By Fred Kaweesi
Africa Nations Championship
Uganda 0 Zimbabwe 0
WHEN Cranes confront Morocco in their final Group B fixture on Monday next week, the rules will be simple. Win and earn a direct ticket to the quarterfinals. Draw and rely on results elsewhere or lose and return to Kampala.
That’s the kind of situation at the moment, following yesterday’s goalless draw against Zimbabwe.
The point had however propelled Uganda further clear at the top of Group B, before Morocco played Burkina Faso later.
And yet overall it’s the kind of result coach Micho Sredojevic will take on any day considering the manner in which the game transpired.
Zimbabwe was totally a different entity from Burkina Faso. They got men behind the ball and played a compact game, making it hard for the Cranes and their revelation striker Yunus Sentamu. There were a few crosses and through-balls Cranes could play as Zimbabwe assembled five midfielders across the pitch.
Having drawn the first game against Morocco, the Warriors were always going to show more desire.
And, as expected, they attacked from the onset and should have taken the lead through Ali Sadiki, Kudakwashe Mahachi or Charles Sibanda.
In a game that was littered with fouls throughout, Sadiki headed wide for Zimbabwe, while Mahachi hit the bar with a cross after the break and Sibanda headed off target.
But the one positive Micho took from the game ahead of the final group tie was the manner in which Cranes stayed patient to frustrate their opponents.
A few years back, Cranes would have panicked but the team has that inner confidence now that should auger well for the future.
The Cranes had watched replays of Zimbabwe’s first game against Morocco and among the areas of concern was the threat posed by strikers Simba Sithole and David Ngoma.
Defenders Savio Kabugo and Richard Kassaga frustrated the duo and should be on the books of some scouts on the evidence of their performances so far.
In the build-up to this game, Micho had demanded better from the experienced players such as Brian Majwega considering that they had not performed to expectation in the first game.
However, the KCCA midfi elder has failed to star at the big stage proper. Majwega, just like midfielders Hassan Wasswa, Ivan Ntege and Denis Iguma, failed to impose their qualities this time.
They will have to against Morocco if Cranes are to make the quarterfinals.