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After 38 Years of Bitter Disappointments, the Uganda Cranes Are Back in the AFCON

The fans of the Ugandan football team will surely have 4th September as a night to remember after they witnessed a moment of history. The Uganda Cranes broke the long dreaded 38 year AFCON jinx after beating Comoros 1-0.

The Cranes started in an all-out attack looking for an early goal to calm the qualification nerves. Uganda then missed a few chances before taking the lead after Belgium-based Farouk Miya turned in a pass from defender Joseph Ochaya in the 37th minute.

Uganda qualified as one of the best teams to finish second after Burkina Faso scored a 98-minute winner against Botswana 2-1 to finish top of the group. Uganda and Burkina Faso both finished with 13 points, although the West Africans topped the table because they beat Uganda 1-0 at home in the qualifiers.

There was tension as people waited for an 8-minute extra time in the Burkina Faso game was high as many cried foul. Uganda cranes jinx hasn’t been because of lack of trying, in 2011, Uganda was painfully held to a 0-0 draw when all they needed was a win to qualify. They lost on penalties 9-8 to reigning Champions Zambia in 2012.

After hearing the news of qualification, excited Uganda Cranes fans stormed the pitch to carry their players in jubilation. It was official; the long 38-year-old wait was over.

Talking to the press after the game, the head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic said, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”It was not easy to play today’s game against a very good team of opponents… The jinx of last game we broke by winning 1-0… am the most happiest person because it is something that is like a crown of three years with Uganda.”[/perfectpullquote]

Next on the agenda will be the much publicized Project Cameroon 2019 as FUFA hopes to build on this qualification to continue and spur more football development in the nation.

The other countries which have qualified include Burkina Faso, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Zimbabwe and hosts Gabon which qualified automatically. It was a dramatic day as Togo scored five goals to be eligible at the expense of Ethiopia. Tunisia and DR Congo scored four each to qualify as well.




Featured Photo: Pictures of a Sold out Namboole Stadium. (All Photos from NILE Special)

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