Sunday, 16 November 2014

Uganda has Kabugo to thank as Afcon dream remains alive

  Savio Kabugo is carried by teammate Mawejje after Uganda beat Ghana at Namboole.

2015 Afcon qualifier
Yesterday’s result
Uganda 1-0 Ghana, Namboole
Ghana 5 2 2 1 8 6 +2 8
Uganda 5 2 1 2 4 3 1 7
Togo 4 2 0 2 5 5 0 6
Guinea 4 1 1 2 4 7 -3 4
*Table does not include Togo-Guinea result

Savio Kabugo definitely took Emmanuel Adebayor’s advice. His committed run from his half under coach Micho Sredojevic’s frantic urging on the touchline was quite a tale.
The central defender arrived in time to connect Mike Sserumaga’s searching corner after a run that underlined the hard work he has put in during training. Perhaps he had also taken on Adebayor’s advice of continuing the hard work after the two defeats to the West Africans.
That ninth minute header ensured a crucial 1-0 victory over the fancied Ghanaians in the penultimate 2015 Nations Cup qualifier at Namboole last evening.
It may not be a collector’s item as he sneaked in on the blindside but will remain in the young man’s memory.
It was the first goal for the Sports Club Victory University (SCVU) defender in five Nations Cup qualifying games; his senior debut coming against the same opposition in the 1-1 first leg stalemate in Kumasi.
Uganda will now travel to Casablanca, Morocco to face Guinea on Wednesday knowing victory will end the 37 painful years of absence from the Afcon finals. The Cranes are now on seven points, one behind Ghana. Togo, who are on six, and Guinea – two points less, was a late kick off.
Under the watch of close to 30,000 spectators, Ghana had the earliest chance, Uganda conceding a corner and Christian Atsu delivering it immaculately. But, Majeed Waris could only hold his head in frustration after missing the ball.
Uganda’s chance the other end instead drew deafening noise, the Cranes winning a corner thanks to Geoffrey Massa’s pressure on a Ghanaian defender.
The resultant corner was the moment everyone hoped for. Sserumaga, on his return to the fold after two years in the cold, drilled it past everyone in the Ghanaian box for Kabugo, in his virgin 20s, to nod home.
The Usain Bolt-esque gun posturing celebrations that followed from Kabugo only emphasized the importance of the goal. A loose fan was not to be left out, sprinting across the pitch and past Ghanaian goalkeeper Razak Braimah in stupid ecstasy.
Ghana needed something. Waris latched onto a pass down the left, beating skipper Andy Mwesigwa. The defender applied a rugby strategy, bringing Waris down to pick his yellow card.
Striker Yunus Ssentamu’s ankle, which has troubled him all week, soon gave way allowing a first half forced substitution. Daniel Sserunkuma replaced him. The Gor Mahia striker soon threaded a delicious pass to Sserumaga but John Boye intercepted.
The second half was an equally open affair, Tonny Mawejje releasing Sserunkuma on the left but Gor Mahia man losing footing.
Ghana stand-in skipper Andre Ayew was kept quiet before being substituted late on, but even when he created openings, Atsu and Waris were disappointing.
Substitute David Accam could have rescued a point for the Black Stars but Dennis Onyango saved brilliantly from the Ghanaian’s half volley.

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