Final day vibe favours Cranes

Tuesday August 15 2017

Winning start. Coaches Fred Kajoba and Moses

Winning start. Coaches Fred Kajoba and Moses Basena celebrate Cranes’ 3-0 win over Rwanda’s Amavubi on Saturday. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 


KAMPALA. For the last four qualification editions, Uganda have sauntered into the final game of the home based players’ tournament and left it unscathed.
And on every one of them they have seen the back of the net; a combined 10 times to be precise - against Tanzania - twice, Burundi and Sudan, while letting in just two.

That is the kind of trend that Cranes coach Moses Basena hopes continues when Uganda travel to Kigali for the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) return leg against Rwanda following Uganda’s 3-0 victory last Saturday.
“I am personally encouraged with my team,” said Basena after the weekend’s emphatic victory.
“It has never been easy playing against the Amavubi stars. We, however, need to correct the way we treat the ball.”
Of the last four final games of the qualification campaigns, Uganda have played three at home, drawing one and winning the others.

But it is the last charge to Rwanda Chan 2016 when Uganda dispatched Sudan by 2-0 identical scores home and away that gives the Cranes confidence that they can beat the Amavubi for the first time in a major continental competition at their backyard this weekend.

Taking a 2-0 lead to Sudan and subjecting the northern neighbours to an equal punishment in the return leg was one of the major mental breakthroughs as former coach Micho Sredojevic’s teams further demystified the road jinx.
Basena can build onto momentum from Muzamir Mutyaba (two) and Derrick Nsibambi’s goals at St Mary’s Stadium Kitende at the weekend to continue the final qualification day vibe and confirm their ticket to Chan 2018 in Kenya.
The Cranes will, however, expect a reaction from the hosts. “Playing in front of our people, we know it’s not over yet. We will organise,” promised Rwanda coach Antoine Hey.”
Rwanda could of course react. But it will take a collapse of huge proportions for Basena’s men, who can lose by a two-goal margin and still qualify, to throw this one away.