NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5- Uganda head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is over the moon after leading the Cranes to their first Africa Cup of Nations since 1978, thanks to their 1-0 win over Comoros on Sunday in Kampala.
The victory saw Cranes finish their qualifying campaign on 13 points, taking them through as one of the best two second placed teams with Burkina Faso having picked the automatic qualifying spot from Group D following their 2-1 win over Botswana.
Micho, who joined the Ugandan national team three years ago after leaving Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars, told Capital Sport he is excited to have finally helped Uganda cross the bridge they had tripped on quite often.
“It’s a win for the people of Uganda. They deserve it after a long time. These are the fruits of our hard work and when I arrived here three years ago, this was the ultimate target. It is a dream come true,” the Serbian tactician said after the historic feat.
The last time Cranes were in the tournament, they went on to finish second after losing to Ghana 2-0 in the final. They topped a group that had Tunisia, Morocco and Congo and went on to beat Nigeria in the semi finals. That time, Micho was only eight years old.
Cranes now join 15 other African countries who qualified to next year’s showpiece in Gabon.
Togo managed to sneak in as the second best of two best placed teams on goal difference after demolishing Lesotho 5-0 in their final group match.
Benin who were on 11points from Group C, lost 5-2 to group winners Mali, extinguishing their slimmest hopes of making it through, same as Ethiopia who finished on a -3 goal difference after beating Seychelles 2-1 in their final match.
Tunisia went through from Group A having thumped Liberia 4-1 to top Group A while Democratic Republic of Congo who lost only one match in the qualifying campaign went through as Group B winners.
Senegal was the only country to go through on a 100 percent record having beaten Namibia 2-0 in their final group K match with the rest of the teams, Niger, Burundi and Namibia all finishing on six points.
Other teams who went through without losing a match include Morocco who only drew one of the six qualifiers, Egypt, Ghana, Algeria and Cameroon.
Guinea Bissau will be the only newcomer at next year’s finals after shocking the African football world, qualifying from Group E ahead of seasoned teams like 2012 champions Zambia and Congo Brazzaville.
Gabon (hosts), Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.