Uganda coming into yesterdays game against Nigeria had not conceded one goal during their successful 2019 ANC qualification run. On Saturday morning Bafana Bafana could also boast about the same accomplishment. On Saturday evening though after playing Nigeria, they could not. The Eagles scored three valid goals against them and incomprehensibly Africa's best referee only awarded them one.
Not flustered on Tuesday in Asaba, they tried to do the very same thing - namely breaching the defence of a team that had previously kept the ball out of their net and ending another tally of clean sheets. But the Cranes refused to cooperate and though both teams played with watered down versions of their regular line-ups provided the maximum capacity crows in Asaba with a tough and entertaining match. They were especially delighted with the debut of Chukwueze the 19-year old Villarreal wonderkid who is an exciting prospect on the ball and gave the East Africans fits. In the end, though it was all too flashy and poor finishing did them in.
For Nigerian fans, this was especially vexing considering how tough the Cranes had played them in the past. Not just factoring in the monumental upset at Afcon in Kumasi, Ghana on the 14th of March 1978 where Uganda shocked an overconfident Nigeria, the fact to that matter is that Nigeria has always struggled against the Cranes. This can be further verified by true events such as their inability to beat Uganda, both home and away, in their last two encounters. Well, make that three now.
In Asaba, while Nigeria was unable to put that hex to sleep, she can now look to Cameroon 2019 with eager anticipation knowing not just will she be at full strength for the first time in months, but that now available are an array of new and potent weapons eager to be 'discovered' and deployed. In retrospect, just like Nigeria, Uganda can go home, regroup and prepare to make an impact in Cameroon come 2019. They certainly have the talent and are without a doubt the new powerhouse in East Africa. If they play as they did in Asaba they are certainly going to be a handful for any team they are drawn against.