It was all celebrations for both sets of fans at the Juba National Stadium on Tuesday night as hosts South Sudan held Uganda Cranes to a 2-all draw in an International friendly. South Sudan President Salva Kiir who had been expected at the Stadium did not attend the match.
The South Sudanese fans chanted and danced after the match for the hard-fought draw against the regional Cecafa champions. The Ugandan fans based in Juba were also happy saying the draw was good enough since they would have been harassed if the Cranes won. Sophie Nakazzi, a Ugandan based in Juba claimed that they would have been canned if Uganda had won the match. URN could not independently verify her claims.
The game which was also South Sudan’s first International match since being admitted as a member of the world football federation, FIFA, saw Uganda’s first goal scorer Ceaser Okhuti sent off after a second bookable offence.
Okhuti gave the Cranes the lead in the 7th minute before receiving marching orders 15 minutes later just after the hosts had equalized through Richard Justin who converted a penalty.
Julius Ogwang gave Uganda a 2-1 lead after 33 minutes after South Sudan goalkeeper Jumma Genaro fumbled with the shot which crossed the line. With three minutes to half time, the towering Indian-based professional, James Joseph, made it 2-2 for the home side with a fine header.
There were no goals in the second half to the delight of the South Sudan fans who numbered over 22,000. Cranes assistant coach Leo Adraa said he was happy with the performance, while Paul Nkata, who is head coach of the Hippos team that had players on the line-up, said although the Cranes played some beautiful football, the early red card made life so hard.
//Cue in: “It was a fair game….
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South Sudan coach Zoran Djordjevic was a happy man to get a draw from the experienced Ugandan team. He described his team’s performance as a good start.
//Cue in: “A lot of painful experience here….
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The Cranes team led by FUFA Chief Executive Officer Edgar Watson is expected back home on Wednesday aboard Air Uganda.