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How Uganda Cranes blew it in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers

Cranes captain Denis Onyango

Cranes captain Denis Onyango

Nov 13, 2019: B. Faso 0 Uganda 0

This was coach Johnathan McKinstry’s maiden competitive game. The Cranes secured a credible goalless draw in Ouagadougou against Burkina Faso, a valuable away point put Cranes on track for Afcon 2021.

Nov 17, 2019: Uganda 2 Malawi 0

Striker Fahad Bayo made his home debut, starting in place of Patrick Kaddu. Despite a jittery start, Bayo followed up Emmanuel Okwi’s first half goal with a fine strike, that gave Uganda a 2-0 win. Youthful attacker, Allan Okello also made his debut for The Cranes.

Nov 12, 2020: Uganda 1 S.Sudan 0

Defender Elvis Bwomono and midfielder Abdul-Karim Watambala made their debuts in this game. Facing one of the World’s lowest ranked teams, South Sudan, Cranes were expected to win easily. But Cranes display was below par, and it required a strike from debutant defender Halid Lwaliwa for Cranes to secure a 1-0 win in the dying minutes.

Nov 16, 2020: S.Sudan 1 Uganda 0

McKinstry’s team selection for this game was curious, yet a win for Cranes would have secured qualification. Dropping Mike Azira and Emmanuel Okwi for Watambala and Okello respectively suggested McKinstry did not think highly of South Sudan in the return leg in Nairobi. As it turned out, a goal by a Ugandan turned South Sudanese, Tito Okello, saw Cranes lose 0-1. This put McKinstry’s future in doubt!

Mar 24, 2021: Uganda 0 B.Faso 0

By the time Burkina Faso came to town, McKinstry had been ordered by Fufa to step aside, letting his assistant Abdallah Mubiru to take charge. But other than substitutes, Moses Waiswa and debutant Ibrahim Orit’s purposeful play, the Burkinabe boys could not be breached, and secured qualification with the goalless draw in Kitende.

Mar 29 2021: Malawi 1  Uganda 0

The Cranes needed a draw to make it to Cameroon. But a goal conceded after 16 minutes, put the cat among the pigeons, spoiling Cranes’ anticipated strategy, to keep in the game. While Cranes huffed and puffed, the ineffective performance of its attackers, Okwi, Faruku Miya, Yunus Sentamu and Okello put paid to Uganda’s chances to make it to Cameroon.  

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