Muwonge: Sand Cranes exuded fighting character

Nicholas Mwere in action. The Sand Cranes csme from two goals down to secure a 5-2 win at the Stade de Planete Plage in Moroni, Comoros, yesterday.  PHOTO / courtesy
 

What you need to know:

  • Uganda trailed hosts Comoros 2-0 in the first period before regaining their composure and bite in the second to level the score at 2-2.

In the ocean sands of Stade de Plan’ete Plage in Moroni, the national beach soccer team - Sand Cranes - started in a shivering mood yesterday.

Uganda trailed hosts Comoros 2-0 in the first period before regaining their composure and bite in the second to level the score at 2-2.

Moussa Ali and Soilni Djafer scored for the Island nation before Brian Nkuubi and Nicholas Mwere restored parity for Uganda.

In the third and final period, the Sand Cranes upped their ante with three beautifully taken strikes from Mwere, Meddie Kibirige and Baker Lukooya.

Sand Cranes coach Salim Muwonge is elated that his team drew the first blood on foreign soil and anticipates a relatively easier return leg contest at Fufa Technical Centre-Njeru in two weeks to seal off the road to Mozambique in October.

“We lost the first period but managed to equalise in the second. I’m glad that the team killed off the contest in the third period with a three goals margin. We are not resting on our laurels ahead of the return leg in Njeru as we bid to make it to the Maputo Afcon finals,” Muwonge revealed.

Banking on experience

Against a slippery and unpredictable opponent, Muwonge left no room to chance, starting with five most experienced players - Kibirige, Jonathan Kikonyongo, Isma Kawawulo,  Nkuubi and Godfrey Lwesibawa.

The match was played in the morning to avoid the turbulent ocean waves in the afternoon but still the windy weather remained alien to the Ugandan contingent.

Then again, a marvel of a goal by custodian Kibirige left spectators bewildered and stunned.

Even when Comoros tried to stage a comeback in the final period, the Sand Cranes valiantly held on for a healthy 5-2 away victory that brought them closer to a return to the continental showpiece where they finished as semifinalists last year in Senegal.

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