KAMPALA- The gulf in class between Uganda Sand Cranes and Ivory Coast was laid bare at Spennah Beach, Entebbe on Sunday.
As Salim Muwonge’s Sand Cranes succumbed to a 3-1 home loss, they were outfought, outthought, outplayed and outlasted in every aspect in the three quarters played.
Muwonge conceded; “They were the better side. They have been to the World Cup and Afcon finals before and had the necessary exposure.”
The composed visitors exhibited their desire to win the match early on by getting the lead through Frederic Sidoine Kablan after custodian Med Kibirige fumbled with the ball.Daniel N’guessan scored their second before Frederic Kablan sealed the win with a cool finish. Douglas Muwanga grabbed Cranes’ consolation goal in the third quarter but it was evident that strikers Roch Somoka, Swalley Ssimbwa and Ben Ochen had been frozen out of the game.
“We are going to work on our offensive department before the return leg,” Muwonge promised.
His Ivory Coast counterpart Jean Soro said the tie is still wide open and that he expects Cranes to be more hungrier for goals in the return leg.
“This is beach soccer and anyone can score from everywhere. We have to double today’s performance at home if we are progress,” Soro revealed through a translator.
In 2015, Cranes were eliminated by West African opposition - Ghana - at this level.
The overall winner of this tie will qualify for the continental showpiece in Egypt in December which also acts as the final sieve for next year’s World Cup tourney.
AFCON BEACH SOCCER QUALIFIER
Result - Egypt 2018, Sunday
Uganda 1-3 Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast vs. Uganda, Abidjan
September 21-23, Ivory Coast