Uganda’s national football team, The Cranes was Wednesday held to a one all draw by the Warriors of Zimbabwe in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final tournament in Egypt.
Played at the Cairo International Stadium, Uganda took the lead in the 12th minute of the game with Simba’s Emmanuel Okwi finding the back of the net from close range after Zimbabwe’s shot stopper, George Chigova, had saved an earlier shot into his path.
Despite the set-back, the Warriors increased the tempo and had more urgency as they looked for the equaliser with Khama Billiat central in the attacks.
Billiat and Karuru combined well and continued to force Coach Sebastien Desabre’s men into defence mode. In the 23rd minute, Knowledge Musona had a great chance to give the Southern Africans an equaliser, only for his shot to go way too high.
Six minutes before the end of the first stanza, the Warriors finally squared the game had when Musona chested to Ovidy Karuru who crossed into the box for Billiat to score with a delightful finish, ending first half with a score level.
Unlike the first half, when Zimbabwe mounted more pressure onto the East Africans and the latter were evidently on the receiving end, the second stanza saw more calm and composed players from both sides.
In the 50th minute Musona missed a glorious chance to give Zimbabwe the lead when his shot hit the bar despite having an empty goal at his mercy.
Warriors’ tactician, Sunday Chidzambwa made two changes bringing in Evans Rusike for Talent Chawapiwa while Marshall Munesti replaced Thabani Kamusoko as he sought the winner.
Desabre brought in Allan Kyambadde in place of Emmanuel Okwi and Timothy Awany replaced Farouk Miya.
However, the Warriors continued to be wasteful as the game progressed, while Uganda also threatened to take maximum points on the break. In the 91st minute Musona had a chance to grab the winner but could only shoot wide as the Warriors settled for only a point.
Pending results from Egypt-DRC game to be played later this evening, Uganda remains top of group A with 4 points followed by Egypt with 3 points.
From the six groups, two best teams qualify for round of 16 and four other third best nations.
Many analysts have tipped Uganda to have qualified to the next stage already with her points no matter the results of her next and final group game to be played on Sunday June 30 against hosts Egypt.
Cranes have so far had a better tournament compared to the one of 2017 in Gabon where they only managed a 1-1 draw against Mali.
Uganda Starting XI:
D.Onyango, B. Mugabi, E.Okwi, K.Aucho, P.Kaddu, R.Mukibi, G.Walusimbi, H.Wasswa, F.Miya, Lumala, Azira
Zimbabwe Starting XI:
G.Chigova, T. Darikwa, A.Mudimu, T.Hadebe, D. Lunga, D. Phiri, T. Kamusoko, O. Karuru, T. Chawapihwa, K. Billiat, K. Musona