Uganda Cranes were on Tuesday eliminated from the CAF CHAN (Africa Nations Championship) 2020 tournament after a 2-5 loss to defending champions Morocco Atlas Lions at Stade Reunification- Douala in Cameroon.
The Group C matchday three fixture was Cranes’ last chance to make the cut to the knock out stage but it couldn’t get worse for Johnathan Mckinstry coached side who gave away an early lead to lose miserably.
The story was about to change on Tuesday night in Douala as Ibrahim Orit handed Uganda Cranes the lead early on in the first half only for his efforts to be cancelled at the stroke of half time with Morocco winning and converting a penalty via Soufiane Rahmi.
The story after the break was not pleasant at all as Uganda Cranes conceded four more goals courtesy of Ayoub El Kaabi, Soufiane Rahmi, Hamza El Houssaoui and substitute Abdelilah Hafidi.
Saidi Kyeyune who scored a spectacular goal against Togo was at it again with a well worked out free-kick in the second half to reduce the deficit for the score to read 4-2 but Morocco hit back.
However, albeit the false display against Morocco that caused the team a chance to progress to the next round, Cranes Coach Johnathan Mckinstry believes that there are positives to pick from the match.
“It was a game we all always knew it would be challenging for us. The penalty obviously couldn’t have come at a worse time. We are not complaining about the penalty. I think it was a fair challenge. We made some mistakes and we got punished as we also started chasing the game. Congratulations to Morocco and we wish them the vest best for the rest of the tournament,” Mckinstry told FUFA website.
Mckinstry and technical team believe that the players have gained experience despite falling at the group stage.
Aziizi Kayondo is a player in the Uganda U-20 team. He featured in the CHAN tournament playing all 3 games. He will fly to Mauritania for the AFCON U20 tournament due next month.
“The intensity of the game in competitions is different from what you get in pre-match tournaments. We were pleased with the progress of the players and they have learnt a lot. They now know that when you get to such tournaments you take your chance. They have gained experience and will be better for the future,” Mckinstry added.
Mckinstry also noted that FUFA helped them to prepare for the event.
“We cannot complain about preparation, when we set out for this project, we made certain requests to the federation in terms of how we can prepare the team. I think we got 90% of what we asked for which is very good. To be honest that was pleasing,” Mckinstry added.
Cranes leave Cameroon with just one point from three group stage games. Group leaders Morocco have seven points, Rwanda have five points while Togo who were also shown the exit have three points.
It is the fifth straight time Uganda Cranes are eliminated from the CHAN tournament.