Madagascar 2 Uganda 1
Uganda Cranes are known to be bad on the road in recent times and Sunday afternoon’s result in Madagscar should fit seamlessly with that.
The Berea of Madagascar caused a surprise with a 2-1 win over visitors Uganda Cranes in their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations first round first leg tie.
The 1-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau in March 2011 remains the only victory in a sequence stretching back to October 2006. The Cranes have, however, managed three draws in the process.
The hosts took the lead after just 12 minutes with a penalty after South African referee, Victor Gomes signaled following a foul from Henry Kalungi on danger-man, Fabrice Angio Rakotondraibe and then doubled their lead in the 29th minutes when winger, Njiva Rakotoharimalala rocketed past left back, Joseph Ocaya and shot past the advancing goalie, Ismail Watenga, who surprisingly started ahead of the tried and tested Hamza Muwonge.
Madagascar had the chance to extend their advantage but they failed to score from the penalty spot in the second-half.
Hamis Kiiza then scored what could prove to be a vital away goal with a spot-kick in the very last moments of the match.
“The boys shivered in the first half and after taking note, I made tactical substitutions and calmed down the tempo of the game. With that crucial away goal, I am going to go back to the drawing board to stun them at home,” said Cranes coach Mulitin Micho Sredojevic immediately after the game.
Midfielder Khalid Aucho also joined Watenga in earning a first full Uganda cap and looked solid alongside Baba Kizito in the centre of the park while St George centre back Isaac Isinde who had before today started all Uganda games under Micho was an unused substitute.
In the match, Micho made a double substitution at half time bringing on Brian Majwega for Hassan Wasswa and youngster Francis Olaki for Turkey based pro Martin Mutumba before Gor Mahia’s Dan Mzee Sserunkuma also came on for left back Joseph Ochaya with 15 minutes of normal time to play.
Kiiza’s goal was enough to give Uganda an extremely useful advantage to bring back to Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.
Uganda are traditionally strong at home and will believe they can overturn the deficit in the second leg in Kampala in two weeks time.
Madagascar will be expected to find the back of Uganda’s goal in Kampla but Micho will be expecting his forwards to find the back of the Islanders’, too.
It will mean the Serb has a huge selection headache. Uganda’s shaky defence has been born through an absence of one of their two biggest attacking threats in Geoffrey Massa and Tony Mawejje with both missing the first leg through injury and club commitment respectively.
Also expected to return to the fold is goalkeepers Robert Odongkara and Dennis Onyango among others did not travel to Madagascar for this first leg preliminary.
Uganda must avoid the 1983 upset when Madagascar beat Cranes 1-0 in Antananarivo and lost 2-1 at Nakivubo which was enough for them to progress. A 1-0 or 2-0 win can do it for Cranes while 2-1 win will call for spot kicks.
The winner over the two legs will face the victors between Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea in the final phase of the preliminary round.
Uganda: Watenga Isma , Guma Denis, Ochaya Joseph,Kalungi Henry, Mwesigwa Andy, Hassan Wasswa, Diego Kizza, Aucho Khalid, Baba Kizito, Okwi Emma, Mutumba Kayongo .
Sunday’s first round first leg fixtures:
• Madagascar 2-1 Uganda
• Liberia v Lesotho
• Kenya v Comoros
• Libya v Rwanda
• Burundi v Botswana
• CAR v Guinea-Bissau
• Swaziland v Sierra Leone
• Tanzania v Zimbabwe
• Mozambique v South Sudan