16 January 2017

Uganda: More Than Just Fate As Cranes Retrace Lost Path

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Andre Ayew of Ghana, left, battles for the ball with Luwaga Kizoto of Uganda during the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon. Ayew sealed the match with a first-half penalty.

Port-Gentil — Four months have passed since Uganda broke the chains of incarceration to return to the Africa Cup of Nations after 39 years.

The elation that surrounded generations of Ugandans after Farouk Miya's 34th minute goal against Comoros has died.

Uganda Cranes must now see that bull's eye of the biennial continental tournament that kicked off in Gabon on Saturday.

As many 19 Afcon qualifying editions have passed before the national team could be accepted on the table of men and now is the time to wear a fitting suit.

It's one that Cranes will not know where they hang it as their last Nations Cup game was on March 16, 1978.

In a rather anticlimactic finish, Uganda lost 2-0 in the final to hosts Ghana with Opoku Afriyie scoring both goals.

His haul of three took him level with Uganda's Philip Omondi to finish as joint top scorers along with Nigeria's Segun Odegbami. What has happened between then and now?

During that period, a lot has changed including the miserable passing of Omondi in 1999.

Also, hardly did the Ghanaians know that it was to be thelast of their four titles.

Since 1982, The Black Stars have played in every Nations Cup tournament reaching seven semifinals.

In addition, the West Africans have lost three finals - 1992, 2010 and 2015. In a twist of fate, it's Uganda v Ghana again, 39 years later this Tuesday.

Must be mind-boggling to imagine how Uganda would resume their love affair once she qualified again. It's against a familiar friend from the past.

The prize at Stade de Port-Gentil in Gabon's second city, Port-Gentil, will not be as big as 1978. Nonetheless, the nostalgic ones will live the fairytale.

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