KAMPALA. Uganda will not play an international friendly ahead of the crucial 2017 Nations Cup qualifying trip to Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital.
Group D leaders on six points from two games, Uganda Cranes, face the Burkinabe Stallions on March 26 before the return leg three days later in Kampala.
But Uganda will have to confront the Stallions, who they have previously beaten once and drawn twice in four encounters, without a high caliber international test.
Talk was that Uganda and Kenya, who face Guinea Bissau in the qualifiers, were working out a friendly before their respective Afcon engagements. “But because Kenya play their qualifier against Guinea Bissau on the 23rd March, it has made it almost impossible for us to play them,” said Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic.
As such, the home-based Cranes will - as on a number of occasions previously - embark on Cranes Na’Mutima tour to prepare for the back-to-back confrontation with Burkina Faso before entering camp with foreign-based players two weeks to the March 26 tie.
The tour takes them to Arua next weekend. In contrast, Burkina Faso tested themselves against Egypt last Saturday. It should, however, be noted that the Burkinabe used mainly home-based players in the 2-0 defeat.
The Arua trip, where the Cranes will play against a local select side, was confirmed at yesterday’s weekly media briefing at Fufa House in Mengo.
A fresh Cranes’ campaign dubbed ‘Mujje Tulumbe’ (loosely translated ‘come let’s go) was also launched at the conference.
Cranes players Mathias Kigonya, Ismail Watenga and Joseph Ochaya, who rallied Ugandans to come in numbers and support the team, attended the gathering that also included Cranes sponsors Airtel, NiC, Nile Breweries and Bul Uganda. Cranes coach Micho sounded satisfied with behind-the-scenes planning despite lack of a friendly game.
“Since the game against Comoros, through Chan qualifiers and Chan in Rwanda, all the planning, analyses, monitoring and motivation has been done,” he said.
“What is left is now the execution and although for us we shall test our match readiness in the match against Burkina itself, we shall stretch over our limits to get the seven points needed to qualify.”
Fufa president Moses Magogo reiterated his call for government support in chartering a plane to avoid the team returning a day before the return leg, in the event they fly public.