6 December 2012

Uganda: Dream Final

At last, The Cranes have a chance to avenge pain of missing out on the 2012 African Cup of Nations at the hands of Kenya, when the two teams clash in the Cecafa Cup final on Saturday, writes Moses Mugalu and Elly Kyeyune.

In perhaps their most impressive performance in the tournament, Uganda humbled Tanzania 3-0 to book a date with Kenya. It was supposed to be Uganda's toughest fixture because Tanzania went into the game with the most prolific attack. Yet, the much-anticipated hammer-versus-anvil showdown was anything but.

Uganda started the brighter side and took a deserved lead, when Emma Okwi, who came off the bench in the quarterfinal victory over Ethiopia, latched on Dennis Iguma's perfectly weighted ball to rifle in the opener from a tight angle.

Thereafter, the Tanzanians threatened the Cranes goal as custodian Hamza Muwonge exhibited rare lapses in concentration. In fact, the crossbar came to his rescue midway through the first half, as Uganda hung on.

However, Robert Ssentongo dampened Tanzania's spirits early on the second half, tapping into an empty goal after Hamis 'Diego' Kiiza beat the offside trap to square the ball.

From then on, Tanzanians - perhaps sensing there was no way back - resorted to unsporting tactics. Ssentongo sealed the win late on with a poacher's strike. The match was delayed for eight minutes due to poor visibility after some floodlights failure, but when play resumed, there was never any doubt about the result.

Earlier on, Kenya's Harambee Stars needed spot-kicks to overcome surprise package Zanzibar after the two teams had played out a 2-2 draw. This will be the second meeting between the two teams. It is also a repeat of the 2008 final at the same ground, when Uganda won 1-0 courtesy of a Brian Umony goal.

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