Mali game to test Cranes

Mali have thrice finished fourth at the Africa Cup of Nations, third twice and second once

Tuesday January 19 2016

Skipper Miya will lead from the front when

Skipper Miya will lead from the front when Uganda line up against Mali in their opening match in Rubavu. PHOTO BY Ismail Kezaala 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Mali have thrice finished fourth at the Africa Cup of Nations, third twice and second once.
Uganda have equally been runners-up once and finished fourth on one occasion. The Cranes have never finished third.
The Eagles also hold a supreme record over Uganda in underage competitions, where they were runner-up and third in last year’s U17 and U20 Fifa World Cups.
Closer home to Chan, both sides endured a terrible debut in 2011 but Mali were quarter-finalists three years later in South Africa.


Between the two sides largely reads ‘character.’ And it is Cranes character – after an impressive 2015 - coach Micho Sredojevic believes will be tested when Uganda open against Group D opponents, Mali, tonight.
“We passed exams from Tanzania and Sudan qualifiers, Cecafa in Ethiopia and friendlies against Gabon and Cameroon,” Micho told Daily Monitor in the North-Western district of Rubavu, some three hours’ drive from Kigali.
“Now it’s time to test our character and measure our real values with the best in Africa. There is no maybe or if because we must perform and get a result as we are looking for better futures of each player in the team and Ugandan football in general.”


Micho could line up KCCA defender Timothy Awany in holding role and have Bernard Muwanga, who played in midfield during Cecafa, partner Richard Kassaga in central defence.
Awany and Muwanga played in the aforementioned roles against Gabon and Cameroon, where the former looked like fish out of water.


The said move is mainly informed by Ivan Ntege’s absence. The midfielder is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the qualifying games against Sudan.
“We knew Ntege would not play the first game,” explained Micho, “That is why we did not use him against Gabon and Cameroon.”


Hassan Wasswa ‘Dazo’, who was also a subject of suspension, has since been cleared to play but there’s no sign here he is near to starting. Joseph Ochaya is expected to start at left back, with Caesar Okhuti manning the wing and Denis Okot and Erisa Ssekisambu operating on the right. Micho will have to choose between Muzamir Mutyaba and Keziron Kizito who starts alongside skipper Farouk Miya.


Robert Ssentongo’s hold-up play could see him start ahead of Geoffrey Sserunkuma upfront.

CHAN 2016 STANDINGS

P W L D GF GA Pts
Group A
Rwanda 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Gabon 1 0 0 1 0 0 1
Morocco 1 0 0 1 0 0 1
Ivory Coast 1 0 1 0 0 1 0
Group B
DR Congo 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
Cameroon 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Angola 1 0 1 0 0 1 0
Ethiopia 1 0 1 0 0 3 0
Group C
Tunisia 1 0 0 1 2 2 1
Guinea 1 0 0 1 2 2 1
Nigeria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Niger 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Group D
Uganda 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mali 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Zambia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Zimbabwe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*THE TABLE DOES NOT INCLUDE YESTERDAY’S NIGERIA-NIGER GROUP C RESULT

Chan Top scorers
Emery Bayisenge 1 (Rwanda)
Heritier Luvumbu 1 (DR Congo)
Guy Lusadisu 1 (DR Congo)
Meshack Elia 1 (DR Congo)
Atouba Emane 1 (Cameroon)

Uganda vs Mali Head-to-head record
Matches played - 4
Mali wins - 2
Uganda wins - 0
Matches drawn - 2


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