Uganda Cranes players celebrate a goal during match against France Military Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Uganda Cranes 3-1 France Military

[/media-credit] Uganda Cranes players celebrate a goal during match against France Military Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Friendly matches are games meant to build mutual trust vis-à-vis confidence between the competing sides, and as well offer that crucial platform to test and prepare the players in contest.

When Uganda Cranes took on the French Military side, there was a lot to play for in line with the aforementioned aspects.

Uganda Cranes won the day 3-1 in a fairly attended match at the Nelson Mandela National Stadium in Kampala also watched by the French Ambassador in Uganda Stephanie Rivoal, FUFA boss Moses Magogo and the minister of presidency in charge of Kampala city Betty Namisango Kamya among others.

KCCA striker Geofrey Sserunkuma, captain Emmanuel Arnold Okwi and second half substitute Martin Kiiza scored the goals for the home side.

Another second half substitute Mouslin Andhum had pulled a goal back on the hour mark for the visitors.

By half time, Uganda Cranes had the cutting edge as they led 2-0.

Sserunkuma composed himself to beat goalkeeper Accart Quentin from 12 yards following a penalty when Okwi was brought down by defender Rylan Lamonnier in the 24th minute.

Okwi met Erisa Ssekisambu’s cross from the right with two minutes to the half time whistle to make it two.

[/media-credit] Emmanuel Okwi in action during Uganda Cranes friendly with France Military Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

Earlier, Uganda Cranes had dominated in possession. As early as the second minute, Brian Majwega cross from the left was headed out.

The French Military team nearly took a surprise lead when Cedric Rossignol forced a finger tip save from goalie Isma Watenga in the third minute for their only chance of the game.

In the 4th minute,  Okwi brushed off Muzamil Mutyaba’s corner but goalie Accart Quentin was well stationed to save the effort.

Midfielder Muzamil Mutyaba had a long range shot flying narrowly wide after 8 minutes. Ssekisambu missed free header on 10 minutes off Brian Majwega’s cross from the left. Okwi also missed narrowly with a curled ball from the left slightly going over the cross-bar.

Sserunkuma scored the opening goal through a penalty after Emmanuel Okwi was brought down by towering defender Lamonnier on 24 minutes as the Cranes took the lead.

[/media-credit] Geoffrey Sserunkuma in action against French Military Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

A minute to the half hour hour mark, Moses Waiswa’s left footed chip intended for Geofrey Sserunkuma was easily collected by goalie Quentin.

Five minutes later, goalie Accart Quentin spilled a seemingly harmless ball from the right by Nico Wakiro Wadada but Sserunkuma reacted slower to slot the ball into the net.

Mutyaba’s 38th strong left footed shot was saved by goalkeeper Quentin in another chance for the Ugandans. Okwi made it two with a simple finish off Ssekisambu’s teasing cross on the right.

Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredejovic made five changes at the start of the second stanza of the game.

Left footed winger Vitalis Tabu, Martin Kiiza, Ivan Ntege, Savio Kabugo and Milton Karisa were introduced for Geofrey Sserunkuma, Ambrose Kirya, Deus Bukenya, Erisa Ssekisambu and Mutyaba Muzamil respectively.

The French team introduced Mouslin Andhum for Sabo Jean Philippe.

Abdeltif Bouyahia missed from over 20 yards as his shot missed  target by inches after 55 minutes.

Tabu Vitalis’ shot was parried away by the goalkeeper Quentin 5 minutes later.

Following a quick counter attack, Mouslin Andhum tapped home at the back past after a telling delivery from the left flank by Alexis Machlins to make it 2-1 with 30 minutes to play.

Three minutes later, Remi Faras had a  free-kick from the right that Yann Oggad failed to make contact.

On the 70th minute mark, Nelson Senkatuka replaced Emmanuel Okwi for the final change on the day.

At this stage Brian Majwega took over the captain’s arm band as well as the team’s leadership roles on the field of play.

Within the next two minutes, Watenga made a routine save as he orchestrated a quick counter to find Majwega who crossed for Martin Kiiza. The latter had a disappointing shot flying over the cross bar.

Inside the final quarter of the game, the towering Machlinksi hit the up right as he was denied an equalizing effort for the visitors.

In the 81st minute, Kiiza was brought down in the forbidden area by team captain Yoann Bizot and referee Ali Sabila pointed to the spot for second time in the game.

Kiiza calmly placed the ball to Quentin’s left and the footballing soldier dived to his right for the third and final goal on the day.

The final whistle was welcomed with wild cheers from the passionate crowd as the Uganda Cranes’ skipper and Micho picked the trophy from the Ambassador.

“The French team fought like lions. They gave you a good match and this was a game to celebrate friendship” Ambassador Rivoal stated in a brief speech before handing over the trophy.

The game was one of the long listed activities to celebrate the Uganda – France Week week.

Uganda Cranes XI: Isma Watenga (G.K), Nico Wakiro Wadada, Brian Majwega, Deus Bukenya, Halid Lwaliwa, Muzamil Mutyaba, Erisa Ssekisambu, Moses Waiswa, Geofrey Sserunkuma, Ambrose Kirya, Emmanuel Okwi

Subs: Keni Saidi (G.K), Habib Kavuma, Savio Kabugo, Ivan Ntege, Martin Kiiza, AbdulMalick Vitalis Tabu, Karisa Milton, Nelson Senkatuka

French Military XI: Accart Quentin, Maetini Anthony, Jesy Trinite, Yann Oggad, Julien Gallo, Abdeltif Bouyahia, Jean Philippe Sabo, Andhum Mouslin, Rylan Lamonnier, Thio Jougounour, Remi Mareval

Subs: Yenemy Lagarde, Yoann Bizot, Alexis Machlinski, Cedric Rossignol, Martin Faras

Match Officials:

Referee: Ali Sabila Chelengat

Assistant Referee 1: Hussein Bugembe

Assistant Referee 2: Ronald Katenya

Fourth Official: Brian Nsubuga Miiro

Match Commissioner: Abbasi Ssendyowa

Media Officer: Ahmed Hussein

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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