Uganda coach Sebastien Desabre feels they have proven critics wrong by booking a second consecutive berth to the Africa Cup of Nations.
Cranes broke a 38-years jinx when they became the only East African country in 2017 to have taken part in the last edition staged in Gabon
A 1-0 win over Cape Verde at home on Saturday ensured that top-ranked East Africa giants will be in Cameroon in 2019.
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) forward Patrick Henry Kaddu headed in the all-important goal early in the 13th minute to help the Cranes seal a second straight Afcon berth.
“I am very happy for Kaddu, because he is a local-based player, and has proved a point,” Desabre told ESPN.
“It does not matter even if a player is not playing professionally, but can come on the field and do what is expected of him. I thank the Uganda FA because they are dynamic and are always ready to try new things.”
The Frenchman took over as Uganda coach last December, replacing Milutin Sredojevic, who was in charge of Cranes in Gabon.
But a slow start marked his reign with defeats to the Central African Republic, Niger as well as a draw with Malawi in international friendly matches.
A goalless draw with Tanzania, when the Afcon qualifiers resumed in September, cast doubt on his pedigree of Uganda return to the elite African nations competition.
But back-to-back wins over Lesotho and Saturday’s win and six goals scored changed the Ugandan people’s perception of Desabre.
“I have proved a point,” Desabre said.
“I am very happy with the way we have qualified with 13 points, no goals conceded, and with a game to play. When I joined, we did not start well in some of the friendlies, but I needed time to settle and (understand) the players better. Now I am happy that we have proved a point as a team.
“It’s very nice that we reached our target, which is a qualification for Afcon. We knew Cape Verde badly wanted to win and we changed our format of play, especially defensively. I want to say thank you to the players because they applied good tactical discipline and showed a lot of commitment.
“In the second half, Cape Verde tried to add two more players in attack and my boys still managed to counter that well.”
Elsewhere, Morocco coach Herve Renard paid tribute to his players and backroom staff after the Atlas Lions also qualified for Afcon.
Although Morocco beat Cameroon 2-0 at home on Friday, their qualification was only confirmed on Saturday after Comoros beat Malawi 2-1 in Moroni in another Group B showdown.
Renard’s charges are on top of the group with 10 points.
Félicitations aux joueurs et au staff pour cette brillante qualification pour la CAN 2019— Hervé Renard (@Herve_Renard_HR) November 17, 2018
Congratulations to players & staff for this brilliant qualification for the AFCON 2019
📸 @JulienScussel pic.twitter.com/KaWqf45O1h