There was excitement last night back home in Uganda after the last whistle was sounded to bring an absorbing World cup qualifier between Togo and Uganda to an end. The Uganda Cranes team which has a very poor away record, has often times faltered in World cup and African cup of nation’s qualifiers in disappointing manner.
Things, however changed for coach Sredojevic Micho’s charges when they approached the game with a positive attack-minded mentality which paid off in style with a commendable 1-0 away win in Lome against the Sparrows.
The very physical game was tight from kick-off with few chances created in the opening exchanges at Kegue stadium, until Farouk Miya sent a curling 36-yeard free-kick that somehow found it’s way to the back of the net via a touch from defender Joseph Ochaya to bring the game to life.
That 40th minute goal opened the match a bit, but the home side could not curve up clear openings despite dominating possession and other aspects of the match in the first 45 minutes trailing till the turning point of the game at the beginning of second half, when a double substitution which saw Mèmè Placca Fessou being replaced by Sadat Ouro Akoriko and Kossi Segebefia coming in for the ineffective Jonathan Ayite which changed the tempo of the game in favour of the home team.
With pressure mounting on the Cranes, winger Hamis Kiiza who was having a difficult time on the pitch, lunged onto an on-rushing striker in the penalty area and Guinean referee Yakhouba Keita pointed to the spot.
That was the signal for prayers for the technical bench and fans back home and then the giant figure of Mamelodi Sun Downs shot stopper Denis Onyango was standing intimidatingly between the sticks. As soon as Matthieu Dossevi stepped to take the penalty, Onyango had made up his mind to dive to the right and it was the right decision as he saved the poor penalty.
Micho then soon after withdrew Kizza for striker Brian Umony of St, Goerge while in the 68th minute winger Moses Oloya paved way for Geofrey ‘Baba’ Kizito and the final change saw captain, Geofrey Massa coming off for in-form pacy striker Caesar Okhuti.
The changes almost paid off immediately with two successive chances with the clearer chance falling to Okhuti who could not bury a seater.
Ugandans will be very optimistic come Sunday 15th as the return leg takes place at Mandela National stadium in Namboole with Cranes needing only to avoid defeat to progress to group stage of the FIFA 2018 World cup