Uganda Kobs put up a poor show against DR Congo to get their 2021 CECAFA U23 campaign on a slow start.
There was less to admire from Morley Byekwaso’s charges who struggled through a boring draw under scorching sun at Bahir Dar in Ethiopia.
Here is how the players rated, in what looked like a 4-3-3 system. And I will be mean with my marks.
Charles Lukwago (6) – His only action in the first half was to keep out a weak shot from Mpia Maxi Nzengeli. Less troubled in the second half as well but was called into action to stop a counter in the 65th minute. He had very little to do, but did what he had to do well enough including organising his defence. Had nothing to do with the clean sheet.
Enock Walusimbi (7.5) – Created chances going forward including one which Derrick Kakooza skewed wide. His constant crosses troubled DR Congo defence. Almost scored with a long range effort but it was deflected for corner early in the game. Competed well at right back and a good leader as well.
Aziz Kayondo (4.5) – Struggled through the game. Offered nothing going forward and looked very different from the usual overlapping-Aziz in AFCON U20 and UPL. Gave Benjamin Kabwe plenty of space in the second half and found himself overrun at times.
Musa Ramathan (6.5) – He was comfortable with the ball and tried to build from the back. Rarely troubled, dealt well with the DR Congo attackers and had a good understanding with his club-mate Peter Magambo. Had a shaky second half but never put a foot wrong.
Peter Magambo (6) – Rock Solid especially in one-on-one situations. Owned the defense, outstanding in aerial balls as well. His biggest undoing was forced long balls to the right side of the pitch to find Julius Poloto which all went out.
Bobosi Byaruhanga (7) – Bossed the middle of the park and he was a willing passer of the ball. Lively especially in the first half when the team enjoyed lots of possession. Took charge of the set-pieces but failed to squeeze anything from them.
Karim Watambala (5.5): Did a lot of donkey work and spent most of the time providing cover to the defence. Booked for a reckless foul in the 35th minute. Faded as the game proceeded and was later taken off.
Steven Sserwadda (4) – Tried to split up DR Congo’s defence but in vain. Struggled in a much crowded and packed midfielder and was always out muscled by athletic DR Congo players. Injured at the half hour, returned, limped and the leg gave up in the next five minute when he was taken off for Bright Anukani.
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Julius Poloto (5.5) – Spent most of the time chasing DR Congo possession but tired as the game went on. Very lively and everywhere but failed on his initial duty. Never teed up Mukwala and Kakooza. And was later taken off after failing to impact the game.
Steven Mukwala (5) – Missed some chances and failed to connect from Poloto’s freekick in the second half. Came to life as the game progressed but played from deep and wide on most occasions. Roamed around before he was withdrawn.
Derrick Kakooza (5): Despite being starved off supply, he lacked the sharpness that saw him top score at the AFCON U20. He lacked the agility to run behind the defence and saw his only effort on goal wobble direct to the hands of the goalkeeper. Didnt see much of the ball and was Later taken off for Sam Ssenyonjo in the 63rd minute.
Bright Anukani (5) – Came on for Sserwadda about 10 minutes to end of the first half. Added rhythm and urgency in the middle of the park but was not a forward passer to the waiting attackers.
Sam Ssenyonjo (4) – Replaced Kakooza in the 63rd minute. Had good hold up play but lacked the quickness to beat DR Congo defence.
Najib Yiga (4.5) – Came on for Mukwala in the 63rd minute. Very lively and created all sorts of trouble from the left flank, looked capable of creating a chance but his attempts came to nothing.
Abdallah Salim (N/A) – Came on as a substitute for Karim Watambala with nine minutes to go. Chased shadows and fell more times than he had touches on the ball. Better days ahead.
Saddam Masereka (N/A): Replaced Julius Poloto in the 81st minute. Hard to remember his contribution.
Morley Byekwaso (3): Was animated on the touchline. Crowding the midfield did not help and taking off Kakooza and Mukwala at the same time was hurried. Masereka ahead of Ivan Bogere off the bench? No.