Uganda start title defense with a point against Burundi

By alex wafula
Dec 05, 2017
  • Burundi’s Shassir Nahimana shields the ball away from Uganda Cranes’ Milton Karisa. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Uganda Cranes defender Timothy Awany reacts after his disallowed goal against Burundi. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Uganda Cranes, the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup defending champions started their 2017 campaign with a single point after being held to a goalless draw by Burundi in Kakamega on Monday.

Moses Basena the Uganda Cranes head coach was left ruing a first half disallowed goal which he says should have stood.

Timothy Awany headed in at the back post in the 39th minute but referee Peter Waweru whistled for a foul by Awany on Moussa Omar as he went for the ball.

“In my opinion I think the goal should have stood. But maybe the referee saw something that we didn’t. I cannot complain much because Burundi also played well. They defended well and were resilient despite us piling pressure on them,” Basena said after the game.

He added that he was using the Senior Challenge tournament to prepare his team for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Burundi’s Olivier Niyungeko was pleased with the point, noting Uganda has always beaten them in previous editions. He said the fact they picked a point against the group’s toughest team gives them hope they can go on and qualify for the semi finals.

“We played well and from now, we are taking a match at a time. We have picked so much confidence and hopefully we can replicate this performance and probably better moving forward,” Niyungeko commented.

There were two former Kenyan Premier League stars for both teams, and it was no surprise that they were the crowd favorites. Allan Katterega, loaned out to Kampala City Council by AFC Leopards in June draped the Uganda Cranes jersey for the first time.

Former Sofapaka striker Razak Fiston was in Burundi’s squad. He now plies his trade in South Africa with Mamelodi Sundowns.

Open scoring opportunities

It was a game devoid of open scoring opportunities and there was only one effort on target the entire first half. It came off the feet of Allan Katterega after close to half an hour and it was an easy catch for Jonathan Nahimana, the Burundi keeper.

Six minutes to the break, Awany rose in at the back post to connect to a Milton Karisa freekick and head past Nahimana, but the ref whistled while the defender was already wheeling away in celebration.

The pace of the game however pumped up in the second period. Burundi’s Fiston had a good chance when Laudit Mavugo’s cross from the right found him with good space inside the box but he tried an acrobatic kick which he missed terribly.

On the other end, Muzamiru Muutyaba forced a great save off Nahimana when he pulled a belter of a shot from the edge of the box which the custodian palmed away at full stretch. Basena started ringing changes to bring some new life into his attack.

Katterega and Tadeo Lwanga went off for Hood Kaweesa and Nelson Ssekantuka. Kalisa was also later offloaded for Paul Mucereezi.

But the resilience of the Burundi defense wasn’t broken as they took guard of their backline with passion, clearing all balls that came away.

On the opposite end, they were attacking on the counter and in the 68th minute they came close to pulling a surprise. Fiston was put through by Shassir Nahimana, but the former Sofapaka man blasted his shot wide from the right.

Five minutes later, Fiston turned provider, putting Shabaan Hussen through but the forward took too much time with the ball allowing the Ugandan defense to track back and cover.

Burundi will next play Ethiopia on Thursday while Uganda will be up against South Sudan Friday.

Results December 3: Kenya 2 Rwanda 0, Libya 0 Tanzania 0; December 4: Uganda 0 Burundi 0.

Fixtures

December 5: Zanzibar v Rwanda (2 p.m.), Kenya v Libya (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos – 4 p.m.), Ethiopia v South Sudan (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega -3 p.m.); December 6: Rest Day; Dec 7: Tanzania v Zanzibar (2 p.m.), Rwanda v Libya (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos -4 p.m.), Ethiopia v Burundi (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega – 3 p.m.); December 8: Uganda v South Sudan (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega – 3 p.m.); December 9: Rwanda v Tanzania (2 p.m.), Kenya v Zanzibar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos- 4 p.m.); December 10: Ethiopia v Uganda (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega – 3 p.m.); December 11: Libya v Zanzibar (2 p.m.), Kenya v Tanzania (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos – 4 p.m.), South Sudan v Burundi (Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega -4 p.m.); December 12/13 – Rest days; December 14 – December 15: Semi finals – Moi Stadium, Kisumu; December 16: Rest Day: December 17: Third and fourth play-off/Final.