The 189th Fifa ranked nation, Madagascar, had last won a competitive football match in 2011, then beating Equatorial Guinea 2-1 in the Nations Cup Africa primary qualifiers.
Three years on, they found little trouble posting an identical result against Uganda, who are 103 places better. And bookies had Uganda as favourites going into Sunday’s 2015 Nations Cup second round first leg qualifier; rightly so.
Yet Uganda’s travels were well documented, the last away victory in the last decade coming on March 26, 2011, a 1-0 victory over Guinea Bissau secured by a David Obua goal on an artificial turf.
But for 90 minutes on the Stade Rabemananjara artificial turf, Madagascar assumed Uganda’s ranking as they ran rings around a lifeless Cranes.
The national bird’s death on the national team shirt was confirmed by Fufa’s five structures as starred on the crest.
The word “Uganda” was also conspicuously missing on the white front. The results of players gathered for quick two-week drills in the hope of meeting the required standards were evident.
For all the stick the players and coach Micho Sredojevic will get for the shambolic display, the bigger cancer lies in the poor or non-existent clubs locally and lack of a strong, credible domestic league. But Micho claims they had done enough homework on their opponents.
“Despite preparing each detail and knowing all details about (the) opponents, operational levels of most of our players have been down due to harsh weather conditions and artificial turf where ball control was below standard,” he told Daily Monitor yesterday.
“Falling down (behind) (the) we have been forced to risk and go all out in attack and (it) happens that we were exposed on counter.
“Good enough we got that consolation goal (a 90th minute Hamis Kiiza penalty) that gives us a chance.”
Need for players
Madagascar were more astute going forward and had the Cranes midfield and backline living dangerously for longer spells. “Credit also to (our) opponent where players playing professional football in teams higher rated than any Ugandan player were good performers for them.
“It has also shown that we need for every player to return and start from zero because many have not performed to theirs and our expected standards.
“(But) with return of players like Onyango (Dennis) Massa (Geoffrey), Oloya (Moyes), Mawejje (Tonny) all of us we are going to the drawing board at home.”
Micho added: “First every single individual (will have) to perform to their standards and on our fortress Namboole (last lost to South Africa 1-0 in 2004) with support of our fans without any excuse we have to get the result that will enable us to progress to next stage.” The Cranes were expected back last night, with the return leg due May 31.