With only 9 days to the last qualifying game against Kenya at fortress Namboole, the current Cranes side are almost making history by qualifying for AFCON for the first time since 1978 when we lost 2-0 to the Black Stars of Ghana in Accra. Only a handful of players taking part in this campaign were born then. Only 14 of the playing staff then are still alive and these are Paul Ssali, Jamil Kasirye, Hussein Matovu, Jimmy Kirunda, Tom Lwanga, Ashe Mukasa and Mike Diku. Others are Abbey Nasur, Moses Ssentamu, Jimmy Muguwa, Timothy Ayiekoh, Polly Ouma and Barnabas Mwesige. One non-playing member Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, the team manager, is also around.The rest passed on and i don’t think they would be proud if they arose today and their achievement has never been met nor eclipsed. The deceased include Musenze, Meddie Lubega, Rashid Mudin, Edward Ssemwanga and Mike Kiganda. Others are Moses Nsereko, Philip Omondi, Godfrey Kisitu and Fred Isabirye plus coach Peter Okee. All R.I.P. Like the historical saying that history repeats its self, this should be the right moment for it to be re-written. With only a game to re-write history, here is the Cranes’ path for this campaign.
Uganda 3 – 0 Angola (September 4, 2010)
The cranes began the campaign on a bright note by putting three goals past a lackluster Angola team at Namboole. Bobby Williamson handed young Godfrey Walusimbi his first senior game in the campaign after injury ruled out reliable Nestroy Kizito Prior to the game and surprisingly, Musa Mudde was given the nod to start ahead of Bagoole, Hassan Wasswa and Owen Kasule in the midfield along side midfield gem Tonny Mawejje. David Obua, Andy Mwesigwa and Geofrey Sserunkuma on the score sheet for the team. It was 3 goals and 3 points and we led the table from the start. Tonny Mawejje was the star man of the day as his industry in midfield was a handful for the Angolans.
Kenya 0 – 0 Uganda (October 9, 2010)
Denis Onyango put in a stellar performance to deny the likes of Mariga and Oliech who tore the Cranes apart at Nyao stadium. With thousands of Ugandan fans travelling to Kenya, a draw was not a bad result on the day when the Harambe Stars looked the more serious team on the day having lost their opening day game against minnows Guinea Bissau. Mcdonald Mariga on two occasions hit the post and we narrowly survived leaving Nairobi with out a point. In this game, the services of David Obua were missed through injury but good news was the return of Nestoy Kizito who performed excellently at left back relegating Walusimbi to the bench. Skipper Ibrahim Ssekajja was booked after bring down Denis Oliech down on the edge of the 18 yard box after he was beaten by pace. Eugene Ssepuuya was handed a surprise start a head of Massa but his off color performance meant he will never feature for the team in this campaign.
Guinea-Bissau 0 – 1 Uganda (March 25, 2011)
David Obua’s solitary strike was enough to break the eleven year away jinx. Uganda’s last away win before that was way back in 2000 against Malawi in Blantyre with Hassan Mubiru and late Magid Musisi (RIP) bagging the goals. Ibra Ssekajja was again booked after fouling danger man Zezinho in the forbidden area but the hero of the day Denis Masinde Onyango saved the resultant spot kick and the final whistle was blown to the jubilation of the fans in Kampala and the players. This was a major step in the campaign and may be the turning point of every thing.
Uganda 2 – 0 Guinea-Bissau (June 4, 2011)
Without Sekagya, Williamson went for Wasswa, who was calm and intelligent in possession. But his aerial frailties were exposed. Cranes didn’t play particularly well in that game but there was a lot of effort.
The left wing, manned by Walusimbi, who scored from a lucky lob had very few touches; Mawejje and Mudde made several blind passes and hardly any creative ones, while Kayizzi was off-colour. This forced the introduction of Joseph Kabagambe, who also disappointed.
The shirt throwing incident of Obua after he was substituted by Serunkuma dominated the news even ahead of Massa’s cool dribble past the goalkeeper and finish.
Angola 2 – 0 Uganda (September 4, 2011)
Flavio and Manucho strikes meant that Oyango conceded for the first time in this campaign and also subjected Uganda to their first loss in the campaign. In a game where we needed a point to qualify with a game in hand, the boys played naively especially in the second half and were punished by a more organised and ambitious Angola team. This is a game in which Musa Mudde’s booking meant his services will be missed against the noisy neighbours come 8th/ 10 / 2011.
Uganda Vs Kenya ( October 8, 2011)
This is cranes’ last hurdle and a win will automatically seal and confirm The Cranes’ as among the 16 teams to take part in the edition of the 2012 to be played in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.