CAIRO. Uganda Cranes got off to a flying start in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, beating fancied DRC 2-0 at Cairo International Stadium on Saturday thanks to Patrick Kaddu’s and Emmanuel Okwi’s goals.
The victory took Uganda top of Group A with three points, with hosts Egypt, who edged Zimbabwe 1-0 a day earlier, second on goal difference.
Kaddu’s glanced in header off a Faruku Miya corner on 15 minutes was the first scored by Uganda in their opening match in 41 years.
Only that then, the goal came late as Uganda lost 3-1 to Congo Brazzaville.
Miya delivered the resultant
deadball and like he did against Cape Verde to confirm Uganda’s qualification
to these finals with a game to spare, Kaddu stayed up longest to head in past
goalkeeper Ley Matampi.
Kaddu raced to Miya and they did their little dance as coach Sebastien Desabre punched away at and in the air. The goal generated enough noise it didn’t matter it was nearly an empty stadium.
The cranes could have gone two and three nil up but Kaddu thereafter failed to connect home two successive headers.
Congo’s best chance yet came on the stroke of half time when Cedric Bakambu controlled in the area before turning and curling but skipper tipped it away.
DRC were supposed to respond after half time.
Instead it’s the Cranes who extended their lead, Okwi fouled and Miya’s yet another deadball glanced in by the Simba striker for 2-0 moments into the second period.
The Croatia based forward, Miya – who top scored for Uganda in the qualifiers with three goals, could have added his name on the scoresheet but his freekick was tipped over by Matampi.
In the middle, Mike Azira provided the calm, coordinating well with a relaxed Khalid Aucho and releasing forwards.
Bevis Mugabi and Godfrey Walusimbi were hardly hurried at full back, while Hassan Wasswa did the basics right, with Murushid Juuko recovering well from an earlier booking.
Okwi was as dangerous, his turns and twists troubling the Congolese, while Miya’s Man of the Match performance cannot be over-emphasized.
Egypt and Zimbabwe will have been watching and retaking notes, because from this Cranes display, you had to pay attention.
Uganda are next in action on Wednesday against Zimbabwe, with a draw all but confirming Cranes progression to the last 16.
Saturday Group A Afcon result
Uganda 2-0 DRC
Uganda’s next game is against Zimbabwe.