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Unpacking reasons behind the Cranes' poor showing in CHAN

[Posted 10 Feb 2011]
[By Charles Malingha]
Unpacking reasons behind the Cranes

Two games, three goals conceded, and none scored by Cranes at the Championship of Nations succinctly tells the story of Uganda’s return to continental competition in 33 years.


The reasons for the performances in the 0-2 and 0-1 losses to Algeria and Sudan respectively may lie in fatigue, hollow players’ pockets, and the effect of three-decade rustiness.

Uganda were making a first appearance on the continental stage since 1978 when the Cranes reached the final of the African Nations Cup, losing 0-2 to hosts Ghana. CHAN, though, is reserved for home-based players.

The local players from the Ecobank Super League failed in their assignment, two of them – Owen Kasule and Tony Odur – ending their campaign as early as the first match when they saw red.

Going into Groups B, C and D second games on Wednesday, Uganda had the worst defence, having conceded the most – three – and together with Zimbabwe,  Rwanda and Mali, they were the culprits amongst the 16 teams not to have scored a goal.

 

Zimbabwe's Warriors have since roared back into life to demonstrate the quality of their local league in Africa by beating ailing giants Ghana 1-0 to retain chances of making a quarter-final berth. The Warriors now sit 2nd in Group B, while Ghana anchor the group.

 

Despite having scored a goal in a 1-2 defeat to South Africa in their first game, Ghana join Uganda, Mali and Rwanda to be among the points-less teams at the CHAN finals thus far. 

Now, that does not necessarily place Uganda’s league on the same footing with DRC, Mali and Ghana’s.

Statistics before yesterday’s games show Uganda as the worst team, thus, negatively reflecting on the local league.

That could be an unfair reflection as the same players who just performed well at the Nile Basin tournament where they beat DRC enroute to the final, losing to hosts Egypt 3-1.

Uganda  suffered the loss of key players going into the CHAN finals. Nine of the players that helped the team qualify for the inaugural Nile Basin final have since moved on to greener pastures.

Fatigue, too, might have played a part as the Cranes went straight into the local league from Egypt and, shortly thereafter, left for Sudan.

Before Egypt, the Cranes had just toured the Middle East and participated in the CESAFA Cup.

There are also reports that the players have not been rewarded with handsome pocket incentives, if any, despite making good money from the Arab world tour, thus, they could have gone into the CHAN, a demoralized lot.

The reported Shs1.7m to each player from the Shs286mthey won in Egypt, which is said not to have reached the Fufa account yet, should be revised upwards. 

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