World Cup Qualifiers: Uganda Cranes mark Namboole return with a 1-0 win against Botswana

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Shaban Muhammad came off the bench to hand Uganda Cranes a much-needed win as the team marked its return to the newly renovated Namboole Stadium.

Since 2019, the Cranes had not played at Namboole until today when they hosted Botswana in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers match in Group G.

The Cranes started strong, dominating play in the first half, but offensively they created only one clear chance.

Coming from the long break, the head coach first made one change, bringing on Roger Mato in place of Allan Okello. Mato brought massive energy to the attack, stretching Botswana’s defense.

The coach made more changes in the 64th minute with Bobosi Byaruhanga and Muhammad Shaban coming on for Steven Mukwala and Elvis Bwomono. Also, Denis Omedi came on for Fahad Bayo a few minutes later.

In the 75th minute, the three substitutes combined perfectly, with Bobosi launching a long ball on the right wing. Omedi sprinted well and laid a low cross into the box, which Shaban connected well to the back of the net.

Debutant Elio Capradossi was rock solid as he commandingly led the Cranes’ backline.

The Cranes play Group G leaders, Algeria, on Monday. The Cranes are now placed third with six points in a group of six teams. The top team will secure automatic qualification to the next stage, while the second-placed team will be drawn to play a second-placed team from another group to make it to the next stage.

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