Uganda 3 – 0 Ethiopia
45′ Geofrey Massa, 48′ Yunus Sentamu, 55′ Faruku Miya
Uganda Cranes secured a moral boasting build up before facing World Cup finalists Ghana with a 3-0 win over Ethiopia in a friendly at Namboole Stadium, Sunday evening. Pretoria University star Geoffrey Massa scoring at the close of halftime after missing a penalty kick to officially launch “Protect the Goal campaign” geared to combat HIV/ AIDS amongst the youth.
Quick fire goals at the beginning of the second half almost meant the Cranes had buried the game and whilst the visitors perfected their passing game to no avail.
AS Vita striker Yunus Ssentamu (48) and SC Vipers’ Farouk Miya(55) also scored a goal each after South African based Massa had opened scoring in the 45th minute. Uganda started the match with many of its stars, including Tony Mawejje and Uganda Premier League exciting young players Julius Ntambi, Keziron Kizito and Derrick Nsibambi all on the bench. But it hardly made a difference as the Uganda attack shredded the hapless Ethiopia defense, showing no ill effects from the distressing double losses against Togo last month.
The Ethiopians, who are preparing for their tricky away game to Algeria in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers on Saturday, lost defender Hussein Saladin Banfecho to injury.
Lweza F.C left midfielder, Michael Sserumaga returning after four years was the best performer of the Cranes with defense splitters did thrice found Massa in the off side position against the Walya Antelopes in the opening 45 minutes. When fully fit, Sserumaga is an exceptional talent and has one of the best left foots in the country.
Till now, Cranes are yet to find the ideal number 10 to play behind the lead striker. The closest who came to resolving this conundrum was Martin Mutumba. However, the Turkey-based midfielder did not get going and has since failed to reclaim a place in the team.
Uganda coach Micho Sredojevic also gave debuts to goalkeeper Salim Jamal who plays for Sudanese giants El Merreikh caught the eye as a second-half substitute for St George’s Robert Odongkara.
Moments later Moses Oloya gave way for SC Villa midfielder Hassan Wasswa while Keziron, Robert Sentongo and Julius Ntambi also entered the fray, the latter in place of KCCA’s Richard Kassaga, who looked sure-footed on his first international start at Namboole.
Chances came and at either end but no additions to the score were made and despite Ethiopia troubling Cranes in recent meetings, there are concerns to be addressed, Uganda need to concentrate on defending set pieces and the Walya Antelopes need to tighten up at the back.
“The match against Ethiopia was important and it gave us some questions which we will need to answer in Saturday’s must-win 2015 Afcon qualifier,” Micho said in the post match press conference.
Coach Mariano Barreto tried to make some changes for his team, but to no avail as the Uganda defenders stood firm.
On 55 minutes Miya made it 3-0 when he ran past defenders and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper.
Skipper Boyzo Birham Bosale and Dukele Dawa Hotessa were outstanding for the visiting Ethiopian side.
Hotessa had his powerful shot earlier stopped by Uganda Cranes goalkeeper Robert Odongkara.
“Although we lost the game, we have learnt some lessons as we prepare to face Algeria,” said the Ethiopia coach Baretto after the game.
Uganda must beat Ghana at Namboole to maintain their slim hopes of qualifying for next year’s Nations Cup.
Ghana top standings with eight points, followed by Togo on six. Uganda and Guinea have four apiece with two games left to play. The top two in Group E will qualify for the finals in Morocco in January.