By Fred Kaweesi in Ndola
WHEN the Cranes take on African champions Zambia on October 13, Ugandans will be praying for a repeat of an earlier qualifier against Congo Brazzaville when the hosts overturned a 3-1 deficit.
It will take a win of at least 2-0 for the Cranes to overturn the 1-0 lead that the Central Africans took in the first leg in Ndola’s Levi Mwanawasa stadium yesterday.
The Cranes paid dearly for a lapse in defence in the 28th minute when danger man Christopher Katongo stabbed in the winner. Katongo pounced on a bouncing ball off a long throw in to put the hosts into the lead.
Cranes coach Bobby Williamson was happy with the result. “We have all the chances to get the required win of a two goal margin in Kampala,” he said after the match.
It was a first half where the Chipolopolo dominated with penetrative play. Uganda on the other hand lacked punch upfront. There was little lone striker Emma Okwi could do with little supply of balls.
Uganda’s linkmen Tony Mawejje, Moses Oloya and Mike Sserumaga always won the ball but in most cases lost possession through blind passes.
Godfrey “Baba” Kizito was impressive on his first senior national team call. The Vietnam based player showed midfield creativity with not only good passes, but also a second half long range effort that narrowly missed the mark.
Okwi could have also leveled the score if he hadn’t missed an Oloya cross.
But Cranes almost paid dearly for this raid as a resultant counter attack had dangerman Katongo’s shot bouncing off the upright. But there were also all signs of loose marking.
Moments later James Chamangwa, who had come on for Emmanuel Mayuka, broke through, but just as the Ugandans in Zambia and those watching on TV held their breath in fear goalkeeper Dennis Onyango advanced to block.
Cranes second half substitute Dan Wagaluka was in scoring range in the 85th minute, but looked on in shock as his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene. As the match got to the dying minutes coach Bobby Williamson brought on Robert Ssentongo for a tired Okwi.
Line-up: D. Onyango, S. Masaba, G. Walusimbi, H. Kalungi, A. Mwesigwa, H. Wasswa,T. Mawejje, M. Oloya (D. Wagaluka), G. Kizito, E. Okwi (R. Ssentongo), M. Serumaga (H. Kiiza)