Thursday May 29 2014

Uganda to edge Madagascar, Kenya, Rwanda to win

By Mark Ssali

AFCON PLAYOFFS

Uganda vs Madagascar
By just edging rather than completely trouncing Uganda in Antananarivo, Madagascar committed two errors which I believe will turn out to be fatal. They did not score more and yet could have and should have, and they did not keep a clean sheet either, yet all they needed was to play out the final few minutes without dropping their guard. And so I say without any cockiness but with all the confidence that The Cranes will make them pay for this tomorrow.

Even if this game had been away from home The Cranes would not have put in as bad a performance this time as they did a fortnight ago, and it doesn’t matter that there will be several changes because the group will be fitter and better prepared.

Geoffrey Massa, Tony Mawejje and Dennis Onyango will only make each department stronger, and the rest can feed off their vast experience of situations like these, while Moses Oloya should give the team the drive and creativity they so glaringly lacked.

And it is at Namboole you know. The first goal is always important and Ugandans (both on the pitch and the terraces) are known to get jittery and irritable before it arrives. But it will come. And when it does, murder she wrote. Home win

Rwanda vs Libya
Rwanda’s Amavubi did a great job securing a draw on the road, even if Libya themselves were practically on foreign soil in Tunis since there were security concerns over their Tripoli home.

Scoreless draws are usually not a significant advantage for the away team in a two-legged tie, because once the other team travels and gets a goal then no draws will suffice. I get the feeling that Libya will score in Kigali, but I also feel that Rwanda have what it takes to end the North Africans’ quest for a second straight Afcon appearance. Home win

Comoros Islands vs Kenya
A Harambee Stars story of recent times can never be complete without some controversy or other surrounding Dennis Oliech, or so it seems for someone on the outside looking in. Kenya’s Algerian coach Adel Amrouche has dropped the neighbouring nation’s top striker for “a lack of patriotism” because he did not train with the team, but the player’s manager says his man asked for permission which wasn’t granted because of “politics”. Their 1-0 home win comes across as narrow, but that clean sheet brings a bigger advantage than the scoreline suggests. They will score without Oliech and surprise many. Away win

Congo vs Namibia
Home win

Benin vs Sao Tome
Home win & Over

Chad vs Malawi
Draw

Lesotho vs Liberia
Draw

Sierra Leone vs Swaziland
Home win

Equatorial Guinea vs Mauritania
Home win

Zimbabwe vs Tanzania
Home win

South Sudan vs Mozambique
Away win

Guinea Bissau vs CAR
Home win

Botswana vs Burundi
Draw

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES

Spain vs Bolivia (Friday)
The world champions are so rich in midfield and attack, it borders on the ridiculous. With Vicente Del Bosque set to drop the axe on a few unfortunate individuals to trim that provisional squad to World Cup numbers, the players he picks for this one will be putting in extra miles to avoid that axe. Home win

Netherlands vs Ghana (Saturday)
Even if players will be keen to avoid injury so as not to miss the plane to Brazil (there was a nasty looking knock of such apparent consequence in the Nigeria-Scotland game on Wednesday night), this one should still be exciting because of the abundance of natural talent and the exuberance of youth on either side. ‘Over’

Germany vs Cameroon (Sunday)
The Cameroonians must still be pinching themselves for being part of the World Cup party, but once they get there the African continent can count on them to at the very least give it their best. In this friendly however, the difference in class between them and a serious contender like Germany has to show at some point, although too many substitutions tend to disrupt the flow of friendlies. Home win

Uruguay vs Northern Ireland
Home win & Over

England vs Peru
Home win

Portugal vs Greece
Home win

Italy vs Ireland
Home win

Colombia vs Senegal
Home win

France vs Paraguay
‘Over’

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