Uganda kick off their fourth straight Africa Nations Championship (Chan) finals in Marrakech tomorrow knowing that anything short of progressing from Group B will be – well, just another appearance.
Cranes boss Sebastien Desabre will be making a bow as a national team coach at a major event, trying to drag a team a step further than they have ‘achieved’ in the previous three editions at the first time of asking.
“The ultimate target would be to win the competition,” Sebastien said earlier, “Maybe it is possible, maybe it’s not but we will work very hard to do well in the competition.”
Editions through the lenses
Going by the previous three editions in Sudan 2011, South Africa 2014 and Rwanda 2016, doing well will simply be defending more, scoring more and definitely not returning home on January 24, when they wrap group B against Ivory Coast.
To put the Cranes’ task into perspective, Uganda have played nine matches in three editions, winning just once, drawing three and losing the others.
They have scored once in Sudan, and thrice in South Africa and Rwanda respectively; collecting just six points from a possible 27. The Cranes have shipped a combined 13 goals in the three finals.
Timothy Awany and his fellow soldiers at the back; plus a creative cast of Saddam Juma and Muzamir Mutyaba, as well as attackers Derrick Nsibambi, Muhammad Shaban, Milton Karisa and Nelson Senkatuka have only three matches to balance the said stats.
The tournament kicks off proper today with hosts Morocco taking on Mauritania. Uganda are not in action until tomorrow when they face Zambia, whom they lost to 1-0 in the Rwanda edition. There is no overstating the importance of starting strong in a knockout competition.
CHAN 2018 CRANES FIXTURES - 10.30pm
JANUARY 14, 2018
Zambia vs. Uganda
JANUARY 18, 2018
Uganda vs. Namibia
JANUARY 22, 2018
Uganda vs. Cote d’Ivoire
Ismael Watenga, Benjamin Ochan, Saidi Keni, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Joseph Nsubuga, Timothy Awanyi, Mustapha Mujuzi, Bernard Muwanga, Isaac Muleme, Aggrey Madoi, Milton Karisa, Paul Mucureezi, Allan Kyambadde, Seif Batte, Senfuka Rahmat, Lwanga Taddeo, Kasule Abubaker, Moses Waisswa, Saddam Juma, Mutyaba Muzamir, Shaban Muhammad, Derrick Nsibambi, Nelson Senkatuka