Uganda Cranes failed to qualify for the third straight AFCON finals following their 1-0 defeat away to Malawi at Kamuzu Stadium on Monday evening.
Cranes entered the game targeting at least a draw but the side failed to squeeze a result against the Malawi flames who have qualified to AFCON for the first time since 2010.
Richard Mbulu scored the only goal of the game to send Malawi second on 10 points as Uganda finishes a lowly third with eight points.
Cranes looked blunt in attack and failed to sustain meaningful attacks against a determined side.
How Cranes self-destructed
One of the factors that led to Cranes defeat can be attributed to disorganization in this campaign.
First and foremost, Cranes midfielder Khalid Aucho was suspended ahead of Burkina Faso’s game for moving out of the camp without permission.
Apart from Aucho, at the beginning of this month, Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry was also suspended for a full month following Cranes poor performance in CHAN tournament and all these factors combined brought up disorganization in the camp.
It should be noted that in 2011 prior to Kenya’s game during the 2012 AFCON qualifiers, David Obua was suspended from the camp and as a result, Uganda failed to qualify.
Apart from suspensions, there was also a lot of changes in the squad match in, match out which caused lack of coordination among playing staff.
Last game jinx
It should be noted that Cranes entered this game targeting at least a draw but unfortunately they lost and it became one of the many times Cranes have failed at this stage.
During the 2008 AFCON qualifiers, Uganda entered the last game targeting a win with 3-0 score against Niger to qualify for the final tournament.
Unfortunately, Uganda won the game 3-1 and they failed to make it to the the final tournament.
The same scenario happened in 2011 during the 2012 AFCON qualifiers when Cranes needed a win against Kenya in the last group game at Mandela National Stadium Namboole but the game ended in a goalless draw and as a result, Cranes failed to qualify.
It was the same case in 2013 when Cranes entered the qualification game against Zambia targeting a 2-0 win but the game ended 1-0 in Cranes’ favor which made it 1-1 on aggregate because Zambia had won 1-0 in the first leg encounter. The two sides went in penalties and Zambia emerged the winners.
Yet again, during the 2015 AFCON qualifiers, Uganda entered the last game in search for a draw against Guinea. Unfortunately, Guinea won the game 2-0 and qualified on behalf of Cranes.