocco hit back with another goal for the match to end 5-2. Ayoub El Kaabi, Soufiane Rahmi(2), Hamza El Houssaoui and Rahmi and substitute Abdelilah Hafidi netted for Morocco.
Morocco and Rwanda qualified from the group as Uganda finished bottom with one point.
Uganda Cranes Head Coach- Johnathan McKinstry
‘It was a game we all always it would be challenging for us. The penalty obviously couldn’t have come at a worse time. We are not complaining about the penalty. I think it was a fair challenge. We made some mistakes and we got punished as we also started chasing the game. Congratulations to Morocco and we wish them the vest best for the rest of the tournament’
‘We cannot complain about preparation, when we set out for this project, we made certain requests to the federation it terms of how we can prepare the team. I think we got 90% of what we asked for which is very good. To be honest that was pleasing.
The intensity of the game in competitions is different from what you get in pre-match tournaments. We were pleased with the progress of the players and they have learnt a lot. They now know that when you get to such tournaments you take your chance. They have gained experience and will be better for the future’
Uganda Cranes Starting team: Charles Lukwago (GK), Aziiiz Kayondo, Denis Iguma, Musitafa Mujuzi, Halid Lwaliwa (Capt), Shafik Kagimu, Bright Anukani, Saidi Kyeyune, Ibrahim Orit, Viane Ssekajjugo, Brian Aheebwa.
Morocco starting team: Anas Znati (GK), Yahya Jabrane, Mohamed Ali, Ayoub El Kaabi, Reda Jaadi, Hamza El Houssaoui, Soufiane Boufthi, Soufiane Rahmi, Abdel Boutouil, Omar Namsaoui, Adam Ennafati.