By Thomas Odongo
The Uganda national men’s beach soccer team alias Sand Cranes on Sunday lost 1-3 to Ivory Coast during their first game of the AFCON 2018 Beach Soccer Qualifiers at Spennah beach in Entebbe.
Uganda had started the game impressively but the physicality of the West Africans handed them a very hard day.
Eric BileSidonne Kablan Annan, Fredric Aka Kablan and Daniel N’guessan Kouassitchi scored for the visiting side while full back and also team Captain Douglas Muganga delivered a consolation for the home side
The result implies that Uganda needs to triple their efforts if they are to have any chance to proceed to the continental do.
Uganda Sand Cranes Coach Salim Jamal Muwonge is optimistic that his side can do magic during the return leg away from home.
‘’It is easy to overturn the 1-3 loss because today we learnt a lot from our opponents and we shall apply what we learnt during the return leg,’’ Muwonge noted after the match.
However, his Ivory Coast counterpart Jean Solo insists that they have already qualified after a very important away win.
‘’The Uganda team is good but a win here implies that we shall have less pressure playing at home. We are already through to the main tournament,’’ Solo noted.
The two sides will again face off during the return leg on September 21, 2018 in Abidjan with Uganda requiring a huge margin win to qualify for the main tournament.
The 2018 AFCON Beach Soccer tournament will be held in Egypt.
Sand Cranes Starting team against Ivory Coast
Kibirige Medi (GK), Katwe Allan (C), Muganga Douglas, Magwari Ronald and Ochen Ben
Lwamunda Nasser, Lule Paul, Ochero Sulaiman, Somoka Rocha, Byaruhanga Rica, Kimuli Tom and Simbwa Swalleh
Ivory Coast V:
Fiacre Kongoza (G.K), Guy Nahounoud Hans Donald Djedjed (Captain), Fabien Sola Djere, Moustapha Sakanoko and Frederic Aka Kablan
Franck Hyacinthe Papet, N’gnamke Ehanlimbie Didier Kabletchi, Fabrice Gbagra, Daniel N’gusessan Kouassitchi and Eric Assouan Bile Sidoine Kablan