AFCON 2021 Qualifier- Group B
Uganda vs Malawi
Mandela National Stadium, Namboole
Sunday, 17-11-019 @4pm
NAMBOOLE – The Uganda Men’s national football team, the Cranes will be hoping to register their first victory of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they host Malawi at Mandela National Stadium in Namboole on Sunday afternoon.
The Cranes are coming off a goalless draw in their first game away to Burkina Faso this past Wednesday, a result that was viewed as positive by many.
It was also the first competitive fixture under new head coach Johnathan McKinstry who was handed the role at the back end of September.
The North Irishman replaced Sebastien Desabre, the man who took Uganda to AFCON 2019 where they reached the second round of the competition before losing 1-0 to eventual finalists Senegal.
The Cranes are attempting to make a third successive appearance at the finals’ tournament having also qualified for Gabon-2017.
Usually, they are strong at home and will be expected to make light-weight of Malawi, a side that has not who an AFCON qualifier away from home in 13 years.
However, Abdu Lumala and Swedish-based forward Alexis Bbakka will not be part of the team due to injuries. The two featured in the draw in Ouagadougou on Wednesday with Lumala starting while Bbakka came off the bench for his competitive debut.
In Lumala’s absence, former Vipers SC play-maker Kizito Luwagga is expected to slot into the starting team while Bbakka’s injury may pave way for KCCA FC youngster-Allan Okello to make a substitute appearance.
Uganda are outright favourites to walk away with three points on Sunday and nothing less than that will be welcomed by the home fans who are used to winning at Namboole.
However, as recent history suggests, the Cranes are also expected to win the game while playing ‘beautiful’ football.
For Malawi, they come into the game top of Group B having defeated South Sudan 1-0 in their first game played this past Wednesday.
They have a very poor record away from home in the AFCON qualifiers and are expected to play for just a point.
Malawi will be confident they can get at least point from the game, having held on to a 0-0 draw at the same venue, the last time the two sides met.
What they are saying before the game
Johnathan McKinstry, Uganda head coach
“I am looking forward at this game, we want it very packed and the fans should come and create a good atmosphere.
“Normally, its not about the players, its about the supporters and if they come as expected, they will be our 12th player.
“I am waiting for this electric atmosphere. I know it comes with pressure but for any coach, this is good pressure because it comes with expectations. It’s the pressure to perform.”
Meke Mwase, Malawi head coach
“We have a talented squad and ready to face Uganda.
“We are ready for the game and waiting for 90 minutes against a good side.
“The last time i was here, we lost and it is a blessing that i am here again.
This will be the 6th meeting between the two sides since 2010.
In the previous 5 meetings, either side has won once and thw other three encounters all ended in draws.
Uganda heads into the game unbeaten in their last two meetings with Malawi (W1 L1).
The last time the two side met, they drew 0-0 at Namboole in 2018.
Uganda have lost only one of their last 10 AFCON qualifiers (W6 D1).
However, they have not won any of their last two (D1 L1).
At home, they have won 8 of their last 11 games (D2 L1). The only loss in that period came in the 1-0 defeat against Togo in October 2014.
For Malawi, they have lost four of their last six AFCON qualification encounters (W1 D1). The only victory in that period was in their last game, a 1-0 win at home to South Sudan.
Away from home, they have not won a single game since September 2006, drawn 7 and lost 12 of the games played in that period.
Uganda Cranes projected XI
Denis Onyango (GK), Bevis Mugabi, Joseph Ochaya, Timothy Awany, Murushid Jjuuko, Mike Azira, Khalid Aucho, Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Kizito Luwagga, Patrick Kaddu.