AFCON 2021 Qualifiers (Group B):
Malawi Flames 1-0 Uganda Cranes
Uganda Cranes have failed to qualify for AFCON 2021 after a 1-0 loss away to Malawi in the final qualifier match played in Blantyre.
The result implies that Malawi national football team (Flames) has made the grade for the third Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals ever, first since 2010.
This feat came at the expense of Uganda Cranes who lost 1-0 to the Flames at the Kamuzu stadium in Blantyre city on Monday, March 29, 2021.
Richard Mbulu’s diving header on the quarter hour mark inspired Malawi to the much needed victory as they qualify for continental footballing fiesta after the 1984 and 2010 appearences.
Mbulu’s header inside the goal area came after Robin Ngalande released roving right back Stanley Sanudi on the far right flank.
Sanudi then executed a decent cross that a diving Mbulu nodded home past goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
Uganda Cranes had a penalty appeal in the 28th minute when Emmanuel Arnold Okwi was brought down in the goal area.
This was however turned down by the Mozambiquan referee.
Uganda Cranes lost defender Brian Ronald Mukiibi Ddungu through injury.
His place to partner Murushid Juuko in central defence was taken by the Uganda U-20 captain Garvin Kizito Mugweri towards the end of the opening half for his senior debut.
Ten minutes into the second half, Uganda Cranes technical team made a double change.
Midfielder Tadeo Lwanga and Allan Okello were brought on for Mike Azira and Faruku Miya respectively.
Stanley Sanudi hit the wood-work with a venomous shot from 30 yards as Malawi surged forward.
On the hour mark, Vipers’ striker Yunus Ssentamu was introduced for club-mate Ibrahim Orit.
The hosts called for their first change when Rafiq Namwera was introduced for Mzava Limbaikani in the 68th minute.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, defender Kizito was cautioned for a foul outside the goal area.
Uganda Cranes desperately attacked the Malawi backline but to no chance was allowed as they held onto a solid defensive display.
Malawi joins West Africans Burkina Faso as the two successful countries from group B to the 2021 AFCON finals that will be hosted by Cameroon in January 2022.
Team Line Ups:
Earnest Kakhobwe, Stanley Sanudi, Charles Petro, Richard Mbulu, Alfred Manyozo Junior, Precious Sambani, Peter Banda, Robin Ngalande, John Banda, Revison Maganizo, Mzava Limbaikani
Brighton Munthali, Peter Cholopi, Chikoti Chirwa, Vincent Nyasulu, Chimwemwe Idana, Frank Gabadihno, Rafiq Namwera, Kaira Chimango, Francisco Madinga, Mhone Micium.
Uganda Cranes XI:
Denis Onyango (Goalkeeper & Captain), Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Benson Ochaya, Ronald Brian Mukiibi Ddungu, Murushid Juuko, Mike Azira, Moses Waiswa, Ibrahim Orit, Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Mustafa Kizza
44’ debutant Garvin Kizito Mugweri in for injured Ronald Brian Mukiibi Ddungu
55’ Tadeo Lwanga in for Mike Azira
55’ Allan Okello in for Faruku Miya
60’ Yunus Ssentamu in for Ibrahim Orit
Subs Not Used: Salim Jamal (G.K), Charles Lukwago (G.K), William Luwagga Kizito, Daniel Isiagi Opolot, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Allan Kyambadde, Abdul Lumala