Burkina Faso secured their spot in the 2021 AFCON finals to join hosts Cameroon, Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco and defending champions Algeria.

Uganda were held to a 0-0 draw by the home side as they not only secured their place in the finals but also forced the Cranes to be the masters of their own fate on the final gameday of the qualifiers. 

The Cranes will face Malawi in the final qualifier and as long as the side can avoid defeat against the Flames, they will be joining the Burkinabe in Cameroon next year.

If Uganda manages to win or draw, they will make it three consecutive AFCON tournaments but it is not going to be easy for them even though they are the favourites going into the game.

The first half in Entebbe saw little action, with most of the game being caught in a dogged midfield battle between Taddeo Lwanga and Michael Azira for Uganda and Charles Kabore and Bryan Dabo for Burkina Faso.

The Stallions did have the first notable effort in the game midway through the first half when Bertrand Traore got a shot away under pressure that was on target, but Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango made a comfortable save.

The hosts struggled to find a rhythm in attack but Farouk Miya and Patrick Kaddu were isolated in attack due to lack of service from the midfield. It was no surprise that the first half ended 0-0 as both teams had a mentality of avoiding defeat at all costs.

Uganda knew that a victory would secure qualification while the home team Burkina Faso were aware that a draw would do for them to make it through to Cameroon in 2022.

That led to the Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry opting for a double change in midfield at the start of the second half given that they were unable to establish control in that area of the park.

He brought on Moses Waiswa and Ibrahim Orit in an effort to bring more creativity to their play.

Things did not go as planned, however, as Kaddu suffered an injury that saw him being substituted for Fahad Bayo.


The substitutions were influential as Uganda gradually took control of the match and had several spells of possession. They came extremely close to scoring as Orit’s header hit the post before Joseph Ochaya forced a fine save from goalkeeper Herve Kouakou Koffi as well.

Miya thought he had found the winner on two occasions in the final stages, forcing Kouakou Koffi into making big saves in the 80th and 83rd minutes of the game, but the Burkinabe were able to survive these scares and claim a valuable away point that saw them go through to the finals.

Burkina Faso’s nine points in Group B is one ahead of Uganda and two more than Malawi, who beat South Sudan 1-0 on Wednesday.

The Burkinabe qualify as there is no scenario whereby both Uganda and Malawi can overtake them, while South Sudan – who have three points – are eliminated.

The teams will return to Group B action next week on Monday 2nd March, with Uganda playing away to Malawi where the winner takes all and Burkina Faso will face South Sudan in a game of no consequence barring pride.