Mali has subjected Uganda to yet another frustrating result as the Cranes wanted to at least end this World Cup qualifying campaign on a positive note, given the fact that they could not qualify to the next round.
In their last group game played at the Agadir Stadium in Morocco on Sunday evening, Uganda conceded a first half Kalifa Coulibaly’s goal to lose three points to Mali who will proceed to the play-offs.
Mali finished with 16 points to top the group, as Uganda with nine will still finish second regardless of the result between Kenya (three) and Rwanda (one) on Monday, November 15.
Going into the Sunday game, Uganda had nothing to lose, as they knew they would not qualify regardless of the result.
And you would so, therefore, expect them to be under minimal pressure as they express themselves. For whatever reasons, however, they were so nervous.
Micho made several changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Kenya at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Thursday. Most notable of them was Allan Okello starting, besides Ibrahim Orit and Martin Kizza.
No Ugandan player, including the team’s best performer on the day, scored above average.
Ismael Watenga 3/10
He went off his line without clear intention and purpose, and that is how Uganda easily conceded the only goal of the match.
The goalkeeper had a nervy evening, he could barely get his goal-kicks right. Though he later seemed more comfortable and settled, that is after the minute he had conceded a sloppy goal.
Denis Iguma – 3/10
Micho’s warrior commendably combated the enemy far away from his area of operation to the opposite side. He however was less helpful to his partner ahead of him.
It was clear Ibrahim Orit was not comfortable with those over-head balls to the right hand wing from the back, and Iguma insisted on playing only those to him – he ended up rarely utilising any of those.
Isaac Muleme – 4/10
His wing was the busiest to defend of the two, and Mali surely found some spaces on their right more than they did on their left, but luckily did not utilise any.
Regardless, Muleme was far better than Iguma in trying to ensure there is no pressure playing out from the back. The left back clearly had that in mind, but it needed a more collective effort so, it did not work out as well.
Bevis Mugabi – 4/10
Mugabi’s height and physicality was a perfect match-up with the towering West Africans. He manned the defence well, unlike in the 19th minute when could not jump higher than Coulibaly to prevent him from heading towards Watenga who was off his line.
Halid Lwaliwa – 4/10
Besides the sloppy goal, Lwaliwa’s partnership with Mugabi could have easily seen the Cranes bring another clean sheet home.
Khalid Aucho – 4/10
The Cranes team captain did not produce anything different like expected of him, than making hard tackles and being so tough in front of his backline.
Ibrahim Orit – 5/10
The out-wide midfielder started on the right wing for Uganda, and he seemed to have given the Mali defenders a reason to be more cautious, he operated in very tight spaces, but he always tried to get his way. With a more possessive approach, Orit should have surely been more important for the Cranes.
Bobosi Byaruhanga – 4/10
The midfielder’s performance was yet again not so exceptional, nothing special besides controlling the ball to pass it, and closing down opponents from the middle.
Fahad Bayo – 4/10
Bayo was nowhere near scoring today. His not scoring is logically why the Cranes had no goal, he has scored all Uganda’s three goals in this particular campaign. Had he scored today, it would have been his fourth in four. He did not appear as sharp as the previous three games.
Allan Okello – 5/10
He is that one Ugandan player who was confident enough on the day. Though he did not still deliver to the expected level, he tried doing exactly what should have been done – for the few times he got the ball, he expressed himself. The ball should have been played to him more.
Martin Kizza – 3/10
Kizza started wide on the left flank for Uganda, and he was expected to add pace and flair in the Cranes attack, and we saw very little of that. Not entirely his fault though, he could hardly receive the ball conveniently to be more effective.
Moses Waiswa – 3/10
Of the three Uganda Cranes substitutes, Waiswa, who came on for Bobosi Byaruhanga with 20 minutes to play in the second half tried most to involve himself in the game, but he had no big impact. He gave an impression that would have done more with more time on the pitch.
Steven Mukwala, Milton Karisa N/A
Mukwala came on for Kizza towards 70 minutes, as Karisa replaced Okello for the last 10 minutes, but there is nothing much to write about what they contributed in the last minutes of the game.
Unused subs: Charles Lukwago (GK), Mathias Kigonya (GK), Aziz Kayondo, Geoffrey Wasswa, Livingstone Mulondo, Shafik Kagimu, John Revita, Garvin Kizito Mugweri, Julius Poloto.