NAIROBI, Kenya, November 29 – Want away Gor Mahia forward Dan Sserunkuma’s lone second half strike was enough to see defending champions Uganda Cranes kick-off their GOtv Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup on a high in a 1-0 win over Rwanda at Nyayo National Stadium on Friday.
Sserunkuma who was denied severally by the Amavumbi Stars keeper Jean Ndayashimiye, finally found the back of the net in the 88th minute.
“The game was ours since we dominated the match but with one minute to full-time, Uganda got their chance and scored.
“It’s a learning lesion for us, I will strengthen my defense since we are still building this team because it comprises mostly of young players.
“We are now focusing on our next match against Sudan on Monday,” the Rwandan coach Moussa Hakizimana said after the match.
“We started this match knowing it’s an East African derby, we have been in trouble because our captain Emmanuel Okwi got sick, so he could not play this match and it was a big blow for us.
“I was expecting a tough match since we played against a good side that is already established.
“I’m very impressed with Sserunkuma who scored the winning goal, he has really shown why we called him at the national team and we expect him to continue with the same performance as he is an established striker.
“We are planning match by match and our focus now shifts to our next match against Eritrea,” the cranes coach Milutin Sredojevic who was a former Amavumbi Stars tactician said.
The Stars started the match on a high with Medie Kagere blasting his strike wide on the third minute before cranes Geofrey Kizito’s great shot that was too high.
Kizito was at it again in the 18th minute but wasted Nico Wadada’s cross with his wide shot.
Sserunkuma could have given his side the opener in the 24th minute through his long range blast that was too high to beat Ndayashimiye.
The Amavumbi continued to pile pressure on the cranes goal area forcing Wadada to bring down Jean Claude in the box, but referee Wiss Yabarow from Somalia ruled for a free-kick in flavor of Uganda.
With ten minutes to half time, Nayashimiye was on top of his form denying Joseph Mpande’s shot and two minutes later punching away Kiiza’s header to enable the match go to the breather goalless.
With one minute of play into the last half, Jacques Turisenge could have separated the two sides but his strike that hit the goal post.
Cranes keeper Benjamin Ochan was forced to make two crucial saves from Emery Bavisenge’s free-kick before being on action again, punching away substitutes Said Kyeyune powerful strike.
Sserunkuma utilized Kyeyune’s super pass to beat Ndayashimiye in the dying minutes, taking his tally to two goals in three international matches.
The two sides were meeting for the second time having played to a goalless draw in their friendly match a week ago.
In the earlier kick-off, Salah Ibrahim scored a brace as Sudan thrashed Eritrea 3-0 to go top of the Group C.
Tahir Osman Mohammed sealed the victory for the Sudanese side.
Meanwhile Harambee Stars head coach Adel Amrouche is set to make a come back after missing the first match against Ethiopia.
According to his assistant James Nandwa, the coach fell sick hours before the match.
In Saturday’s fixtures, Ethiopia entertains Zanzibar in Group A before the host welcomes South Sudan at Nyayo National Stadium.