Make qualification count!

Moses Waiswa led the way with a goal and the celebrations. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

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They never disappointed, the threesome of Moses Waiswa, Richard Basangwa and Rogers Mato scoring in the 3-0 victory over Tanzania at St Mary's Stadium, Kitende.

Three goals from three different players, on his 53rd birthday, was the perfect gift as coach Micho Sredojevic led Uganda to his third Chan finals with Cranes on Saturday.

Having marked his special day two days earlier, with his team soaking him in bucket-loads of water in training, it was only fitting that they capped it with a befitting performance at Kitende.

They never disappointed, the threesome of Moses Waiswa, Richard Basangwa and Rogers Mato scoring in the 3-0 victory over Tanzania at St Mary's Stadium, Kitende.

The trio added to Travis Mutyaba's wonder goal in Dar es Salaam a week ago for a 4-0 aggregate score. Only two-time Chan champions, DR Congo, who were due to advance against Chad last night as they took a 2-1 lead into the second leg, would join Uganda as the only countries to qualify for Chan a record six times.

Poor record must change

Just that comparisons between Uganda and DRC stop at that as the Cranes have never gone past the group stage since their debut appearance in 2011.

But they have yet another opportunity to change that in Algeria next year when this home-based players tournament gets underway.

"Progressing from the group stages and going as far as we can is the main target," said Micho.

"Qualifying for Chan was always non-negotiable, with due respect to Tanzania.

"This will give us good momentum for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Tanzania next year."


Shs9.5m bonus

Fufa president Moses Magogo, who announced a $2,000 (Shs7.6m) Chan qualification bonus for every team official and players after the match, agrees the poor record at the finals must change.

“I am extremely happy that we have been able to secure qualification to Chan," he told the team in the change rooms.

"As Fufa, our target is to enter and qualify into every tournament. It is not easy to make sixth successive finals and the target is to perform better than the previous attempts."

The Minister of State for Sports, Peter Ogwang, chipped in; promising that Government would top up Fufa's offer with $500 (Shs1.9m) for every member of the team for a grand total of $2,500 (9.5m).

Game execution

Here at Kitende in a match watched by a fair crowd, the weather was perfect for an afternoon kick-about and the Cranes flourished in it.

Left-back Derrick Ndahiro, who started ahead of Ibrahim Juma, was the only change from the team that kicked off in the first leg.

Successive corners from the home side showed intent early on, and when the Cranes poured forward - again, Mato was snapped at the ankle by a Tanzanian defender. Djibouti referee Souleiman Djama had no doubt in his mind, pointing to the spot.

After consultation between skipper Milton Karisa and Cranes bench, Waiswa stepped forward and sent Tanzanian goalkeeper Aishi Salum Manila the wrong way for a 15th minute lead.

Tanzania chances of their own, captain John Bocco drawing out and beating Livingston Mulondo and John Revita and company down the right.

But Waiswa and Gavin Kizito filled in to avert danger when the cross came in. Uganda goalkeeper Nafian Alionzi behind them seemed to have fun all evening, taming every Tanzanian effort that came his way.

Micho introduced 19-year-old gangly Basangwa for Martin Kizza after half time and the youngster did not wait long to announce his arrival. Uganda won a free kick on the left and Waiswa drilled it in perfectly, the ball powerfully headed in by Basangwa for 2-0 on 54 minutes.

The Cranes then had one final say, a lofted ball finding Karisa on the right and the winger's cross picking out unmarked Mato to head into an empty net for 3-0 on 75 minutes. The two sides meet again in March next year in a back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifying encounter.

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