Tears for Uganda as Zambia lock them out of CAN 2013

Oct 13, 2012
  • Uganda fans in tears after the Cranes lost on post-match penalties.(Photo:Ugandasports)

It needed a dramatic penalty shootout which went through to the 10th player before reigning African champions Zambia scraped through to South Africa for the AFCON 2013 finals.

It was an exciting game as Uganda dominated all the proceedings, with Chris Katongo being denied his midfield movement role as the Cranes put up a formidable challenge that left the Zambian players pedestrians at the Mandela stadium, Namboole.

They denied the Zambians an opportunity to scare goal keeper Dennis Onyango as midfielders Tony Mawejje, Hassan Wasswa and Joseph Kizito danced their way with the ball, though the finishers failed to utilise the many chances.

That dominancy paid after 27 minutes when Geoffrey Massa scored the match’s only goal. 

Massa had adjudged himself off side, but when he saw the linesman flag down, he sent the ball to the far end, beating Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene to level the aggregate to 1-all.

Uganda had lost 1-0 away to Zambia.

It was here that the Zambians fought hard to try and bring sanity, but with a good Ugandan defence marshalled by team captain Andy Mwesigwa with Godfrey Walusimbi and Henry Kalungi on top form, there was very little that the Zambians could do.

The defence was so solid that it gave Geoffrey Masaba an opportunity to overlap, though the Zambian defended in number, may be looking out for penalties which is always their luck-having eliminated Ghana and Ivory Coast through the same in the AFCON 2012 finals.

Uganda coach Bobby Williamson seemed to have different plans though. He pulled off Masa and decided to bring on the striking duo of Emmanuel Okwi and Hamisi Kiiza, to step up the speed of the game and hold the ball in the midfield, which was lacking.

The move paid off, creating two opportunities that were wasted by Patrick Ochan, who failed to control the ball at first with the keeper beaten, and the other had the ball removed from his boot.

At times Okwi also dribbled but could not get through a solid defence, which was in numbers.

Uganda Cranes huffed and puffed but the game could only end to a one-all draw, forcing the Algerian referee to call for the post match penalty shootout. Zambian Chris Katongo had his saved by goalkeeper Dennis Onyango while Walusimbi scored his to put Uganda in the lead.

But luck was against Uganda as captain Mwesigwa hit the woodwork with Mweene beaten. They all went on to score until the tenth effort when Ochan effort was saved to leave the Zambians celebrating.

Uganda who were last at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 1978 were the only hopes of an East African team at the 2013 finals, and will now have to wait for another two years before they can attempt.