KAMPALA. The mood in Cranes camp throughout this week’s residential training has been that of a team seemingly on a mission.
From players’ clean bill of health, by press time at least; timely arrivals of foreign-based stars, to financial boost and offer of a chartered flight by government for next Tuesday’s return leg in Maseru, it has all been positive.
Make no mistake, the coaching staff and players are aware of the magnitude of tomorrow’s 2019 Nations Cup qualifier against Lesotho at Namboole.
“The players know what is at stake and we are all aware of what we need to do,” said Cranes vice captain Hassan Wasswa, a message echoed by his fellow midfielder Sadam Juma.
“We are all aware of what is at stake and we are not taking Lesotho lightly,” added Juma.
True the Cranes have now gone two matches without a goal and victory at Namboole when you include the goalless World Cup qualifier against Ghana.
But since the 2012 Afcon qualifiers, the Cranes have won at least two out of three home matches in this particular competition.
That should give Uganda confidence that they can get maximum points they and coach Sebastien Desabre so desperately need.
“We shall qualify,” said Desabre after that goalless draw against Tanzania last month, “We shall be fine.”
With the top two teams out of the 12 groups qualifying for Cameroon 2019, Uganda’s qualification might not be in doubt.
But the thing is Desabre badly needs this result tomorrow to get his Uganda Cranes tenure started in earnest.
What will concern Uganda, though, is the fact that Lesotho have lost just once in their last three international trips, drawing the other two.
Uganda top Group L on four points after two matches, with Tanzania and Lesotho on two apiece. Cape Verde are bottom with one.
Last four AFCON editions
Afcon 2012 qualifiers
Uganda 3-0 Angola
Uganda 2-0 Guinea Bissau
Uganda 0-0 Kenya
Afcon 2013 (home and away playoffs)
Afcon 2015 qualifiers
Uganda 2-0 Guinea
Uganda 0-1 Togo
Uganda 1-0 Ghana
Afcon 2017 qualifiers
Uganda 2-0 Botswana
Uganda 0-0 Burkina Faso
Uganda 1-0 Comoros
Afcon 2019 qualifiers
Uganda 0-0 Tanzania
Uganda vs Lesotho
Uganda vs Cape Verde
Uganda vs Lesotho
Namboole Stadium, 4pm kick-off
Team P W D L F A Pts
Uganda 2 1 1 0 1 0 4
Tanzania 2 0 2 0 1 1 2
Lesotho 2 0 2 0 2 2 2
Cape Verde 2 0 1 1 1 2 1