The Uganda Cranes moved top of the Pre-CHAN tournament following a convincing 2-0 victory over Zambia on Monday, January 04.
Viane Ssekajugo opened the scoring in the first half before the points were made safe by URA FC striker Steven Mukwala, late in the game.
The victory takes Uganda to four points from two games, level with Niger who defeated Cameroon 2-1 in the other day’s game.
Speaking after the game, Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry could not hide the fact that he was impressed by the performance and result despite making a host of changes to the starting XI.
“We are very pleased following our second game in Cameroon after what was a very positive performance against the host a few day ago. He said.
“We decided to change basically every body in the team. We made 10 changes to the starting line up and maintained only one player in Tonny Mawejje to ensure our midfield had the right balance.
“We knew before the game that he would come out at half time and Shafick (Kagimu) would come in.
“Overall like I said, today, 10 different players in the starting XI came out and put up a good performance to win 2-0 against a really talented Zambia side.”
Uganda was clearly the better side from start to finish as they forged several goal scoring chances.
Coming out of the blocks-fast, it was a feeling of just a matter of time before the first goal came and it eventually did come on 25 minutes as Ssekajugo bundled home from close range.
Zambia too created chances of their own but never really looked like they would convert them into goals.
In the end, it is a victory that McKinstry maintains, was well deserved despite noting that it was a more difficult game than the first.
“I felt we deserved it as we created quality chances. Zambia created chances too but theirs were more of half chances compared to ours,” McKinstry continued.
“When you create quality chances, you are gona score goals more often than not but all in all, I was pleased with the guys, their application. And for anything, I thought today was a more difficult game than the first because Zambia caused us more problems but that just goes back to the players to show their resilience and organisation.”
Uganda will now take on Niger in their final preparation game before the final CHAN team is announced.
With the players all putting up fine displays, McKinstry says that he and his technical team now have difficult decisions to make in terms of naming the final team.
“Like I said, we are pleased with the two games and as the coaching staff, it gives us big decisions to make because, had the first game been good and the second bad, it would be easier to choose the final squad but now we have had two games in and everyone has turned up and said, ‘you should pick me’ because of through their performances.
“We are pleased and it is good to have those difficult decisions to make but we are in a good position now. We still have work to do to prepare for CHAN but I believe we are moving in the right direction.”
The CHAN tournament-proper will start on January 16. Uganda is in group C alongside defending Champions Cameroon, Togo and neighbours Rwanda.