All is set in the Uganda Cranes camp ahead of their encounter against Cape Verde at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole in a Group L Afcon 2019 qualifier on Saturday.
Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre and counterpart Rui Agaus know the level of expectations that will be placed on both their sides in their quest to qualify for next year’s edition of Afcon.
French man Desbre and the Cranes who lead Group L with 10 points from four games so far need a point while Agaus’ side lie third with four points, must win to lighten the task for qualification.
“I am aware we lost 1-0 against the Cranes in Cape Verde but I am not here to dwell on the result as I was not in charge by that time,” Agaus said upon arrival on Thursday. “It is going to be a hard game but we have to be at our best defensively and on the offence if we are to get maximum points. Uganda have a good coach and good players but I trust my team to get the result we need.”
The Cranes will surely miss the services of talisman Emma Okwir who was the match winner against Lesotho in Namboole while Joseph Ochaya is likely to miss out through injury. He seems to have failed to recover fully though he has been training alone along with fitness coach Simeone. No injury absentees have been reported in the Cape Verde 35 man contingent that arrived in the country by press time.
Uganda Cranes charge will be led by experienced goalkeeper Dennis Onyango. While Cape Verde will trust dangerman Garry Mendes Rodriguez who plays for Turkish side Galatasray to get the better of Onyango. And he (Rodriguez) knows the quality of goalkeeper he will be up against.
Though Onyango will lead from the goal, He is not bound to carry the mantle alone. He will have the backing of Nico Wadadda, Godfrey ‘Jajja Walu’ Walusimbi, Hassan Wasswa and Jjuuko Murshid who will provide the shield infront of Onyango.
These will come up against a dangerous attack full of pace, technique and industry made in France in the form of forwards Danilson Da Cruz from Nancy in France, Julio Ravares from Dijon and Numo Da Costa who will be supplying forward Rodriguez. Heldon the country’s leading goal scorer will be the wild card as he is intelligent on and off the ball, strong in the air and possesses such a powerful shot.
The Cranes boast the best defensive record in the group as they are yet to concede a goal in their previous four qualifiers, scoring six in the process. Cape Verde have only managed four goals and conceded four in their four matches.
The midfield battle will toss Cranes Khalid Aucho, who has grown into a major presence in the Cranes setup, Dennis Iguma who has been utilised as a make shift central midfielder and Vipers midfielder Moses Waiswa, who was impressive against Lesotho, will be pulling strings and try create magic for the home side.
Ryan Mendes from Al-Sharja in the UAE, a quick passer and awesome dribbler, Nuno Rocha who is the fulcrum of their midfield will try thwart any imminent threats from the middle and be instrumental in initiating their attacks.
Farooq Miya who has scored three goals during this campaign will again be trusted to lead the attack, a task he has accomplished on numerous occasions. This time Allan Katerega is likely to replace Ochaya following his display away while there will be selection headache on who replaces Okwir between Patrick Kaddu, Edrisa Lubega (who also played well at Namboole against Lesotho) and free scoring Vipers striker Dan Sserunkuuma.
Despite all of Cranes attacking threat and prowess, the defensive set-up of Ianique Tavares, Carlos Rodriguez, Vozinha and Tiago Almeida will be ready to avert any danger they may host and they will work their socks off to ensure a clean sheet is achieved for the visitors.
Mich as much of the action will be centred on the 11 men put on the pitch for either sides, take nothing away from the tactical approach that will be chosen by the men in the dug out. Both admirers of entertaining, fast paced, possesion and full of pressing game will be key to how their teams approach the match and in search for supremacy.
Referee Youssef Essayri and assistants Youssef Malloudi and Jridi will keep tempers in check and enforce all laws of the game in a match that promises fire works and tempers to soar.
Cranes won the previous match 1-0 in Maseru Cape Verde courtesy of a Farook Miya strike and the visitors will be looking to inflict revenge of their own for that loss. The best two sides from the group will qualify for the 24 team to play at the biggest football fiesta on the African soil.
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org