IN CAIRO, EGYPT
Uganda Cranes, finalists in 1978, have been to six Africa Cup of Nations before, are making their second consecutive appearance, and it showed on Saturday night at the Cairo International Stadium.
A header from Kampala City forward Patrick Kaddu off Farouk Miya’s delivered corner early in the first half and another header from Simba midfielder Emmanuel Okwi from the same provider minutes into the second half wrapped up a rather impressive 2-0 outing by East Africa’s best ranked team against pre-match favourites Democratic Republic of Congo.
The victory propelled the Cranes to the top of a tricky Pool “A” that also has hosts Egypt, who beat hard fighting Zimbabwe in the tournament opener in Friday.
On the evidence of that display, Ugandans can be forgiven for thinking about life beyond the preliminary stages.
“We are from Kampala and are here until 29, but the way the team has played we may be forced to stay here longer,” said a Uganda Cranes fan called Simon.
“But staying here will be very expensive for us. I will have to change my ticket and pay for more hotel days, but we are happy the team has started well,” Mark, holding a Ugandan flag said. The preliminary round in Group A ends on 29.
Uganda were knocked out in the group phase of the 2017 edition going down 1-0 to both Ghana and Egypt before settling to a 1-1 draw with Mali. Should they advance to the knock-out stage they will certainly pose a welcome financial problem for their loyal, travelling fans.
Cairo is crawling with African fans from across the continent. Ugandans, Zimbabweans, Namibians all here to cheer their home nation.
However, many fans have had challenges with the requirement to be eligible to buy a ticket.
Fans have to first register online to acquire a Fan Identity. The Fan ID logs in the individual’s detail in an effort by organisers to enhance security and efficiency.
“We registered for the Fan ID but it is taking long and we cannot purchase tickets,” one fuming Zimbabwean fan complained at an Orange Shop in down town Cairo where a group of fans were trying to presumably register or buy tickets.
Another fan from Uganda said confirmation of the registration to acquire a Fan ID took about 24 hours and most of his colleagues had registered in Uganda before travelling.
According to Caf, after registering, a person must then buy a ticket which they will then receive with their unique Fan ID.