Friday, March 24
*Uganda 0-1 Tanzania
Group F Standings
- Algeria 🇩🇿 – 9
- Tanzania 🇹🇿 – 4
- Niger 🇳🇪 – 2
- Uganda 🇺🇬 – 1
Uganda Cranes’ poor show at the 2023 AFCON Qualifiers continued with a 1-0 loss against Tanzania in a Group F game held in Ismailia, Egypt.
The Taifa Stars edged the contest through substitute Simon Msuva who poked in past Salim Jamal in the 68th minute after a neat cross in the area from Dickson Job
Cranes barely asked questions, and never improved even after the introduction of young trio Richard Basangwa, Steven Sserwadda and Isma Mugulusi.
The team’s best chance arrived late in the first half when Kenneth Ssemakula picked Joseph Ochaya who was unmarked at the far end, only for the winger to shoot poor and weakly.
The Cranes performance lacked spirit and conviction, and the result lays bare Coach Micho’s tactical naivety.
The Cranes will face Tanzania next week on Tuesday in Dar Es Salaam.
Micho Skating on Thin Ice
It’s another poor result for the Cranes in this ongoing campaign having started with a 2-0 away loss against Algeria before a home draw against Niger.
After the Niger game at Kitende, it was said that FUFA boss Moses Magogo gave Micho the Tanzania double-header to produce result or face sack.
With the second leg tie just days away, and inside a fully packed National Stadium in Dar, it promises to be another difficult outing for the Cranes, and Micho’s days as Coach may be numbered.
The squad he put out against Tanzania had more questions, including starting with a double-pivot of Khalid Aucho and Siraje Sentamu to limit the team’s creativity.
Many players will also take the blame for not showing effort, which Micho identified and reacted with three substitutions.
However, letting Basangwa lead the line ahead of Steven Mukwala in the second half, was wide of the mark.
Substitute Sserwadda spent less than seven minutes before he was taken off for Allan Okello, after collision with Bakari Mwamnyento.
Gavin Kizito was ruled out before kickoff, and it remains to be seen if the two will be available for the game in Dar Es Salaam.
The Cranes remain rock bottom with just a point halfway through the campaign, and judging by the performance, the qualification for the tournament due next year in Ivory Coast looks out of reach.
Tanzania Can Dream
The Taifa Stars have been at the AFCON two times, in 1980 and 2019.
When these groups draws were held, Tanzania were the outsiders to take one of the top two slots.
And midway through the campaign, the side finds themselves second, on the back of taking two teams – Simba and Yanga – into CAF inter club knockout stages.
The result is a positive start for new coach Adel Amrouche.
They have two back-to-back home games against Uganda and Niger, and maximum points will see them return to AFCON before their last away game against Algeria.
They were the better side in Ismailia and could have scored more.
The Taifa Stars were a big threat in set-pieces, with Novatus Dismas at the giving end.
And continued to improve as the game progressed, as they capitalised on Cranes profligacy
They had a good chance to score when they caught the Cranes on the break, Kenneth Ssemakula failed to clear and the ball landed on Mbwana Ssematta, it’s Halid Lwaliwa who arrived on time with a block to save the situation.
Abdul Suleiman, after cutting inside past Livingston Mulondo, saw his resultant shot saved by Jamal.
And few minutes later, the turning point arrived after a neat inter-play and when Dickson Job laid the ball into the area, Msuva reacted quickly to slot in the opener.
The goal was beautiful celebrated, with Msuva reserving time to take a selfie with his joyous teammates.
And the Cranes never recovered, as the Taifa Stars picked their first win of the campaign.
Uganda – Salim Jamal, Kenneth Ssemakula, Aziz Kayondo, Halid Lwaliwa, Livingston Mulondo, Khalid Aucho, Siraje Sentamu, Farouk Miya, Fahad Bayo, Emma Okwi, Joseph Ochaya
Tanzania – Aishi Manula (GK), Dickson Job, Novatus Dismas, Bakari Mwamnyeto, Ibrahim Bacca, Himid Mao, Yassin Mzamiru, Mudathir Yahya, Said Khamis, Mbwana Samatta (C), Simon HappyGod Msuva