Thursday, September 7
•Niger 0-2 Uganda
•Algeria 0-0 Tanzania
- Algeria – 16pts
- Tanzania – 8
- Uganda – 7
- Niger – 2
Uganda Cranes have failed to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) despite beating Niger 2-0.
Goals from Aziz Kayondo and Joseph Ochaya handed Uganda a deserved victory, but the Cranes finish third behind Tanzania who collected a needed draw over hosts Algeria in the other group match.
The Taifa Stars therefore join Algeria as the two Group F teams that have qualified for AFCON due next year in Ivory Coast.
Coming into the crucial last group games, the Cranes needed not only a win against Niger but also a loss for Tanzania away to Algeria, to qualify as the second best team in the group.
Kayondo got the Cranes off to a good start when his intended cross eluded the goalkeeper to swing into the back of the net.
Ochaya doubled Cranes advantage before halftime after he had a slight touch off Milton Karisa’s effort.
The Cranes held on for a win, but they had no control in events between Algeria and Tanzania.
The Dessert Foxes dominated Tanzania from onset, but the hosts couldn’t break a solid and determined Taifa Stars.
The game at 19 May 1956 stadium was littered with a couple of stoppages, and Algeria who had earlier qualified, showed little intent and lacked sharpness in front of goal even with the introduction of stars Riyadh Mahrez and Said Benhrama.
Tanzania, coached by Algerian Adel Amrouche, will be playing at their third AFCON after previous appearances in 1980 and 2019.
But the Cranes will have themselves to blame for failing to take care of business in earlier matches that include a 1-1 draw against Niger at Kitende.
Blame Game Starts…
There will be some questions asked, and the technical team will take much blame for failure to fulfil the set target.
Micho’s future will be under huge scrutiny, and it remains to be seen if he will remain the head coach when the FIFA World Cup qualifiers get underway in November.
But not much he could have done for a team that notably played one game at home – that 1-1 draw at Kitende.
The Cranes AFCON campaign’s main stumbling block has been the team’s inability to host games at home, and it could have been a different story if the three home games were played at a packed Namboole.
And with the stadium still under renovation, the Cranes have picked just one points from the three home games. They drew with Niger before losses against Tanzania (in Egypt) and Algeria (in Cameroon).
The Federation, led by Moses Magago, will continue with the team-transition excuses, but for a second time in a row, Ugandans will Just watch the AFCON tournament on TV.
Uganda – Salim Magoola, Elvis Bwomono, Aziz Kayondo, Bevis Mugabi, Halid Lwaliwa, Khalid Aucho, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Milton Karisa, Farouk Miya, Fahad Bayo, Joseph Ochaya
Niger – Naim Attenhoven, Abdel Bonkano, Philop Nouhou, Youssouf Oumarou, Ali El Fazaz, Boureima Katkore, Boubacar Goumey, Ousmane Diabate, Salim Abubakar, Najeeb Yakubu, Boubacar Hainikoye