Hungry for more

Sunday October 10 2021
soccer01pix

Big Temperament. Taddeo Lwanga (L) has the capability to turn the game on its head in favour of Cranes when they face off with Rwanda at Kitende this evening. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

By Andrew Mwanguhya

The road to Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup looked bleak after two matches, never mind it was only two points separating Uganda from leaders Mali, and a goal from Kenya.

Of course it was the disjointed performances in Nairobi and Kitende that worried Cranes fans the more.

With these lifeless showings, observers wondered whether the campaign still had direction for Uganda.

Playing with purpose

There was a real danger of the Cranes becoming involuntarily uninterested in the rest of the campaign if they showed up in similar fashion against Rwanda.

But Israel-based striker Fahad Bayo and a defiant defence ensured the Cranes finally got going with that 1-0 victory in Kigali. However, in the other Group E game, Mali were doing what they do best, dispatching hapless Kenya 5-0.

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Actually, the Malians were so good they were cruising 4-0 by half time, with Ibrahima Kone grabbing a hat-trick.

That result puts Mali in a very healthy situation. It moved them back top on seven points after temporarily being dislodged by Uganda, who are two behind. 

Impregnable Mali

The Malians have now scored six goals and conceded none, with the Cranes scoring once and leaking none. 

As we head into match day four, the group is begining to separate participants from contenders, with Kenya and Rwanda now third and last respectively on two and one points. 

It is becoming a two-horse race to the only slot to advance to the playoffs, although both Rwanda, who face Uganda in Kitende today, and Kenya can still reignite chaos by picking points today.

Actually, for Rwanda and Kenya, there is no margin of error. They must pick maximum points if they want to remain in the game. 

Micho will likely deploy some fresh legs depending on the doctor’s report, with Bayo and left back Isaac Muleme, who hobbled off in Kigali, due late fitness tests.

Generally, majority of the Cranes team that kicked us off in Kigali is likely to remain unchanged.

Another three points today would put Uganda on eight, while anything but victory for Rwanda and their journey is just about over.

CRANES PROBABLE XI

Charles Lukwago (GK), Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Enoch Walusimbi, Timothy Awanyi, Khalid Aucho (Captain), Taddeo Lwanga, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Moses Waiswa, Azizi Fahad Bayo, Yunus Sentamu.

Substitutes: Isma Watenga (GK), Alionzi Nafian (GK), Innocent Wafula, Aziz Kayondo, Mustafa Kiiza, Livingstone Mulondo, Geofrey Wasswa, Najib Fesali, Shafik Kagimu, Julius Poloto, Ibrahim Orit, Martin Kizza, Cromwell Rwothomio, Steven Mukwala.

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