9 December 2012

Uganda/Kenya: Cecafa - Invincible Cranes

The Cranes may have failed to qualify for the Nations Cup but when it comes to the East and Central Africa region, they are simply unstoppable, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.

13 Cecafa Cup titles and counting; it's perhaps the biggest dominance of a multi-nation tournament in the world given that closest rivals Kenya have won it only five times. The Cranes proved on Saturday at Namboole stadium that they are unbeatable after a dramatic 2-1 win over Kenya's Harambee Stars in the final.

Bobby Williamson's team had a solid and disciplined defence, a pragmatic midfield approach and was ruthless in attack over the past two weeks. Scoring 14 goals and conceding just one shows Uganda's dominance. Bobby will hope this resilience spills over into the 2014 World Cup qualifiers that resume in March 2013.

He said after the final that the players' confidence will grow in leaps and bounds after this tournament. That said, the Cecafa Cup is not the kind of tournament to get Ugandans carried away. That's mainly due to the fact that Uganda last participated for the Africa Cup of Nations in 1978.

However, that doesn't discredit the brilliance of this young team which has all it takes to be a force on the continent in the future. Through their pressing game and high tempo that was orchestrated by speedy players like Moses Oloya and Robert Ssentongo, Kenya was under siege from the opening whistle. It wasn't surprising that The Cranes had a half-time lead.

However, failure to capitalise on dominantion comes with damning results. In fact, Cranes fans noticed that in the second half when Kenya dominated the midfield, eventually equalising late on before Geoffrey 'Baba' Kizito nodded home the winner at the death..

With Uganda's next major fixture being the 2014 World Cup qualifier away to Liberia on March 22, 2013, the hope is that The Cranes extend their winning touch to the continent.

Cecafa CUP player Awards

Best player: Brian Umony

Top-scorer: Robert Ssentongo

Best Goalkeeper: Hamza Muwonge

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