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Ugandan captain Okwi after defeat in South Africa: “We have a lot to do”

The Cranes will now focus on the 2022 World Cup qualifiers due to start in September

Ugandan captain Emmanuel Okwi believes they have a long way to go to be ready for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The East African heavyweights lost a 1-0 lead to a 3-2 loss to South Africa in an international friendly played in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

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

While grateful that the team finished the game injury-free, the newly appointed captain, who took over from retired Denis Onyango, acknowledged that there was still work to be done before their next international games.

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

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

“But there are also some positives that we took; we’ve seen so many good players in the squad and we can build on that and make sure we’re stronger in future missions.”

Cranes’ interim 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 were raised to the senior squad after their superb performances for the U20 national team where they reached the African Cup of Nations final held in Mauritania earlier this year.

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

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

Uganda failed to qualify for its third consecutive African Cup of Nations after finishing third in Group B, where it only won two of the six matches played, and two draws, both remaining matches ending in defeats.

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