KAMPALA- Djibouti is one of the teams still with a mathematical chance of reaching the semifinals of this year’s Cecafa tournament ahead of their final group game against the Uganda Cranes this evening. They currently sit third in Group A with four points, two behind Eritrea and five behind the Cranes
The realistic scenario for the country located in the Horn of Africa is that it is highly unlikely that they will do so.
Not only are they playing the hosts and most successful country in the championship, they will also be playing a team that has not been at their best, yet still appeared miles ahead whenever they have threatened to step up a gear.
The Cranes come into the final Group A game having sealed semifinal progression after notching up three straight victories, scoring six times and conceding just once, a soft penalty against Burundi.
To compound matters for the Djiboutians, the message from the Cranes camp has been one calling for improved performances. “We won the game 2-0 which obviously football is about winning games but performance-wise, I thought we were quite below par. And it’s the basic things, when you make changes that we did today you expect tactically sometimes things not to be perfect. But the basics of the game, passing, receiving, moving into space, pressing when you are out of position should not be lacking.
I told the players that at half time and we got better in the second half but we need to be better. But we moved a lot players around and one of our objectives was to rest a few legs,” McKinstry said after the 2-0 win over Eritrea on Wednesday.
Some of the players that could also get a rest today include defenders Mustafa Kizza and captain Halid Lwalirwa who have played full minutes from the three Cranes games thus far. Whether he features or not, Lwalirwa wants the Cranes to go unbeaten at the tournament.
“We need to win this game because we want to go the entire tournament unbeaten,” Lwalirwa stressed after the team’s training session on Friday. That could see the return of forwards Allan Okello and Fahad Bayo with the former having scored twice against Somalia.
Bayo will meanwhile look to increase his goal tally having often managed to get himself into good scoring positions in the games against Burundi and Somalia but scoring only once.
CECAFA SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP
Somalia vs Eritrea, 1pm
Uganda vs Djibouti, 4pm