Joackim Ojera (far left) in celebration with the Uganda Cranes players at Mbale Municipal Stadium
  • Uganda Cranes Regional Tours 2021
  • Eastern Region Select 0-1 Uganda Cranes

Uganda Cranes beat Eastern Region select 1-0 in the regional tour duel at the Mbale Municipal Stadium on Saturday, 25th September 2021.

Second half substitute Joackim Ojera scored the priceless goal in the 52nd minute.

Ojera poked the ball past goalkeeper Edward Kasibante after Julius Poloto’s curling corner kick was headed straight to the goalkeeper before Ojera’s rebound.

The first half had ended goal-less with either side having a share of chances created.

Poloto had tested Kasibante from distance before Jude Ssemugabi fluffed a chance over from Rogers Mato’s delivery on the right.

Julius Poloto crosses the ball during the first half of the game against Eastern Region Select side

Earlier on, Eastern Region team claimed a penalty after forward Nandala Nansur was brought down by Denis Iguma but the referee on the evening did not pick any interest.

Goalkeeper Alionzi Nafian was twice called upon to handle close aerial battles before saving a one-against-one incident with Kataka forward Emmanuel Mukisa.

After the opening half hour mark, Uganda Cranes introduced teenage goalkeeper Jack Komakech for Alionzi.

In the second half, Micho made 9 changes to the team, maintaining only a largely impressive Poloto and goalie Komakech from the first half time.

Ojera repaid the coach’s faith with the goal after Aheebwa’s initial header was not well dealt with by Kasibante.

Long throw specialist George Kaddu, forwards Aheebwa, Mato and Anaku were threats to the opposition but still, no breakthrough could be sought.

The final 10 minutes were played under rain drizzles, a common feature in the mountainous Mbale area every late evening.

Head coach Micho was happy for the win that he acknowledges gives the team confidence coming to the Rwanda double header next month in the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

“We have started the preparations for the Rwanda game. This game helps us assess the locally based players before the foreign based ones will join in. We pick key positives from this game” Micho stated.

Second half substitute Geofrey Wasswa hailed praise to the players for the brevity especially in the final stanza.

“We played gallantly and happy to win the game. The fighting spirit from the players more especially in the second half was exceptional” Wasswa, a newly signed player at KCCA noted.

The team returns to Kampala for the Kisaasi camp ahead of the two matches against Rwanda next month.

Eastern Region Select team that faced Uganda Cranes

Team Line Ups:

Eastern Region XI: Edward Kasibante (G.K), Stephen Namisi, Peter Lusibula (Captain), Ibrahim Pengere, Tiff Kahandi, Isma Kaliaswa, Francis Odongo, Farhadi Aneku, Edmond Wabonka, Emma Mukisa, Nassur Nadala

Substitutes: Stephen Makumba (G.K), Edmond Otim, Lawrence Olabaro, Raymond Othieno, Usama Kayeba, Saadi Ismail, Zanuni Mugooya, Bosco Luyonlo, Bonifancesio Chideko, Ivan Jackuma

Uganda Cranes XI Vs Eastern Region Select

Uganda Cranes XI: Alionzi Nafian (G.K), Innocent Wafula, Herbert Achai, Najib Fesali, Denis Iguma (Captain), Patrick Mbowa, Shafik Kagimu, Rogers Mato, Sadat Anaku, Jude Semugabi, Julius Poloto

Substitutes: Simon Tamale (G.K), Jack Komakech (G.K), Geofrey Wasswa, Musa Ramadhan, Mandela Ashraf, Ibrahim Wamana, Ashraf Mugume, Joackim Ojera, George Kaddu, Mubarak Nsubuga, Brian Aheebwa, Davis Kasirye

The Uganda Cranes team that started in the second half.

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

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