A 3-1 win for Uganda over 2006 finalists Angola in their latest FIFA World Cup™ qualifier has put the Cranes back on track after a setback just seven days earlier.
Uganda stormed past the Palancas Negras in Kampala on Saturday, going 3-0 up before Angola got a late consolation goal. The Ugandans' performance in stark contrast to an error-ridden outing in Benin on June 8, when they suffered an embarrassing 4-1 defeat in Cotonou.
Uganda's win on Saturday ensures a three way tie at the top of the standings as the Group 3 campaign reaches its midway point. Their Hungarian coach Laszlo Csaba now has renewed hope of qualifying for the business end of the African qualifiers.
"It was a very important game for us to win, especially after the bad performance we turned in against Benin the weekend before. .
"The game against Benin was very bad, we made some tactical mistakes and errors that cost us, but the result against Angola was very good for us," said the 44-year-old, now in his third year in charge of the side.
"What was important was taking the three points. We showed that we had the potential even last year when we beat Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. It is important to believe in yourself, and we have a squad where we work well together. The players believe in the work of the coach and the coach believes in the players."
Uganda now travel to Luanda to meet the Angolans again this Sunday, and Csaba believes a result is possible, even if Angola are particularly hard to beat on home turf.
"I think the pressure will be on the Angolans. It means we have a chance if we are cool and relaxed and look to take our chances. It is most important for the development of Ugandan football that we progress from this group. We need to participate in great international tournaments like the Nations Cup and, in saying so, why not the World Cup?"
Uganda have not qualified for a major tournament since the CAF African Cup of Nations 1978, a source of much disappointment but also a major spur for Csaba and his Cranes.
" , and that was really hard luck for us. When I started in Uganda, there were just four professional players based outside the country and it was a new beginning of a new side.
"I had to bring professionalism into the team, but now we have 18 players outside of the country, which is good for the standard of the side. I had offers to coach in Europe when I was first given the proposition to work in Uganda, but I had a good feeling about the job and about the potential. Since then, we have played together a lot and it has become a family unit. This is what you need in a national team if you are to succeed.
"For the first time in Uganda's history we not only have sponsors for the national team, but we also have a charter flight that will be taking us to Angola. That just shows how people here are beginning to understand how important it is to have a professional set up around the team and proper preparation. The attitude towards the side is much better. The players like to play for the national team these days and whenever we call them, they are quick to respond."