AFCON: Cranes Out with a Goal and Point
By Serestino Tusingwire
Uganda Cranes which showed up in the ongoing AFCON2017 tournament for the first time after 39 years survived a devastating exit without any goal or point.
In its last game played on Wednesday, the cranes drew with Mali 1-1 on a rain-drenched Oyem pitch.
Uganda had already been eliminated and Mali needed to win and hope Egypt lost to Ghana to have a chance of sneaking through as runners-up.
Though it was already eliminated, Uganda had to try its level best to keep its dignity by scoring at least a goal and win itself a point which it successful did against Mali.
Uganda’s goal was scored by the darling striker Farouk Miya in 70th minute. Miya was also named man of the match.
Mali levelled when Bissouma slammed a medium-range free-kick in front of goal past a poorly organised defensive wall and wide of goalkeeper Robert Odongkara.
The record seven-time champions Egypt won 1-0 in Port-Gentil to top the final standings with seven points and Ghana also progressed with six.
Mali ended third with two points and Uganda, returning to the tournament after a 39-year absence, came last with a solitary point.
Like the other three Cup of Nations venues in Gabon, the Oyem pitch has come under fire from coaches. Tournament officials showed little sympathy, however, with one telling Ivory Coast handler Michel Dussuyer “you have played on worse elsewhere”.
CAF committee member and former Senegal striker Khalilou Fadiga was equally unmoved by complaints.
“Let the players not expect the pitches in Africa to be like those in Europe,” he said.