Uganda Cranes played for close to 80 minutes with a man down following a straight red card to Ben Ocen to pick up a 1-1 draw with Cameroon in the opening game of the Pre-CHAN Mini Tournament held at Stade Ahamdaou Ahidjo- Yaounde-Cameroon.
From the resultant free-kick on 13 minutes, Cameroon took the lead with a headed goal by Captain Banga Bidjeme. However before that, Cranes had dominated the opening ten minutes in which Cameroon conceded three successive corner kicks but yielded nothing. Karim Watambala’s delivery of all the kicks put the Lions’ defence under pressure as they played for survival at time.
Uganda Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry was never tempted to change his tactical formation even when his team played with a man less. However as the first half grew older, striker Joseph Ssemujju was introduced for Watambala.
The Lions were by this time in control of the game but the central defence partnership of Paul Mbowa and Musitafa Mujuzi did all they could to avert any aerial danger.
The second half saw no substitutions made until midway of this period when a double change was introduced with Vianne Sekajugo and Bobosi Byaruhanga coming in for Ojera Joackiam and Captain Tonny Mawejje.
Ojera had ended the first half with a bandaged head following a clash of heads with his opponent. The stylish winger caused all sorts of problems for the Cameroonian backline as he also received cheers from the very few fans who attended the match.
Mujuzi took over the skipper’s role following the departure of experienced Mawejje whose captaincy had earlier witnessed Milton Karisa and Ojera Walter combine with a series of passes between the pair to hand Uganda the equaliser in the 70th minute.
Birthday boy Shaban Muhammad was introduced with 10 minutes to go for goal scorer Karisa.
‘We said coming into this tournament was not about results. It was about taking on the host Nation and other top opposition. We wanted to come here and prepare for the main tournament. We encouraged our players to be confident even when we lost one of them. We created chances even with a man less but the equalizer was well deserved,” Cranes Coach Johnathan Mckinstry told FUFA website.
‘We have learnt lot from this match. Having played with 10 players for almost the whole game, we are happy with the result. We shall improve in our next game.’
Uganda will return to action on Monday, 4th January against Zambia before playing their final match against Niger on Thursday, 7th January 2020.
Uganda Cranes: Joel Mutakubwa (GK), Tonny Mawejje-Capt (Bobosi Byaruhanga), Aziizi Kayondo, Ashraf Mandela, Paul Mbowa, Musitafa Mujuzi, AbdulKarim Watambala (Joseph Ssemujju), Ben Ocen, Joackiam Ojera (Vianne Sekajugo), Karisa Milton (Muhammad Shaban).
Cameroon: Junior Dande (GK), Banga Salomon Bidjeme (Capt), Etame Ngombe, Yankam Basile, Ondoa Edima Franck, Ako Assomo, Serge Andoulo, Felix Oukine, Badouidana Onana, Meyong Alfred, Yannick Ndjeng