Uganda have had the best start yet in the country’s qualification history, their 1-0 away victory over Cape Verde last year giving the Cranes a perfect head-start in the journey to the 2019 Cameroon Nations Cup.
The Cranes of course did begin with a 1-0 victory away in Kenya in the 1962 Afcon qualification, but that was just a two-legged play-off; with the winner immediately qualifying for the finals.
This, against Cape Verde, was the first time the Cranes started heads and shoulders above poolmates Tanzania, Lesotho and Cape Verde both on the pitch and psychologically.
Tanzania, whose last Nations Cup visit to Uganda ended in a 2-0 defeat at Nakivubo some 23 years ago, albeit with none of the two qualifying for the finals, will want to have something to say about the above assertion today. The two East African sporting foes face off at Namboole with Sebastien Desabre’s Cranes attempting to get out of sight after two matches and Emmanuel Amunike’s Tanzania desperate to get their first maximum points.
“They have a good coach and are a good team,” said Desabre ahead of the clash, “But three points against Tanzania are so important to us and we shall fight for the win.”
Uganda top Group L on three points, with Tanzania and Lesotho on one apiece. Desabre’s counterpart, Amunike, knows his first major game in charge of the Taifa Stars could not have started at a worse territory.
“Playing Uganda will be very interesting,” said the Nigerian coach, “We know that it will not be an easy match. We’ll put lots of emphasis on our teamwork.” The Cranes have lost just twice at Namboole to South Africa and Togo since the stadium was opened in 1997.
This is an East African derby, a home match; which even puts more pressure on Desabre on his first competitive home game in charge of the Cranes.
The Frenchman’s Cranes teams have struggled to produce his preferred style of free flowing football, winning just once in his first nine matches in charge.
Itching for victory
Six of them were friendlies, while little can be apportioned to him from the three Chan matches since that was hardly his team as he had just taken over. He will badly want this one.
This is expected to be a close affair, with Tanzania looking to their star man Mbwana Samatta, who netted a hattrick in Genk’s (Belgium) Europa League qualification victory recently, for inspiration. Timothy Awany is highly tipped to start in central defence alongside Murushid Juuko, with skipper Denis Onyango in goal. They will have to be at their best to stop him.
Tanzania based Emmanuel Okwi could partner with Derrick Nsibambi upfront with Kizito Luwagga and Faruku Miya making things happen in the middle.
Substitutes: Jamal Salim, Charles Lukwago, Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Ibrahim Sadam Juma, Tadeo Lwanga, Moses Opondo, Allan Kateregga, Khalid Aucho, Moses Waiswa, Yunus Sentamu, Edrisa Lubega, Patrick Henry Kaddu
Aishi Manula, Mohamed Abdilrahman, Beno Kakolanya, Shomari Kapombe, Hassan Kessy, Gadiel Micheal, Abdi Banda, Kelvin Yondani, Aggrey Morris, Andrew Vicent, Himid Mao, Mudathir Yahya, Jonas Mkude, Erasto Nyoni, Saimon Msuva, Shiza Ramadhani, Rashid Mandawa, Farid Mussa, Hassan Dilunga, Feisal Salum, Mbwana Samatta, Thomas Ulimwengu, Shabani Chilunda, John Bocco, Yahya Zaydi.
Afcon Qualifier 2019, Group L
Today, September 08, 2018
Uganda vs. Tanzania 4pm
Mandela National Stadium, Namboole
Charges: 15,000/- (Ordinary), 40,000/- (VIP), 150,000/- (VVIP)
UGANDA CRANES PROBABLE XI
Denis Onyango, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Murushid Juuko, Denis Timothy Awany, Hassan Wasswa, William Luwagga Kizito, Joseph Ochaya, Farouk Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Derrick Nsibambi