Morocco/Uganda: Humiliating Exit - Morocco Hit Uganda for Five As Cranes Bowed Out of CHAN 2021

(File photo).
28 January 2021

Uganda have for the fifth successive time departed the African Nations Championship (Chan) after honouring their three group games.

Although the Cranes lost all three in their debut Chan in 2011, none has been as humiliating as the 5-2 defeat to defending champions Morocco on Tuesday in Douala, Cameroon.

Ibrahim Orit scored his only goal in between Morocco's collection and Saidi Kyeyune added his second beauty of the competition, but there was no stopping the rampaging Atlas Lions.

Morocco's Soufiane Rahimi scored twice for the defending champions, who were joined in the quarterfinals by Rwanda. Rwanda trailed Togo twice before Jacques Tuyisenge and Ernest Sugira scored within six minutes for a 3-2 victory in Limbe.

Disarray

But it is in Douala the Ugandans felt the heat. While the performance will ask questions of the coaching staff, it is a reflection of the league back home, especially when you are counting five successive none-progressive editions.

The more Uganda chased the game, the more they opened themselves up, with the Moroccans blitzing through the pack almost at will. And by the time they arrived at the defensive shield, it was almost nonexistent - only let down by poor execution and Charles Lukwago in Uganda's goal.

Youngster Aziz Kayondo was exposed all evening, left on the ground for Morocco's second and at one time dummied off the pitch on another attack. Denis Iguma was the most uncomfortable, the right back undecided in his every move, showing he clearly was harried from his two-year injury layoff despite starting the season with KCCA.

Mustafa Mujuzi had been average coming into this, and showed jitters alongside equally shaky skipper Halid Lwaliwa, who was starting his first game following injury.

The entire back four was easily a pack of comic defending, with only goalkeeper Lukwago preventing Uganda from conceding at least eight, albeit a late own goal.

Shafiq Kagimu's holding midfield role has been questioned; and while Bright Anukani managed some decent passing alongside Kyeyune and Orit, Viane Ssekajugo flattered to deceive.

Always challenging

Brian Aheebwa's early substitution in the second half told his story, but even his replacement, Mohammad Shaban, found it hard to make any impact.

"It was a game we always knew would be challenging for us," admitted Cranes coach Johnny McKinstry, who is under increasing pressure to perform.

"The penalty (Morocco's equalizer) obviously couldn't have come at a worse time. We are not complaining about the penalty. I think it was a fair challenge.

"We made some mistakes and we got punished as we also started chasing the game."

"The intensity of the game in competitions is different from what you get in pre-match tournaments but we are pleased with the progress of the players."

McKinstry added: "They now know that when you get to such tournaments you take your chance. They have gained experience and will be better for the future."

No excuses

Kayondo and Bobosi Byaruhanga, who was only good for the bench, will hope they carry the lessons into the U20s Afcon finals in Mauritania.

"We cannot complain about preparation," agreed McKinstry, "When we set out for this project, we made certain requests to the federation it terms of how we can prepare the team.

"I think we got 90% of what we asked for, which is very good. To be honest that was pleasing."

The Cranes camped in Dubai in the run-up to the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against South Sudan, and featured in a two-week Pre-Chan tournament in Cameroon.

Many have questioned whether McKinstry knows his best side.

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