Uganda Cranes began the journey to AFCÖN 2013 South Africa on a low note as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat away to 130th world ranked Congo Brazaville at Pointre Noire Stadium.
The Cranes conceded as early as the first minute after Ewolo Oscar’s shot deflected off surprise starter Henry Kalungi to find the back of the net.The Cranes lost
possession immediately after kick off andwere punished. Despite Mike Sserumaga restoring parity with an equaliser in the 26th minute after a beautifully laid cross from left back Walusimbi Godfrey, it was evident the Cranes centre back pairing of Captain Andy Mwesigwa and Henry Kalungi was not up to the task prompting to question why Isaac Isinde was dropped yet he has played along side Andy on many occasions something that meant the understanding between the two would be better.
Another tragedy happened as custodian Denis Onyango pulled off a muscle injury in the process of taking a goal kick in the 30th minute and had to be replaced by Abel Dhaira. The substitute was also up to the task as he made two brilliant match winning saves to deny Congolose danger men Tsonga and Moussilu and end the first half in a stale mate.
After recess, the hosts began from where they had left off forcing Abel Dhaira to make wonderful saves on many occasions. Despite the heroics by the substitute goal keeper, he couldn’t save Tsonga’s 69th minute spot kick after Andy Mwesigwa had fouled in the area. 5 minutes later, the Congolese extended their advantage by netting the third goal by Missilou with 10mins to go. Even substitutes Emmanuel Okwi and Brian Umony could do nothing to save the Cranes from the jaws of the determined hosts. As if the beating wasn’t enough, midfield gem Tony Mawejje was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 90th minute.
Swedish based Mutumba Martin Kayongo’s much awaited debut didn’t come as he watched the entire proceedings from the bench. The return leg is set for 15th June in Kampala with the Cranes in search for two goals with out reply if they are to progress to the second round. With the away goal in their pockets, such a feat is achievable though they will miss the services of Mawejje.