By Kenneth Muwanga in Cape Town
THE Uganda Cranes brushed aside the Bukina Faso Stallions 2-1 to secure their first ever win at the biennial tournament in an exciting game played at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Sunday evening.
With goals in each half courtesy of Yunus Ssentamu, Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic could not hide his excitement about the team’s performance as he hugged everyone across the media centre.
Speaking to New Vision Sport after the game Micho expressed his delight at the players executing his game plan to perfection.
“I can`t hide it. I am extremely happy for my young boys they followed the instructions according to our game plan and I think we deserved to win. From the first five minutes and all the chances we created, it was a real Ugandan heart of aggressiveness from team”.
Burkina Faso’s game plan was to attack from the onset but Cranes weathered the storm and imposed themselves early on in the match.
Cranes created shooting opportunities within the first 5 minutes of the game and bossed proceedings to force midfielders Alliassou Sanou and Aboubaker Traore to drop deep.
“It was also our plan to attack them and it worked. Even though the opponents had a good physical presence we countered that with speed and accuracy in our passing and all was perfect after we got the first goal”.
Goal scorer Ssentamu drew praise from Micho for his hard work and exploits in front of goal.
"Ssentamu has the knack of being in the right place at the right time and he shows plenty of composure in his finishing and that is why he started the match,” gushed Micho.
“I am happy because this was a result of four weeks of hard work. His second goal was something we have been working on in training.”
Cranes now top Group B with 3 points and will look to secure another victory to consolidate their top spot.
“We are happy but now it is my task to change the focus of the boys from yesterday’s excitement to the next game against Zimbabwe which is like our final as Uganda. But also I think we played a good team” Micho said.
Uganda will play again on Thursday and it will be intriguing to see how Micho approaches the game in which any point will be important if Cranes are to make it to the quarterfinals.
“We will be prepared for Zimbabwe and I thank God we have no injuries in the squad. We will wait for our next training season so as to asses and see the available players”.
Cranes showed plenty of intent throughout the game which came as a surprise to many who have been critical of the side’s pragmatic approach in the past and Micho was happy the new style paid dividends.
“We are changing everything because we’ve had a problem of scoring from open play in the past but I believe this style of play accommodates all these young players who like to use the ball but again results are also crucial at this stage”.
Cranes also ended the match without picking up a single booking as the relatively young and inexperienced side exhibited a great degree of discipline.