East African neighbours Uganda and Rwanda played out to a goalless draw in a game of few clear-cut chances at the TOTAL African Nations Championship in Cameroon on Monday night.
The regional rivals could not create the needed chances as they played cautiously in the second Group C match of the tournament at the Stade de la Reunification in Douala.
Amavubi playmaker Muhadjiri Hakizimana grazed the crossbar on the half hour mark when he dribbled past two defenders before his final effort failed to find the net.
Captain Jacques Tuyisengeh also headed just wide in the 40th minute after an inviting cross from the right beat Uganda goalkeeper Charles Lukwago.
The Cranes’ only chance of the game fell to Aziz Abdu Kayondo on the hour mark after goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera made a hash of an aerial ball but the midfielder could not take advantage.
Uganda were the first to make an attempt at goal and they came close to taking an early lead with Paul Mbowa’s free-kick missing the target by inches in the first minute.
Experienced Rwanda skipper Jacques Tuyisenge responded to the threat six minutes later with a well-struck shot that was saved by Lukwago.
The Cranes tried to push forward but their strategy was disrupted when attacking midfielder Milton Karisa was stretched off injured after only in the 11th minute.
Brian Ahhebwa who replaced Karisa later had his first attempt on target blocked a few moments after coming on.
Rwanda’s Tuyisenge continued to trouble the Ugandan defenders with his quick reaction and speed, but still failed to find the target.
After 30 minutes Muhadjiri Hakizimana dribbled past three Ugandan defenders and was unlucky that his shot hit the woodwork and bounced out with Uganda’s goalkeeper Lukwago.
In the second-half the two teams pushed forward and Tuyisenge, who is featuring in his third CHAN appearance, had another chance deep in the second half but shot wide.
Not even Uganda’s Joackim Ojera could easily tap-in from close after 60 minutes when the Rwanda goalkeeper Kwizera had fumbled with the ball.
The two teams continued to push forward, but showed that they will have a lot to work on to improve their attacking lines as the tournament progresses.
Rwanda face an arduous task in their next game as they face holders Morocco on Friday while Uganda take on debutantes Togo in the group’s other game of the day.
I congratulate both teams, we have not shown that we can win at least two clear chances. We can make the break, get the three points, the youngsters have caught the finish.
Uganda is a great team. We will try to have a successful performance next time.
John McKinstry, Uganda coach
I congratulate the Rwanda team, they were tough opponents. We have a youngster, we have the means to raise the level of play.
There was no lack of ambition and offensive animation.
We are satisfied with the result but we come out of this match with regrets. It is up to us to question ourselves and above all to be conquerors.