The Uganda Cranes, led by newly appointed Head Coach Joseph Paul Put, suffered a devastating start to their 2026 FIFA World Cup campaign as a late controversial decision resulted in Guinea securing a narrow victory in their opening fixture.
In a fiercely contested match at the Stade De Municipal in Berkane, Morocco, Uganda suffered a 2-1 defeat against Guinea, denying them what many anticipated would be an away point. The game took a dramatic turn when Seydouba Cisse capitalized on a late free kick, securing Guinea’s win. Guinea took the lead early in the contest with Aguibou Camara’s low shot past Uganda’s goalkeeper Salim Omar Magoola in the tenth minute.
However, Uganda managed to level the score before halftime, courtesy of Fahad Bayo’s goal from a free ball in the box, bringing the score to 1-1 at the break. The Cranes made strategic substitutions at the start of the second half, introducing Yunus Sentamu and Timothy Awany. The reshuffle included positional changes, but neither the additional substitutions of Bright Anukani and Richard Basangwa later in the game altered the final outcome.
Despite Uganda’s relentless efforts, a late foul awarded to Guinea in the dying minutes led to the decisive free kick converted by Seydouba Cisse, leaving Coach Paul Put and the team disheartened by the outcome. Addressing the media in the post-match conference, Coach Put expressed disappointment over the controversial decision, emphasizing the team’s efforts to secure maximum points. He vowed to analyze the upcoming match against Somalia to rectify strategies and aim for a better outcome.
The Cranes, eyeing their debut World Cup appearance, find themselves in Group G alongside strong contenders Algeria, Mozambique, Botswana, and Somalia. Algeria currently leads the group with three points and two goals, followed by Mozambique and Guinea.
Uganda occupies the second-last position in the group standings, yet to secure a point. Uganda will aim for redemption in their upcoming match against Somalia, scheduled for Tuesday, as they strive to garner crucial points in their pursuit of a historic World Cup qualification.