By our sports team
Donning a new kit for the first time, Uganda Cranes looked ruthless, hungry for goals and played like a possessed entity.
The East African giants have reclaimed top spot in group L of the AFCON 2019 qualification campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 home victory over Lesotho Likuena (Crocodiles) at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole on Saturday.
Two first half goals from Emmanuel Arnold Okwi and Faruku Miya (penalty) gave Sebastien Desabre’s charges the command by the close of the opening 45 minutes.
Okwi headed home the third mid-way the second stanza of the poorly attended game as the home side stamped grip of match.
From the onset, Uganda Cranes looked the more lively and hungrier entity, winning two quick corners in the opening five minutes.
Lesotho swiftly recovered with an attempt of their own, tempting Dennis Onyango off his line before make shift center back Dennis Iguma, a stand in option for the suspension Murushid Jjuuko cleared a goal bound shot from danger man Sera Motebang.
Okwi lit up the crowd with a well drilled left footer that easily beat goalkeeper Mohau Kuenane in the 10th minute
On the quarter hour mark, Faruku Miya had a free-kick on the edge of the Lesotho goal area hit the defensive wall.
Two minutes later, Miya released Edrisa Lubega with a defense splitter but the fast paced forward had a weak final shot towards goal.
Bereng Tsoarelo had an attempt from distance fly over Onyango’s goal on 25 minutes.
FIFA Referee Amin Mohamed Omar turned down a penalty appeal from Lubega after the forward was shrugged down by Neris Tseka Kopano.
By the hour mark, the writing had been well scripted on the wall; Lesotho was destined for a killer.
The main tormentor in chief, Okwi had a cheeky left footed chip from the left heavily chested by Lubega.
Onyango had a finger tip save off Tumelo Khutlang in arguably Lesotho’s best chance of the half.
Moments later, the Cranes won a penalty after Tsoarelo illegally felled Okwi in the forbidden area.
Miya stood up to convert the resultant penalty, sending goalkeeper Kuenane the wrong way to drill the ball on the left for the second goal.
The second stanza restarted with a change for the visitors. Masoabi Synous Nkoto replaced Nkau Lerotholi.
Two minutes into the second half, Ochaya combined with Lubega on the far left. The latter crossed for Waiswa whose intended half volley was miskicked.
Ten minutes later, Lesotho right winger Hlompho Kalake shot over the bar.
The busy Lubega moments later had a cut back on the right find no one.
Uganda Cranes technical team called for the first change after 58 minutes. Ibrahim Sadam Juma replaced the weary Ochaya.
The change meant that Waiswa was drifted to the far left with Sadam partnering Khalid Aucho in central midfield.
Okwi scored his second goal on the evening, Uganda’s third, a decent header off Lubega’s cross from the left on 63 minutes.
Lubega then paved way for Patrick Henry Kaddu with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Lesotho, too, replaced Sera for Paul Jane moments later.
Kaddu immediately rewarded the faith vested unto him but his header off Wadada’s cross went out.
Within the last five minutes of the game, Egyptian based left winger Isaac Muleme replaced the effective Waiswa on the left flank.
Uganda had one last attempt when Miya back heeled for Muleme before Kaddu headed wide the resultant cross.
Uganda Cranes now has 7 points off three matches and returns to the summit to dislodge Cape Verde who also beat Tanzania 3-0 in Praia.
Lesotho hosts Uganda this coming Tuesday at the Setoso stadium in Maseru city.
Uganda Cranes XI:
Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundown, South Africa), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam FC, Tanzania), Godfrey Walusimbi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (El Geish, Egypt), Dennis Iguma (Kazma FC, Kuwait), Khalid Aucho (Church Hill Brothers, India), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania), Moses Waiswa (Vipers Sc, Uganda), Faruku Miya (Gorica, Croatia), Edrisa Lubega (SV Ried, Austria), Joseph Benson Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo)
Jamal Salim (El Meriekh, Sudan), Charles Lukwago (KCCA FC, Uganda), Isaac Isinde (Kirinya Jinja SS, Uganda), FC, Isaac Muleme (Haras El Hodood, Egypt), Ibrahim Sadam Juma (KCCA FC, Uganda), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers SC, Uganda), Allan Kateregga (Cape Town City, South Africa), Milton Karisa (MC Oujda, Morocco), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA, Uganda), Edrisa Lubega (SV Ried, Austria), Patrick Kaddu (KCCA FC, Uganda), Timothy Denis Awanyi (KCCA FC, Uganda), Derrick Nsibambi (Smouha, Egypt)
Suspended: Murushid Juuko (Simba SC, Tanzania)
Mohau Kuenane (G.K), Mafa Moremoholo (Captain), Basia Makepe, Tsoarelo Bereng, Neris Hlompho Kalake, Tsepo Toloane, Sera Motebang, Jane Thaba Ntso, Tumelo Khutlang, Nkau Lerotholi, Mabuti Potloane
Likano Mputhi (G.K), Samuel Khetsekile (G.K), Kapano Tseka, Tsotleho Paul Jane, Setho Moshoeshoe, Thabo Seakhoa, Masoabi Synous Nkoto
Suspended: Bokang Sello
Center Referee: Ali Mohammed Adelaid
First Assistant Referee: Samir Gamal Saad
Second Assistant Referee: Mahmoud El Regal