Saturday, July 24
*Uganda 1-1 Tanzania
Uganda bundled out of the CECAFA U23 tournament after a 1-1 draw with rivals Tanzania in the last group A game on Saturday.
Steven Mukwala missed from the spot early in the first half and his second half equaliser was not enough to deny Tanzania at Bahir Dar Stadium, Ethiopia.
The result means that Uganda finishes second in a three-team Group A with two points while Tanzania tops with four and hence storm semis.
After drawing their opener with DR Congo last Sunday, Morley Byekwaso’s side needed nothing but victory to secure top spot. The format of the tourney sees the top team in each of the three groups reach semis and joined by the one best runner up.
It was generally a below par performance for Uganda who has dominated the CECAFA region at all stages.
Mukwala, the URA FC marksman, was given chance from the spot in the 14th minute but saw his kick pushed to the post by the goalkeeper.
Tanzania took the lead in the 32nd minute when Israel Sospeter converted from the spot after a reckless foul from Peter Magambo.
Mukwala redeemed himself before halftime when he found himself unmarked in the box to slot home the levelller.
A couple of missed chances followed later on as Uganda staged a second half surge, but the side could not find a winner.
Uganda will now switch to placement games – They will play DR Congo on July 26 for rankings.
Tanzania meet South Sudan while Burundi and Kenya face off in the other semifinal that will be played on July 27.
Uganda Fail To Live As Advertised
Uganda went to Ethiopia as title favourites thanks to their recent exploits.
They beat Tanzania 4-1 to win the CECAFA U20 tournament in Arusha last year in December and the same side went on to reach the final of the AFCON U20.
Uganda are the CECAFA defending champions having won the tourney in 2019 in Kampala. The competition rules lowered the tourney to Under-23 this year.
Uganda’s dominance in the region surely needs no introduction.
To prepare for the Ethiopia event, FUFA took the team to Saudi Arabia for a week-long camp where they played two friendlies with the national U23 side which was preparing for the Tokyo Olympics.
But an early exit has rendered the earlier efforts useless.
The draw against DR Congo and a subsequent victory for Tanzania against the same opponent in midweek, put Uganda in a difficult situation where they needed a win to progress.
On Saturday, Tanzania were patient and played with confidence as the side needed a draw to progress.
However, it was Uganda who got the best chance to take control of the game – But Mukwala fluffed his penalty.
Najib Yiga headed over the bar as the Kobs tried to find the opener.
But it was not long when Tanzania took the lead. Magambo failed to clear away from danger and when he was robed of possession, he retaliated with a reckless foul in the box.
Sospeter calmly sent goalkeeper Charles Lukwago the wrong way.
Magambo had chance to level but was denied from close range.
A now hungry Mukwala scored an equaliser when he caught the defence napping, slotting home and followed the strike with his trademark somersaults.
Bright Anukani fired wide as Uganda almost snatched a halftime lead.
The Kobs greatly improved as Tanzania comfortably sat deep.
Mukwala headed over Walusimbi’s teasing cross while the introduction of Ivan Bogere and Salim Abdallah in the 70th minute did not pay dividends.
Both Walusimbi and Musa Ramathan headed over the bar in the closing stages before the final whistle was greeted by wild celebrations from Tanzania camp.
The Kobs players cut a distraught figure in the middle of the park before coach Morley went and comforted them one by one.
How Teams Started:
Uganda XI – Charles Lukwago, Enock Walusimbi, Musa Ramathan, Peter Magambo, Aziz Kayondo, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Bright Anukani, Karim Watambala, Julius Poloto, Najib Yiga, Steven Mukwala.
Coach – Morley Byekwaso
Tanzania XI – Metacha Mnata, Israel Mwenda, Nickson Kibabage, Lusajo Mwaikenda, Israel Sospeter, Abraham Meschack, Lusajo Reliant, Nashon Kelvin, Mohamed Abdulrazak, Yusuph Mhilu, Lucas Kikoti.
Coach – Kim Poulsen