By Philip Kakuru
The Zimbabwe Warriors fought from a goal down to hold Uganda Cranes to a one all draw in a Group A game of the on-going 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the Cairo International Stadium in Egypt.
Watched by a big crowd at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday night, the Cranes started with a high tempo and took an 11th-minute lead through Arnold Emmanuel Okwi who scored from close range after Abdu Lumala's shot was saved by the Zimbabwe goalkeeper.
It was Okwi’s second goal of the tournament and the Crane's third after the Tanzania based striker scored in the 2-0 win against DR Congo in the opening game, the other goal was scored by KCCA FC striker Patrick Kaddu in the opening match.
But the Warriors fought back strongly to dominate play and cause problems in the Cranes defense. South African based Khama Billiat continued to trouble the Cranes and had two shots miss the target.
Billiat, however, made it 1-1 with a neat tap-in after the Ugandan defenders had failed to block a neat pass.
Despite the result, President Museveni who is closely following the proceedings in Cairo congratulated the Cranes for the positive result, urging them to remain focused.
“I have been briefed about the 1-1 draw between Uganda Cranes and the Zimbabwe national team at the #AFCON2019 tournament in Egypt. It is still a positive result and I am confident we can progress to the Group of 16 if the team stays focused. I wish you all the best,” Mr Museveni tweeted on Thursday morning.
In-case Uganda fails to finish among the top two teams in the group, they can still make it to the last group of 16 if they finish among the best four teams to finish third in the six groups.
Uganda Cranes XI:
Denis Onyango (G.K), Bevis Kristofer Kizito Mugabi, Godfrey Walusimbi, Ronald Brian Mukiibi Ddungu, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Michael Azira, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Khalid Aucho, Faruku Miya, Patrick Henry Kaddu, Abdu Lumala
Robert Odongkara (G.K), Salim Omar Magoola (G.K), Joseph Benson Ochaya, Timothy Dennis Awany, Tadeo Lwanga, Paul Derrick Nsibambi, Allan Kateregga, Isaac Muleme, William Luwaga Kizito, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Isaac Muleme,Murushid Juuko
Head Coach: Sebastien Desabre (France)
George M.T Chigova (G.K), David Tendayi Darikwa, Divine Xolile Lunga, Teenage Lingani Hadebe, Alec Takunda Mudimu, Danny Phiri, Ovidy Obvious Karuru, Khama Billiat, Michael Kamusoko Thabani, Knowledge Musona (Captain), Talent Chawapihwa
Subs: Philana Tinotenda Kadwere (G.K), Lawrence Mlanga, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Knox Mutizwa, Elvis Chipezeze, Evans Rusike, Jimmy Deis Dzingai, Marshal Nyasha Munetsi, Ronald Tapiwa Pfumbidzai
Injured: Edmore Sibanda (G.K), Nyasha Mushekwi, Marvellous Nakamba
Head coach: Sunday Marimo Chidzambga (Zimbabwe)
- Center Referee: Eric Arnaud Otogo Castane (Gabon)
- Assistant Referee 1: Issa Yaya (Chad)
- Assistant Referee 2: Lione Andrianantenina (Madagascar)
- Fourth Official: Mahamadou Keita (Mali)
- Commissioner: Kossi Gbezonde Akpovy (Togo)
- General Coordinator: Khaled Lemkecher (Tunisia)