Uganda captain Okwi after South Africa loss: ‘We have a lot to do’


The Cranes will now focus their attention on the 2022 World Cup qualifiers scheduled to start in September

Uganda captain Emmanuel Okwi believes they have a lot to do to be ready for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The East African heavyweights threw away a 1-0 lead to fall 3-2 to South Africa in an international friendly played at Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

Goals from Evidence Makgopa (brace) and Bongokuhle Hlongwane inspired Bafana Bafana to a narrow victory over the Cranes, who scored through Ibrahim Orit and Abdu Lumala.

Despite being thankful as the team ended the match without injuries, the newly appointed captain, who took over from the retired Denis Onyango, conceded that more work needs to be done before their next international matches.

“I thank God that we have finished the game well without any serious injuries,” Okwi told Fufa Online TV.

“I believe we have seen there is a lot to do in the coming months so that we are ready for the World Cup Qualifiers.

“But there are positives we have taken as well; we have seen so many good players in the team and we can build on that and make sure we are stronger in future assignments.”

Interim Cranes head coach Abdallah Mubiru included youngsters Abdul Kayondo, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Isma Mugulusi, Steven Sserwadda, and Derrick Kakooza in the 23-man squad.

The five players have been elevated to the senior team following their superb performances for the U20 national team where they reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament held in Mauritania earlier this year.

The aforementioned youngsters are expected to be part of the Cranes squad that will play in the World Cup qualifiers.

Uganda and Kenya were pooled in Group E of the qualifiers alongside West African giants Mali and Rwanda as well with the top team qualifying for the third qualifying round. 

Uganda failed to make it to their third straight Africa Cup of Nations competition after finishing third in Group B, where they managed just two wins from the six matches played, and two draws, with the remaining two matches ending in losses.

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