CAF U-23 Championship
Uganda U-23 2-0 Rwanda U-23 (Agg. 4-1)
In the wake of Rwanda’s elimination from the CAF U-23 Championship/Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers on Saturday after a 4-1 loss to the Uganda Kobs on aggregate, assistant coach Vincent Mashami has blamed his side’s exit on the inability by his players to finish in front of goal.
Poor display in front of goal especially in the last six months came back to haunt the U-23 side who had managed to score one goal through 18-year-old Dominique Savio Nshuti in the first leg in Kigali, but conceding twice at home was the beginning of a downward spiral that would later be an undoing away from home.
Mashami deployed Dominique Antoine Ndayishimiye and Isaie Songa in a rare forward pairing with Captain Andrew Buteera, Djihad Bizimana, Yannick Mukunzi and Dominique Savio Nshuti occupying playmaking positions and in the opening 45 minutes, did well to create some chances.
Ndayishimiye had a back heel attempt saved by Ugandan goalkeeper Salim Jamal while Songa had several run-ins into the box intercepted by the alert Deus Bukenya but many an attempt by the former went straight into the custodian’s hands.
Nshuti had his shot go inches off the far post with several poorly taken corner kicks going to waste and a free kick by Emery Bayisenge from 30 yards was a low shot that was cleared by the Ugandan defense who were determined not to concede at home. In the second half, Uganda coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s introduction of Tunisian-based striker Yunus Sentamu who features for CS Sfaxien, caused problems for the visitors who were limited to defensive duties and not much going upfront.
“I am pleased with the way the boys played this game especially in the first 45 minutes where we created goal scoring chances but we have a very big problem in front of goal – not finishing,” lamented Mashami.
However, he was quick to commend his players’ efforts despite their elimination from the continental showpiece.
“I would like to thank the players for the efforts they put in especially in the first 45 minutes. For some of these players, it is their first time to play at this level but now we have to continue working hard and make sure that we improve especially in terms of utilizing our chances to score,” explained Mashami.
Micho’s side will meet Egypt in the last round of qualification to the CAF U-23 Championship slated for November 28-December 12 in Dakar, Senegal.