Uganda failed to grab critical African Cup of Nations qualification points after Burkina Faso frustrated them to a 0-0 draw at St Mary’s Stadium on Wednesday.
The Cranes needed the win against the West Africans that would have taken them close to a third straight qualification for the continental competition. However, the draw means that Burkina Faso qualify from Group B, while Uganda and Malawi, who defeated South Sudan 1-0 in Omdurman, must now face a ‘play-off’ to decide who progresses.
The two sides will meet in Lilongwe on March 29, where a win will take Malawi through, and a draw or a Uganda victory would see the Cranes qualify.
Burkina Faso were the first side to threaten their rivals with Barros Bayala’s shot getting blocked in the 10th minute.
Patrick Kaddu would have done better in the 13th minute when he received a swinging cross by Farouk Miya but the forward missed the ball entirely to waste Uganda’s first open chance.
Simba SC midfielder Taddeo Lwanga was cautioned in the 14th minute after a rushed challenge on Burkina Faso’s Bryan Boulaye. Uganda won two corners in the 17th minute but Kaddu’s shot went wide from the second corner as the Cranes grew into the game.
Bertrand Traore had to be attended in the 23rd minute after a collision but he resumed action thereafter. He was denied an opener by Vipers SC’s captain Halid Lwaliwa who quickly closed in on the visiting striker and stopped his ambitious run in the 25th minute.
As Uganda pressed, they won the third corner but nothing much came from it as Herve Koffi, Burkina Faso’s goalkeeper, had to be attended to after he knocked an advertisement board in the process of clearing the ball.
Nicholas Wadada committed a foul in the 42nd minute for Burkina Faso’s free-kick but Charles Kabore, who was brought down, shot over the bar just before the two teams headed back into the tunnel with the score tied at 0-0.
Uganda’s interim coach Abdallah Mubiru made two changes as the second half began when he brought on Ibrahim Orit and Moses Waiswa in places of Abdul Lumala and Mike Azira.
Waiswa was involved in the 50th minute when he took a free-kick that was cleared by the Burkina Faso wall. The visitors launched a quick counter-attack but Joseph Ochaya, who missed the South Sudan encounter due to suspension, did well to block Traore.
Kaddu was stretchered off in the 58th minute, with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, forcing Mubiru to make a third change with Fahad Bayo being introduced.
The West Africans made three changes in the 73rd minute when Mohamed Konate, Boulaye and Abdou Razack Traore left the pitch for Lassina Chamste Soudine, Hassane Boureima and Guira Adama respectively.
Miya saw his effort collected easily by Koffi in the 80th minute after Orit, who had been released by Waiswa, had been stopped a minute before as Uganda asked some more serious questions of the Burkina Faso defence.
The additional three minutes were not enough for either side to get a breakthrough.
Uganda XI: Dennis Onyango (Goalkeeper – Captain), Nicholas Wadada, Joseph Ochaya, Halid Lwaliwa, Murushid Juuko, Taddeo Lwanga, Abdu Lumala, Mike Azira, Patrick Henry Kaddu, Emmanuel Okwi, Faruku Miya
Burkina Faso XI: Herver Koffi Kouakou, Steeve Yago, Edmund Faycial Tabsoba, Issoufou Dayo, Issa Kabore, Abdou Razack Traore, Kevine Bryan Dabo, Charles Kabore, Bertrand Traore, Mohammed Konate, Cyrille Bayala.