Tuesday, December 9, 2014

9 December 2001 - When Cranes Attack

On 9 December 2001, Uganda trounced Djibouti 10-1 at the Stade Amahoro in Kigali City, Rwanda. The match set the Ugandan record for margin of victory.

It was the teams' opening group stage match in the 2001 CECAFA Cup, which is the oldest active football tournament in Africa. It has been contested among the East and Central African nations since 1973.

As defending 2000 CECAFA Cup-holders, Uganda were heavy favorites over Djibouti, whose national team had yet to win a match in their history. Djibouti, however, initially appeared to be the more dangerous side, mounting a handful of attacks in the early stages of the match. They were fully supported by the crowd, who also booed every time the Ugandans gained possession.

The Ugandan side eventually took charge of the match in the 25th minute, when forward Alex Isabirye headed in the match's opening goal from a corner kick. By the break, the Cranes were up 3-0. In the second half, Uganda continued to press, while Djibouti fell apart. Isabirye finished with a hat-trick and the remaining seven goals game from six different Uganda players, plus one Djibouti own goal. Too add to the humiliation, Djibouti back Abdurhamane Mohamed was sent off in the 85th minute. Mohamed Said salvaged a late goal for the losing side, but it was small consolation as the final scoreline read 10-1.

Despite the offensive firepower shown in the auspicious start to their title defense, the Ugandans struggled for the remainder of the tournament. They failed to score another goal, losing to both Tanzania (1-0) and Burundi (2-0), and were eliminated from the competition.

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