Congo DR vs Uganda
Cairo International Stadium, Cairo
Saturday, 22-06-2019 @5:30pm
The Uganda Cranes will be hoping to get off to the best possible start, when they take on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in their AFCON 2019 Group A opener on Saturday afternoon.
After a 2-week long camp in Abu Dhabi, the Cranes are understood to have had the best of preparations as they seek to write history in Ugandan football.
Uganda’s best ever performance at the AFCON, dates back to 1978, when they finished as the tournament’s runners up after losing 0-2 to Ghana in the final.
In 2017, the Cranes made their return to AFCON after 39 years of waiting, however, they could not get past the group stages.
This time round, especially after the tournament was expanded to 24 teams, Uganda is expected to make the last 16.
Uganda boosts arguably the best goalkeeper at the tournament in Denis Onyango and coupled with a talented crop in front of him, it is only right to up the expectations, starting with the game against DRC.
What they are saying ahead of the game
Denis Onyango, Uganda Cranes captain
“We shall need to work as a complete team. To get as far as we can, we need to get the best use of the team quality.
“We have camped for a long time in Abu Dhabi and virtually all the players know each other well. Football is a team sport and you cannot win a game when you are playing individual football.
“Against DR Congo, we need that first victory because it always pushes us further. Our goal is to go past the group stages.
Sebastien Desabre, Uganda Cranes head coach
“The Uganda Cranes team is ready to compete at the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt. The players are ready to give the maximum.
“We have good organisation, cohesion and quality in the team basing on values of working together. Each player has a task to play together.
“As a complete unit we shall achieve a lot. The spirit is good enough. We camped in Abu Dhabi to get used to the weather here in Egypt. The weather was not good for us in the first week but we later acclimatised to it. I am happy with the camp we had in Abu Dhabi.
Uganda lost 0-1 to Egypt in their first game in the last edition in Gabon and it is a scenario that they will need to avoid this time round.
However, DRC will be having very different ideas come match day. The Leopards have progressed passed the group stages in each of their last two AFCON appearances and know how pivotal the first game is.
Having won the title twice in history, DRC are strong outsiders to clinch this years’ title and with a squad boosting the likes of Yusuf Mulumbu, Yannick Bolasie and Cedric Bakamabu, they are indeed out to cause havoc starting with the game against Uganda
DR Congo have progressed through to the knockout stages at each of the last two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and achieved a third-place finish in 2015. The squad arrived in Egypt on Monday night direct from Spain where they had held their pre-tournament training camp having concluded their preparations with a 1-1 draw against Kenya. Although they are unbeaten in their last five matches, they have won only one of those games with a solitary win against Liberia being their only success in their last nine outings.
Uganda are appearing at the Africa Cup of Nations for the second consecutive time having featured in 2017 after an absence of 39 years without making it through to the finals. They had a comfortable qualifying passage to reach this stage as they didn’t lose a match or concede a goal in five matches before a defeat in Tanzania when they had already confirmed qualification. Preparations for the tournament were completed with a 1-0 victory against the Ivory Coast last Saturday. Farouk Miya – who is likely to be one of Uganda’s main players at the tournament – scored his 22nd international goal to settle the match in Uganda’s favour.
Uganda Cranes probable line up
Denis Onyango (GK), Bevis Mugabi, Godfrey Walusimbi, Murushid Juuko, Hassan Wasswa, Khalid Aucho, Mike Azira, Farouk Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Abdu Lumala, Patrick Kaddu.
The other Group A game
Egypt vs Zimbabwe – Saturday, 21-06-2019 @11pm
Saturday’s other fixtures
-Nigeria vs Burundi @8pm
-Guinea vs Madagascar @11pm