AFCON qualifiers: ‘Risk paid off against Tanzania’ – Micho
Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says the team made a risk going out with a young squad against Tanzania, and coming off with a 1-0 win that sees them remain in contention for a place in the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations.
Two substitutes combined for Uganda’s winning goal in the 91st minute, Faruku Miya placing the ball on a platter for Rodgers Mato to score and hand the Cranes three vital points on enemy territory.
“This victory means a lot to the Uganda Cranes. This is a team in transition because we have had so many players retiring. We started this game with five players who played the final of the Under-20 AFCON in Mauritania in 2021 and a few senior players. We came here to risk and we played against a very experienced team,” the Serbian tactician said.
“We risked and in the end, we got something,” added the coach.
He added that it was sweet victory for Uganda who lost by the same margin when the two sides met in the first leg last week, while also bearing in mind Tanzania’s Simba just recently completed a home and away sweep of Ugandan champions Vipers SC in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League.
The tactician now hopes that their ‘spiritual home ground’, the Namboole Stadium in the capital Kampala can be ready in time for June when they take on group leaders Algeria in a do or die clash.
“It is a different feeling when you play at home compared to a neutral ground. We have six points to fight for and we will give everything to try and qualify,” the tactician stated.
The victory took Uganda to four points in Group F, same as Tanzania while Niger are bottom with two points.
Mato scored a sucker punch against the Tanzanians who were hoping to grab a draw, running on to a delightful through ball from Miya before slotting it beyond keeper Aishi Manula.
In a tough game with few chances, Uganda were delighted getting the longer end of the stick. Other than the goal, the closest they came on target was off a Joseph Ochaya header that bounced off Himid Mao.
Tanzania were limited with chances, Simon Msuva seeing a shot from the first half collected by the keeper while skipper Mbwana Samatta saw a shot on the volley from inside the box blocked by a forest of legs inside the box.