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Senegal vs Uganda: Cranes out to overcome the ‘Mane’ issue

The Cranes are making only their second appearance at the knock out stages of AFCON. (PHOTOS/Agencies)

AFCON 2019
Senegal vs Uganda
Cairo International Stadium, Cairo
Friday, 05-07-2019 @10pm

Uganda’s history at the Africa Cup of Nations is as brief as life its self.

The Cranes have reach the finals’ tournament on only six occasions out of the total 32.

Since the group stages were introduced in 1963, Uganda has managed to negotiate past them only once, back in 1978 where they lost 0-2 to Ghana in the final.

On Friday, the team will be out to write another chapter in their history as they take on Senegal in the round of 16.

Uganda have so far been one of the surprise packages at the 2019 finals, negotiating their way through Group A, finishing second.

They got their campaign off to a flying start, defeating DR Congo 2-0 in the first game before drawing 1-1 with Zimbabwe in one of the most entertaining fixtures so far.

Despite losing 0-2 to Egypt, in a game that the Cranes were clearly the better side, Sebastien Desabre’s side finished behind only leaders Egypt with 4 points.

The Cranes finished second in group A.

After such a good showing in the groups, the Cranes were rewarded with a round of 16 clash against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Senegal.

Senegal will go into the game as odds-on favourites to progress to the next round but are yet to justify their superiority.

The Lions of Teranga somehow defeated Tanzania 2-0 in their first group game before losing 0-1 to Algeria, in a game that they were clearly beaten.

They picked themselves up and produced a stunning second half performance to defeat Kenya 3-0 in the last game, sealing both second spot in group C and the round of 16.

What they are saying ahead of the game

Sebastien Desabre, Cranes head coach

“It is a different game when you compare it to that of Egypt. To beat Senegal, we need to score and we know it is not easy.

“We respect Senegal so much because they are a good team with a good coach and very good players but we also have our quality.

“May be it is the same picture for us like the DR Congo game and we need to be focused, be very organised and score when we get chances because in our last game against Egypt, we created several chances but didn’t put them away.

Aliou Cisse, Senegal head coach

“No one should take the Ugandan team for granted and I will tell my players that because facing them is not an easy task.

“We need to make sure we prepare well to face Uganda because they have showed since the tournament started that they are here on a serious mission.

“Now its direct elimination, it will be hard, the Ugandan team are the team who have lost the least in the last few years.”

Cisse anticipates a tough game against the Cranes on Friday.

The two teams have faced off only three times since June 2012 with one of those meetings coming in an international friendly.

In the three match-ups, two have ended in stalemates and a 1-0 win for Senegal back in the World Cup 2014 qualifier in September 2012.

The last clash saw Senegal and Uganda draw 0-0 in a friendly game back in June 2017, a result that would result into extra time and probably penalties.

For Uganda, it is one that they would take with open arms especially after what has been happening in the last few days.

The Cranes players have been on strike, refusing to train on Tuesday over unpaid bonuses and allowances.

After the situation was resolved, captain Denis Onyango assured that the players are now 100% focused on the game against Senegal.

“We had issues but we resolved them as a team. Noted Onyango in his pre-match press conference.

“These are issues which happen everywhere. It is like in family where you have problems but unfortunately in football, it is money issues but the good thing we solved them, got back in training yesterday (Wednesday) and we are now looking at the game ahead of us because we have a nation to fight for and we have Ugandans back home who are looking at us.

“We are now focused on the game and have forgotten our past issues with the Federation.”

Uganda needs to indeed be focused especially as they come up against one of the best African players of his generation in Senegal captain Sadio Mane.

Mane who missed the first game due to suspension is one of the top scorers at the competition with 2 goals and he will be eyeing to get another on Friday.

Mane has so far scored two goals at the 2019 AFCON.

Uganda’s probable line up

Denis Onyango (GK), Bevis Mugabi, Godfrey Walusimbi, Hassan Wasswa, Murushid Juuko, Khalid Aucho, Mike Azira, Farouk Miya, Abdu Lumala, Emmanuel Okwi, Patrick Kaddu.

The other round of 16 fixture on Friday

-Morocco vs Benin @7pm

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