Don’t cry for Uganda, Guinea belong there

Uganda have been tried, tested and have been found wanting yet again! This time though, the test came against Guinea but ended in a familiar fashion.
As was the case against Nigeria in 1993, Kenya in 2011 and Zambia in 2012 the Cranes yielded to pressure on the final day of the campaign by falling short of a desired result.
Needing a point against Guinea to qualify, the Cranes lost 2-0 to prolong the absence at the continental showpiece for at least 39years.
A Guinea team playing some of the most breathtaking football that this qualification campaign has seen rightly earned their place in what will be their 11th appearance at Afcon. Being driven by the injustice that required them to play home games away in Morocco and being stigmatized on their travels due to an Ebola outbreak back home, the motivated Guineans rallied results against all teams in Group E.
They beat Togo at home to kickstart their campaign before losing 2-0 to Uganda at Namboole. They seemed to play good football but they just couldn’t find the right results and this was vindicated by the fact that they only managed one point in a double-header against Ghana. However, the Guineans found the missing link as they wiped away Uganda and Togo with relative ease in their last two games of the campaign. Knowing only a win would do against Uganda in Casablanca on Wednesday night, they delivered the lines of an already written script to perfection.
Guinea played like an inspired side that had done their homework while the Cranes were timid and waited for things to happen.
Fufa booked them into a hotel in Kikoni, a Kampala suburb on their visit to Kampala for the first leg, in which they were ran rugged by an explosive Geoffrey Massa, but the said motel refused to host them.
They were sent to another neighbouring hotel where they spent the night before moving to Imperial Royale the next day. The feeling of injustice must have motivated Guinea to silence their ‘tormentors.’
And silence them they did as they kept Massa and co. quiet in Casablanca with good combination play and quick forward movement that left the Cranes midfield chasing shadows. Not even Cranes’ defensive approach was going to stop the trio of tormentor-in-chief Ibrahima Traore, Soumah Seydouba and Idrissa Sylla. Traore battered Godfrey Walusimbi all evening stopping the Cranes leftback from combining with winger Brian Majwega along the flank. His well-struck free-kick through the Cranes wall to the back of the net must still have goalkeeper Dennis Onyango dazed.
Seydouba also showed his quality by drawing a foul for the first goal.
He then converted his penalty after Mwesigwa had brought down Idrissa in the box to put the game beyond Uganda and extend the wait.
Uganda will look back at the home loss to Togo as the beginning of the end. As poor travellers, who have managed only one point away from home against a Ghanaian side coming off an embarrassing World Cup campaign in Brazil, Uganda should have done better than lose to Togo at Namboole.
The fact that last-placed Togo managed their only six points of the campaign against Uganda shows how far the Cranes are from the summit of continental football.
Even more hurting for the Ugandans is that some tens of fans were sent home from Morocco before the game as they had failed to secure visas to get into the Maghreb-country.

*1994 Afcon Qualifiers
Uganda 0-0 Nigeria
Had Adam Ssemugabi, converted that penalty late in the campaign’s second last game at Nakivubo against Nigeria, Uganda – backed by their final 1-0 victory over Sudan – would have qualified.
*2012 Afcon Qualifiers
Uganda 0-0 Kenya
Uganda led the group up to the last day of the campaign. The Cranes then needed just a point in Luanda against Angola to qualify. They lost 2-0 to postpone possible qualification to the final game – at home against Kenya in which they registered a goalless draw.
*2013 Afcon Qualifiers
Uganda 1-0 Zambia. Zambia won 8-9 on penalties
Uganda had to beat the then defending champions, Zambia, over two legs to qualify. The Cranes lost 1-0 away and needed to beat Zambia 2-0 at Namboole to progress. The Cranes instead won 1-0 and lost 8-9 on penalties.
*2015 Afcon Qualifiers
Guinea 2-0 Uganda
With all teams in Group E capable of possible qualification by
kickoff on the final day, with Uganda in particular needing a draw to end the jinx, the Cranes lost 2-0 to Guinea.

Guinea 2-1 Togo, September 5
Uganda 2-0 Guinea, September 10
Guinea 1-1 Ghana, October 11
Ghana 3-1 Guinea, October 15
Togo 1-4 Guinea, November 15
Guinea 2-0 Uganda, November 19

Ghana 1-1 Uganda, September 6
Uganda 2-0 Guinea, September 10
Uganda 0-1 Togo, October 11
Togo 1-0 Uganda October 15
Uganda 1-0 Ghana, November 15
Guinea 2-0 Uganda, November 19

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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