The Black Stars, who lost on penalties to the Ivory Coast in the 2015 final, are looking to win the trophy for the first since 1982.
Their hopes will not be helped if they lose left-back Abdul Rahman Baba of Schalke, who was stretchered off in the first half with an apparent hamstring injury. Grant later described the player’s prospects of recovering as “50-50”.
Uganda were making their first appearance at the Cup of Nations since 1978, when they lost to Ghana in the final, and they will have to wait a little longer for their first goal and win at the competition in almost four decades.
“In 39 years we have not been there and in the first half we had an element of stage fright,” admitted the Cranes’ Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic.
Uganda will next take on Egypt, who made their own comeback at the Cup of Nations after a seven-year absence in a 0-0 stalemate with Mali.
EL HADARY RECORD
The state of the playing surface and the humidity in the equatorial conditions were factors in making it a poor game, most notable for a substitute appearance by Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary that allowed him to become the oldest player ever to appear at the Cup of Nations.
The 44-year-old came off the bench in the first half to replace the injured Ahmed El Shennawy and beat the old mark set by compatriot Hossam Hassan, who was 39 when he played at the 2006 Cup of Nations.
Egypt’s star man Mohamed Salah failed to fire and Marwan Mohsen had the best chance with a header that was turned over.
Egypt had not been seen at a Cup of Nations since winning a record seventh title, and third in a row, in 2010.
“We would be much happier of course if we had won but this will not really change too much what we need to do in our coming games,” said Egypt’s Argentine coach Hector Cuper, who admitted concern as to the fitness of El Shennawy ahead of medical tests on Wednesday.
It will feel like an opportunity missed for Mali, who had initially been the better team in what may as well have been a home game for them.
The action swings back to the capital Libreville on Wednesday as hosts Gabon entertain Burkina Faso and Cameroon meet minnows Guinea-Bissau in Group A.