Uganda Cranes turn focus to CHAN after CECAFA exit
09 December 2013, 15:39
Nairobi - The Uganda Cranes have turned their focus to the CHAN tourney in January after losing out in the quarterfinals of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.
Cranes bowed out of this year’s Challenge Cup on
Saturday afternoon 3-2 on spot kicks, losing to Tanzania following a 2-all draw in normal time but left the coastal town of Mombasa with a reason to
It was such a painful early exit for the defending champions but
technically the country returned home with a hope for a bright future.
The biggest achievement of the Cranes’ Serbian born coach Sredejovic
‘Milutin’ Micho in this tournament was the discovery of new potential
talent that will be of great use to Uganda in the subsequent
Khalid Aucho playing for Tusker FC in the Kenyan Premier League was
the biggest catch. Aucho is a solid
confident midfielder on the pitch and his role in this team was timely and instrumental. Despite being his first time, the
player featured in all four games.
Aucho was not only a composed midfielder but an attack-minded player
and made several contributions in most build-ups that resulted in
some of the Cranes goals. He scored a crucial goal against Sudan that
took Uganda top of group 'C'. The two teams had tied at four
points with same number of goals scored and conceded.
Classic Benjamin Ochan
Victoria University goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan had an impressive
performance and his presence on the squad helped him acquire more
confidence and experience at the international scene.
He conceded no goal throughout the group stages as Uganda edged
Rwanda 1-0 in their opening fixture, Eritrea 3-0 and Sudan 1-0. On the
fateful day, Ochan also saved Samata Mbwana’s penalty before Uganda lost
to Tanzania on spot kicks.
If given more exposure, there is no doubt that Ochan will make it into the National ‘A’ team.
Confident Joseph Mpuga
Joseph Mpuga was making his first appearance in the Cranes squad and traveled to Nairobi as a substitute behind Savio Kabugo. His luck
however came when Kabugo had a malaria attack just minutes before their
engagement against Sudan. Micho immediately handed him a chance which he
Mpuga commanded the defense with confidence stopping the Sudanese'
dangerous strikers Salah Ibrahim and Mohammed Tahir. Salah scored
against Rwanda, Eritrea and Ethiopia but had no way through the Ugandan defense.
In the quarter final match against Tanzania, Mpuga was a starter and
netted Uganda’s equalizer to level it at 2-2. His height and brilliance
on the ball is his big strength.
With the CHAN competitions due in South Africa in January next year, the Cranes can look forward to blooding their next generation of young players.