Did The 1993 Penalty Ghosts Resurrect To Haunt Cranes?

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By Denis Bbosa

Okwi could not believe it after the final whistle

The last time Cranes needed penalty conversion to progress was 1993 and like on Saturday when a determined Cranes side lost 9-8 on penalties to Zambia, it never lived to be.

The atmosphere at Namboole after the game the Cranes perceptibly dominated evoked memories of that great AFCON encounter with African giants Nigeria at Nakivubo.
Like the Zambian game, the 1993 Cranes incalculably talented team needed a win of any nature to progress to AFCON finals in Tunisia and burry the 15 year wait.

Come the 62nd minute of the evenly poised game, the much anticipated moment arrived; dazzling midfielder Robert Aloro received the ball at the edge of the box, within seconds he was floored prompting the day’s referee to point to the spot.
Coach Polly Ouma’s side that included Sadiq Wassa, George Ssimwogerere, Adam Semugabi, Robert Mukiibi, Charles Temaligwe, Rajab Sekalye, Robert Aloro, Idi Batambuze, Sula Kato, Magid Musisi and Jackson Mayanja was so endowed that he was spoilt for choice on who should take it.
In fact the decision on who to convert it was taken on the pitch amongst senior players and left to Ssemugabi by who by then lay third in taking the national team penalties behind Musisi and Majanja.

Without much ado, he failed to get it passed a then on form Peter Rufai whose heroics where to help the Super Eagles a year later to lift their second and last AFCON title in Tunis. Blame games ensured thereafter with the incident creating a rift between Ssemugabi and brother Ssekalye who was also an authoritative penalty taker in his own right.

Almost two decades on, the same ghosts arrive at our glorified fortress Namboole ahead of lady Luck. Godfrey Walusimbi who has been smolderingly proving to be our first penalty taker gets his chance after captain Andy Mwesigwa has blown away his chance. As that poor start settles with both teams technical converting penalties, Partick Ochan’s moment of truth blows the game out of proportion.
For the ten years I have seen the lanky, dark dread locked Ochan, he has been a sure deal scorer when it comes to taking penalties. He showed that with Standard High Zzana  in the CocaCola games, SC Villa and URA only for his composure to desert him when he needed it most.
The fore seer in me tells me his chances for Cranes are headed for a nose dive. You need to learn the unfriendly ambience extended to Ssemugabi by federation, Players and fans then to heed o my insinuation .In fact the former Pepsi and Villa winger cut short his blistering football career to flee to Japan in 1995 where he lives to date.

Former Express and Cranes hard tackler, Iron Man Nkata who frantically sat next to me in the VIP section shouting instructions to players feet away summed up the two pulsating moments.

“We got only one chance in 1993 and blew it wide, these boys would have progressed had Bobby Williamson organized them in the right order during the shootout,Jjaja Walu should have led the way” a concerned noted before rushing to help out a female fan who fainted when Kennedy Mweene intercepted Ochan’s would be ninth penalty.

I have two burning questions for Bobby before I sign out, what happened to the inspirational Mike Sserumaga the defacto heir apparent to David Obua?What’s the way forward for the Cranes, retain the team or go for a complete overhaul?.Before am answered, my soul will meanwhile hate the ghosts that have haunted us for 36 years.

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4 thoughts on “Did The 1993 Penalty Ghosts Resurrect To Haunt Cranes?”

  1. Really de ghost still hunting us from 1993 up to now, I remember mi uncle take me 2 watch dat game in1993 i was young boy & it still in my memory how semugabi missed dat penalty. After we missed de 9th penalty 2 Zambia i told a friend of mine u know wat its time our government 2 build anaza stadium out of buganda may be there is a ghost here in buganda or a cursed in buganda region which is hunting our football & de cranes but mi friend just roughed 2 me & i end up roughed 2 miself & wen u see it wat i said its a madness thinking of me but on end i believe there is a ghost wich is hunting de cranes & Ugandan football, Even pple there no-longer going 2 the stadium 2 watch our league there just watching European league, something must done 2 our football & other sports coz sports change pple’s life & behaviour. let god bless Uganda. lastly even our coach he was douting his boys 2 qualify wen u hear his comment on BBC he was like Thomas

    1. I think we should withdraw from soccer competitions for some time and prepare well then we shall come back in full swing. They should also do our with Mulindwa’s politics and some people should just accept the defeat and retire for heaven sake! If it was in the outside world officials would have admitted their failures and finally have to give up and give way for other people to take over and bring better ideas.

      The other issue is for the cranes team to be for all Ugandas and not look at One part of the country. We have people from Western Uganda, North, East and central all these areas should be checked. And also give the coach full capacity of the team to make final decisions. For God and my Country.

  2. Ugandans,the boys playered very very well and won the game.The display for sure can not be under estimated.Yes cranes played but Zambia scored.Otherwise how could a whole champion fail to score in the normal time?They became champions through penality and this is not something to be pround of.

  3. hallow,I am a Zambian and my advise to the cranes,a team that is seasoned,should continue preparing and time and chance will avail itself.Its good team people,ready to face any team on the continent,all you have to do,i think,is change the administrators.Put in place people that have the passion for footbal,preferrably your soccer legends to man the affairs of football in Mother Uganda.Be blessed

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