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How Cranes beat Guinea Bissau

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th June 2011 03:00 AM

IN the aftermath of Cranes’ 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau on Saturday, the team’s two central defenders could not conceal their emotions.

IN the aftermath of Cranes’ 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau on Saturday, the team’s two central defenders could not conceal their emotions.

By Fred Kaweesi

IN the aftermath of Cranes’ 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau on Saturday, the team’s two central defenders could not conceal their emotions.

While Andrew Mwesigwa fell to his knees for a short prayer in gratitude for the result, his defensive partner Hassan Wasswa was tearful.

Wasswa, who turns out for Turkey side Altay, could not believe he had stepped into team captain Ibrahim Sekagya’s boots and performed to near perfection.

Yet if anybody doubted him, at least it wasn’t Sekagya –the Red Bulls Salzburg skipper, who exemplified his commitment to the team in the stadium.

Ideally, Sekagya, who had been suspended for this particular game, would have chosen to enjoy the game in the comforts of the VIP area.

But he chose otherwise. Like a field marshal, Sekagya, who had spent days and nights with the team at their Sky Hotel in Ntinda, watched and advised his teammates stood with his teammates during the course of the pre-match warm-up before taking up a seat on the bench –more often yelling out words of caution and encouragement to the 11 cards Coach Bobby Williamson had sent out for duty. “I am proud of how we played and particularly Wasswa. I am happy he didn’t disappoint. We talked over so many things and it worked,” Sekagya said after the game.

It indeed worked.
Inspired by Godfrey Walusimbi’s marvelous goal on 38 minutes and Geoffrey Massa’s spectacular in the 58th minute, Cranes successfully strolled to the brink of qualifying for the 2012 Nations Cup finals.

With ten points gathered so far, it literally means Uganda needs a point in their two remaining fixtures against Angola (September 3) and Kenya (October 8) to qualify for the finals for the first time since 1978.

And if Cranes achieve this, the team will look back to Saturday’s victory as a crucial factor.

Of course, the result plundered in Bissau was undoubtedly the turning point. But when you play such a huge game without your leader (Sekagya), it does complicate the task at hand.

Thankfully, if there were jitters, they weren’t severe.

In the run up to this game, Coach Bobby Williamson had warned his charges against complacency.

The Scot had demanded for passion, strong mentality and commitment. He had challenged all the experienced guns in the team to step to the plate.

Although Obua sadly tainted the victory with a moment of shame, the rest of the side stood to the task and accomplished the assignment against the visitors, who partly contributed to their downfall by some scandalous decisions.

It was surprising that they opted to drop three of their first team stars Jose Zezinho, Cicero Semedo and Miche Dorusio.

The contingent’s guide told New Vision that it was a move meant to surprise Cranes. Sadly it backfired. When the three were eventually brought on, Cranes had literally sealed victory and a deserved one at that as their attacking and expansive approach to the game had for large spells of the game proved irresistible. Not once but several times did Cranes look like scoring and even after Geoffrey Massa had missed a seater on 19 minutes, it was always a matter of time and what a goal to suit the occasion.

Whether Walusimbi’s goal was a product of attempting to cross to any of other attacking players is a debate for another day, the fact is it was a goal out of this world. From 25-yards, Walusimbi —the youngest player on the pitch caught Guinea Bissau’s goalkeeper Jonas Azevedo off his line with a curling ball to hand Cranes the lead.

The visitors only seemed rejuvenated into the second half, and could have instantly bounced back into the game had Bacar Balde successfully out-muscled Mwesigwa.

That however simply awoke the Cranes, who then caught the visitors on the break, Tony Mawejje patiently playing Massa into Guinea’s box.

Massa composed himself, dummied and then rounded Azevedo before rolling home the second.

Team play
From this moment, Cranes decided to play safe, keeping possession with a few occasional counter-attacks. If the back four of Nestroy Kizito, Mwesigwa, Wasswa and Simeon Masaba was outstanding and helped Uganda preserve its clean sheet, how about Mudde Musa and Tony Mawejje? The pair’s telepathic understanding, great movement and simple approach were proof that these ‘Siamese twins’ have finally matured. Had Vincent Kayizzi imposed himself like we know he can, the visitors would have been obliterated as not once did he find himself in with either Azevedo or just a defender to beat.

Man of the match
It was hard to call but Simeon Masaba just nicks it. Massa, Mwesigwa and the rest were brilliant, Onyango fantastic as usual but Masaba stood out. He provided that edge going forward when Kayizzi seemed to struggle. For now we’ll excuse Kayizzi and enjoy the win.

How Cranes beat Guinea Bissau

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