In a tightly contested AFCON qualifier match between Uganda and Tanzania, it was a late strike from Rogers Mato that secured victory for the Cranes.
However, it was the tactical changes made by Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic that proved pivotal in the win.
After suffering a 1-0 defeat to Tanzania just days before, Micho knew he had to make some changes to keep Uganda’s chances of qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final alive.
He made four changes to his starting lineup, bringing in Timothy Awany, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Ismail Mugulusi, and Richard Basangwa.
The game got off to a slow start, with both teams seemingly testing each other out. Tanzania dominated possession but failed to capitalize on their chances, while Uganda struggled to create any meaningful opportunities.
However, it was in the second half where Micho’s tactical changes began to pay off. Uganda looked more organized and focused, with their defense holding strong against Tanzania’s attacks.
The Cranes continued to push forward, and in the 88th minute, Mato made a perfectly timed run before slotting the ball past Tanzania’s goalkeeper, Aishi Manula.
Uganda’s nail-biting triumph over Tanzania was a significant milestone in their pursuit of qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations, propelling them to third place in Group F and tied on points with their East African neighbors.
The victory has reignited the campaign, as Uganda now vie for the last remaining spot with Tanzania, while Algeria has already sealed their berth in the Africa Cup of Nations.
As the qualifying campaign nears its conclusion, both Uganda and Tanzania have two fixtures remaining in their bid to secure the remaining slot from Group F.
Uganda will face off against Algeria in their next match before visiting Niger, while Tanzania hosts Niger before concluding their campaign against Algeria.
The battle for the coveted spot remains fiercely contested, and only time will tell which team will emerge victorious.
Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s tactical modifications have breathed new life into Uganda’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying hopes.
However, the fate of the Cranes’ coach is set to be announced by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations on Thursday in a highly-anticipated press conference.