Log in
Updated few hours ago

How Cranes can revive World Cup dream after loss to Algeria

Travis Mutyaba (L) scored for Uganda Cranes in the 1-2 loss to Algeria on June 10 at Namboole

Travis Mutyaba (L) scored for Uganda Cranes in the 1-2 loss to Algeria on June 10 at Namboole

Following the two back-to-back games, that begun with a 1-0 victory over Botswana on June 7, before the dampener 1-2 defeat to Algeria on Monday, June 10, both at Namboole stadium, the Uganda Cranes will resume their quest for a berth at the 2026 Fifa World Cup in March next year.

The Cranes will travel South to take on Mozambique, before returning home to face Guinea in a period of just one week. That will be followed by two games in September, before concluding with two other games in October. 

Although defeat to Algeria earlier this week proved to be a big set-back for Uganda, who were second going into the game, yet now find themselves second from bottom, behind Algeria, Mozambique, Botswana, and Guinea, all is not lost.

The Cranes still have six games to play, and positive results from them is an implication that Uganda still has destiny for a possible appearance in the USA, Mexico or Canada for the 2026 World Cup possible.

Considering the Cranes’ recent performances in big tournament qualifiers, it is understandable why there is despair among many that were at Namboole on Monday evening.

Having seen their team take a 1-0 lead into the halftime break through Travis Mutyaba’s strike on 10 minutes, maybe better composure from Rogers Mato and Steven Mukwala should have ensured that The Cranes left Algeria for dead.

And then added to the fact that a would-be penalty was not awarded to Uganda in that same game, has left many feeling that it is not meant to be. Yet, there have been many teams in far worse situations, that have bounced back. The Cranes on six points, is only three points behind the table leaders Algeria, and second placed Mozambique.

So, all they have to do going forward is make up for the recent slip. Notably, the top sides from each of the nine groups will qualify automatically for the 2026 World Cup. Then, four of the best second placed sides across the nine groups will go into a playoff from which the winner, will join the other nine, and complete the 10 team representation from Africa.

That remains an achievable task, at least on paper. But football is not played on paper but on the field. The Cranes will have to go all out, first, and pick an away result in Botswana and Mozambique. Cranes coach, Paul Put was disappointed earlier in the campaign, that his side gave away a goal in added time against Guinea.

A point from that game would possibly have far-reaching implications on Uganda’s cause, which is why the loss to Algeria hurt. The irony, is that Uganda were quite competitive against the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations champions, and kept Algeria’s goalkeeper Anthony Mandrea more busy than Isma Watenga in Cranes goal was, for much of the game.

But top sides are defined by being incisive in key moments, which is what Algeria proved. It will take time of work on the field, more competitive games, before this youthful Cranes side acquires that.

However, even as the Cranes seemed on course to build on their victory over Botswana with an Algeria scalp, the eventual defeat came as a result of low concentration from Put’s men in key moments, but also because of the profligacy in front of goal, which has proved to be an ongoing problem for years now.

Improvement in that regard, between now and the next qualifiers is needed. Put said as much, pointing to how they have to maintain the belief and keep working on the training field. The fact that his charges, however less experienced they are, gave as good as they got against Algeria, there is a lot to build on.

Comments

0 #1 The Ugandan… 2024-06-16 23:10
This was more reason to expose youth teams to competitive international football so that they know how to manage games by the time they make it to the senior Cranes.

The team also needs to create and score more goals. Algeria are not strong defensively and would have let in more goals but the Cranes didn’t push them hard enough,

The coaches should have helped shield the defense especially the right back, after seeing the end of the first half.

The next few games will be a stress test of FUFA’s logistics and management.
Wish them the best.
Report to administrator

Comments are now closed for this entry