World Cup qualifiers 2018: The Cranes fall to Madagascar in test match

The Cranes XI that played the first 45 minutes against Madagascar 

By: Danito Nsubuga

It was a perfect wake up call for the cranes offered by a country ranked 101st in the latest FIFA World rankings in a test match organised by FUFA hosted at the Philip Omondi stadium Lugogo.

Midfielder Muzamir Mutyaba put the cranes in the lead following a good link up play with striker Edirisa Lubega in the 32nd minute of the first half.

Young Vipers custodian Ismael Watenga came to Uganda’s rescue when he saved from dangerman Rio Carlos Anoriananicos who was left unmarked by the Isinde and Kabugo to preserve Uganda’s lead going into half time.

The second period saw Moses Basena ring wholesale changes to the team that started the first half, introducing Benjamin Ochan, Nico Wadada, Isaac Muleme, Timothy Awanyi, Bernard Muwanga, Ivan Ntege, Milton Karisa, Emma Okwi, Derrick Nsibambi, Faruku Miya and Geoffrey Sserunkuuma.

There was no Ismael Watenga to save the Cranes again when the Barea (Nickname for Madagascar) were awarded with a penalty by referee Masood Ssali just 12 minutes inside the second half. Benjamin Ochan did well to save Ferdinand Ramananahera’s attempt but Rio Carlos was in position to score from the rebound.

The Cranes continued to dominate possession but with no serious danger and they were caught on the counter which that man Rio Carlos Anonriananicinos delightfully slotted home past Ochan in the 89th minute and it was enough to seal victory for the visitors.

The cranes head coach called on his team to take the game as a perfect platform to correct their mistakes,

“I am impressed with the test this game has given us, it was played at a higher tempo. The performance was good only that we had some lapses in concentration and also wasted a lot of chances especially in the second period that’s why we were punished at the end of the game.”

Basena was also presented with an opportunity to try out different combinations and partnerships. He added,

“We managed to try out a defense partnership of Kabugo and Isinde, Awanyi and Muwanga who I believe will be considered in defence, Lubega who did not play very well but he created our goal and the midfield partnership of Mawejje and Wasswa”.

The team that played in the first half included, Ismail Watenga (GK), Denis Iguma, Godfrey Walusimbi, Savio Kabugo, Isaac Isinde, Hassan Wasswa (C), William Luwagga, Muzamir Mutyaba, Edrisa Lubega, Joseph Ochaya.

Now that every summoned player is in camp including captain Denis Onyango though he did not take part in the trial match. They will resume training tomorrow in preparation for the World Cup qualifier against Ghana on Saturday.

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