Uganda Cranes played out a 0-0 draw with Burkifaso on Tuesday night in a game which was deemed ‘a must win for Cranes’ denting the chances of qualification for the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon.
Prior to the game, Uganda as a whole nation was treated to the sad news of the death of Cranes goalkeeper Abel Dhaira who succumbed to cancer in Iceland.
The Burkina Faso game put pressure on Cranes stars to get a win in tribute of the fallen Dhaira but things never panned out as expected.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) honoured Abel Dhaira with a minute of silence before kickoff in commemoration of the great work of sportsmanship in the game.
The game was treated with an emotional feel to it and Ugandans came in big numbers at Nambole Stadium to cheer their team.
Cranes started the match on a high note with midfielder Tonny Mawejje’s effort agonizingly hitting the woodwork with Daouda Diakite beaten in Burkina Faso goal.
Uganda had most of the possession with Burkina Faso playing more of a defensive game sitting back and hitting the hosts on counter attacks.
Cranes attacking play was not the best with Joseph Ochaya, Emmanuel Okwi, William Luwagga Kizito , Farouk Miya and skipper Geoffrey Massa all failing in their attempts to put the ball in the back of the net.
Stallions goalkeeper Daouda Diakite produced crucial saves to deny Cranes from scoring.
Uganda Cranes should have scored a late winner but Moses Oloya failed to beat Diakite by just firing the ball out.
Burkina Faso on the other hand missed a great chance when Uganda keeper Denis Onyango committed a mistake, but the visitors’ talisman Jonathan Pitroipa fired over the crossbar.
Stallions defender Charles Kabore saw a red-card in stoppage time.
Uganda’s head coach spoke of his disappointment but stressed that the group was open with upcoming fixtures;
“I am very disappointed because we failed to win. The group is now open as we wait to travel to Botswana in June and Burkina Faso also travel to Comoros,” said Milutin Sredojevic as quoted by the observer.ug
Meanwhile Burkina Faso head coach Paulo Jorge Rebelo Duarte labeled Cranes of play as being “physical” for his team to cope with game.
“This is not football”, he said after the game.
What next for Uganda Cranes:
With encouraging words from Micho of not losing hope of qualify for the 2017 Afcon finals in Gabon, Ugandan’s chances though are not in their hands anymore which spells doom for the national team.
The 0-0 draw at Namboole stadium means both teams are on seven points in Group D.
Burkina Faso are top with Cranes second because of a better head-to-head and now Cranes must beat Botswana away and Comoros at home and hope Burkina Faso falter in their remaining two matches for them to qualify.
Team P W D L GF GA Pts
Burkina 4 2 1 1 3 1 7
Uganda 4 2 1 1 3 1 7
Botswana 4 2 0 2 3 4 6
Comoros 4 1 0 3 2 5 3
This is easy said than done as noted with the previous history of earlier Afcon qualifiers as per Andrew Mwanguhya of Daily Monitor, he said:
“The script is not surprising, really. Just like in the 2015 Afcon qualifiers and earlier ones, Uganda have yet again failed in their third and fourth games. They will hope to recover from this.”
Uganda Cranes will need to get results in the final two games with the assurance of Micho setting up reason to believe.
The Cranes head coach said; “We are very much still into this campaign with two games to play.
“We are committed to the cause; the boys showed a lot of character when you look at what we went through, how we travelled to Ouagadougou and back, the death of Abel Dhaira also affected us in a away.
“But Botswana,” added Micho, “Is a decent side. It’s going to be a tough match but we don’t have a choice but to go and play for a result.”
Next qualifiers in Group D
Comoros vs Burkina Faso
Botswana vs Uganda
Uganda vs Comoros
Burkina Faso vs Botswana
Uganda will hope it’s not another wasted opportunity to end a 39-year wait of participation in the African Cup of Nations.
per Darren Allan Kyeyune of the Daily Monitor stating “What better chances would Cranes have asked for?”, this could be the end of the road for the Uganda Cranes if they fail to get maximum points in their two remaining fixtures and pray the Burkina Faso falter in their fixtures. All is possible but the draw seems to have spelled doom for the Uganda Cranes.
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