On Saturday, Uganda Cranes played a 0-0 stalemate with neighbours Tanzania at Namboole in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Although Uganda dominated possession, the team struggled to break down a resolute Tanzania defence as Cranes dropped their first points on the road to Yaounde.
Thanks to yesterday’s 1-1 draw between Lesotho and Cape Verde, Uganda are still in charge of Group L with four points ahead of Lesotho, Tanzania and Cape Verde.
However, there have been calls from observers for coach Sebastien Desabre to be relieved of his duties after a string of indifferent results.
The Frenchman, who was appointed in December last year, has struggled to impose his preferred offensive philosophy on the team as he works around identifying his best XI.
His first assignment – at CHAN in January this year – saw the team exit from the group stage after scoring only once.
There has also been a string of less than satisfactory performances in friendly matches home and away and Desabre’s lone victory for Uganda remains a 3-1 victory over lowly ranked Sao Tome and Principe at Namboole.
In many ways, Desabre’s first real test was Saturday’s.
With nearly a year under his belt and having had a glimpse of the best players Uganda has to offer in the Uganda Premier League and abroad, the qualifier against Tanzania was the one game he needed to convince the country that his project was well and truly underway.
Cranes were woefully poor in the final third and questions are being asked.
But there is a significant issue that must be considered before football stakeholders run the rule on Desabre.
The 0-0 draw against Tanzania was not the worst possible result for Uganda in the context of qualification for Cameroon 2019.
Seeing that next year’s edition will see 24 teams qualify as opposed to the 16 and with Uganda sitting atop Group L, Cranes remain in the driving seat to reach Cameroon.
Any game against neighbours Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda at Namboole will always be a tough engagement for any coach because such encounters are derbies.
The opponents are very familiar and there is hardly any home advantage. It is the same way Tanzania will find it hard to beat Uganda in Dar es salaam.
One year is too limited a time to judge a coach and Desabre must be given the benefit of doubt.
He should be judged at the end of the Afcon 2019 qualifiers.