Uganda and Rwanda left themselves a mountain to climb after the East African rivals played out a goalless draw in Douala, Cameroon on Monday night.
The result left them trailing African Nations Championship (Chan) defending champions, Morocco – who edged Togo 1-0 in the night’s first game.
Morocco top Group C on three points, with the Cranes and Rwanda’s Amavubi Stars sharing one apiece. Togo have none.
Morocco can now qualify to the quarterfinals if they beat Rwanda in their next game on Friday, but the Wasps can also turn their fortunes.
The Cranes also have a chance to get off the mark against tournament debutants Togo on the same day.
Uganda commanded better possession of the ball overall but the Rwandans had more incisive takes at the Cranes goal.
Beyond the uninspiring display, Milton Karisa’s injury after just 11 minutes was perhaps Uganda’s biggest loss of the night.
Starting as the lead man in attack, Karisa came off worse in what appeared to be a pulled hamstring after the forward’s drive outside the box.
His replacement, Brian Aheebwa, almost opened Uganda’s deadlock on 23 minutes but his long range drive was steered wide for an unfruitful corner.