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Back in March 2003, The Cranes travelled to Kigali to take on Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars in the opening group fixture of the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Uganda dominated the match from the onset and created several scoring chanced but midway through the game, outstanding Rwanda goalie Muhammed Mossi created a distraction for Paul Hasule’s frustrated players. Mossi kept on pointing to something wrapped in a polythene bag as the source of his inspirational performance.

Jittery Cranes players tried to remove what they perceived as ‘juju’ to no avail but when substitute Fred Okello stormed Mossi’s goal to get it out, it resulted in a scuffle that forced the match to be halted for five minutes. The match  ended goalless but The Cranes were psychologically affected.

In the return leg at Namboole a few weeks later, The Cranes pressurized Amavubi and it was a question of time for them to get a goal. Unfortunately, Ugandan players repeated the same mistake by falling into Mossi’s trap.

The players, urged on by the partisan crowd, became superstitious and Abubaker Tabula took matters into his own hands by removing the object amid protest from Rwanda players, who chased him and had his jersey torn. Once again, the match was held up for more than 30 minutes and when it resumed, Rwanda players got their momentum going while the Ugandans were demoralized.

A few minutes later, Jimmy Gatete scored to silence Namboole and give Rwanda a memorable win. Uganda would later draw 1-1 in Ghana but to rub insult to injury, Rwanda went on to qualify for the 2004 Nations Cup.

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