By Gilbert Wandera in Cairo
Uganda Cranes defended for 90 minutes but still lost 1-0 to hosts Egypt on the second day of matches for the Nile Basin tournament at Arab Contractors Stadium on Saturday night.
Mohammed Gido broke the hearts of Uganda players with an injury time goal in extra time to give his team maximum points in the seven nation competition.
Fielding mostly new players, the Cranes held on well and made the home team look ordinary with perfect defending and when they got the chance were able to string a few impressive passes to the discontent of the Egyptian fans.
With five minutes to the end, some fans started streaming out of the stadium convinced that their team would not get all three points and when the Pharaohs finally scored relief was obvious from the supporters. Egyptian officials mob coach Hassan Shaheta after Mohammed Gedo’s winner against Uganda Cranes on Saturday. [PHOTO:GILBERT WANDERA/STANDARD]
Egyptian officials mob coach Hassan Shaheta after Mohammed Gedo’s winner against Uganda Cranes on Saturday. [PHOTO:GILBERT WANDERA/STANDARD]
A disheartening Cranes manager Bobby Williamson praised his boys for standing up to the dreaded Egyptians who had in their opening match demolished Taifa Stars the regional champions 5-1.
"I feel for my players for conceding such a late goal coming after they managed to hold their opponents for so long," he said.
Williamson said his defence should have maintained concentration all through but also took issue with the five extra minutes added by the match referee.
"There was no justification for the five additional minutes nonetheless my defenders should have been alert all through to avoid conceding such a late goal,"said Williamson.
The loss means that Uganda have to beat Tanzania tomorrow to be sure of qualifying for the last four in the competition.
Taifa Stars picked one point after failing to go past Burundi on Saturday evening as the match ended 1-1 at the Police Stadium.
Tambwe Hamisi had put Burundi ahead with a 49th minute free-kick and Tanzania had to wait until the 74th minute before equalising from the penalty spot which was converted by Shadrack Nsajigwa.
Despite the poor show, Taifa Stars coach Jan Poulsen is still hopeful of a semi-final appearance as they face Uganda tomorrow.
"We did not utilise our chances and iam intending to make changes as we play Uganda. We still have hope and will try to win our next match to qualify,"he said.
The result has thrown wide open this group and as all four teams have a chance of progressing to the last four.
It is also wide open in Kenya’s group and with final matches to be played tomorrow, the home team will be hoping that Congo beats Sudan for them to qualify to the next stage.