Despite losing their opening two Group D matches to Ghana and Egypt, Uganda Cranes have been encouraged by their display so far at Afcon 2017 on their first return to continental football since 1978.
Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s outfit absorbed the pressure that comes with playing at the big stage against two sides that have 11 African titles between them but for two slight mistakes that proved costly.

“We gave our all in both games. We played with our hearts and threw everything we had in us on the pitch. It is unfortunate that we lost against Ghana and Egypt. We were unlucky,” said a thoughtful Hassan Wasswa who was solid in central defense.
Wasswa along with Murushid Juuko combined to withstand the pressure imposed by the Egyptian attack inspired by AS Roma’s Mohamed Salah with the back up of Marwan Fahmy.

Midfielder Tonny Mawejje put up a man-of-the-match performance after he controlled the midfield, winning back possession from the very talented Egyptians with the help of Geoffrey Kizito and Khalid Aucho.
An offside Joseph Ochaya goal in the 57th minute gave Uganda hope and confidence in one that indeed it was possible to defeat a star-studded Egyptian side even though Senegalese referee Malang Diedhiou cancelled it.

Uganda’s momentum grew as the game progressed but for a lapse in concentration once again in the 88th minute that saw El Said slot home past goalkeeper Denis Onyango who had until that point helped Uganda to stay in line with their target.
The lead up to Uganda’s match against Egypt indicated that the Pharaohs were clear favourites but the action on the pitch indicated that the Cranes were in Port Gentil to compete.
It is this performance that will help the Cranes to keep their heads up high going forward as they seek to play for pride against Mali in their last Group D tie in Oyem on January 25.