The Volleyball Cranes defeated DR Congo 3-1 Monday afternoon in their first classification game in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Cranes, having lost to Egypt in the quarterfinals, can only fight for fifth place and will at worst finish number six at their maiden appearance on the continent.
The two teams competed for the opening set but unforced errors continued for Uganda from the previous game.
Setter Smith set his second ball beyond the net and off court as he tried to set up Daudi Okello and Congo took the set 25-23.
The second set started with George Aporu tearing through the block for the first point but Okumu sent his service off court and Congo went on a 4-0 run to lead 4-1 and force Uganda into a timeout.
The Cranes recovered with Samuel Engwau in the service box and led by one (8-7) at the first technical timeout.
By the second timeout, the lead had stretched to four (16-12) and the Cranes were in control.
Congo, however, ate up the lead with a 3-0 run to make it 16-15 and force Shilla Omuriwe Buyungo into a timeout.
Uganda stabilized in the service box and on the block to take the set 25-21 and level matters.
Congo blocked well to start the third set and led by four at the first technical timeout.
Okello got some consistency in the service box and Uganda got the set back to a single point (8-7).
At 23-20, Uganda looked home and dry but errors on the net kept threatening the lead and Congo leveled it at 23.
Aporu tore through the block to seal the set 25-23 and give Uganda a 2-1 lead in the game.
The fourth started with the Cranes on the front foot and they led 11-5.
Consistency in the service box and and descent reception ensured daylight between the two sides and Uganda led 16-9 at the second technical timeout.
The Cranes took the set 25-19 to win the game 3-1 and progress to today's playoff for fifth place.
African Nations Championship
Uganda 3-1 DR Congo (22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19)