October 8th, 2011 is a day any football fan in Uganda wants to forget, November 11th, 2021 can be added to that list since both represent the same to a Ugandan football fan. Heartbreak caused by Kenya who now qualifies to be Uganda’s worst nightmare in footballing terms.
Just like in 2011 when Kenya denied Uganda a chance to play at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals with that barren draw at Namboole, on Thursday at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende, the Harambee Stars shuttered a World Cup dream.
In the one all draw 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier played at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende, Kenya’s skipper Michael Olunga scored for the visitors in the 62nd minute before Fahad Bayo levelled matters for Uganda in the 89th minute.
It was the first time Uganda was conceding a goal in the campaign they had managed to collect eight points from their first four games.
In a slow start from Uganda, it’s the visitors who made the first sight to the goal, with Samuel Onyango’s tame shot comfortably dealt by Charles Lukwago after seven minutes.
After 23 minutes, the Harambee Stars were unluckily denied an opener when Olunga’s strike was brilliantly saved by Lukwago.
As the home team started to grow in the game, midfielder Bobosi Byaruhanga’s powerful freekick was superbly denied by goalkeeper Brian Bwire with 30 minutes played.
Three minutes to the end of the first half, Cranes left-back Aziz Kayondo was the saviour as he exquisitely cleared a goal-bound effort off the line to deny Kenya from breaking the deadlock.
Uganda made a bright start to the second stanza and could have scored but custodian Bwire yet again made a good save, this time to deny Fahad Bayo.
Against the run of play, in the 62nd minute, Olunga rose highest to meet a good cross to head past Lukwago to make it 1-0.
Two minutes later, Olunga almost doubled the lead but for Lukwago’s good save. A second could have dented any chances of an equalizer from the hosts.
In the search for a leveller, substitute Yunus Sentamu was denied by a good block from defender Joseph Okumu after a brilliant interplay with Bayo.
At the 90th minute mark, Bayo capitalized on Bwire’s howler to make it 1-1 for his third goal in as many matches for the Cranes.
Uganda nearly made it 2-1 but Martin Kizza failed to make a clean strike off Allan Okello’s brilliant ball late in the game.
Uganda stay second with nine points whereas Kenya are on three. A win by toppers Mali over Rwanda in the evening will ensure the West Africans progress to the final playoff. It will also end Uganda’s 2022 World Cup dream.
Uganda Starting XI : Charles Lukwago (GK), Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Timothy Awanyi, Aaziz Kayondo, Bevis Mugabi, Moses Waiswa, Khalid Aucho, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Steven Mukwala, Fahad Bayo
Substitutions: Ismail Watenga (GK), Mathias Kigonya (GK), Livingstone Mulondo, Yunus Sentamu, Yaya Kakooza Mahad, Shafik Kagimu, John Revita, Garvin Kizito Mugweri, Martin Kizza, Ibrahim Orit, Allan Okello, Milton Karisa.
Kenya Starting XI: Brian Bwire(GK), Joseph Okumu, Abud Omar, David Ochieng, Amos Nondi, Anthony Akumu, Kenneth Muguna, Anthony Wambani, Abdallah Hassan, Samuel Onyango, Micheal Olunga
Substitutions: Ian Otieno(GK), James Saruni(GK), Musa Muhammed, Richard Odada, Duke Abuya, Timothy Noor Ouma, Ismael Salim, Alwyn Tera, Cliff Nyakeya, Cliffton Niheso
More details to follow