World Cup 2026

Uganda Cranes Win First in 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Against Somalia

Uganda Cranes secured the first win of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers after overcoming Somalia on Tuesday.

In the game played at Stade Du Municipal in Berkane, Morocco, Rogers Mato’s lone strike in the opening minutes was the difference.

The winger tapped home from close range in the fourth minute to help Uganda earn maximum points.

Prior to the game, cranes coach Paul Joseph made three changes from the team that had lost 2-1 to Guinea last week.

Isima Watenga started in goal ahead of Salim Omar Magoola while Elvis Bwomono started at right back with Kenneth Semakula moved to the midfield.

Teenage midfielder Allan Oyirwoth was handed his debut for the Senior National Team starting in midfield ahead of Bobosi Byaruhanga.

Oyirwoth had a remarkable outing, making the assist for Mato’s goal.

A good run started by Travis Mutyaba saw him release Bwomono on the right wing and his cross found Oyirwoth inside the box to set up Mato who had an empty goal at his mercy.

Uganda kept surging forward and Oyirwoth nearly got a goal but his effort sailed wide.

Mutyaba too had a chance to double the advantage but his left footed effort went just wide.

Mato should have gotten his second on the day in the 38th minute but he lost the ball in attempt of rounding off the goalkeeper.

Rogers Mato celebrating his goal.

Somalia were reduced to ten players following the sending off of Ahmed Mohammed towards the end of the first half.

In the second half coach Put made changes introducing Umaru Lutalo and Bobosi Byaruhanga in places of Oyirwoth and captain Khalid Aucho respectively.

Despite having the lion’s share of possession, Uganda failed to find more goals against the ten men of Somalia in the second half.

Uganda ends the first window of the World Cup Qualifiers with three points from two games.

The Cranes will return to action in June next year with two home games against Botswana and Algeria.

Uganda Cranes Starting XI
Isima Watenga, Elvis Bwomono, Aziizi Kayondo, Bevis Mugabi, Halidi Lwaliwa, Khalid Aucho(Bobosi Byaruhanga), Kenneth Semakula, Allan Oyirwoth, Travis Mutyaba(Umaru Lutalo), Fahad Bayo(Denis Omed), Rogers Mato.

Unused Substitutes
Jack Komakech, Salim Omar Magoola, Ibrahim Juma, Timothy Awany, William Kizito Luwagga, Richard Basangwa, Bright Anukani, Milton Karisa, Yunus Sentamu, Rogers Torach.

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