It was debutant Moses Waiswa’s 86th minute strike that saved Uganda from defeat at the hands of Kenya’s Harambee Stars at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
The Viper’s midfielder was handed a rare invitation to the side and started on the bench as Cranes coach Micho Sredejovic named a side of tried and tasted players.
Waiswa came on for Muzmir Mutyaba late in the second half and his combination with club-mate Milton Karisa saved Uganda from defeat by their bitter regional rivals.
I am happy first of all for the invitation by coach Micho and the opportunity to get some playing time here today.
Waiswa told Kawowo Sports after the game before describing the feeling of scoring on his debut against a side like Kenya.
Extremely happy and over the moon, coach told me I deserve a chance to play, and I should go out there and try my best, I saw an opportunity and I grabbed it.
The international friendly ended 1-1 on Thursday with Micheal Olunga giving the hosts the lead after 39 minutes.
Just like Waiswa’s goal, Olunga’s effort was a joy to watch after he turned and twisted Habib Kavuma before shooting at goal, Benjamin Ochan had no chance.
Kenya were more organized going forward and tactically disciplined enough to tame Uganda’s attacking prowess of Emmanuel Okwi and Geoffrey Sserunkuuma.
There was enough creative power for Uganda in Muzamir Mutyaba through the middle, although Shafik Batambuzze on the left with Godfrey Walusimbi then Nicholas Wadada on the right offered little.
Cranes coach Sredojević Micho made endless changes. Before recess, Brian Majwega and Yasser Mugerwa replaced Shafik Batambuzze and Habib Kavuma respectively.
Not that Kenya were having a field day, Mugerwa would have brought Cranes back into the game but failed to connect with Serunkuuma’s cross.
In the other side, Olunga was giving fans something to cheer about, his cross from the left for Noah Wafula was wasted.
As Olunga made way, Robinson Kamura nearly doubled Kenya’s lead, his freekick hit the woodwork before Uganda cleared their defensive line.
Substitutes Milton Karisa and Moses Waiswa connected as the latter’s shot from a tight angle left everyone including Kenya’s keeper Patrick Matasi stranded for Uganda’s equalizer with just four minutes to play for.
Uganda’s starting XI: Benjamin Ochan (GK), Nicholas Wadada (Martin Kizza), Godfrey Walusimbi (Chrysostom Ntambi), Habib Kavuma (Yasser Mugerwa), Murushid Juuko, Hassan Wasswa, Muzamir Mutyaba, Timothy Awany, Emma Okwi, Shafik Batambuzze (Brian Majwega)