Taifa Stars bundled out

National soccer team, Taifa Stars, was bundled out of the Nile Basin championship after managing a 1-1 draw with Uganda in Cairo, Egypt yesterday.

An own goal by Stars’ left back Stephano Mwasika saw Uganda grab the all important equalizer that helped them progress to the semi-finals.

One Uganda’s striker connected a corner kick and his header deflected off Mwasika’s shoulder and sailed into the net, leaving Stars’ goalkeeper Juma Kaseja helpless.

Stars could have won convincingly had they fully exploited numerous opportunities they had, particularly in the first half of the game that was aired live by a local television station.

They started the match on a sound note and went close on several occasions as Uganda’s defense struggled to thwart the attacks.

Stars notched the opener after 38 minutes through striker Mohamed Abdallah Machupa, who collected a long ball from midfielder Nizar Khalfan and dribbled past two Ugandan defenders before firing into the net.

Machupa, who showed flashes of his old self for much of the first half, came close to adding the second a few minutes later when his power packed shot went inches over Uganda’s goal. Stars led 1-0 at the breather.

Uganda had an upper hand in the first half despite conceding the goal as they made several dangerous forays into Stars’ goal only to be denied by Kaseja.

They again controlled the proceedings for much of the second half as Stars lost steam and failed to pose any threat in front of the former’s goal.

Kaseja was called into action on several occasions to thwart several dangerous attacks as Stars’ defense lost coordination.

Stars wasted their best ever chance deep in the half when midfielder Shaaban Nditi headed straight at Uganda’s keeper from point blank as he connected a cross from the right flank.

Stars’ head coach Danish Jan Poulsen rested Said Maulid, Machupa, Nditi and Salum Machaku and threw in Idrissa Rajab, Jabir Aziz, Ally Ahmed ‘Shiboli’ and Mrisho Ngasa looking for the second goal.

The changes, however, did little to boost Stars’ performance as the substitutes failed to properly coordinate with their teammates.

The match’s referee almost gifted Uganda the second goal during the closing stages when he inadvertently blocked a ball thrown by Kaseja and one of Uganda’s strikers intercepted it but his shot rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and into the waiting hands of the keeper.

Uganda have therefore collected four points and joined hosts Egypt into the semi-finals.

Stars were in need of a win whilst praying the hosts beat Burundi in another match played the same day.

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