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How Bwire failed to replicate Origi's heroics against Uganda Cranes

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | November 13th 2021
Harambee Stars' Goalkeepr Brian Bwire during training as they prepare for the upcoming back to back 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Mali at Utalii College Sports Club on Friday, October 1, 2921. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

In August 2011, former Harambee Stars goalkeeper Arnold Origi single-handedly denied Uganda Cranes a chance to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon after pulling off a series of saves to ensure the match ends in a barren draw in Kampala.

The Cranes needed a win to sail through to the continental finals but they hit a wall in Origi who stopped them from scoring and eventually shattered their Afcon dreams.

Ten years later, same script but different players, Uganda were on verge of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers’ next round and again the Kenyans dashed their hopes of progressing to the next round of the international competition at St Mary’s Kitende Stadium, Kampala on Thursday.

The Cranes had come into the match targeting a win and consequently keep their qualification chances alive ahead of tomorrow’s match against Group E leaders Mali in Morocco.

It was an opportunity for Tusker goalkeeper Brian Bwire to continue from where Origi left between the posts.

However, instead of replicating Origi’s heroics of 2011, Bwire’s time wasting tactics came back to haunt him as he easily gifted the Cranes a late equaliser.

Captain Michael Olunga gave Kenya the lead on the hour mark before Bwire’s blunder ensured the two rivals share the spoils.

Under no pressure, Bwire fumbled with a harmless ball in his area before allowing Fahad Bayo to draw level in the injury time to the dismay of his teammates and Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat.

Though Kenya once again spoilt the party for Uganda, Bwire was criticised on social media for denying Kenya their first victory over Cranes in six years.

Kenya, who are now under a caretaker committee following the disbandment of Football Kenya Federation by the government, will be seeking to end the qualifiers on a high note when they host Rwanda at Nyayo Stadium on Monday.

However, Stars coach Engin Firat believes there was a foul in the build-up to Uganda’s goal.

“Though I will also blame my goalkeeper (Brian Bwire) because he relaxed with the ball, but still there is no discussion, it’s a clear foul,” Firat told reporters after the game in Uganda.

“The game was like how I expected; very physical, Uganda was a physical team and played very high balls. In the first half, we created many goal-scoring chances, this is the same problem we faced in our last game (against Mali) where we had chances but failed to score..

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