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New-look Uganda Cranes Succumb To South Africa’s Second Half Blitz

Action between Uganda (red) and South Africa. Courtesy.


Thursday, June 10
*South Africa 3-2 Uganda

Uganda Cranes started the rebuilding process on a low note following a 3-2 loss to hosts South Africa in Thursday’s international Friendly.

The Cranes led 1-0 at the break but surrendered the advantage thanks a second half surge from the Bafana Bafana at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

Ibrahim Orit put Cranes in a shock early lead before the break while Abdul Lumala’s late strike came after South Africa had scored three in succession.

Orit crowned the Cranes counter attack when he lurked from behind to score with a diving header at the back-post off a well laid captain Emmanuel Okwi delivery.

Just after the hour mark, Evidence Makgoba slid home the equaliser courtesy of a good low delivery from Thabiso Kutumela as the two substitutes combined to bring Bafana Bafana level.

The hosts completed a comeback four minutes later on when Hlongwane Bongokuhle dashed from the right flank, beat Mustafa Kizza with quick foot before curling at the far end to score off the post.

Makgoba grabbed his brace when the hosts tore Cranes defence into threads before the debutant shot fiercely into traffic to put South Africa beyond reach.

Lumala came off the bench to poke home from the corner in the 90th minute but it proved little too late for Cranes to get a late equaliser.

The result extends Uganda’s search for first win against South Africa who has won three from four meetings.

Cranes Stage Mixed Performance

The Cranes were adventurous and admirable in the first stanza as they played with confidence and a lot of positivity.

Emmanuel Okwi led with example up front as he gave South Africa’s back three of Rushine De Reuck, Innocent Maela and Nkosinathi Sibisi a big run for their money.

Leading 1-0, the new captain had a chance to double the lead before the break but saw his effort blocked into corner.

Shafic Kagimu was denied by Williams Rowen when the goalkeeper made a brilliant stop to keep out a strong effort from the URA midfielder.

The second half was a different affair, and all started when Okwi was taken hurt for Steven Mukwala.

The Cranes looked clueless and failed to bundle together as South Africa raised the tempo.

Coach Abdallah Mubiru will leave South Africa scratching his head after the disjointed performance but will try to pick positives as the World Cup Qualifiers draw closer.

This, marked a start for Cranes rebuilding process after recent retirements from Denis Onyango, Mike Azira and Hassan Wasswa.

South Africa Brush Aside Obstacles In Preps

Bafana Bafana have a long way to go after the side missed a ticket to 2021 AFCON, but if this victory will give many fans a lot of hope.

Everything that could go wrong did prior to this friendly. Hugo Broos was still in Belgium, six players were sidelined including Percy Tau who tested positive for Covid19.

The assistant coach Janevski Cedomir also tested positive a day to the game.

A slow start saw the side fall a goal down, but the manner in which they recovered thanks to thank second half surge was a movie well scripted.

Coach Helman Mkhalele got his cards right when he introduced in Thabiso Kutumela and Evidence Makgopa for Farmer and Sibisi in that order.

With the two debutants scoring in the space of five minutes before Makgoba grabbing a brace and the third for the team.

Innocent Maela forced Ismael Watenga into a low save at his near post and it was South Africa all over there after.

Lineups Used:

Bafana Bafana XI: Ronwen Williams, Innocent Maela, Rushine De Reuck, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Sibusiso Mabiliso, Denwin Farmer, Ethan Brooks, Lebohang Maboe, Craig Martin, Sphelele Mkhulise, Bongokuhle Hlongwane.

Uganda Cranes XI: Ismael Watenga, Paul Willa, Mustafa Kizza, Halid Lwaliwa, Murushid Juuko, Taddeo Lwanga, Shafic Kagimu, Moses Waiswa, Ibrahim Orit, Emmanuel Okwi, Allan Okello


Brian Kawalya

Brian Kawalya

Chief Sports Writer
Brian Kawalya is an Award winning Journalist, Director and Chief Sports Writer of The-SportsNation, covering top events and breaking some of the biggest stories.
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