KAMPALA. Uganda touched down in Gabon a beaten side after going down 3-0 in their final friendly against the Ivory Coast two years ago.
Today, the Cranes arrive in the capital, Cairo, victorious and high on confidence following a 1-0 win over the same side in Abu Dhabi in Uganda’s final friendly on Saturday en route to Egypt.
Back then in Gabon, former Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic’s side went on to lose their first two matches against Egypt and Ghana 1-0s and draw 1-1 with Mali in as Uganda failed to progress from the group.
So, this latest victory against the same side en route to the finals in Egypt, thanks to Faruku Miya’s penalty; a sign of great things to come this time round?
“Winning in football is important for the mental preparedness of the team,” said Sebastien Desabre, the man at the helm of Uganda Cranes as coach now.
“After tomorow (yesterday), there will be another change of focus when we arrive in Egypt.
“We played the match against Ivory Coast in situations. It was a perfect game to assess some players and hope the team will be ready for the Afcon finals first game.”
Uganda open their campaign against DRC on Saturday at Cairo International Stadium before wrapping their Group A engagements against Zimbawe and hosts Egypt.
“There was positive attitude throughout the match,” added Desabre.
“The most important (thing) for us is to work as one complete unit with good coordination and focus.
“At this level, we are ready with the organization and the talents. There is need for cohesion coupled with the individual players to work for the best desired results.”
This was Uganda’s second and final friendly after an uninspiring goalless draw with Turkmenistan.
Sebastien will be happy with the two clean sheets given the weaponry at their group opponents disposal.
The Frenchman will also have been impressed by Miya’s influence in the two friendlies, where the Croatia-based forward showed great threat from dead ball situations.
But Desabre will also be honest in his assessment to admit that they have a hell lot more to do in the creative and finishing departments before Saturday.
Uganda’s winner at the weekend came from the spot kick, and if the Cranes are to progress from the group, they will have to do more than the country’s only goal - thanks again to Miya - at last edition’s finals.
Denis Onyango (18), Jamal Salim Magoola (19), Robert Odongkara (1), Murushid Jjuuko (4), Bevis Mugabi (5), Isaac Muleme (20), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (16), Wakiro Nico Wadada (14), Joseph Benson Ochaya (2), Timothy Denis Awanyi (3), Godfrey Walusimbi (15), Ronald Mukiibi (12), William Kizito Luwagga (10), Khalid Aucho (8), Mike Azira (23), Faruku Miya (17), Tadeo Lwanga (6), Allan Kateregga (13), Lumala Abdu (22), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (7), Patrick Henry Kaddu (9), Derrick Nsibambi (11) and Allan Kyambadde (21)